United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
d10-1 Components.

Europe Engulfed is my first foray into the realm of block wargaming. Coming first from miniatures gaming (i.e. Warmachine, Warhammer Fantasy, Mordheim) and then from hex and chit war games (i.e. Advanced Squad Leader) I was curious and somewhat excited to move onto block games. I've gotta say, the blocks are excellent and give a unique and intriguing spin on the game. I was worried that I might spend too much time guessing at and attempting to remember what kinds of units my opponent might have, but there's simply so much going on and so much to think about that it just didn't happen; effectively delivering on the advertised inherent "fog of war." The blocks are easy to move about the board and stack, unlike (although I still love them) the cardboard chits I'm used to. The units are varied and easily identified using military signage; Infantry, Armour, Cavalry, Airborne, and Militia. Each unit has a different number of pips on each side of the block identifying its relative "power." The blocks are turned on their sides with their current strength in steps running along their top side. Each pip counting as either one die or two rolled in combat, depending on whether or not the combat is an assault or a standard attack. (more on this later) When casualties are taken the blocks are turned to reduce the number of steps, or to increase when replacements are purchased.
The cardboard markers cover your naval units and fortifications as well as being used as informational markers on the handy "Information track" that is printed in an advantageous spot on the board. There is a second sheet of round markers used for your ground support units, established beach heads, and national control markers.
The board is a thing of beauty. First of all, it's huge. 34" x 44". So big in fact that I couldn't even fit it on my table, prompting me to go out and pick up a couple of cheap poster frames to mount it in. When in play they come off the wall and are reassembled to fit together.

Even so the board hangs off the table about 2" on either side. The board is well colored and easy to read. You never have to strain your eyes to read it. Sometimes you have to move some units aside to get a look at the production level (or WERPS) of certain territories, but this is a small inconvenience and one that rarely comes up as long as your keeping track on the Information Track. Even though the board is large, we've often had to pull units out of conflicted territories to do battle, but even this is done quite well as a group of units can be pulled off-board and replaced with an identifier marker (i.e. "army group south," etc.) Overall though, the components are simple to use and always cause a spectacle that entices would-be players to watch.

d10-2 Gameplay.

The game plays very smoothly with each turn accounting for two months of the war. First order of business is determining the weather for that turn. Weather conditions consist of four different types: Clear, Light Mud, Mud, and Snow. Clear weather is pretty self-explanatory. Light mud robs your forces of Breakthrough movement. Mud slows down operational movement (which is your standard movement. Infantry moves one and Armour, Cavalry, and Ground support units move two) costing all of your movement points to move into a single area, as well as nullifying your tanks hit bonuses and granting defending infantry a hit bonus of their own. Even worse, your ground support units are grounded in this rainy weather and unable to assist your ground units at all. Snow is the worst of the worst for a player attempting to gain ground in the winter months. When attacking your only allowed half of the dice you would normally roll, with the exception of Soviets and Finns attacking in their home territories, of course. Your ground support units sit these seasons out as well. Personally, I love the weather system in this game. It's something that I've always thought was missing from Axis and Allies, but also pretty convoluted in other games that do acknowledge it. I think Europe Engulfed strikes a perfect balance here. I did end up checking the rulebook on weather effects my first couple of games, but now it's almost second nature.
After weather it's time for strategic warfare on the axis. The Western Allies have this option in the form of bombers and their fighter escorts. This system is also easy to remember and resolved quite quickly. The attacker rolls dice for the number of fighter escorts they have, each 5 and 6 (depending on weather, of course) rolled subtracts an equal number of fighters from each side. Any fighters from the defender that survive this engagement have a chance to shoot down the enemy bombers, any bombers left over after that are subject to enemy anti-aircraft fire, and finally any bombers left over after THAT rob the enemy of 1 WERP per bomber. It may sound like a little much, but in play it works like a charm. In addition to bombers, the axis have the dreaded German U-boats and V1 rockets (in due time) as well to knock out shipping lines and drain the allied WERPS. This is advantageous as WERPS are the currency of the game and the more you can keep from your opponent, the better. After this the axis make their buys. The buys are done somewhat in secret, with your opponent counting off how many WERPS they've spent as they go. WERPS can be spent on replacements for your units already on the board, flak improvements, fighters, bombers, and new units, just to name a few things. A few of these builds are restricted, such as naval points and Special action markers. These are really a great little mechanic in this game. Special actions are used for initiating breakthrough movement and combat, allowing you to move into a new territory after conquering the one before it or continue a battle that you think you should have won. They also allow you to retreat before a battle begins, bring up reinforcements from adjacent territories, initiate an amphibious assault or grant limited supply to a territory that has been surrounded and cut off from supply. Normally a cut off unit will be destroyed if it can't restore supply by the end of its next turn. Limited supply reduces this punishment from utter destruction, to only taking a casualty (losing a single step) on each unit cut off. This attention to supply makes for some excellent decision making throughout the game as you struggle to keep men on the front lines where you need them and keeping their flanks covered to avoid this loss of supply.
Moves are made after buys are completed starting with Operational movement which should be familiar to anyone who's played Axis and Allies. You move your troops according to how many movement points they have, (again, one for infantry and two for tanks and cavalry) moving them into combat and such. After this is resolved comes another of my favorite aspects of this game: Strategic Movement. Each country has a certain amount of Strategic moves they can make. Here, you can move units from one end of your territories to the other if you so choose. I like to think of this as a representation of railroads and various other infrastructure. It's great for moving troops from one front to the next and getting them where you need them... NOW! Although they cannot enter combat with these moves, they are probably the most useful in the game.
After the moves have been made, combats are resolved. The combat system is straightforward and very player friendly. The attacker chooses either Assault combat, rolling two dice for each step in their forces, or standard combat, rolling one die for each step. The defender always fires first and the attacker takes casualties before rolling their dice. Sixes are hits. This can be modified due to hit bonuses brought forth by certain situational circumstances. Tanks always attack each other first, hitting each other on sixes generally. If tanks attack against infantry they gain a hit bonus, thus hitting on a five or six. Other hit bonuses are generated from what type of weather your attacking or defending in, whether or not the attacker crossed a river or are attacking into rough terrain. Again, I'm impressed with how straight forward and important the terrain system is, without bogging down game play. After combats are resolved you check to make sure your men are still in supply and whether or not you've achieved victory and the turn goes to the next player.
The only thing that we've found slightly off-putting are the many and varied Political Considerations. These cover everything from the collapse of Italian morale and their surrender to the Allies to the founding and operation of Vichy France, the control and coming of age of the Axis minors and the respect and betrayal of the German/Soviet non-aggression pact. These political consideration are too numerous to list here and even more difficult to remember. I hope, in time, I'll have played enough to at least recognize most of them. While they do tend to bog down the game play, they make for a somewhat more realistic unfolding of events on the game board, and really are the only thing that DOES bog down the speed of the game.

d10-3 Summary.

To wrap it all up, Europe Engulfed is rocking my world to the core. Simple enough for even my casual gaming friends to pick up and want to play, yet deep enough to keep those who know the history interested. I don't think I'll ever want to play Axis and Allies again. Everything from the secret buys to the use of Special Actions and the "inherent fog of war" always seem to keep you guessing at your opponent's intents and make for a very interesting take on WWII on a grand strategic level. Kudos to Rick Young and Jesse Evans for bringing this wonderful game to our table, may it stand there for many years.

d10-4 Rating.

9 out of 10 stars.
33 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Trent Garner
msg tools
also Game Developer
badge
Personal LnLT Avatar
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Don't forget the companion game Asia Engulfed! The two games can be combined to let you fight WWII in it's entirety, with the necessary rules included with Asia Engulfed. Asia Engulfed is also a very fun game in it's own right, and is easily as enjoyable as Europe Engulfed, assuming you like PTO as much as ETO.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Shaw
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Glad to see another fan is born! I play online using both Vassal (preferred) and wargameroom.com. If you are in a time zone close to mine (Mountain Standard, USA, Grenwich -7) drop me a note and we can play.

Dan
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bradley Knoll
Canada
Shilo
Manitoba
flag msg tools
MMP Disliker
badge
Soldier for Up Front, but is my back to the Volga or the Spree river?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I never look at A&A again either. This is a great game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good to hear there are some other converts out there. Hope you guys enjoyed the write up. See you online tonight, Dan!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cantatta wrote:
Don't forget the companion game Asia Engulfed! The two games can be combined to let you fight WWII in it's entirety, with the necessary rules included with Asia Engulfed. Asia Engulfed is also a very fun game in it's own right, and is easily as enjoyable as Europe Engulfed, assuming you like PTO as much as ETO.

No, I haven't forgotten I just haven't played it yet. Hopefully I'll have another review coming for it after I can afford it!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brent Bryan
United States
Empire
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Solid review. EE is definitely one of my favorite wargames, although its a tough sell to my gaming group who prefer a lighter fare.

This one hits all the sweet spots for me; it has deep strategy, economic management and troop management ala' the aforementioned A&A.

I especially like the asset management system and balancing your nation's resources between, for instance; subs, flak, bombers, or reinforcements and troops on the ground. Brilliant design!

My next goal is to play online with some grizzled veterans...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Redeagle wrote:


My next goal is to play online with some grizzled veterans...

Well, I'm far from grizzled but always looking for new Vassal opponents, especially on thursday nights! Drop me a line sometime if you're interested. Glad you enjoyed the review!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
john f stup
United States
damascus
Maryland
flag msg tools
mb
since i played EE i haven't played A&A or blitzkrieg general or even Xeno's world at war which is my favorite of the three.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Will Green
United States
Alameda
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Then, of course, you never really needed to play Axis and Allies, in the first place...
laugh arrrh
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Kuha
United States
Minnesota
flag msg tools
badge
I can tell we are going to be mortal enemies.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I never want to play Axis and Allies. Life just keeps getting better and better.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Shaw
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nhojput wrote:
since i played EE i haven't played A&A or blitzkrieg general or even Xeno's world at war which is my favorite of the three.

I used to play the Xeno a lot. Best of the A&A options. Does anyone know if it's playable online?

BTW, I agree EE is much better than any A&A, and anyone who cares to play, drop me a note.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Shaw
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
nhojput wrote:
since i played EE i haven't played A&A or blitzkrieg general or even Xeno's world at war which is my favorite of the three.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls