I’m not sure how to explain this. One minute I am sorting the counters for Avalanche Press’ Kursk; South Flank game, and the next thing I know I have set up West End Games‘ Western Front Tank Leader. Hmmm.
This is a WW2 tactical combat game, with 150 meter hexes and platoon sized units. The original system came from John Hill (of Squad Leader fame) but this particular game was designed by Leonard Quam. It came out around 1987. The game uses cards – with different Command and Control ratings – to activate formations, and has a nifty battle conditions system to vary the playing conditions of the scenarios. There is a basic game – with tanks only catered for – and an advanced game which brings in infantry and most of everything else you would expect to see.
The game features different troop quality and morale, tactical doctrine, and the fog and chaos of war. It is very playable solitaire. I don’t like the maps because I would prefer a historical module, but that’s one area that will have to wait and see if the series is revived. (There has been some talk of this.)
If I could ever swing it, I’d like to do a Ph. D. on tactical level WW2 combat games, because the subject fascinates me. I would really like to have the time and resources to properly analyse the available games, play each of them to death, and see if I could finish a design of my own. Every game has its champions, but to me the field remains open for a clear contender to arise. Funnily enough, in some quarters this is seen as one of the best, though the counter graphics are less than inspiring – even allowing for it being produced 25 years ago.
So, it’s on the table, and I am mucking about with it; playing some of the scenarios and trying a few ideas out for fun and entertainment.