Received my copy just before xmas & have played 10-12 games so far.
Very nice sturdy map, covering Eisenbach & locale: 150m hexes. Although not every scenario uses the full map you always feel like you have plenty of room to move.
Units represent platoons, (mostly, a couple of units represent 1 or 2 vehicles & only have 1 step) which can be hard AFVs (T-72s, Abrahams, etc) soft AFVs (BMPs, BRDMs, etc) or soft targets (INF, jeeps). The counters have nice illustrations, for the vehicles & standard NATO symbols for the infantry & support weapons. Counters look quite nice, but are a bit busy, with many numbers on there. At first i found them a bit thin, but its no biggie.
The game uses a chit pull mechanism, where each Soviet formation gets 1 chit & the US formation gets 2. Added to this are 2 or 3 end turn counters. If you pull 2 end turn, then its turn over. So you may not get to go at all! However, if this happens then you hold 1 chit out of the mix & only add it in when you've activated one of your formations, which prevents you totally bogging down, a nice feature i thought. Movement is fairly standard for a wargame of this scale with no ZOCs. Combat is quite nice, even though i normally hate the "bucket of dice" approach of Avalanche press games. (I didnt realise it was BoD when i ordered it) however this system doesnt use the 6 is hit approach, nor do you roll "buckets of dice", usually 6 at most. Each different weapon system has to hit numbers, modified by various things. Eg a full strength Abrams platoon needs a basic 4 to hit, whilst a T-72 needs a 5.
If a unit hits, it gets a save, listed on the counter (eg T-72 4d6 need 6s) plus maybe a terrain save. 1 save negates 1 hit. 1 hit disrupts, 2 causes step loss, 3 a kill. Nice & simple. However to succeed ina n attack, even with numerically superior forces requirescombined arms usually. I say usually coz this is a wargame & luck always plays a part! Score: 8/10
Overall score: 8/10
I thoroughly enjoyed this game, the scenarioes provide a nice range of different tatical situations & it plays quick & easy, which, to me is a bonus. I would heartily recommend this game! Ive already pre-ordered Death of the 1st Panzer!
Balanced review. We played for the first time two days after Christmas. It was a lot to keep track of at first--what number's for what on the counters, what underlined ranges or weapon strengths mean, and so on. By the end of the first scenario we had things pretty well in hand--one question to send to the designer, but right now I forget what it is.
The command radius limitations prevent platoons from galloping all over creation without limits; I like the decision-making problem of whether to press on with the leading elements or hold back so the rest of the command stays "in command"--with a "6" base morale on 2D6 to self-initiate, it's no sure thing that left-behind platoons will ever catch up in time.
Nice differentiation of the various capabilities of main tank guns and ATGMs. Refreshing lack of bookkeeping and table-checking (essential there are no tables, though there's a lot of cross-checking rules at first).
After learning the system in the first game or two, you are indeed ready to play the game rather than wrestle with the rules.
I do wish the counters were thicker for ease of picking up and flipping over, but it's not an insurmountable problem and they are very attractive. I'm looking forward to future games in the series.