Monday, 6 November 2017

1985: Under an Iron Sky - "Forward, Comrades!" Campaign Playtest (T3)

Another quick update on the playtest of "Forward, Comrades!" campaign game.
The combat rules are doing a very good job at simulating the Soviet attack doctrine, with powerful armored columns attacking NATO weak points and penetrating the main defense line. 

Warsaw Pact main thrust is against NORTHAG, with a Front composed by 2nd Guards Tank Army, 3rd Shock Army, 11th Guards Army and East Germany V Military District.

Denmark surrendered after a combined landing by Soviet Paratroops and Polish Marines near Copenhagen, greatly facilitating WP advance North of Hamburg.

20th Guards Army has liberated (ahem) West Berlin and will soon move toward Hamburg to dispatch 3 West German Brigades now fortifying in the city center.

NORTHAG Situation, D+3 (Turn 3)
In the Central Front, 8th Guards Army and a stripped 1st Guards Tank Army have the task to keep US V Corps and WG III Corps busy. The plan has not been particularly successful, giving US V Corps the possibility to constitute a powerful reserve that could be used in near future for a counterattack, supported by French I and II Corps now assembling behind US VII Corps.

In the South Front, Central and South Group of Forces are pressing toward Munich, helped by Czech 1st Army and the just arrived Hungarian Army. West German II Corps is trying to districate itself from encirclement, a problem caused mainly by the "Forward Defense" policy imposed by the political leadership.

South Front Situation, D+3 (Turn 3)

Warsaw Pact losses are quite high, particularly in Mi-24 attack helicopters and Sukhoi bombers. With this attrition rate, the current level of advance may continue for 6 more days (3 Turns), before running out of gas. Therefore, a strategic breakthrough must be achieved quickly.

NATO is executing Tornado and F-111 deep strike missions against  WP airfields, rail bridges and SAM sites, with good results. Air losses seem sustainable until now, as Warsaw Pact amassed most of its air defenses on the front line to protect the advancing divisions from NATO attack helicopters. The imminent arrival of 10+ US air squadrons from CONUS should allow NATO to raise the air war stake even more during the next days.

An overview of the battlefield at D+3


Friday, 27 October 2017

1985: Under an Iron Sky - "Forward, Comrades!" Campaign Playtest

A quick update on the second run of playtest for "Forward, Comrades!" campaign game. 

The first run stopped at turn 3 and brought the introduction of "Interception Areas": mega-hexes of 61 regular hexes each used to determine the probability of intercepting an enemy Air Mission and to evade enemy interceptors.

In this second run, Warsaw Pact started hostilities at game turn 2; the main thrust is in the NORTHAG area, with 3 Armies attacking between Braunschweig and Hamburg.

NATO decided to follow the official "Forward Defense" policy and to avoid any tactical retreat whenever possible. 

Warsaw Pact's Attack Axis during Game Turn 2 (first turn of war)

NORTHAG area situation at the end of Game Turn 2

View from Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, end of Game Turn 2




Saturday, 21 October 2017

1985: Under an Iron Sky - Some countersheets

Someone asked me a preview of the countersheets.....here you will find:

  • Countersheet 2 (some US, Belgium, Canada, France, Denmark and Netherlands counters)
  • Countersheet 6 (some USSR and Poland counters)
For better viewing, click on the image and then save it on you local disk.
Enjoy!

Countersheet 2 


Countersheet 6

Monday, 9 October 2017

1985: Under an Iron Sky - Box Art

Here's the probable final version of the box art.....It also includes the logo of our newborn publishing company, "Thin Red Line Games".


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

1985: "Forward, Comrades!" Campaign Game Playtest

We are now beginning the playtest for the main "1985: Under an Iron Sky" campaign, titled "Forward, Comrades!". 

The campaign depicts the "classical" Warsaw Pact offensive in Central Europe, with a variable preparation period decided by Warsaw Pact.

As Warsaw Pact Commander I've decided to follow the good ol' John Hackett's plan: a strong attack against NORTHAG, along a Braunschweig - Hannover - Osnabrück  - Arnhem axis, followed by a conversion South in order to envelope the Ruhr area. Nothing less ambitious would be accepted by the State Committee of the State of Emergency in Moscow (My God, how did they choose such a definition?).

I'll keep preparation and build-up at a minimum (48 hours, 1 turn) and declare war on Turn 2, in order to take NATO still off-balance. Starting from turn 3, reinforcements from US and other NATO countries start arriving in Europe too fast, and for that time I want the Soviet fleet already at war and keeping NATO busy with GIUK Gap and North Atlantic lanes defense; with a bit of luck, it will slow down REFORGER long enough.

Regarding Warsaw Pact allies Mobilization, I'll see how many of them are happy about the People's War of Liberation from the Capitalist Oppression before deciding. The last thing I need is a revolt in East Germany or Poland.

I have no clue on NATO Commander's plan at the moment, but I presume he will follow the "Forward Defense" political diktat in CENTAG area, and maybe a more fluid approach in NORTHAG.

Here's some snapshots of the complete setup:

Overview - three 95x65cm maps, more or less 2000 pieces.

NORTHAG area

CENTAG area

So, it begins.

Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, ready to liberate West German Workers from their slavery.


Monday, 2 October 2017

1985: "Checkpoint Charlie" Scenario Playtest

Campaign Game playtest for "1985: Under an Iron Sky" has been slowed down by unexpected map problems, now finally fixed.

In the meantime, we've decided to playtest the quick and dirty "Checkpoint Charlie" scenario using the first printed draft of the map and the usual home-printed counters.


Scenario Introduction

Time: July 24, 1985, 0400 Zulu Time
Playing Area: Berlin and surrouding area
Length: 1 1/2 Game Turns (72 hours)

The symbolic significance of West Berlin and its strategic position along the supply routes used by the main thrust against NORTHAG does not allow Warsaw Pact planners to ignore the city, despite the considerable effort presumably needed for conquering it.

20th Guards Army is therefore ordered to dispatch the West Berlin Garrison within 72 hours, secure the area and subsequently move toward Hamburg to help the advance into the city.

NATO Garrison in Berlin has a very limited array of tactical choices. Without air support and no hope for reinforcements, the only real option is to hold fast and hope for the best.

The Battlefield

Pre-War Movements

Warsaw Pact can move all his units quite liberally, and of course 20th Guards Army surrounds West Berlin with its four Divisions and an attached East German Motorized Division. Three heavy artillery Brigades, three Mi-24 attack helicopters squadrons and four fighter-bombers squadrons are ready to support the assault.

NATO can only decide if his three Brigades will fight a mobile battle (Tactical Mode) or entrench and fight in place (Hedgehog Mode). NATO decides to entrench the UK Brigade, leaving French and US troops the option to retreat toward the central British position after fighting a delay battle.

Situation at July 24 1985, 0200 Zulu Time

Game Turn 1

At 0400 Zulu Time, 20th Guards Army begins its assault on West Berlin.
Soviet 35th Motorized Division, with Mi24 and Artillery support, attacks the French Sector; following NATO plan, the French Brigade retreats in good order into the British Sector.

A defending NATO Berlin Brigade can usually count on 8 to 11 combat modifiers in its favor: 5 for troop quality, 3 for defending in a city hex, 2 for hedgehog mode, 1 for "Festung Berlin" special rule (the lack of alternatives make more determined fighters). On the opposite side, Warsaw Pact only has 4 or 5 combat modifiers given by troop quality, unless attacking an already worn out defender.

With a net combat modifier from 3 to 7 in NATO favor, any attack has only a slim chance to succeed.
To solve this problem, Warsaw Pact must attack at overwhelming odds, as each force ratio more than 7:1 is translated into additional combat modifier for the attacker. So, attacking at 12:1 ratio would give an additional 5 combat modifiers to Warsaw Pact.

To obtain such a force ratio, Warsaw Pact player must use precious assets such as artillery, attack helicopters and Close Air Support. Another option is the Single Echelon Assault, an all-out attack where all the regiments of a Division are used on the front line, giving a 50% increase to attack strength but more losses should the attack fail.

After advancing into West Berlin, 35th Motorized Division faces the combined forces of two NATO brigades, with the Britons entrenched in a strong defensive position. The order to secure the city within 72 hours leaves no choice to the Soviet Army Commander: defender's positions must be assaulted immediately, with everything at hand.

35th Motorized Division launches a Single-Echelon Assault, with all its Regiments in the first line, supported by three artillery Brigades, one Mi24 Helicopter and three Su17 squadrons. Unfortunately for the Soviets, that's not enough: after 8 hours of house fighting, the Soviets have lost more than 80 T-72 and 120 BMP vehicles, effectively destroying the Division's offensive value.

7:1 attack, 0 combat modifier. Die roll 19, result A1: 1 step loss on attacker, +1 step loss for City combat ,+1 step loss for Single-Echelon Assault. Attacking Division is replaced by its Division Base.

It's now 90th Guards Tank Division turn to assault the British Sector, assisted once again by three Artillery Brigades and one Mi24 helicopter squadron. The attack succeeds, inflicting heavy losses to the defenders and allowing Soviet troops to advance a couple of blocks into city center.

Two 7:1 attacks with 0 combat modifiers inflict two step losses on each NATO brigade, leaving the defenders on the verge of elimination but still alive.

With no more artillery or helicopter available for support, Soviet Army Commander requests permission to stop the attack until artillery ammunition stocks are replenished and helicopters readied for another sortie. Explicit threats of removal and trial by 20th Guards Army Political Officer quickly convince him that a continuation of the assault is the only way to avoid personal execution.

90th Guards Tank Division is therefore ordered to attack with all its regiments and without any support. At 1900 Zulu Time, after the third attempt to dislodge British defenders from the Opera House failed, Soviet Division Commander reports that "90th Guards Tank Division is wrecked" and shoots himself.

Soviet commanders, impervious to failure and losses, order 32nd Guards Tank Division to renew the Assault against the Opera House. The exhausted French and British survivors are forced to surrender at 2317 Zulu Time.

Warsaw Pact is finally forced to stop by lack of fresh divisions, artillery and helicopter support.
US Berlin Brigade, now with no available retreat routes, entrenches in the Southern part of West Berlin.

Situation at July, 25 0400 Zulu Time

Game Turn 2

20th Guards Army only has 72 hours to take control of West Berlin. As a game turn covers 48 hours, Soviet movement during game turn 2 is limited to a maximum of 20 Movement Points. 

At the first lights of dawn, 32nd Guards Tank Division starts pounding US position in South West Berlin, with the support of three artillery brigades, 90 Mi24 attack helicopters and 60 Su17 attack aircrafts. 

By 1900 Zulu Time, all West Berlin is under Soviet control and the first 212 American POWs begin their journey toward newly prepared prisoner camps located near strategic installations in USSR. 

With no time for parades, the remnants of 20th Guards Tank Army quickly moves West to join the battle near Hamburg.
Situation at 1900 Zulu Time, July 2 1985

Aftermath

Warsaw Pact Victory Points:
  • NATO ground steps eliminated: 9 x5 = 45 VPs
  • West Berlin City hexes controlled: 4 x5 = 20 VPs
  • Intact Bridges captured: 0 x1 = 0 VPs
NATO Victory Points:
  • WP ground steps eliminated: 6 x2 = 12 VPs
  • WP helicopter steps eliminated: 4 x2 = 8 VPs
Net result is 65 WP  - 20 NATO = 45 Victory Points: Warsaw Pact Marginal Victory.

Friday, 1 September 2017

1985: Under an Iron Sky - Central Map, version 4

The Central section of the map is completed, we still have to double check it but I don't expect horrible mistakes.
Many of the suggestions received  by other wargamers have been implemented. A short, annoying  list of the main ones:
  1. Lighter texture in Plain hexes (we'll probably make it even lighter)
  2. Lighter Sea / Ocean
  3. Changed font size and colors to reduce cluttering
  4. Changed Road size and colors
  5. Changed Bridge symbols
In my opinion, it's definitely better than the early versions; I'll have a test, single copy map printed next week so we'll be able to evaluate the "live" effect.

Here's a map area everyone knows about. Click on it to see the full 1500 x 1000 image in all its glory.


Friday, 25 August 2017

1985: Under an Iron Sky Box Art

Our Graphic Designer Eleonora Olivares has just released the first draft of the box art for the upcoming Cold-War-Gone-Hot game "1985: Under an Iron Sky".

Eleonora never worried about T-80 Main Battle Tanks or SA-6 Air Defense Systems in her whole life, so she had to learn almost everything from scratch. I hope she'll be soon able to identify tank model, variant and parent division just by looking at a blurred photo.

Here it is! Before you wonder why the overall tone is so bleak, I wanted it that way :)


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

1985: North Map Draft, Version 3

The Northern part of the map is now almost finished!
We are going to add some geographical / landmark labels, but not sure about how many.

The original image is 9600x6000, so I had to resize it and lose (a lot of) quality, but it should give you an idea.

As most of us are not getting younger, we've tried to use an appropriate font size....please feel free to leave your opinion / comment / suggestion here, it's not too late to accept some good advice :)

A quite big chunk of the North Map section (Click to enlarge)
A higher resolution detail of the map

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

"Mind the Gap" Scenario Playtest

Here's the AAR for the third playtest session of "Mind the Gap" scenario, included in the upcoming "1985: Under an Iron Sky" monster game.

The first two playtest sessions were useful for adjusting and fine tuning some rules. At the third run, we were able to complete the scenario with no change to the rules / OOB and such.

The scenario depicts Warsaw Pact's secondary attack along the Fulda - Kassel - Frankfurt axis. Soviet 8th Guards and 1st Guards Tank Army, supported by East Germany III Military District, are tasked to engage US V and West Germany III Corps, inflict as much casualties as possible and prevent NATO from dispatching any reinforcement to NORTHAG, where the main Warsaw Pact thrust is taking place.

The scenario is 5 turns (10 days) long. Warsaw Pact gains Victory Points for inflicting casualties to NATO ground, air and helicopter units and to a lesser extent for territorial gains. NATO gains Victory Points for sending ground, air and helicopter reinforcements to NORTHAG.


Set Up

Counters for the playtest are home printed, using the same graphic that will go in production. Of course, the overall quality is lower as they are the result of a painful "Print-Glue-Cut-Aaaargh they're not aligned" hand-made process.

The map isn't ready yet, so we had to use the old The Next War map, using State of the Art Technology (i.e., a pencil) to add several airports, urban areas and missing special features.

Sorting Soviet Counters - Always too many of them
....But US reinforcements too are quite impressive.

Pre-War Movement

Both sides have the possibility of moving their units before war outbreak. NATO allowed movement is based on a 24 hours warning, obtained by analyzing HUMINT and SIGINT data.

The situation at 0400 Zulu Time, July 4th 1985. Grey areas are not included in the scenario.

The ideal Warsaw Pact attack spearhead. Anything less and you're looking for trouble.

Turn 1

The weather is good, so no problem for Air and Helicopter missions.

Warsaw Pact places its 2 Air Superiority counters to cover the main front line (AirSup 1 and 3), making clear that he's going to use his Air assets in direct support of the ground. NATO prefers to place his only Air Superiority counter to cover the vital US and WG airports in the area between the Rhine and Frankfurt (AirSup 2).

The placement of an Air Superiority marker does not mean that either player has Air Superiority. It's only a "commitment", allowing both players to allocate air squadrons in order to actually gain Air Superiority over that area.

Turn 1 Air Superiority Placement

Warsaw Pact assigns 7 Mig-23 and Mig-21 Air Groups to Area 1 and 3, while NATO uses 3 of its precious Air Squadrons in Area 2 (with an AWACS squadron in support) and 3 more in an attempt to contest Air Superiority in Area 1.

Turn 1 Air Superiority Assignments
After air combat is resolved, Warsaw Pact gains Air Superiority in area 1 and 3, destroying a F-16 squadron, while NATO achieves Air Superiority in Area 2.

Air Superiority over areas where the main thrust will take place allows WP to use its attack helicopters and air squadrons with little or no risk of being intercepted. The opposite is also true: NATO air assets may be used only by taking additional risks and casualties.

Warsaw Pact executes a Special Forces assault against Kitzingen US Heliport, used by 3rd Helicopter Squadron, and destroys 2 AH-1 squadrons. A hard blow for NATO.

During the WP Land Phase, Soviet 8th Guards and 1st Guards Tank Army cross the internal German border and invade West Germany. Three WP divisions attack 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fulda and force it to retreat West. North of Fulda, 79th Guards Tank Division forces elements of WG 2nd Mech Division to retreat toward Kassel.

Soviet assault on Fulda, 1400 ZT July 4th

NATO answers with a West German Ground Strike mission against Brand Airfield (C5212, near Cottbus), executed by 2 Tornado squadrons escorted by 2 F4F. Soviet SU-24 and Mig-23 squadrons intercept, but they are unable to stop the strike and Brand airfield is heavily bombed and damaged. Another Ground Strike by WG F104s hits Altenburg Airfield.
Situation at 2200 ZT, July 5 (End of Turn 1)

Lessons Learned: It is now clear that NATO is able to hit WP rear areas pretty hard even in the first 48 hours of war. Warsaw Pact must take appropriate countermeasures since the beginning, as most of its repair capacity is needed to keep the supply routes open and does not allow the allocation of time and resources to damaged airfields.


Turn 2

WP gains Air Superiority over the main battle line, despite an attempt by NATO to contest it around Wurzburg. On the other hand, NATO wins a vital Air Superiority over the area between Frankfurt and river Rhein. Thanks to that, CONUS air squadrons and REFORGER ground units scheduled for turn 2 will be able to arrive by airlift and reinforce NATO front line in a few hours.
Air Superiority Assignments, Turn 2
Warsaw Pact conducts two all-out assaults towards Wetzlar and Kassel, and succeeds in both thanks to heavy air and helicopter support. 

NATO sends out 3 different ground strike missions with Tornados and F104s to slow down the Soviet 28th Corps arriving as reinforcement and damage the advanced heliports used by Soviet Mi-24. In the rear areas near Wurzburg, US 3rd Mechanized Division recombines and waits....
WG F-104s strike Warsaw Pact advanced heliports
Situation at 2200 ZT, July 7 (End of Turn 2)

Turn 3

Warsaw Pact is getting short of operational airfields and tries to stop NATO's strike campaign by placing Air Superiority marker #1 in protection of the air bases in East Germany.
Air Superiority markers #2 and #3 are placed on the main battle line, while #4 covers the strategic airfields and POMCUS sites between Rhine river and Frankfurt.
After Air Superiority combat, NATO wins control over all the AirSup areas except the East Germany 
one.

Air Superiority assignments for Turn 3
Air Superiority after Air Combat (blue for Air Superiority controlled by NATO)
During the Land Movement Phase, three Warsaw Pact divisions attack WG 15/5 brigade near Marburg, with both sides using everything at hand. The attack fails, primarily because of NATO Air Superiority over the area  allowing air and helicopter squadrons to support the defender effectively.

Lessons Learned: A ground attack without Air Superiority against well-placed defenders is probably doomed to fail, unless the defender has no available air / helicopter squadrons to call in for ground support.

Following the rule "never reinforce a failure", Warsaw Pact throws its remaining divisions against WG 34/12 brigade defending the South sector near Schweinfurt. NATO is now short of aircraft and helicopters, and the defense collapses after a few hours. Two additional Soviet Divisions exploit the breakthrough and are now 30 km from Wurzburg.
Situation at 0200 ZT, July 8 (End of Turn 3 WP Move Phase)
At this point, NATO launches its counterattack using every possible force multiplier.

With NATO F-16 and AWACS in Air Superiority and little risk of being intercepted by WP fighters, an F-4 Wild Weasel Mission disrupts WP flak in the Schweinfurt area. Shortly after, three US Special Forces battalions assault and destroy the Electronic Warfare unit supporting Soviet 31st Tank Division, paying with their lives but leaving the Soviet Division without any kind of help.

Finally, US 3rd Mechanized Division repeatedly attacks the Soviets with the support of V Corps Artillery, Electronic Warfare, Tornados, F-111s and AH-1 attack helicopters. Moreover, the two adjacent WG Brigades give NATO a strong Concentric Assault bonus.
Soviet 31st Tank, unable to retreat because of the two WP divisions blocking its path, is annihilated after 9 hours of continuous fighting.

US 3rd Mech Division second attack against Soviet 31st Tank Division
At this point, WP player concedes victory to NATO.

Aftermath

Actually, at the end of turn 3 the game was a Draw.

Warsaw Pact Victory Points: 
  • US Attack Helicopter steps destroyed: 8 x5 = 40 VP
  • WG Attack Helicopter steps destroyed: 4 x5 = 20 VP
  • US Air squadron steps destroyed: 3 x5 = 15 VP
  • WG Air squadrons steps destroyed: 2 x5 = 10 VP
  • US Combat units steps destroyed: 1 x3 = 3 VP
  • WG Combat units steps destroyed: 4 x3 = 12 VP
  • Urban, City and Airport hexes conquered: 29 VP
NATO Victory Points:
  • US Ground combat units steps to NORTHAG: 0, x3 = 0 VP
  • US Air squadron steps to NORTHAG: 10 x5 = 50 VP
The VP net result is: WP 129 - NATO 50 = 79 Victory Points, Draw.

Considering that in the last 2 turns NATO will be reinforced by 9 more brigades (mostly WG territorials) and 6 more US Air squadrons and that most of them would have been sent to NORTHAG thanks to the stalemate of the WP offensive toward Frankfurt, the result at the end of turn 5 would have been a NATO marginal victory.

Next Scheduled Playtest is: "Forward Comrades!", Campaign game scenario

Saturday, 12 August 2017

1985: North Map Draft

The base terrain of the North Map Section for 1985: Under an Iron Sky is ready!
The map was created using L3DT, a terrain-generation application, with a few finishing touch added with Gimp.

Rivers, Road, Towns and everything else will be added later by our Graphic Department (Yes, we have a one person Graphic Department.....more on this soon).

A portion of the North Map Section for 1985: Under an Iron Sky

Sunday, 30 July 2017

"1985: Under an Iron Sky" Overview

1985: Under an Iron Sky is the spiritual successor of The Next War by SPI: an operational, highly detailed simulation of a NATO - Warsaw Pact conflict in Central Europe.

Being a so-called "Monster Game", 1985 is not exactly a beer and pretzel game. 2000 pieces, 3 22"x 35" maps, 80 pages rules booklet including air war, helicopters, electronic warfare, special forces, revolts, nuclear and chemical warfare.....you name it.

Here's a list of the main features:
  • Revised Order of Battle
    The OOB revision alone took 3 months, and differs from the usual "generic" OOB found in most of "Cold-War-Gone-Hot" games. 1985 OOB is set precisely in July, 1985 and is as detailed as possible, thanks to the vast array of undisclosed documents now available.
  • Revised Tables of Organization
    Several Central European Armies made radical changes to their organization during the 1975-1985 period. West Germany introduced Heeresstruktur IV,  France moved from the traditional brigade divisions to the "light" divisions without component brigades, UK abandoned the much criticized "Field Forces" concept to return to the traditional divisional structure, and US was trying to find a compromise between the expensive "Army 86" project and the cheaper, more flexible "Army Of Excellence" concept.
  • Revised Equipment
    During the early eighties, both sides fielded a plethora of new weapon systems, represented or integrated into the rules of 1985: Stinger, Roland, Patriot, M1 Abrams, Leopard II,  MLRS, AWACS, Offensive ECM air squadrons, T-80, Mig-27, F-16, Tornado are only a few.
Sample US, French and Soviet Counters
  • Real and not Perceived Soviet Military Power
    Warsaw Pact disintegrated in February 1991. Soviet Union itself followed a few months later.
    The seeds of this sudden collapse were already there in 1985, maybe skillfully disguised by the Soviets or more probably plainly ignored by Western intelligence. Consequently, Soviet war machine has been toned down to reflect the reality of a country weakened by unsustainable arms race expenses, Afghanistan war and economic stagnation.
  • New Charts and Tables
    All charts and tables have been changed and rebalanced to take into account real combat experience not available in 1976 (Afghanistan, Desert Storm and Falkland are some example). All die rolls now use 1D20 to resolve the various game mechanics.
Combat Result Table Analysis
  • Redesigned Map
    Map has been updated, and there are more changes than you would expect. For example, in 1976 West Germany completed the Elbe SeitenKanal, a 115 km artificial channel connecting Elbe river to the North and MittellandKanal to the South. One of the reasons for its construction was "to serve as an anti-tank obstacle for enemy forces advancing along an East - West axis". Several airfields have been added, particularly previously undisclosed WP advanced heliports.
    Graphic layout of the map is being defined as I write.
Sample map, a big work in progress.
  • Air War
    Air war, the real focus of the game, is no more handled abstractly at the start of a turn, but fully integrated into the Friendly and Enemy Movement Phases. Players execute specific air missions, assign escort to them, and intercept enemy missions. Obtaining Air Superiority over specific map areas allows one side to use air power to its full potential in support of ground operations.
A US F-4E intercepts a Soviet Mig27 Ground Strike mission, escorted by Mig23.
"Mind the Gap" scenario playtest with home-printed counters.
  • Variable Reinforcements
    A real-life commander doesn't have the luxury of knowing exactly when reinforcements will arrive, and in many cases doesn't even know if they will arrive at all. In 1985, most reinforcements' arrival date depends on both players' decisions, air superiority and external events on which players have limited control.
  • Tactical / Operational Doctrine
    Both sides have several tactical choices for influencing Land Combat: Corps Reserves, Airmobile Anti-Tank Battalions, Active Defense and Single Echelon Attack are among them.
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction Escalation
    In most games, one side or the other may decide to use Chemical or Nuclear weapons knowing exactly what the consequences will be (usually a Victory Point penalty). In 1985, nobody knows where that path will lead once a side decides to take it.
  • Warsaw Pact Unrest and Revolts
    Warsaw Pact satellite countries are very unstable allies, and Warsaw Pact player must constantly keep an eye on them. Revolts are not handled abstractly, but played on the game map. NATO Player also has the possibility of executing Air Missions to support revolts.
  • Victory Conditions
    1985 has two completely different sets of victory conditions: obtaining a Political victory is the first and paramount objective for both sides, meaning that the enemy political structure has collapsed or will do shortly due to the war events. Failing that, both sides may try to obtain a Military victory, measuring how well they performed on the ground but giving no assurance about how future events will unfold.
  • Campaign Games
    1985 will have two Campaign games:
    - Forward Comrades! covering the classic Warsaw Pact offensive in Central Europe.
    - Butterfly Effect, covering a large-scale revolt in one or more Warsaw Pact countries and an air / land intervention by several NATO countries to support the rebels.
  • Scenarios
    Smaller scenarios are in definition, but three sure winners are:
    - Checkpoint Charlie, covering the assault on West Berlin by 20th Guards Army.
    - Mind the Gap, covering the secondary attack against US V and German III Corps by 8th Guards and 1st Guards Tank Armies.
    - A Damned Nice Thing, covering the main attack against NORTHAG by the bulk of Warsaw Pact forces.