Triumph & Tragedy by GMT Games is a rare example of an excellent three-player game. Having played it a few times, I thought it could be adjusted to a five-player game and amended the rules to accommodate five players.
CSL’s new treatment of the battle certainly does have a philosophy, and it is a philosophy that is worth becoming acquainted with if you have any sort of interest in the battle. Part of that philosophy has to do with the designer’s (Ray Weiss) intention to create a series of games (called 2140) whereby players can enjoy the sort of unfussy simulation models that belonged to the vintage era of SPI as well as GDW’s Series 120 titles.
For me, one outstanding aspect of this design is the way its author has modeled two rather different armies fighting over a large expanse of city. This was, of course, something John Hill sought to do in his Stalingrad design from 1980 – units from two forces that have much the same sort of information on them, but behave differently once they start moving and fighting on the game map. In a very deft way, I believe Adam Niechwiej has bedded both forces into the battle environment, creating a distinct character for each of them in a relatively brief set of rules. In play, the experience of commanding either the Soviets or the Germans will feel very different, and for reasons beyond the Soviets having this or that number of units or the Germans simply (one might erroneously assume) being outnumbered.
We’ve played lots of Arnhem games over the years and this had some clever mechanisms. We liked the simplicity of terrain To Hit numbers, even if units tended to act identical. The intrusion attacks are an interesting effort to insert a version of an overrun attack into an area game. Blowing up bridges, or diffusing explosives, adds a nice tension to the pace.
The Europa system from GDW/GRD was probably the most ambitious game system from a size perspective: If I recall rightly, 16 miles to the hex with division counters supplemented by regiments and battalions; aircraft at group level (or is it squadrons?)