Over the last few years, Ares Games has released new editions of several titles in the Quartermaster General series, including WW2 and 1914. However, it’s been a few years since a completely new title in the series has been released, as designer Ian Brody has of late been focusing his energies on the recently released War of the Ring - The Card Game. Fortunately for Quartermaster General fans, one of the new titles that’s been simmering on the back burner is now ready to be served!

Quartermaster General: East Front is the first game in the series only designed for two players.

Quartermaster General: East Front takes a front-level look at the most significant campaign of World War 2 and does it in two hours. If you haven’t tried any games in the series, Quartermaster General games offer epic experiences in an easy to learn, card driven format. Each player receives a unique deck of cards that represents their power’s real-world capabilities; these cards then drive the action on the map.

Because of their abstract nature, games in the Quartermaster General series appeal to euro-gamers and historical gamers alike. The pace is quick, but filled with meaningful decisions.

Unlike earlier games in the series, Quartermaster General: East Front is only designed for two players; oddly enough, this is likely to increase its popularity. Many Quartermaster General fans don’t get to play as often as they’d like because they don’t like managing multiple decks, required when playing the other titles in the series with just two players.

In Quartermaster General: East Front one player commands the Axis and the other the Soviets. The game is played over 16 game rounds, each representing three months, starting in Summer 1941 and ending in Spring 1945. Most Victory Points are earned for controlling certain spaces during annual scoring rounds. After scoring, the game ends early if one player has 10 or more points than the other. A fair number of Axis victories will cause the game to end early, exhausting the Soviets before they can turn the tide. Like other Quartermaster General titles, Victory Points are accumulated throughout the game; hence, the Axis often has a reasonable chance of winning a game on Victory Points, even if by 1945 they are losing badly on the battlefield!

The two sides play very differently and have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, you’ll immediately notice the Axis side contains two factions: Germany; and the Pact – signatories of the Tripartite Pact, like Hungary, Romania, and Italy, as well as other Axis forces, like those of Finland. Coordinating these two factions is a unique challenge to the Axis player. Another challenge for the Axis player, especially on the first game, will be taking full advantage of the first turns, which are crucial. Of course, despite numerous reinforcements, the Soviets will watch their pieces be consumed by the Axis until the point the Axis are also exhausted.

In East Front, most of the action is driven by card play, but it emphasizes movement and maneuver.

Like other titles in the series, the pieces represent abstract capabilities, with four types represented: infantry, tanks, airplanes, and fleets. Like other Quartermaster General games, most of the action is driven by card play. However, in this game pieces move, and a lot! East Front emphasizes movement and maneuver, and the action is far more kinetic than the earlier titles.

Battles are tense and bloody, and players will be able to change the outcome with well-timed card play. Because players may end up using several cards in a turn, the number of cards you can draw in a turn is limited. This gives the game a certain ebb and flow, just like the real war, as players frequently find themselves needing a “breather” turn after their offensive reaches its culminating point.

East Front is the first of three complementary games planned, which will all join together to form a two to five player “mini-monster”. However, it may be a year or more before both of the other titles (Quartermaster General: Med Front, Quartermaster General: West Front) be actually released, leaving the reverse side of the game board (for use in the combined game) to silently taunt us until that time.

In the meantime, Quartermaster General: East Front offers a highly replayable two-person epic you can finish in 2 hours!

* This article was originally published by Game Trade Magazine, issue 280 (June 2023).

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