Army Group South

On the table for the first time, almost 25 years after buying the game, is Barbarossa: Army Group South, 1941.

The game, designed by Vance Von Borries and published by GMT Games, features an operational level system that made its debut with Typhoon (about the 1941 attempt to take Moscow). This volume is one of a series about Barbarossa, dubbed the East Front Series (EFS).

In the EFS, hexes are 5 miles across, turns represent two days, and units are divisions, regiments, and brigades with some battalions. It has an “I go, you go” move sequence that includes reaction and mechanized movement. However, the order of the phases is different for each side. There are other systemic distinctions which are an attempt to portray the differing capabilities – weaknesses and strengths – of the forces involved.

Supply is essential, but it is not as detailed as the Operational Combat Series from the Gamers. Here, you do not move individual supply points, just supply columns and dumps. By comparison, it’s a lot easier.

This particular game has three full sized maps and one half sized plus six scenarios. Only one scenario – the campaign – requires the three maps. There is a learning scenario, and then the first two scenarios only use part of one map. They are a fairly decent way to get into the system, albeit somewhat short on armor action.

I played Typhoon and enjoyed it. Typing that makes me wonder why it took so long to get back to EFS. Anyway, I started with scenario one which is the grinding battle by German infantry forces to take Kiev. Now, I am playing scenario two which is another infantry slugfest, this time pitting the woeful forces of Romania in an attempt to take Odessa.

Scenario two setup and ready to go

So far, it’s been good. The stacking can be a bit challenging at times, but patience and a set of tweezers help. The plan is to finish this scenario and then start one of the bigger offerings where there’s more scope for armor and maneuver.