The new millennium dawned with the renaissance of wargaming known as Panzer Grenadier. Now the first game in the series returns in an all-new and expanded edition. German and Romanian forces invade the Soviet Union in 1941, with 112 (yes, ohne hundred and twelve) scenarios based on the furious tank battles that followed.
On 22 June 1941, German, Romanian and other Axis forces launched a surprise attack against the Soviet Union. This touched off the most vicious war the planet has ever known, as millions of men (and sometimes women) fought fanatically in a war of annihilation that ended only when the Red Army of Workers and Peasants planted its banners on the Reichstag in Berlin.
The original Panzer Grenadier. A lightweight compared to the new Deluxe Edition.
Eastern Front is a game based on the opening year of this intense struggle, with 112 separate scenarios, or game situations, based on the actual battles waged in the Soviet Union during 1941 and 1942.
The game is part of the Panzer Grenadier game series, portraying the leaders, infantry and tank platoons and artillery batteries deployed during the campaign. It’s a total revision of the game we first released in 2000; you can read about the changes here.
In terms of wargame play value, Eastern Front is packed with exciting fun. The 660 playing pieces include the troops and weapons of the Soviet Red Army, the German Wehrmacht and Romania's Armata Romana from 1941 and early 1942. The fearsome T-34, the Hammer of the Proletariat, is present along with Germany's PzKw IV and Romania's inadequate R2. German commandos, Soviet tank-hunting platoons, Romanian cavalry, and more make for a varied spread of pieces. The eight mapboards represent typical terrain found in the Soviet Union, and are placed together in may possible combinations to form the playing surface.
You can read more about Eastern Front's contents here:
All you have to know about : German Trains/River Gunboats/Germany's Dive Bombers/Brandenburg
Detachments/The IL-2 Shturmovik/Soviet Tanks Part I/Cavalry of Panzer Grenadier/The Fall of German Cavalry/The German PzKwIV/Romanian Tanks/Soviet Armored Trains/Romanian Air Power/German Panzers/Soviet Tanks Part II/Romanian Ground Forces - just click the counters there!
However, Eastern Front Deluxe Edition is no simple reprint. There’s more of everything, and what was once included, is not the same anymore.
The original edition had four 11x17-inch hard-mounted game boards — placed on the same thick backing material of mainstream boardgames or those made by Avalon Hill in the 1970s. Those are very expensive to make, and in this age of increased fuel costs are extremely heavy to ship. For the new edition, we converted to a heavy rigid cardstock that’s much lighter and less expensive. Doing so allowed us to double the playing area, from four maps to eight.
Fifty-one scenarios, complete game situations, made up the original edition’s scenario book. The new edition has 112. Sixty-four of these are new, and of the 48 holdovers from the first edition, most have been revised: some just a little, some severely. The scenarios represent an enormous amount of research, including both original documents and secondary sources in four languages (German, Russian, Romanian and English). Based on actual encounters, they’ve been carefully tested to make sure they present the same decisions and opportunities faced by the historical commanders.
The number of pieces in the game rose from 495 to 660. Many of the new unit types have been profiled in our Web site content; you can follow the highlighted links to read in-depth profiles of them.
The original edition had only German and Soviet pieces; for the new version, we’ve added 98 Romanian units. These include five types of tanks, plus cavalry, mountain troops, motorcyclists, engineers, machine gunners, infantry, mortars (including a 60mm horse mortar), artillery and anti-tank guns. Plus their own air support.
The original had 165 German pieces. The new version has 204. A few pieces fell away (the never-used battalion headquarters, for example). The Germans have more cavalry and their new pieces include Czech-made Pz35t and Pz38t tanks, P204f armored cars, commandos, an armored train, the PzIIIJ and PzI tank models, and a new unit type, the prime mover (in this case, SdKfz 7 and SdKfz 9 unarmored half-tracks).
From 165 pieces in the original, the Red Army contingent has grown to 193. Like the Germans, there are some deletions (those useless headquarters) and many new pieces: FAI and Ba6 armored cars, 107mm artillery, 76.2mm mountain guns, BT-5 and T-37 tanks. A new type of infantry, the anti-tank rifle platoon, also appears for the first time in the series. Like the Germans, the Soviets also have a prime mover to pull their heavy guns, the Komsomolets tractor.
Some Occasionally Asked Questions
Does this include Heroes of the Soviet Union?
No. Heroes of the Soviet Union, the second game in the series, went out of print in 2004. We included the two maps from that game because supplements like Tank Battles require them, but those are the only holdovers from that game.
Did you actually playtest 112 scenarios?
Yes. Despite what you might hear from a little “scenario envy” that’s surfaced on the Internet, all 112 received thorough testing and was played competitively. “Playing” and “testing,” of course, are not the same thing among professional game developers. Coming from the team that created the scenarios for SSI’s wildly successful Panzer General II and Destroyer Commander computer games and has crafted over 400 scenarios for Panzer Grenadier, you can be assured we’ll apply our usual high standards to our flagship product.
Is there a new rulebook?
No, all Panzer Grenadier games use the same series rulebook available for free download here. Once you know how to play one game in the series, you can play them all, and all of the pieces can be mixed. (Want your Romanian cavalry to charge the U.S. Marines? You can do that.)
Is there an upgrade kit for the old edition?
No, there’s not. Eastern Front Deluxe is a completely new product. All of the components have changed from the first version.