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Games by Historical PeriodWorld War II (1935-1945) → Barbarossa: Army Group Center, 1941, 2nd Edition

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Barbarossa: Army Group Center, 1941, 2nd Edition

Banner designs by Rachel Billingsley

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  • PLANNING MAPS Map C
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    The Initial Period of War on the Eastern Front: June-August 1941
    by David Glantz

  • PUBLISHED 1998 DESIGNER Vance von Borries DEVELOPER Tony Curtis ART DIRECTOR Rodger B. MacGowan COUNTERS Rodger B. MacGowan and Gene Billingsley Original Research: Thomas F. Burke PRODUCER: Gene Billingsley


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    We are happy to present the long-awaited second edition of this fascinating game. It stands as the first in its series to benefit from a full system overhaul. We have rewritten all first edition game rules for clarity and simplification and then reorganized it for readability. Some old rules details were dropped, others added. We then thoroughly reviewed the orders of battle in light of considerable information that has come to light in the years since the first edition was published. Likewise, the charts and tables have benefitted from some small adjustments. Overall, the whole game system is greatly improved for your enjoyment.


    Historical Setting

    June 1941 -- Army Group Center hurls itself through the Soviet border defenses, and its two Panzer groups race headlong toward Minsk. Behind them lie the remnants of the Soviet Western Front -- almost a million men in four armies. The Soviets are stunned by the German Blitzkrieg. Their responses are slow, confused, and governed by pre-war contingency plans made obsolete by the speed of the German advance. In little more than a week, the German panzer spearheads meet east of Minsk. Though isolated units continue to fight, the entire Soviet Western Front has ceased to exist!


    The Germans' next target is Smolensk, but the Soviets resist more effectively. Entire armies are dispatched from other parts of the Soviet Union as the true scope of the Minsk pocket disaster and the magnitude of the German threat become known. Soviet counterattacks, especially around Lepel, are thrown back with horrific losses. Once again the Panzer Groups charge eastward, creating yet another huge Soviet pocket west of Smolensk. The Soviets resist savagely. Smolensk falls on July 13th, but the pocket does not close. Many Soviet units escape to fight another day.

    Hitler now makes a fateful decision and overrides his generals. Over half of Army Group Center's armored and air formations are diverted south to take Kiev or north to isolate Leningrad. No longer under heavy pressure, the Soviets gain time to form solid fronts around Vyazma and Bryansk. Did Hitler's decision cost the Germans the war? Play Barbarossa: Army Group Center and find out for yourself.


    Third-Party Game Overview (via Boardgame Geek)

    This is one of a very popular series of games from GMT covering the first months of the invasion of the USSR; units are battalions through divisions, hexes are about 5 miles, and turns are two days. The system encompasses five other games: Barbarossa: Army Group North (2000), Barbarossa: Army Group South (1996), Barbarossa: Kiev to Rostov, and Barbarossa: Crimea, with Typhoon! (1995) as the progenitor of these games.

    While not simple, these games are also not overly complex and present an excellent simulation of the early war. Most of the details of the campaigns are covered in a playable manner. Perhaps the most obviously interesting detail is the sequence of play, which is asymmetrical to account for the difficulties the Soviets labored under. Make no mistake, the Soviets are going to take a lot of abuse, but this is no walkover for the Germans and both sides are interesting to play.


    Components:
    • Four 22x34 inch full-color maps (Series Maps C, D, H, and I)
    • One 22x8.5 inch map (Map WA)
    • 1120 multi-colored die-cut ½ inch counters
    • One 48 page Rule Book
    • One 40-page Play Book
    • Three 11 x 17 Scenario Cards with map and set up
    • Player Aid Cards: five two-sided Set-Up cards, Soviet and Axis Air Status cards, two 11x17 two-sided game chart cards, six cards with additional charts and tables.


    Game Features

      • Eight scenarios allow players to vary their level of involvement, complexity, and starting point, from introductory to full campaign
      • An asymmetrical sequence of play that highlights Axis armored breakthroughs and Soviet difficulties in combined arms warfare. This includes a “non-op” Soviet HQ system to simulate the rigid, yet fragile, Soviet Command structure
      • Detailed air rules which integrate with land combat and weather rules
      • Incredibly detailed Order of Battle, including special coverage of artillery, rocket artillery, engineers, bridge units, armored trains, and much more
      • Modifications to the proven “EFS” include many revised rules and procedures, as well as new Order of Battle information
      • Extensive bibliography and design/historical notes

      TIME SCALE 2 days per turn
      MAP SCALE 5 miles per hex
      GROUND UNIT SCALE Division/Regiment
      AIR UNIT SCALE 40-80 aircraft per counter
      NUMBER OF PLAYERS One to four


      Awards & Honors (First Edition)

      1998 Charles S. Roberts Best World War II Board Game Nominee

      1998 Charles S. Roberts Best Wargaming Graphics Nominee


      Second Edition Design Credits:

      DESIGNER:               Vance von Borries

      DEVELOPERS:         Tony Curtis, Dick Vohlers

      Original Research:       Thomas F. Burke