I’ve just completed an MP game of the ‘Avalon Hill’s Third Reich’ Community mod for SC III – War in Europe, and thought it merited a short AAR. For younger players this was originally a very popular board game, simple mechanics but complex gameplay, which was developed into an early PC game. Bill Macon (‘pzgrdr’) has tried to adapt the game for SC III using the War in Europe Editor and I have to say that I think he’s been very successful. It’s still essentially a familiar Europe 1939-45 game, with the same strategic issues common to all such scenarios. In keeping with the original AHTR game the map, range of units, and research trees are more simple/limited than in the standard SC Europe game. This leads to a more basic level game, but my opponent and I found it very fast and challenging. On our one full game the mod played smoothly and without bugs. The limits on building units (which vary over time) can be frustrating, but it does make you think. I think this might appeal to players who remember AHTR fondly, or SC players who want a faster, simpler game either as a learning experience or just for a change. What it doesn’t and can’t do is replicate some of AHTR’s more unique features (e.g activating fronts separately and at different combat intensities, choosing when and where to commit air fleets, and the devastating effects of being OOS – all dead immediately!). But overall a very good effort, well executed and worth a try.
Our game played broadly historically, Spain and Turkey eventually joined the Allies (this is a variant, not standard), so the Western Allied push came through southern Europe, not over the Normandy beaches. I was the Axis, and thought I hit the USSR pretty hard for Barbarossa (taking Leningrad), but evidently not hard enough: I liked the way the Soviets cranked up production, produced a tide of cheap units and reversed the tide in 43-4. The game ends in December 45, if it hasn’t already, and saw Berlin fall with the total annihilation of all Axis units, which is considered a stalemate result in game terms. I don’t want to bore everyone with a turn-by-turn account but Italy surrendered in 44, and the other Axis satellites (Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, Vichy) over the following few turns. I didn’t get an opportunity to try Sealion, sent a few German corps to the Desert but lost there, knocked out Allied Turkey but the USSR liberated it. I can honestly say that after Barbarossa every turn was a challenge.