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von Manstein's Backhand Blow

DESIGNER Dirk Blennemann
DEVELOPER Uli Blennemann
MAP & COUNTER ART Mark Simonitch
PRODUCERS Gene Billingsley, Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis, Rodger MacGowan, and Mark Simonitch
Price: $45.00

  • 342 full-color large 5/8" and standard 1/2" two-sided counters.
  • One 22x34" full-color mapsheet
  • 12-page Standard Rulebook
  • 20-page Exclusive Rulebook
  • 7 Player Aid cards
  • Two 6-sided dice



  • Cyberboard Gamebox (by Holger Joist)
  • VASSAL Module (by Mark Beninger)
  • German Reinforcement Chart [644Kb PDF] (Courtesy of Hyun Yu)
  • Soviet Reinforcement Chart [670Kb PDF] (Courtesy of Hyun Yu
  • Description

    Southern Russia, early February 1943 -- In Stalingrad, the surrounded remnants of the once might German Sixth Army are being slowly and methodically exterminated. Hundreds of miles to the west, two powerful Soviet Fronts are moving west and south against a patchwork German line, intent on destroying the remaining Axis forces in Southern Russia. Operations Star and Gallop have begun.

    Six weeks later, the shocked, battered remnants of these two Soviet Fronts are running for the collective lives from powerful German panzer spearheads. What had happened? Soviet overconfidence was responsible in part for the disaster, playing into German hands, but by far, most of the credit for the amazing reversal belonged to Field Marshal von Manstein. Holding off the Soviets to his front and Hitler at his back, he managed to accumulate sufficient panzer formations to allow the Germans to regain tactical and operational superiority.

    Von Manstein's Backhand Blow is a low/intermediate complexity two player game using the well-received Turning the Tables system pioneered in earlier East Front games produced by Moments in History. The game system itself is easy to learn and master. No two games will ever play out alike because a great deal of uncertainty and randomness is injected into each combat due to the Combat Chit Draw and Random Events Table. This uncertainty makes von Manstein's Backhand Blow ideal as a solitaire game since combat results cannot be accurately predicted.

    Dirk Blennemann, the designer, has the reputation for creating excellent Orders of Battle for East Front simulations. Using detailed Russian and German language sources, he provides a broad array of maneuver units - Soviet divisions and corps on one side, and German units ranging from regiments down to the multitude of ad hoc German kampfgruppen thrown into the battle to stop the Soviet advance.

    Game Features

    TIME SCALE 2 days per turn
    MAP SCALE 8km per hex
    UNIT SCALE Soviet corps and divisions; German regiments, kampgruppen, and battalion-sized
    NUMBER OF PLAYERS One or two

    Customer Reviews
    # of Ratings: 7
    1. on 12/2/2014, said:
    Great replay value, excellent for solitaire play
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    2. on 11/10/2008, said:
    A good and exciting game. Keeps you on your toes through the sudden death victory conditions. Losses are penalised somewhat heavily. The game has a good flow and there are opportunities for both players to be offensive and defensive.
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    3. on 5/7/2008, said:
    a tricky game to play for either side. and a great study of the sew saw battles. either side can wide. nice big counters with not too much density. i havent figured a way for either the jerries or the russkies to win every time. and there are lots of offensive and defensive combinations. make an error in the disposition of your forces and it will be hard to recover. a good game for solitaire. lots of maneuver...especially early on...when it's critical. peter, natchez ms
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