Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sunrise of Victory

Sunrise of Victory is a detailed hex-and-counter wargame covering the crucial middle period of the Eastern Front campaign of World War II that started with the German drive on Stalingrad and ended with the initiative shifting to the Soviets after the Battle of Kursk. It appeared Command Magazine issue No. 2 in 1990.

The campaign scenario runs from late June 1942 to early December 1943 in monthly turns and 45-mile hexes. German and Axis allied units are corps and Soviet units are armies. The game is another of Ty Bomba's eastern front system first seen in The Tigers Are Burning and Blitzkrieg '41. The 20-page rule-book is clearly written although it could use more examples of play. The map is rather garish, although functional, production by Leslie Freeland with oversized hexes which make the 1/2-inch counters easy to stack. The 200 counters are traditional attack factor-defense factor-movement factor affairs, with most German units in feldgrau. There are four SS units with white on black and two corps of Luftwaffe infantry in light blue. Most German units are two-step. Panzer corps have up to three steps, while the SS Panzer divisions and LW corps are one-steppers and the panzers in black with white print. The Axis allies contribute 10 Rumanian corps in green, four Hungarian corps in orange, four Italian corps in yellow and seven Finnish corps in blue. There is a Turkish Army in red on green that may enter play if the Germans are doing particularly well. Axis minor units are one-step, except for the Finns and Turks, who have two. The Soviet Red Army is, naturally, red, with regular units printed white on red and Guards units red on white. Most Soviet units have two steps.

The game mechanics are standard wargame IGO-HUGO turn sequence mobile assaults during movement for eligible units and an odds-based combat results table. There are no zones of control.

The key to a Bomba design are the chrome rules that add flavor, such as the 'TOAST" rule in Sunrise. TOAST stands for "Tactically Overwhelmed Axis Satellite Troops" and means that in many combat results Rumanian, Italian and Hungarian units will simply disintegrate, instead of having the option to retreat. This rule, along with the RVGK rule that allows the Soviet player to redeploy units from an off-map "box" to any supplied hex, allows Stalingrad-style counteroffensives. As the game goes on the Soviets get a number of powerful Guards and tank armies that give him a strong offensive punch.

The game revolves around the capture of Leningrad, Stalingrad, Moscow and the Caucasus oil fields with victory checks being made on turns 6, 9, 15 and 18. If the German captures or has units next to enough of these, he wins. If he is especially unsuccessful the Soviets may win. In between the game goes on. No draw is possible. Playing the whole 18-turn campaign will take more than a single sitting. There are two shorter scenarios with 5 and 13 turns. The games uses the worst form of set-up, a fixed setup off a list of units, so it will take about and hour to set it up.


(Yes) For Wargamers: A detailed and satisfying simulation that allows both players to attack and defend.

(Conditional Yes) For Collectors: The game is the magazine game included in the second issue of Command magazine and therefore somewhat hard to find.

(No) For Euro gamers: Like most hard-core hex-and-counter wargames the elegance of the game play is compromised by accounting for the messiness of simulating actual events. There is a lot of detail and some of it involves extensive rules for uncommon events with little game effect such as the Sivash, possible Turkish entry into the war and sea movement.

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