Downfall: Chad Jensen's unfinished symphony (boardgame)

People in the Brobdingnag thread are probably the only people here who have heard of this, but I finally got this to the table with a friend over an extended two-day face-to-face session. It’s a WWII strategic game (Europe only) that covers the post-Stalingrad period through the war’s end, on the eastern and western fronts. Basically Nov '42 through May '45. One of the designers is Chad Jensen, who sadly died of pancreatic cancer in 2019. He was the designer of a game called Combat Commander, as well as Fighting Formations and Dominant Species. The other designer is a guy named John Butterfield, who has designed some fantastic games over more five decades like Ambush, R.A.F., and Spacecorp, to name a few. But what happened with Downfall is kinda neat, and since I’ve now played it (but only once, for probably 12 hours total) I’m interested to try it out some more. I’ve set up a VASSAL game with someone who may or may not be on these forums, but who has the username @Tom_Mc and who gave me permission to call him out. I’ll post periodically showing what is happening and explain the rules and thinking, and since there is little hidden information except a hand of cards, maybe we can discuss what we’re doing. Tom is welcome to post as much or as little here as he wants (no pressure) and anybody else can post whatever as well - this is just a thread for the game.


(A note on the above photo – it looks like we were taking this game down at the time and had flipped some SW counters to see what the inactivated tracks looked like. I don’t think we actually got them that low because lots of German and Italian fleets/subs are still out. Game photo may not represent actual game!)

I’m going to say up front that this is not necessarily an endorsement for the game – I don’t feel I’ve played it enough to really have an informed opinion. Some things really bothered me on our initial playing, only for me to find that a big part of the problem was that I had misread a rule. But the game is different enough to make me really want to dig into it, since I love seeing how combinations of systems reflect a historical reality. While by definition not as historically accurate as, say, Dominions, I am eager to find out how close it gets!

One thing I definitely wanted to share was the game’s cool history. (The history of making it, not the history it represents.) As I mentioned above, Chad Jensen died of pancreatic cancer while working on this game (I think he was only in his fifties) and GMT asked John Butterfield if he might help complete the design. Chad was an accomplished designer in his own right; having John Butterfield finish up your game is like working on some nocturnes and then Chopin comes to your house and is all like, “yeah, I can help out with this.” John details the experience in his designers notes in the rulebook, which is available for free from GMT’s webpage. So I hope it’s ok to reproduce the text of this one page here because it’s too good a story to be left in a game box. Here it is.


from Downfall rulebook, page 41, available for free here (from GMT Games’ website)
DESIGN NOTES

I had the pleasure of working with Chad and Kai Jensen on several game projects over the years. During that time, I visited them for semi-regular gaming sessions. Their place had two rooms for gaming. One day as we passed through the first room, Downfall was set up in all its Chad-created glory. Though still in design, its components looked production-ready.

• A double-sized map depicting Europe in WWII
• Combat units that rotate to adjust strength
• Initiative markers for four factions, advancing along a time track marking
which faction goes next
• A pool of order markers for factions to choose from, with varying initiative
costs
• Strategic Warfare displays
• Event cards and Action cards
• Objective and victory advantage tracks with sudden wins at either end

I gaped at the beauty of this creation and asked: “How many players … three?”

Chad: No, two.

Me: Allies vs Axis?

Chad: No, Western Allies vs Soviets. The West also controls the Axis
against the Soviets and the Soviets control the Axis against the West.

Me: Ohhh … (I try to process how that would play out) … can we play
this?

Chad: No, its not quite there yet, combat system needs work.

Chad and Kai explained a bit more about the back and forth of the initiative system and then moved me along to our planned game. For the next two years, my further inquiries received variations of the same answer.

Then … pancreatic cancer took Chad in 2019.

The shock has subsided. Grief lingers, mixed with our good memories. After some time, Kai and GMT publisher Gene Billingsley considered ways to continue Chad’s legacy. He left several unfinished projects, including Downfall. We talked about its status, and we agreed that I might be able to complete its design.

Kai sent me Chad’s files – various versions of Downfall from its ten-year evolution: fully-designed game maps, counters, cards, setup charts, combat tables, research spreadsheets; and not one word of rules. That’s how Chad worked – the rules stayed in his head until all design details were settled.

To figure out how the pieces worked together, we had two things going:

• Chad’s consistent and precise approach to the graphic design of his games meant that every symbol, arrow, line, color, texture and word Chad put on paper meant something.

• Kai, the only person other than Chad to play Downfall, shared her knowledge of the game. Though the game’s several iterations are conflated in memory, she unknotted several mysteries.

As I played the game and read between the lines, various versions of Downfall from over the years emerged -shifts in unit scale; from four players, to three to two; a detailed “wargame” version and a more “Euro” version. The constant was that Downfall covered the war in Europe from late 1942 to its end. Sifting through these archeological layers revealed the systems that came together brilliantly in Chad’s latest design, and which we refined into the published game.

Here is some background on these systems:

Asymmetrical play. Because each player controls two factions, both players are always conducting offensives and desperately defending. In the west you play a game of planning; waiting, building up, guessing, invading, containing and breaking out, all with relatively few units. In the east you fight continuously on one massive sweeping front.

Continuous interaction. Few strategic-level war games keep players constantly involved. ln Downfall, Chad combined bite-sized orders, shifting initiative and action cards to involve both players in almost every decision and process. Strategic Warfare. Adding to the game’s asymmetry, only the Western and OKW factions can play orders to conduct Strategic Warfare against each other in three areas - the Mediterranean, the Battle of the Atlantic, and the skies over Germany. The campaigns have long-term effects on supply across seas, naval and invasion transport, and air superiority.

Events. Chad’s innovative event card system eliminates the need for a typical sequence of play with phases and administrative steps in each game-tum. Players draw an event card every time an initiative marker enters an event space. The entire event deck cycles through each game tum. At random points in each game turn, events trigger supply checks and attrition, minor ally surrender checks, arrival of reinforcements and upgrades, and victory checks. Once drawn, each event card remains in play for three event cycles allowing conditions such as air superiority and offensive momentum to persist for longer periods.

Speaking of air power; here is an example of how we deduced Chad’s genius and intent. Most event cards depict air units, but their meaning was not mentioned anywhere. However, the set-up instructions gave map locations for specific air units and specified that three Event cards start the game revealed. It turned out that the number and types of air units placed on the map exactly matched the air units depicted on those three event cards. Mystery solved! Every time the players update the event cards during play they will also adjust the air units on the map to match.

Partisans. Political aspects of the war are neatly modeled with Western and Soviet partisans, placed in specific countries by Western and Soviet play of partisan orders. Both Axis factions can attempt to eliminate them. Partisans provide advantages in combat and also represent political influence. Later in the war an event may trigger a Soviet or Western victory if that faction has sufficient partisan advantage.

Naval system. In Downfall, fleet units transport land forces and enable supply and reinforcement through sea areas, while enemy fleets and submarines may intercept and attack that activity. These actions affect Western operations across the Atlantic and Mediterranean. However, Axis sea power wanes and is gone a year or so into the game, minimizing sea conflict. Because of this, some testers suggested we drop or simplify the naval systems. We compromised, keeping naval units in the full game, but removing them from the later Overlord scenario. We also kept fleet and submarine units in to support a potential prequel expansion starting one year earlier when control of the seas hung in the balance.

In completing Downfall I kept in mind this guiding principle: What would Chad do?

It has been an honor.

John Butterfield
November 2022
© 2023 GMT Games

I am so excited to see how this goes. I have this on a shelf and really want to get it to table, but some personal issues have gotten in the way. I would love to hear @Brooski and @Tom_Mc ‘s thoughts in this

I also don’t have a fully formed opinion yet either but the initial impression is good. I had pushed pieces around solitaire to try to figure out how it plays. It had been a little while so I am still blundering through some mistakes while getting back up to speed on the rules. It’s great to have another person check the work and point out what you’re getting wrong. Plus, switching sides during a solitaire experience here is a little rougher due to the fact that each side is already divided into an Allied and a German faction.

I like the game’s scale. I tend to prefer strategic level games and this is definitely that. I like that the counter density is low. For a strategic game i just need enough pieces/detail to allow meaningful choices without cluttering up the board and overwhelming my concentration. Finally I like that the system is novel. Whatever else we end up thinking about the game it’s trying new and interesting things. I haven’t seen this combination of initiative track, event cards and elegant turn structure before.

Oh man, I recognized Chad’s name instantly just from seeing it so often on the cover of my Dominant Species copy. I had no idea he’d died a few years ago. Time sucks.

Of course, I also had no idea he made classic chit-and-hex wargames. I look forward to following whatever you two post about your ongoing game!

By the way, did @Brooski just call SpaceCorp a “fantastic game”? I concur, but I would have thought a hardcore grognard like Brooski would dismiss SpaceCorp as minor Butterfield! : )

Um, Cthulhu? I don’t doubt the Great Old Ones stuck their tentacles into the Second World War, and it’s fitting that the big guy is backing the Axis it seems.

OOH S1CK BUARN

Spacecorp is two-thirds of an awesome game, very much like Sunshine is two-thirds of a awesome movie.

The Cthulhu counter is courtesy of my opponent, who got it from a game called Cults Across America. It’s cute, but I realize there is no evidence that Cthulhu fought for either side in WW2, unlike Elric, who (with Moonglum) was sighted by multiple reliable observers during Operation Rumyantsev.

According to C. Stross in his essay A Colder War, the Germans abided by the 1931 Dresden Agreement which prohibited eldritch warfare. However, the option was available to them if they had been willing to take the risks, so it makes sense a strategic level game would include it as an option.

On a less serious matter, I wonder how much the fronts in the game interact with each other. Reading the description it seems a bit like two separate games played in parallel.

That story “A Colder War” is very good, btw!

I second the recommendation for A Colder War!

The unusual part of Downfall, the part that everyone will tell you about first when explaining the game, is the initiative system. The two sides (Western and Soviet) each control two factions (Western and OKH for one player, Soviet and OKW for the other). The order in which these sides play is dictated by the initiative system, which I will explain in a bit. (Btw, while the construct of having each side control one-half of the German armed forces is unusual, it is not unique, as this was the key conceit in SPI’s Battle for Germany, published in 1975.)

One of the things that confused me when I saw the early press was that I thought this would be a “bag of dice” combat system, with a player “rolling for hits” depending on how many strength points they had on a corresponding number of d6s. That’s because I saw units with various numbers of dots on the counter, similar to the “rotate your block” rubric seen in any number of games from Triumph & Tragedy to Rommel in the Desert to, I dunno, Wizard Kings. But I hate bag of dice combat systems (except for maybe Titan, where it works perfectly, and (for different reasons) Fields of Despair and maybe War of the Ring (not the SPI version)) and so I mentally put Downfall on the “not interested” list. But it turns out that combat in Downfall is strength-differential, not bag of dice. And it works fine.

So, as I said, I will explain initiative because there are some neat things that can happen with it. But before any initiative stuff actually happens, the Soviets get to play a card, which will allow me to get the whole combat system explanation out of the way.

The Soviets move first in the campaign scenario (which we’re playing) but have a card called “Operation Uranus” which allows them to make one free attack which actually sets up the rest of the Stalingrad encirclement (which is appropriate since Operation Uranus was the Nov '42 attack that encircled Stalingrad). It feels a bit scripty, but we can talk about that another time.

So how does combat work?? To get that part out of the way, let’s pretend it’s the late 90s, and use this gif which is animated.

(Sorry for the previous deletion – I found an error, not with the gameplay, but with the translation to Photoshop.)

So yeah. The above gif shows a bunch of Soviet units (three of them, all armor-type) attacking the RUmanian (not ROmanian—the “u” spelling in English was not replaced by “o” until after WW2) 3rd Army, which is destroyed (forever—units eliminated from the map are removed from the game) and thus maintaining absolute historical accuracy. The Soviet faction now gets to take a regular turn, starting with choosing an “order chit.” This chit may be on the Action Track, or it may be in their Planning Box. I have to say, this is a neat mechanic, and I am perpetually in awe of people like Chad Jensen who can just think up stuff like order chits on an action track that affect initiative. I wish I had 1% as much creativity as this.

The thing about the Op Uranus card is that it tells you to make one free attack BEFORE choosing an order chit. Because the other thing is that a given unit can only attack (or be attacked) once PER ORDER. So by allowing this card to be played BEFORE an order chit is chosen, you are not attacking ON THAT CHIT. And thus, the units I used to attack the Rumanian 3rd Army get to attack on the order chit I will choose. And they will!

@Tom_Mc and I are already several activations in (I just finished my second Soviet chit) so it will be easy to talk about my strategy in this thread because it will be pretty outdated by the time I get around to talking about it—I can just imagine the differential getting longer and longer. I will try and use this thread to both describe the flow of play and explain the mechanics in detail. Although please don’t expect elaborate animated gifs for each game mechanic, because I’m not a graphic designer and my Photoshop skills are stuck in about 2004. But I love game mechanics and systems, and especially the way they interact with history. PRIMARILY how they interact with history. That’s kind of my hang-up. I’m very curious to see how this goes.

Sorry for the multiple posts, but one other thing. There have been complaints about the combat system, where players have complained that the combat system is opaque, or forces them to calculate everything before deciding whether or not to attack. Well oh my heavens what a shock: knowing what constitutes a reasonable attack requires knowing how the game works. I feel like wargamers can be kind of lazy in that they expect the oddses to add up all nice, like >3:1 is good and <3:1 is less good and <1:1 is bad and if you change it there is all the whining. Guys, the game is the game. Learn it on its own terms. I hate repeating myself but since I spent so much time making animated gifs I’m just gonna save time and paste part of what I posted to BGG:

I hear your complaints about the combat system, but I feel like this is just one of those things you have to learn. Nobody who learns ASL is going to have any idea that a 2FP -4 DRM is way better than 8FP +1. That’s exactly what Downfall is. I don’t mind learning a new combat system. If the game is good enough, I’ll play it enough to eventually internalize it, like I did with ASL. Game designers shouldn’t be penalized for not using odds-based systems with 3:1 being magic, just so that wargamers aren’t put out. Thank God he at least didn’t use bag of dice.

Did I mention that I hate bag of dice? I’m not sure if I had ever mentioned this.

Maybe it’s just that I haven’t played enough wargames, but that gif looks like pretty traditional hex and counter business. You move a counter with an oval into a counter with an X, add modifiers to strength point and roll on a table to get attack results. Is the big departure that the top row has an odds difference instead of a ratio?

If you’re in the mood for Charles Stross alternate cold war fiction that’s even more bizzare, try Missle Gap, which I read in the same collection (and has even less to do with WWII boardgames). May or may not be historically accurate.

In the swirling madness that is our perceived reality, when mankind is but an insignificant mote in the vast chaos of Azatoth’s demential, “historically accurate” has no meaning.

Strength differentials are common in wargames, although you are absolutely right that odds ratios are more “traditional” (and almost certainly more common although I haven’t actually done a study or anything). What I think the problem is, is that it’s not immediately obvious what the effect of doing X is, relative to Y. The CRT is a big table that goes from -4 to +8, and the 2d6 resolution means that there are 11 possible results per column. And the results themselves are just a jumble of numbers: 0/2, 1/3, 2/0 etc. They kind of blend together. Furthermore, and probably most importantly, there is no “anchor point.” In many other wargames, there is a “defender retreat” or “defender eliminated” result that you can point to as a successful attack, since most often the point is at least to take the hex you are attacking. But in Downfall, a 0/3 result against a 3-step unit is very different from a 0/3 result against a 2-step unit, or against a 1-step unit. That’s because one-half the defender’s step losses in a combat result can be taken as retreats. Round UP. So if I attack a 3-step unit and get a 0/3 result (attacker takes 0 hits, defender takes 3 hits), the 3-step unit could take 2 hits and retreat 1 hex, or take 1 hit and retreat 2 hexes. (It would most likely not take all three hits because, why.) Against a 2-step unit, the defender will have to take 2 hits as retreats, as it can only absorb 1 hit. A 1-step unit is destroyed by a 0/3 result, period. In a more traditional CRT, where there is something like “defender eliminated,” the overall result would boil down to some line on a CRT that you could see: “ok, I need a 5 or better and he is eliminated.” Here, you have subsumed the defender’s steps into the combat calculation, because that strength is just one calculation in a differential that treats multiple other factors (terrain, armor, elite/conscript status) simply as “points.” So once you have your column, you look at the results, and then you’re like, “how many hits do I need to clear that hex, again?”

I also have a theory (but this is just speculation) that people don’t evaluate die roll modifiers well when the base distribution is not even. For example, if you are rolling just one die, and have no modifiers, the chance of rolling any given number is the same. If you then get a +2 DRM, it is pretty easy to intuit that while you can’t roll a 1 or 2 as a “final” result, the chance of getting a 3, 4, or 5 as the result is the same as before: you are just rolling a 1, 2, or 3 and adding 2. Your chance of rolling a 6 (presuming the CRT only goes up to 6, meaning that 6 +2 is still a 6) now triples: you can roll a 4, 5, or 6, and still “roll a 6” if you’re adding two. That’s easy to grasp.

But if you are rolling TWO dice, the chances of rolling a given number after adding a +2 DRM are not straightforward. (At least to me.) If you add 2 to a 2d6 roll, your chances of rolling a 5 decrease by about half, but are not zero. The chance of rolling an 11 almost doubles. Yet the chance of rolling an 8 stays exactly the same. That’s because the chance of rolling a 6 or an 8 on two dice is the same (5/36) and with a +2 DRM, a 6 becomes an 8. (You probably already know this math, I’m just pointing it out specifically because of how it affects this combat table.)

Anyway, that’s completely my opinion and if you are like no that’s not why I don’t like the Downfall combat system then hey that’s cool.

So we were talking about this initiative system. How does it work? What the designers have done here is to break up player moves into discrete actions that do different things but can be performed only when “available.” Each faction (Western/OKH, Soviet/OKW)* has sets of chits (that are NOT all the same across all factions). Some chits allow you to move. Some allow you to attack. Some allow you to move some units, then attack. Some allow you to add strength points to your units. Some allow you to turn some of your armies into vampires. Etc. What gates this is something called the Action Track.

That’s an Action Track. Sorry for the glare but I don’t take social media photos for a living. Each turn, the active faction chooses a chit from the Action Track, and places it on something called the place where you put the chits from the Action Track. The key is that each chit has a different initiative cost (printed on the place where you put your chits from the Action Track). I don’t think I took a picture of that no wait yes I did

See the chit that says “Recruit?” For the Amis, that costs 15 initiative mana. For the OKH, it costs 21. Moving units (the black arrows pointing right in little yellow boxes) costs a lot less: between 2 and 5 initiatives.

What does this mean? I means that when you spend mana, you move your mana counter on a track that looks like this:

The initiative track is the thing across the top that has several counters on it that say “initiative.” The track goes to 90, and then loops around again to 1. The faction whose counter is leftmost on the track gets to move next. So it is entirely not unpossible for a faction to move twice in a row (or more) because they are using cheap chits that keep them from passing another faction on the Mordor Track.

Chits appear on the Action Track as draws from a opaque container such as a coffee mug or garbage disposal and thus you will never have all your chits available for play. When a chit is selected from the Action Track, every chit “above” it is moved down one space so that the space is filled, and a new chit is drawn and placed in the rightmost (10) slot. If you have no chits available on the Action Track, you can re-seed the entire track, but what often happens is that you just have one chit that you can choose but really don’t have much use for. This is called historical accuracy.

@Tom_Mc and I are continuing to play but I am on 24/7 this week so I’m not sure when I will get time to do a comprehensive “gameplay-to-date” post but I am committed to doing it, at worst by next week.

*Just for clarity, OKH is the German High Command on the Eastern Front, while OKW is the German High Command on the Western Front.

Ok, where were we. Oh yeah the rest of the Soviet turn. I have to choose an “order” and then pay the cost of the order in Initiative Points. Orders are available on the Action Track, where they are placed after being drawn from a cup. So you will never have all your possible orders available simultaneously.

I choose the 3* chit, which translates to “three attacks.” Per the symbols, only armor-type or shock units can be the PRIMARY attacker.

4 attacks

Pay 5 initiative (Soviets start at 19, which is the lowest number of all the factions so they go first.)

initiative

This turns out to be pretty scripted, because you don’t have to choose an order until after you play that Operation Uranus card, and magically due to the scenario set-up, you have a 3* chit in your planning box, which means you get to play it any time you want without having to choose something from the Action Track. Because I was able to eliminate the 3rd Rumanian Army, I have now cut off the retreat of the *1st Rumanian Army and the one-strength German security unit stacked with it.

I won’t go through the calculations in detail like before, but it ended up being an attack on the 5 column with a +1 modifier, resulting in “s0/3.” That means the attacker takes no hits unless they are Soviet, and the defender takes three. Since I’m Soviet, I do take a hit, and flip one of my armor units to its non-armor side. The defender takes three hits. Up to half of these hits (rounded UP) can be transformed into hexes of retreat for all units.

The retreat rules are very restrictive in Downfall. In fact, so restrictive that this guy just can’t bring himself to believe it.

In his defense, that’s the rule we got wrong when we played it face-to-face. In my own non-defense, there really is no excuse for not playing it right, because the rule is very clear: “a unit’s zone of control into a hex is not negated by another faction’s units in that hex,” and under Retreat: “A retreating unit can’t … enter a hex in an enemy zone of control.” So it’s pretty clear.

This means that the defender cannot move into any of those hexes with a little red “x” in them, and thus they are eliminated (big “X”). Note if I hadn’t successfully taken hex 3337 with the Operation Uranus card, those defender could have retreated due west through hex 3238. But I did take it, so they cannot, and thus are eliminated.

image

So Stalingrad is now doomed, and my next attack targets the Italian 8th Army. Because this is farther west, it is supported by German air near Kursk, but the Soviets still get an air superiority modifier (2 air units to 1).

image

Eliminated. The primary attacker is NOT the one that needs to advance. German (OKH) southern flank is under grave threat, just as it was historically.

*Weirdly, the 4th Rumanian Army was destroyed south of Stalingrad, not the 1st. The 4th Rumanian Army sets up in Constanta in this scenario. Seems like an odd error to make.

The last attack (I get three) is on the northern flank of the eastern front, outside Leningrad.

Note that the chit is one that only allow armor-type or shock-type units to be the primary attacker. Which is the case in all three attacks on this order.

image

The hex is cleared and the unit in question is eliminated. That’s the end of the Soviet activation. Because the Western faction is now the lowest-numbered chit on the initiative track, the Western faction moves next.

The naval system in Downfall is pretty abstract: while there are naval counters, they are gated by strategic warfare tracks which determine how much strength is in play. The tracks (Battle of the Atlantic and Siege of Malta) are subject to rolls on the Strategic Warfare table, which is basically just two dice and move the track zero, one, or two boxes. For example:

The Battle of the Atlantic track starts here. Three German subs are available, because the Battle of the Atlantic counter is in the third box from the right. If it were to move one more box to the right, it would release the fourth German U-boat.

Naval strength doesn’t fight directly in that you can’t just say, “pew-pew I attack ur ships.” The relative naval strengths are only relevant when a player tries to move land forces across a sea area in which the opposing player has strength. So if the Western faction tried to move a unit from the US to the UK, it would be subject to (1) loss of initiative if its strength differential in that area is negative, and (2) a possible interception roll against the side trying to transport the land forces. This is an issue for the Germans trying to resupply or escape from North Africa, and for the Allies trying to move forces to the UK in preparation for Overlord.

image

The Siege of Malta starts here. If the German (OKW) player can get the track two spaces to the right, they will release the last Italian fleet for placement. However, if you count the numbers, this will still put the Germans at a deficit of 5-to-6. So what the (Soviet)/OKW player needs to do is to move the Italian fleets around to change the balance of forces. This can only happen when the OKW player uses the 3-> chit (Redeploy 3) that has the naval movement symbol. Unfortunately, the German naval movement chit (there is only one) starts already used, meaning that the Germans can’t move naval units on turn 1.

The naval system feels a bit too detailed for the overall effect. I was kind of amused by this thread:

My loose (and a bit uncharitable) translation of that is, (Player): “Why is this naval system so detailed? It feels like way too much effort for what you get?” (Developer): “You shoulda seen it before! It was even more detailed and pointless so the players complained and we simplified to this.”

I kind of feel the same way. There are a lot of cool counters out there (battleships! carriers! submarines!) but they just kind of sit there, and maybe flip over and back, or go back to the track. It’s kind of anticlimactic.

Anyway, why am I bringing this up now? Because @Tom_Mc was up next with the Western Allies faction, and he chose Strategic Warfare.

Strategic Warfare

This allows him to roll on one of the three Strategic Warfare tracks: Battle of the Atlantic, Siege of Malta, and Strategic Bombing. How do you do that? Eh, you just roll two dice. 2-4, you get nothing and like it. 5-9, you move the marker on box on the track. 10+, you move it two boxes. As it moves into new boxes, naval units can come off the track onto the map, or vice-versa (or with the Strategic Bombing track, you can get “elite” air units).

The OKW faction (played by the Soviets, representing the German High Command in der west) has the ability to affect the Strategic Warfare track as well:

image

Note, though, that it costs over twice as much initiative to perform, and there is only one such order chit. So just by number of times drawn/used, the Allies have an advantage. It’s built into the system this way.

Tom announces he is rolling on the Battle of the Atlantic track. The roll is 3,4 for a total of 7. Tom moves the counter one box to the left. No change to the units on the map. If it moves one more box left, I will lose the use of one submarine (which will be placed back on the track rather than in the North Atlantic).

Battle of the Atlantic 1

That costs 8 initiative, sending the Western Allied marker to 28. OKH will be up next, but first, there is an Event Resolution.

image