Hitlers war is a step back into the eighties when games were designed to fit on your bookcase and you expected to take all day to play a game. Life travels at a greater speed these days and if you are averse to long games that evolves like a classic cycling tour then stop right now. But Avalon Hill decided to go the whole hog with Hitlers War and and tried to pack everything into this classic WWII simulation.
Today companies like to give you a 'funometer' on the box which invariable tells you that their came is extremely fun. Avalon hill used to do something similar and gave you a scale of complexiety and solotaire suitability. I agree with the assessment, Hitlers war is well suited to solotaire play.
Hitlers war is a comprehensive simulation of World War Two and plenty is covered. Special attention to detail has been paid to the game which you see evidenced in many special rules. For example "Historically, the axis armies were totally unprepared for the severity of the Russian winters when, without any winter protection, both men and tanks froze to a standstill". The game adds significant modifiers for axis combat in winter making it prohibitively difficult in year one.
I say it is comprehensive because it covers all areas of the war. There are Uboats and air defence, tactical technology development and missiles, bombers and even the atomic bomb if you stick with it long enough. There is a lot ot take in here, and the board is littered with tables of rules and for calculations. It reminds me of a Wallace game with all the different supporting information.
Thats a nice lead in for a discussion of the components. This is an eighties wargame and so you shouldn't be surprised to see a hex map.
The picture above depicts the setup in the first turn.
The quality is very good, and very bright using well labeled hexes and attractive diagramtic art.
The components and counters aren't anything particularly special but again I like the colours. Not to heavy on the khaki and a good use of pastels.
Each player has an individual mat which records not only the strength of the armies, but the current production costs and technological capabilities. In the image below you note the armies down the left hand side and the production costs on the right. Down the bottom is the technology track.
Each army is represented on the board by a small army token and players refer back to the mat to ascertain the units contained in that army.
The game comes complete with hundreds of numeric markers for your record keeping. Hitlers war defintiely requires a tuckbox to keep all those pieces together.
There are four main features of the rules that I want to talk about. the first is combat. Combat is relatively simple. There are two types, an assult and an advance.
The purpose of the assault is to inflict causalties of the opponent. This is a simple process of rolling one d6 and comparing your army strength and die roll against a table. In a single turn an army may assault only once. The table is on the board.
The second type of combat is the advance. This allows you to move into an adjacent hex and displace the opponent. A player compares thier own mechanical strength against the opponents defnsive strength on the advance table. The table returns a range that the attacker must roll within. Multiple advances may be made in one turn but each incurs an cumulative modifier of 1 for each completed advance.
The second is the movement phase. Before you attack a player may relocate all of its units in whichever way it sees fit subject to supply lines and some sea movement restrictions. This makes me a little uncomfortable. Not just because you can relocate a mechanised unit from deep in russia to an assault on england in a single movement phase, but because it means to can setup up all your units to attack perfectly each turn. Is it a weakness, I don't know but it seems so inconsistent with an otherwise detailed game.
The third feature is supply. Hitlers war is slow moving and ensuring that you maintain supply lines is critical. All units must have at least one uninterupted path to a friendly supply point. When a supply point is taken from the opponent it is devestated and must be rebuilt. Therefore to avoid having your supply lines cut you must move slowly.
The final feature is technology. When you advance the technology for a particular type of combat unit the price of it becomes cheaper. In order to advance a level you must invest production points to advance up the track. At higher levels of the track the liklihood of success is higher. You may roll the dice at any point in the track, but in lower levels you may finding an unsucessful roll will send you backwards down the track. In order to create the atomic bomb you must sucessfully advance six technology steps each of which may take 3 or four turns.I like this aspect of the game and hope to use a similar mechanic in one of my own games in the future.
As I said the game is complex and is taught in steps. The base rules include three scenario's. Barbarossa which includes just the soviets and the axis fighting on land. The Fall of Germany, which adds naval capabilities and the Allies. And finally the full game which adds all the bells and whistles. The picture below shows the setup for the first scenario.
In summary you will not be shocked to hear me say this is an eighties wargame. It is very different to teh slick mechanics of today that you might see in say Twilight struggle. The game uses 1d6 for goodness sake, its that simple. And yet at the same time it is riddled with complexiety and is very detailed in its application. I really enjoyed the technology development in the game, not so much the mass movement phase. Yet there is plenty here to keep a hard core gamer going. Just remember to turn off your cellphone and have a ballgame going in the background while you wait your opponents turn. Good luck.
What did you think of these latest components addtions?:
Ah -bringing back some memories!!
Played once with a friend. Nice game. Later I heard that the game was broken. Allied can withdraw to England and win without fighting. And I did not buy it.
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Good review. I have this one. Solo'd it several times, played it two or three times against a guy in Northern Virginia (forgotten his name) who simply DESTROYED me! I do like the game.
Hadn't heard the "retreat to England, HW is broken" thing before.
I got this years ago, and later when I saw it was originally from Metagames the design makes a lot more sense. Though it covers everything, it is extremely abstracted in most areas, the counter count is really small for a game of this scale.
Still a favorite though.
You wouldn't happen to have a PDF copy of the rules and the Record Cards for each country would you?
I have misplaced these and am having trouble tracking down a replacement.