Flying Pig Games are responsible for some pretty cool games including ’65 Squad Level Combat (which I’ve got a review coming for very soon) as well as Night of Man which is a card-driven, tactical board game set in a post-alien-invasion-of-Earth universe, what’s not to love?
Flying Pig games do a really good job of making wargames accessible and that’s something I’m definitely on board with so I wanted to give their new Kickstarter some love. I haven’t had the chance to play The Battle of Kursk but from what I do know, I’m super excited about it and wanted to share it with you too.
The Battle of Kursk is a fast-playing, easy-access, hex and counter game depicting combined arms combat in the Battle of Kursk.
I’ll be honest, the Battle of Kursk isn’t something I know a lot about but when I heard about this game being launched, I started doing a bit of research into it and I must say, I’m definitely excited.
Designed by Mark H. Walker and David K. van Hoose, the game comes with two mounted maps, and nice thick 1” square counters. There are Tiger tanks, Panther tanks, Mk IV tanks, T-34/76 tanks, KV-1 tanks, SU-152 assault guns, infantry (rifle, guards, pioneers, submachine gun), mortar batteries, Stukas, IL-2, and more.
Each turn is gamed through several phases. At the beginning of each turn, the players determine initiative with a unique dice-off system in which ties award the initiative to whomever lacked it the previous turn and applying the Commander’s Focus to the roll might tilt the odds in your favor.
Next, players will draw a number of Action Cards that may be used for anything from artillery,air strikes, rally assist and negating an opponent’s just-played card. It’s then time to rally disrupted units with a simple 1d6 roll, against a nationality or scenario-designated morale. Action Cards, in addition to the special Aid counter, may be used to improve a unit’s chances of preparing for combat.
Then comes the Movement Phase. Unlike the preceding Fire Phase, one player moves ALL eligible units before the opposition gets to move. Certain units can move and fire or vice versa, unfired opposing units can opportunity fire on enemies moving within their line of sight. Additionally, good order units exert a zone of control on passing units if they can’t fire. As in many other facets of the game, the insightful play of Action Cards during the movement phase is critical, allowing additional movement or opportunity fire conducted by units that have already fired.
Finally, you have the Aid and Focus Phase. Platoon Commander eschews the use of HQs that can be unrealistically targeted. Instead both players have Aid and Focus markers, representing where the commander intends to place emphasis or send additional assets (ammunition, weapons, etc) or first aid. The placement of these markers provides combat and morale bonuses to the units underneath them. Additionally, if the player chooses, the Focus marker can be used to influence the initiative roll. And that’s a turn of Platoon Commander.
There’s a few things I really like about this game already and it’s only just hit Kickstarter, I love the clutterless counters and the way the whole game looks. The Battle of Kursk uses colour to determine a weapon’s range which I really like, for example, an Armor Piercing factor printed on gold indicates that the weapon can fire normally at a target up to four hexes away and I feel like that makes the game easy on the eye and accessible.
I also love the way the cards are used in this game, even though I’m a massive fan of card driven games, it’s nice to see a game use cards in a different way and I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays. The Battle of Kursk is card assisted rather than a CDG so the action cards provide artillery, rally units, provide combat bonuses, and even unexpected Opportunity Fire shots.
The Battle of Kursk seems like a game that everybody can enjoy, if you’ve been playing these kind of games forever or if you’re quite new to this world and that impresses me, I feel like this one is going to get a lot of play time. The components are gorgeous combined with eye catching art work, nice chunky counters and what seems to be, pretty seamless gameplay, this is high on my wish list and I’m really looking forward to seeing what will happen with campaign.
Thanks for reading and if you’d like to check out the Kickstarter, you can do so here: The Battle of Kursk Kickstarter.