Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Eastfront vs Blocks in the East

This is sort of similar to Shark vs Tornado or Batman vs Superman but with board wargames...


Having played both Blocks in the East (BITE) and Eastfront, i thought I'd give a very brief comparison:

> I love Eastfront, I did not like BITE.

> Eastfront is design for effect game. It limits its rule complexity and trims down the number of components by rolling air power and supply all into HQ strength steps and brings out the severity of the conflict through its weather rules and map design.

> BITE on the other hand goes the other way and has a more is more philosophy with more smaller hexes, probably three times the number of blocks and both air power and supply represented explicitly

> The base rules for Eastfront are marginally more complex however in practice its much easier to play than BITE. BITES core rules could be mistaken for an Axis and Allies evolution but it layers on a tonne of chrome and lots of resource management with the advanced rules. The final effect is a lot of work.

> In play I found i spent much less time hunting for units or counting things in Eastfront and much more time considering the merits of a break through to Moscow over piling more forces into Leningrad.

> Both feel like epic eastern front games.

> Eastfront has better map art.

> For me these two games taught me something about myself as a Wargamer. For a while I though that deep orders of battle and explicit simulation of oil supply were important to me. With BITE I found that they were better in my minds eye than in practice. I realise now I prefer games that make me think with clever mechanics and economy of components.

> In general I am far less inclined to put down cash on a game with more than 500 counters than I used to be. Sorting counters or blocks is becoming more effort than its worth.

> Kev over at the Bigboardgaming.com prefers BITE, and he knows his stuff. Check out his vids and posts if you want to muddy the waters, as there is no consensus opinion.

Eastfront AAR: "From the Desk of the Man of Steel"

It’s EastFront a 1991 Craig Besinque block game about the war on the EastFront and this is the winter of 1941. My friend Pete of https://spprojectblog.wordpress.com/ played the role of Uncle Joe, and my friend James of https://twitter.com/ConsimsSheffied  turned into Hitler. I played STAVKA and OKH interpreting their orders and soloing the game. Every few turns I sent both a photo and awaited strategic direction.



Turn 1

From Der Fuhrer
Guten morgen from the Fuhrer's headquarter.

The Fuhrer is satisfied to hear that the invasion is going to plan and congratulates you on your progress so far.

Your objectives are simple: Moswcow and Leningrad must fall. You will divert a portion of your forces to push towards Tula from the south to draw the Soviets away from the main thrust of the attack, which will come from the north. Do not waste the Fuhrer's best units on this diversionary attack - once the Fuhrer's armour is seen on the streets of Moscow the USSR will surely collapse.

Remember, the Fuhrer will not accept failure or excuses."



From Stalin

The fascist invaders will soon learn that their capitalist oppression will be no match for the power of the proletarian working classes properly led. Now as they start to freeze in their stalled attack on Moscow, force well trained and equipped from the Far Eastern military districts are arriving to deal a counter blow.

From the latest Stavka meeting it has been decided. With the infantry spread between them. The armoured corps together with a mechanized and Shock corp is to form a reserve east of Moscow. 1 mechanized, 1 shock and one Cavalry Corp is to form a reserve South East of Moscow. The three remaining Cavalry Corps are to be positioned East of Rostov as a reserve there.

For the Motherland.”






I as both OKH and STAVKA deployed my forces roughly as instructed. The result was a main Nazi thrust northwards heavily at the expense of the south. The Russians countered with a low hook to army group centre.

The Russians move first in winter (snow) turns and they do not suffer having all of their HQs disrupted as the Nazis do. As such the Communists were able to get their infantry and shock armies moving around the German south flank, due south east of Smolensk. 

The Germans on the other hand attacked into the forests of the north, this makes it harder to concentrate forces and gives the defender double defence.  Whilst this was expensive on HQ logistics they did manage to concentrate a large force around Leningrad and start the siege.




Turn 3

From der Fuhrer

Commander
The Fuhrer is concerned that perhaps he has not made himself clear. Your instructions were to make a diversionary attack on Tula from south yet he sees that you have instead besieged Sevastapol and are now concerned that the Soviet forces around Tula are threatening our drive on Moscow. Perhaps the Fuhrer should relieve you of your position and take command personally?

Do not allow Leningrad to be relieved and do not allow the siege to drag on - finish the job, commander."


From Stalin
From the desk of the Man of Steel:

1) The hook from the south should continue. Counterattack due North into the units that have broken through.

2) Instill in the RKKA the will to succeed of the proletariat worker. 

3) Check train time table to see when the Siberian units will arrive from the Far Eastern Military District.”


I probably over spent on my HQs for both sides in the first two turns as things slowed down as the Winter dragged on. The Russians continued their drive from the south into army group centre with slow but steady success. Both sides rushed troops to weak points. Leningrad was starved out through the turns 1, 2 and 3 reducing it down to one block. So as the Germans flung everything and the kitchen sink at the city they managed to over come the triple defense and defeat the last block. 


Turns 5-6

“From the desk of the Man of Steel:

1) Keep the pressure in the centre.

2) Be ready to redeploy if necessary to meet the expected counter attack from the south.

3) Win at Rostov.”



Der Furher was a little quiet over the final turns, so OKH pressed on.  The snow was replaced by mud slowing everyone to a crawl. Despite the weather effects the Russian shock forces counter attack managed more or less wipe out army group centre. The German hook from the north got bogged down in the forest and causalities rapidly rose on both sides in a series of attritional battles.


The End Result


The final score was +12 to the Russians, a minor victory, as the high casualties the Germans sustained out weighted the capture of Leningrad. This was end game was mostly due to the effects of snow on the Germans. Aside from this, attacking through the south and centre is much easier than in the north.