Home Forums General Board Games and Card Games Tobruk and Russian Campaign

This topic contains 15 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Ivan Sorensen Ivan Sorensen 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #101161
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    Picked up some old Avalon Hill games in the past week or two:

    Tobruk, Russian Campaign and THird Reich.

    So far, we’ve played scenario 1 of Tobruk and enjoyed it a lot (though it’s a tad dice heavy innit?) and half a game of TRC which my son adored.

    Any fans of these old ones?

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #101165
    John D Salt
    John D Salt
    Participant

    “Russian Campaign” was an AH repackaging of a Jedko original, which was really “Stalingrad done right”. A splendid game, capturing much of the flavour of the Eastern Front in some simple and elegant rules (although a bit more involved than the original “Stalingrad”). I especially like the stark simplicity of the campaign game victory conditions — Stalin wins by killing Hitler, or Hitler wins by killing Stalin. I recently acquired a copy of the reissued-again “African Campaign”, another Jedko original licensed by AH, and “Afrika Korps done right”. A few play-thoughs solitaire convinced me that it deserves its long-lasting reputation as a fine game.

    “Third Reich” is a game I have also enjoyed greatly, and I have second and third editions on the shelves upstairs. It is so unforgiving in play that it really requires highly competent players for a good game — one hex or one turn out of place or out of time, and you could find yourself being filletted by an expert player.

    “Tobruk” is a game I own both the original and the MMM re-write of. I tried to like it, and it is on a favourite subject, but it really is a dreadful piece of game design — perhaps surprising, as I gather Hal Hock was a miltary OR professional. “A tad dice heavy” is far too kind. It has an absurd amount of dice-rolling, dealing with each anti-tank shot individually. While concentrating on this area in excessive detail, other questions — command control, morale, visual acquisition — are passed lightly over, and, most dramatically unconvincing of all, terrain is abolished entirely, effectively eliminating tactics; the only sensible course is to shoot if you are within effective range, and close to effective range if you are not. An excellent example of how not to do it.

    All the best,

    John.

    #101166
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    Yeah, we were both very impressed by The Russian Campaign. It’s really a quite elegant design, but you could definitely see a bigger picture emerge and it felt sufficiently historical.

    I am very excited about trying out Third Reich, but it definitely looks daunting.

    Too bad you couldn’t get on with Tobruk. We enjoyed it quite a bit, though it definitely shows its age a lot. But hey, horses for desert-courses and all 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #101173
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    The Russian Campaign is an old favourite, the only game that has ever kept me up playing until 4 AM. It is due for re-issue next year by GMT.

    Third Reich was always seen as a ‘big’ tough game, a bit of a hard slog, but certainly had its fans, it was re-published some years ago by L2 Designs. I am pretty sure there was an official players handbook published at some point.

    EDIT – have a look at the contents list of this GENERAL magazine, at Second Chance Games UK – it covers all 3 titles that you have just bought.

    LINK –

    https://www.secondchancegames.com:7081/index.php/magazines/general-magazine-third-reich-6-detail

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by norm smith norm smith.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #101176
    MartinR
    MartinR
    Participant

    Played a fair bit of TRC, Tobruk, well, I ended up playing the scenarios using WRG 25 to 50 and just using the game counters. Just wait until you meet the Bofors gun with an acquired ROF of 40….

    Third Reich I played religiously for well over a decade with my good gaming buddies. After a few years we got quite good at it. What a fabulous game, but as John says, very unforgiving. If you can find the two issues of The General with the series replay of the campaign game (albeit 2nd Ed), it gives some useful pointers.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #101187
    Shaun Travers
    Shaun Travers
    Participant

    I am a fan of TRC (Jedko edition) and the Third Reich (I got into it as the 4th edition I believe) but I think have only played them each about half a dozen times, maybe more for TRC but it was a long time ago.  These were two of the first boardgames I ever bought back in the early 80s.  I still have them, even if I have played neither in 30 years ;-(  Hoping to get some games in later on in life.  I agree with all the above comments – TRC is great, Third Reich is unforgiving; only once played with a person that had played a lot and it was an eye-opener compared to us amateurs with only a few games.

    Tobruk I have heard about but nothing more than that.

    #101236
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    Sounds like we’ll be in for a bit of a brutal experience with Third Reich!

    We’re taking a detour through classic Squad Leader before tackling that one, I think.
    If only I could find a copy of Cross of Iron that wasn’t 90+ dollars on ebay, but patience will hopefully provide!

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #101273

    90 bucks? Holy Hannah! 

    And to think I sold the entire series for a hundred at a con about a decade ago. Should have held on to it.

    Oh well. Hindsight. 

    I enjoyed Russian Campaign too.

    #101275
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    There is an unpunched, good condition copy up on Second Chance Games website at the moment. It is £75, but I am guessing that is a fair price for unpunched and good condition on something that is nearly 40 years old. It is a third edition too. There must be plenty of these kind of items in gamers collections, just sitting there.

    LINK

    https://www.secondchancegames.com:7081/index.php/ww2/cross-of-iron-3rd-edition-1-detail

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by norm smith norm smith.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #101287

    Andrew Rolph
    Participant

    Have played all three of these (along with dozens of others) and enjoyed them all in their own way.

    TRC is the best of the bunch in my opinion. It’s a little odd in places – I was always a little aggravated by units having to stop upon entering woods – so, adjacent to woods with a movement factor of 7? Then move one hex and stop. 7 hexes away? Move all seven. Also those Soviet reinforcements/replacements arriving in specific cities seemed to be rendered pointless by the rule that reinforcement/replacements do not count towards rail movement limits. So they arrive in a given city…but they can then go anywhere by rail anyway? But is reliably entertaining and had for me a broadly historical feel. I only fully appreciate some aspects now after years of reading about the campaign – it was my second board wargame purchase when I was thirteen. Haven’t played it in a while and I think the last time I did I tried switching to a monthly turn sequence along the lines of German first impulse (month), Soviet second, German second, Soviet first. Gave the Soviets a (very) limited reaction to initial German assaults. As I recall the rail movement and Soviet reinforcement arrival times needed a little tweaking to make it work. Oh it also benefits from a German player who is willing to play for a draw at the end when victory is no longer possible. At a point it is clear that, if the Germans haven’t won, then they are not going to. Nevertheless they should still fight on to the best of their ability to make the soviet player earn a victory and give him the chance to plan/play his attacking years.

    I used to enjoy Tobruk despite Dr John’s legitimate criticisms. The dice rolling never bothered me too much and I enjoyed the granularity. However the scenarios always seemed a bit limp and never captured the sense of the battle for me e.g. the final assault on Tobruk is rendered as a company assault. I don’t think the infantry was as much fun as the armour/AT aspects. Also (and I’ve posted on Boardgame geek about this and received no convincing explanation) why do mortars have a rate of fire of one per thirty second turn (after acquiring their target)? Every other weapon (ignoring small arms) has individual shots accounted for (the source of the many, many dice rolls) but the mortars (with real life ROFs of up to 15 a minute) are resolved as a single die roll. Other onboard indirect fire (the 75mm lIG, the Semovente, the PzIV and the Crusader CS) all have multiple shots. As a result the mortars seem to be very undervalued compared to other indirect fire weapons. So (from memory) the lIG will deliver something like five times the effect as an 81mm mortar in a minute, with four or five times the chance of getting a direct hit (which is good in Tobruk…actually, probably any game). Still, a few tanks for ten of fifteen turns is a handy way to spend an hour at short notice at the club.

    Third Reich is a very good system in need of a bigger map as far as I am concerned. The economics of it are all very smooth and, as others have related, expertise tells in the gameplay but I was never happy with the entire french border being 6 or 7 (? approx, from memory) hexes. The shortness of the Soviet Border meant that a single, correctly planned German breakthrough in the centre, coupled with the game’s movement rates, could isolate 90% of the Soviet front line and more or less win that campaign in a turn. That level of potential strategic envelopment always put me off. The vastness of the Soviet Union…just isn’t very vast. I couldn’t reconcile the eastern front coming down to a single encirclement rather than multiple smaller campaigns. Obviously a bigger map would mean more counters which would probably mean reducing them to divisions. In turn that might well make it unplayable. So it was enjoyable and a good game but curiously cramped and confined given its scope and that detracted from the feel of it for me.

     

    Cheers

    Andrew

    #101288
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Third Reich is a very good system in need of a bigger map as far as I am concerned. The economics of it are all very smooth and, as others have related, expertise tells in the gameplay but I was never happy with the entire french border being 6 or 7 (? approx, from memory) hexes. The shortness of the Soviet Border meant that a single, correctly planned German breakthrough in the centre, coupled with the game’s movement rates, could isolate 90% of the Soviet front line and more or less win that campaign in a turn. That level of potential strategic envelopment always put me off. The vastness of the Soviet Union…just isn’t very vast. I couldn’t reconcile the eastern front coming down to a single encirclement rather than multiple smaller campaigns. Obviously a bigger map would mean more counters which would probably mean reducing them to divisions. In turn that might well make it unplayable. So it was enjoyable and a good game but curiously cramped and confined given its scope and that detracted from the feel of it for me. Cheers Andrew

     

    Sir will be wanting GDW’s (and others) Europa series.

    Sir will also be wanting a large sports hall, unlimited free time, and a very long life.

    I shall be playing Hitler’s War (AH, nee MGC), which features an even more economical map than TR. 🙂

    https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2168/hitlers-war

     

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #101289

    Andrew Rolph
    Participant

    Third Reich is a very good system in need of a bigger map as far as I am concerned. …Cheers Andrew

    Sir will be wanting GDW’s (and others) Europa series. Sir will also be wanting a large sports hall, unlimited free time, and a very long life. I shall be playing Hitler’s War (AH, nee MGC), which features an even more economical map than TR. 🙂

    …aah yes Europa…Fire in the East, Drang Nach Osten, Unentschieden, the Urals and the various other titles the eastern front went by…Never was tempted.

    Perhaps Corps level Third Reich with a bigger board and no stacking was what I hankered after? Or then again perhaps I didn’t want to have to handle the entire war. During my first game of TR as the Allies I was waiting patiently for Overlord to occur as some sort of automatic event before coming to the (blindingly obvious) realisation that it wouldn’t happen unless I marshalled the troops, put the air support in place, got the fleets ready, declared an attack and planned which stacks were going to go where etc. It was all a bit overwhelming/traumatic and I delayed for a turn or two (six months or sthg) to see if there was a way in which I didn’t have to do all that work.

    In the end I invaded Spain instead and then the south of France.

    Anyway now Eastfront is my go to game for the whole of the Great Patriotic War (and I am not really tempted to try to expand to Eurofront).

    Cheers

    Andrew

    #101485

    Andrew Rolph
    Participant

    Ivan

    Cross of Iron available here

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CROSS-OF-IRON-by-AVALON-HILL-WW2-BOARD-GAME-COMPLETE/123421457105?hash=item1cbc7dfad1:g:6XcAAOSwmaVblXvY

    at a price which, whilst not cheap, is not eye watering.

    Cheers

    Andrew

    #101495
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    Shipping to the US may scupper that but I appreciate the heads up!

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #101532

    Andrew Rolph
    Participant

    Ah sorry, hadn’t picked up that you were based in the USA.

    Andrew

    #101639
    Ivan Sorensen
    Ivan Sorensen
    Moderator

    No worries, I appreciate the heads up regardless.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

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