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Product review for The Dark Valley: East Front 1941-45

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The Dark Valley is a new game from award-winning designer Ted Raicer, focusing on the entire East Front campaign in World War II. The game components feature a beautiful map from Mark Mahaffey (see inset below), stretching from Leningrad in the north to the Caucasus Mountains in the south, and around 600 counters representing every major unit that appeared during the course of the conflict. Initially most Soviet infantry are divisions, but as the game progresses these are replaced by armies and corps, so that players are not overwhelmed by the increasing Soviet Order of Battle. All German mechanized divisions are present in the game, while their infantry is a mix of division and corps. The game covers the entirety of the conflict from the launch of Barbarossa to the end of the war; the game system emphasizes playability rather than rules overhead, allowing the players to concentrate on strategy choices rather than rules minutiae. Besides the full campaign game, The Dark Valley features scenarios for Barbarossa, Case Blue, Kursk, and the Destruction of Army Group Center. Scenario start dates can also be used to explore shorter versions of the campaign.

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