Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Death and Destruction module review

Death & Destruction is not a standalone wargame but an expansion module for Proud Monster, Ty Bomba's magnus opus divisional level Barbarossa game. D&D covers the next two years of the war, until the Spring of 1944.As a module, no fundamental changes are made to the game system and the 15-page rule book is all special rules to account for order of battle changes and other developments as the war moves out of its initial phases.

The counters include various later war reinforcements for both sides, although the Soviets naturally benefit the most as new, more powerful units appear such as more than 100 Guards units, mechanized corps, tank corps and sundry other good stuff to allow the Soviet side some fun kicking German panzers around after having been manhandled in 1941.

The largest group of German counters actually represents a decline in quality as all the infantry divisions go through a universal downgrade in 1943.

For Germans tempted by the allure of Caucasus oil there is an expansion Map C which is added if the Germans head in that direction.

The expansion also includes two turn record cards. a German Replacement Army roster and a card with other charts and tables related to the expanded game such as a guards conversion table and even a "Game Turn to Remember List." With as many as 68 turns of play possible, it's easy to see how that might be handy.

With this expansion, PM/D&D become a true "monster game." While with just two maps it's not physically the biggest Eastern Front wargame, but it may be one of the more playable. As an expansion, D&D does add some set-up time. If one plays the whole campaign it can obviously be a very long game, taking up more than 60 hours of playing time.

The game will not necessarily go the distance however. On certain specified turns the Germans check to see how many victory points (awarded for geographic objectives) they have. If it's within a certain range the game goes on, if it falls outside of it one side or the other loses.

UNLESS, of course, the players want to go on (which given the investment they have made in time and effort, would be tempting). In that case the winning side gets "forgiveness points" they can use later to score later.

The Germans also have an opportunity twice to bring the game to an early end by launching go-for-broke efforts for victory. One of these occurs in the Proud Monster portion and is discussed there. But in 1943 the Germans can declare "Manstein's Gambit." This gives them extra units but requires a victory on points by the time the weather turns bad that year, or the Soviets win.
One unusual rule in D&D is "mechanized upgrades" otherwise called "stuffers." These are counters representing extra steps that can be added to mechanized units. The unit's combat values are unaffected, but it can lose the extra steps before taking actual step reductions. This adds considerable staying power to the units so blessed.


(Yes) for Wargamers: If you have Proud Monster

(Yes) for Collectors: Only if you have Proud Monster

(No) for Eurogamers: Why would you have Proud Monster?

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