Saturday, 9 April 2011

Art of Tactic: Barbarossa 1941: Inside the box ...

Having resisted opening the box until after I had returned from a visit to Herne Bay to see my father-in-law, my main hope was that would not be disappointed once I began to look inside. I was not!

The box art: Top

This depicts heroic Soviet troops defending their anti-tank gun position from a German armoured attack.

The box art: Bottom

The bottom of the box shows examples of the box's contents as well a listing everything that should be inside.

The open box!

Once open, it is obvious that the box is full ... no padding here to make it appear there is more than in the box than it actually contains.

The very first item I found in my box was the double-sided assembly instructions for the models/playing pieces.

The models/playing pieces

The bulk of what was in the box were the twenty unassembled models/playing pieces. These appear to be made of hard plastic and include all the models shown on the assembly instructions. In most cases there are only one of each model/playing pieces, the exceptions being the Soviet Infantry and German Infantry, of which there are two.

Game equipment

This includes ten dice, a complete set of unit cards (one for each of the models/playing pieces), two water-based marker pens (for writing on the unit and group cards), and plastic hill hexes.

The terrain

The six double-sided terrain boards are marked with 6cm hexes (measured from face to face).

These are supplemented by thirty double-sided single hexes.

The paperwork: the rule book and scenario book

On first glance, I am more than impressed by what the game includes. In my opinion, the models alone are worth the money I paid for the game, and everything else is a bonus. The terrain boards could easily be used with other games (BATTLE CRY! for example), and the raised hill hexes would certainly be an advance over the use of a thick cardboard hex to represent a hill.

This is a starter set, and I look forward to seeing the follow-up expansions sets as and when they become available.


  1. Sorry Bob - this is unacceptable - I'm now going to have to seriously consider buying this simply based on these photos!! I think you could face a charge of inducement at least !! --now - a way of explaining to my wife that this isn't the hated "new period" lapse leading to a purchase - this is simply an exisiting period - but in a different format. Wonder if she will go for that! Great post - many thanks!

  2. Ken H,


    If it makes you feel any better, I have already ordered a second set just for the contents!

    All the best,


    PS. My wife thought that the game was good value ... and she is not usually impressed by my 'bargains'!

  3. Hi Bob,

    Oh boy oh boy!! This looks stunning and as you rightly say - worth it for the kits alone. Two sets will be the way to go and mine are on order with some extras.

    We should consider the possibility of exchanges if need be!

    Great review Bob - I was looking forward to reading this all day and I am pleased you were able to oblige so promptly!

    As an aside, as this is a period you are familiar with can you recommend any good books covering Barbarossa?

    All the best,


  4. David Crook,

    I am glad that you enjoyed the review. The figures are nicely sculpted, and the vehicles look easy to put together.

    As to suitable books ... well Osprey have some excellent books, including three in the campaign series that deal with Operation Barbarossa. One book I would recommend is Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 by David Glantz. Very detailed, but very well researched.

    All the best,


  5. and "they" say the hobby is in danger of fading away? All very interesting even if not my cup of tea, I can imagine the excitement of opening one of these and the anticpation of a game.

    btw PSR has reviewed the infantry from the game for those who may have missed it.

  6. Ross Mac,

    My first reaction was 'This has potential'; my second reaction was 'I can write a variant of THE PORTABLE WARGAME rules for this'.

    The rules that come with the game have a lot of detail, systems, and sub-systems ... and have some interesting mechanisms for dealing with air support. A bit like the curate's egg ... good in parts.

    I saw the review of the figures and I thought that they had potential, especially if they intend to expand the range over the next few years.

    All the best,


  7. Peter Douglas,

    I am sure that I will ... and I will keep my regular blog readers well aware of how I make out using the game and its playing pieces.

    All the best,