- Perry PenderUnited Kingdom
I have in the past few days just managed to snaffle a kickstarter copy of Thunder in the East and so I thought I would add a Brits PoV to what is already shaping up to be a very good title indeed.
As if you were not already aware TitE covers the Russo-German war of June 41 to August 1944 (the last 9 months are to be covered in another module in the ETO series I am assuming). The Game is number 1 of Mr Chaddwicks European Theatre of Operations series.
Units are generally Corps and Army sized (Large & Medium) units with a good smattering of Division/KG sized units (small), you also have various air units (each roughly 200 A/C strong) and a small amount of Soviet Naval ability.Each hex is roughly 20 miles from Hexside to Hexside and each has the standard Terrain fair for European Soviet Russia. Turns vary from 7.5 days per turn up to 15 days per turn, a year is broken into the four seasons and each month within that season is again broken down into 4 turns for spring/summer/autumn months and 2 turns for each winter month. This breakdown of winter months into shorter turns helps to show how much harder it is to get anything done in the Russian winter rather nicely.
I will say this straight from the off, they are simply stunning, there are 1/2' counters, 5/6' counters & large 5/8' counters (Small/Medium & Large in regards to stacking and combat). the information on the combat units is easy to read and understand, some units are single step, some may be up to 4 steps, this is indicated by a series of dots in the upper left hand side of the face of the counter. Hq Units come in two forms, big large round counters for ease of spotting them and normal 5/6' sized square counters for those who do not like the circular once. Again the Hq units have an abundance of information on them such as command/supply distance, if the unit is in balanced or combat mode, and if the unit can offer combat support in the form of a shift modifier.
Air units come in Fighter/Ground Attack/Bomber/Fighter Bomber form and also can add to a ground combat or attack on their own depending on what symbols they have on the counter (Bombs & Lightning bolts), Fighters are rated for Air to Air ability and all are rated for toughness or vulnerability.
This is simply beautiful, it is big 59' by 44' and covers an area from just north of Leningrad to a line roughly 80 miles south of Sevastable and roughly 60 miles west of Warsaw to 60 miles east of Stalingrad, so it covers a large area. Each type of terrain is nicely rendered and easy to understand with no ambiguity what a certain hex is. Also each scenario has its own start line on the map so no having to look up each hex to see where you can place your initial units.
Three books come with TitE, the Rule book, Scenario Book & an ETO Booklet.The RB is in full colour, and is printed on very sturdy heavy gauge paper and is simply very well written, each and every rule is laid out in very easy to understand segments with colour codes for optional rules and campaign game rules so you know exactly what you need to read before you jump in to say the whole campaign game. You could to my mind sit and re-read the RB time and time again as it really is very well executed and a joy to use.
The scenario book is printed on slightly lighter gauge paper but again is well made and full colour. Each scenario lays out the exact forces you need, and also the special rules for that particular scenario, at the end of each scenario is an economics map for that particular scenario so you can rebuild/purchase units.
The ETO reference booklet is a very handy A-Z of most things in the game and how they work, I thought this was a nice little touch and it works very well.
You get a lot of these, from casualty mats, to production cards to economic maps, air charts, ground combat charts, morale charts the list goes on. All are in glorious colour yet again (This game must of cost VPG a large amount of cash to make). the main ones are the German forces & Russian forces faction mats, these outline what reinforcement you get and when (Germans) & how you build new units and replace lost units (Russian). You also have a section on your faction map called the change section, this allows you to build units up and break units down into larger or smaller formation, so for example if you want to form a powerful Panzer group/Army you would take a Pz Army counter out of your change box and place it on the map, and remove from the map two panzer corps, this adds a lot of fun to the game as you build units up to allow you to attack or indeed breakdown units if you need to cover the line.
VPG has done a superb job on these aids, each is perfect for the job it has to do, no matter if it is tracking your units and reinforcements or the air war, or even the transport ability of units. All in all very well done.There are also three sets of cards to help with events and the weather in the game, one set for the Germans & one for the Russians, & one set for a visual reminder what the weather is doing in each area of the map. The faction event cards add a bit of spice to the game and are a nice addition.
TitE Although a simple game in concept and execution is an involved game, each turn in the game goes as follows unless stated otherwise in the scenario special rules.
1. Campaign Game Season start Phase.
2. Logistic Phase.
3. Order of Battle Phase.
4. Special Movement Phase.
5. Combat Phase.
6. Regular Movement Phase.
7. Housekeeping Phase.
Two of these in order completes a weekly or bi weekly turn for each month.
The season start phase is only done at the beginning of each season and this is where you draw all your economic supplies for the coming season to fight your war, this in and of itself keeps you on your toes. Logistics phase is where your opponent checks to see if your units are in Line of communication and supply, this helps keep folk honest and is a nice touch & you can also repair and rebuild stuff in this phase.
The OOB Phase allows you to draw new cards, receive reinforcements place new units and change the status of your HQ's (Hq's have two modes, Balanced or attack).
The Special Movement phase allows you to move your HQ's and move ground units with certain caveats, it also allows the Soviets to disband early Mech corps for supply points.
The Combat Phase, does what it says on the tin, both sides go at each other, making Breakthroughs with the help of air power, HQ combat shifts and lucky rolls of the dice, I have noticed that the CRT is slightly work towards attacking, so even if on the defence it pays to attack now and then as you have a good chance to pull off a surprise slap in the face to your opponent.
The Regular Movement Phase, units move again, with certain Caveats and units conduct sea or land transportation, you also check the enemies morale by looking on the casualty mat and deducting what ever points they have lost from their national morale.
The House Keeping Phase is where turn markers are moved forward, during the first week of a month you select your event cards, withdrawal units that need to be, promote Soviet Guards units and right at the end Ivan rolls for the next turns weather.
Thunder in the East is a very well produced and fun game to play. It makes you feel like you are playing a monster game due to it's scope and size but yet it feels like a very manageable monster game and for that reason alone I feel it is a must buy for anyone who like the Russian front or just likes a well made and thought out game. I have had the game for two days and have already started into a campaign game, and my German forces are now on the October 3rd week game turn 1941 of the whole enchilada and all I can say is I am well and truly hooked. I for one rate this game up there with the best of them, it is like playing a jazzed up version of War in the East and most importantly it just 'Feel' right, it feels like the Russian front in the sense that both sides play as you would expect, the Germans are fast and powerful hitting, and so far can hurt Ivan something rotten, however Ivan is slow, but when he hits it hurts, I can already see the Soviet lines starting to thicken up and I know winter is just around the corner, I am 100 miles from Moscow and 80 from Rostov, I have Leningrad ready to fall but Army group North is weak, Will I hold or will Ivan be able to stop me and regain some of Mother Russia? Why don't you find out and grab a copy for yourselves, you will not be disappointing. I intend on getting The darkest valley Deluxe reprint when it comes out and am in the process of negotiating a copy of Proud Monster deluxe, both will be played a lot, TitE is as good as these title IMHO and I feel may of set a new standard for Russian front based games.
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- Alek P.Caek please :D
- Glad to see you got a copy and enjoyed it
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- Terry LewisUnited States
Oregon"But first, the children ought to be fed." -- Virginia Held (1980) from "Property, Profits, and Economic Justice"
- Ditto Alek's comment!
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- Perry PenderUnited Kingdom
Imaginary Star wrote:Glad to see you got a copy and enjoyed it
It is IMHO something special, a very well laid out and executed game and I am enjoying it immensely.
all the best
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- Wolfgang KunzGermany
NetphenI'm German. That's what we do...
Why don't you find out and grab a copy for yourselves, you will not be disappointing.
OK, you sold me...
Bought a copy this afternoon, ordered TDV Deluxe yesterday and are proudly owner of Proud Monster Deluxe ( abd LOVE the old SPI War in the East).
Thanks for this review.
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