World at War: Eisenbach Gap — Review

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Eisenbach GapWorld at War: Eisenbach Gap is Lock ‘n Load Publishing’s latest game. It is a Cold War era platoon-level board wargame. The unit scale is platoon and each hex represents 150m. While the game depicts fictional scenarios, Eisenbach Germany was a real point of possible contention during the Cold War. In addition, Eisenbach Gap is the first game in the World at War series so we will see additional titles using the same system in the future. The game ships in a full-size game box with 128 die-cut 5/8″ counters, mounted 17″ x 22″ map, two players’ aid cards, 4 dice, and a 16-page rulebook. Probably the first thing you will notice is the counters. They are very attractive and have an almost bewildering array of numbers on them. Unfortunately they are also some of the thinest cardboard counters you will find in any wargame. They are essentially the thickness of two pieces of card stock. The biggest issue with the thinness is that it makes the counters rather difficult to pick up even with tweezers. Hopefully Lock ‘n Load will produce thicker counters for future WaW titles. [Note: Oddly, an extra set of counters I ordered direct from LnL were on thicker stock.] The map is nice and similar in thickness to the ASL Starter Kit maps or roughly the thickness of your average wargame counter. The map is very attractive in an antiseptic sort of way — Like the time period being portrayed, it has a sort of retro feel to it. The rulebook is well laid out and a fairly useful reference during play. The player aid cards are handy but leave a lot of information out. You will need to make your own notes to ease play. Read the rest of this entry »

Line of Fire — Review

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Line of FireLock ‘N Load Games just released a new house magazine, Line of Fire. What is interesting is that it is a PDF only publication. Unlike Mongoose Publishings’ Signs & Portents online magazine, Rackham’s recently announced electronic conversion of Cry Havoc, the fan produced Firebase, or even Games Workshop’s Black Gobbo, LNL is selling Line of Fire for $16.99. Whether gamers think what they get is worth the money remains to be seen, but it is nice to have some support for LNL’s games. LNL says it hopes to produce the publication quarterly. Read the rest of this entry »

Combat Mission: Shock Force — First Look

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Battlefront released its new modern-era, tactical combat game Combat Mission: Shock Force. The game is the successor to the excellent Combat Mission World War Two titles. It improves upon those games in almost every way and if you have played any of the earlier titles you will feel right at home with CM:Shock Force. You will need to spend some time with the manual even if you are a veteran of the earlier titles because there are a number of new elements to the game that are not readily apparent.

The game includes a new real-time option as well as the traditional turn-based system. I still do not like the real-time option because no matter how good the AI is it still does dumb things. In addition, even with pause, you cannot be everywhere at once. This is not just an issue with command but simply in seeing the action unfold. With the turn-based system you can always see what happens. In real-time mode you often miss things while you are occupied elsewhere. Moreover, the highest realism setting, annoyingly, removes your ability to issue orders while the game is paused. Real-time does not equal more realistic for a tactical wargame.

Minor issues aside, if you like the subject matter you will enjoy the game and CM:SF does introduce some seldom seen concepts in wargaming such as unit specific spotting. Hopefully they will redo the WW2 titles with the new engine soon.

The Wargamer has a nice After Action Report and review of the game.

The v1.03 update is available.