Thursday, January 20, 2011

Familiar Ground

The last two weeks, Mike and I have been playing Fury in the East game included in the most recent Operations Special Issue published by Multi-Man in the summer of 2010.

This is a remake of a game originally published in Japan as “G-Barbarossa” and is originally designed by Ginichiro Suzuki. It covers the initial phases of the invasion. The game is ten turns, and all but the first two cover four weeks. The first two turns cover two weeks each.

In many ways, this is a standard Barbarossa game. It probably most resembles Red Star Rising of all the eastern front games I've played. While it doesn't use a variant of the Victory in the West system as in RSR, it does incorporate randomness into the Russian combat units and leaders. It's at a bit higher scale, though; more like Defiant Russia in scope.

Two weeks ago, Mike and I got two turns into the game in an evening, and compiled a large list of rules questions. While two-thirds of them had been answered on CSW, we still had a number of other issues to resolve.

After posting questions and getting very quick answers (one of which conflicted with a prior response on CSW), we proceeded to restart the game, with myself taking the Russians again versus Mike's Axis forces. We got three turns in this time, and didn't really run into any new questions.

While I'll post more information about the game next week, I do want to get a few things posted first.

Keep in mind, this is a magazine game. As such, I do have a bit of a lower bar for quality, proofreading, etc. While the production quality is good (all components are good quality, and I know of zero counter or map errata) the rules need restructuring and at least one more edit pass.

There are some frightening omissions. First, overruns cost an extra 3 MP beyond the movement cost of the defending hex. This isn't in the rulebook – it's in the minimal posted errata. Given most German units have 8MP, this is a massive mistake. The Soviets are required to make mandatory attacks against adjacent German units during their combat phase. However, the rules state that all German units in Russian zones of control must be attacked. A clarification on CSW has modified that saying all Russian units in German zones of control must attack as well. This is very significant if you're trying to preserve units or leaders. (And as Russian units cannot move if in an enemy zone of control, preservation is important.)

I'll leave final thoughts on the game until my next post, but I'll leave you today with this: If you attempt to play this game, do your CSW forum research first, and play through the first two turns. Ask questions, then start over. You cannot get this game right the first time from the rules as written.

On a different note, it might be worth the effort. More to come.