Reviewed by Chris Kovac

CONFLICT OF HEROES (Elfinwerks/Academy Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-180 minutes; $75)


Conflict of Heroes is a squad level wargame designed by Uwe Eickert depicting the epic battles between Germany and Russia on the Russian front between 194-1942. This game emphasizes speed and game play over level of detail and, for the most part, succeeds. The big advantage is the relatively quick learning time of the base game, low downtime between turns and the relatively short scenarios.

Games of this type generally take many hours to play to completion but Conflict of Heroes cuts it down to size. In order to accomplish this, the game designer has come up with an essentially chartless (except for one chart for terrain modifiers and another for movement costs) game system. Although a playing time of 60 minutes can be found with some online retailers, expect play time to be this short only with very experienced players. Most games with two players should take at most two to two and a half hours.conflictheroesbox

The game comes with very good quality pieces including mounted boards, a large full color rule book and large clear unit and information counters. The boards represent terrain such as open countryside (some with hills), villages and a built up area board. The only complaints about the components are that only one player aid was included, the action point boards are a bit flimsy and that, due to the mounted board, the game is a bit heavy to carry to far.

You initially choose a scenario and get all appropriate cards and counters ready and placed on the board though hidden units and reinforcements only enter the board when seen or on the appropriate turn. The scenario also tells you how many command points each side gets, whether any cards are used and what each side gets points for (mostly eliminating opposing units or controlling certain hexes of terrain). The rules are geared in a “learn-as-you-go” system so as you progress through the rules you can play scenarios which use more rules and counters. After an initiative roll off between players, the starting player will perform actions (firing, moving, etc.) with one unit and the other player will react to each action if he can with his own units. The game uses an action point system to regulate how far you move, how often you fire and what special actions you can do with a unit.

There are two types of action points in the game. The first is unit action points (Seven for most units) which can be used by a single unit to move, fire, rallying, etc. The second is command points which can be used by all units commanded by the player (this is set by the scenario) and is reset at the end of every turn. You use these command points to give units extra movement or fire attacks as well perform command actions like adding up to two points to a dice roll or making used units perform extra firing or movement actions. Each unit counter has the following information: Firing Cost, Movement Cost, Firepower, Range and Defense Value – Front and Flank.

You can use your points to perform as many actions in any combination you decide with a unit supplementing these points with command points if you so wish. For example, if it cost you three points to fire, you can usually only fire twice but if you use two command points along with your remaining action point, you could fire again. Once you have performed all actions with a unit, it is flipped to its used side and can only be used in a turn again if you spend command points. Your opponent can react and fire once on your unit as its performs its actions but must flip the unit to its used side immediately after the one attack and again can only be used if command points are spent. After you have performed actions with one unit your opponent gets to perform actions with one of his unused units and you get to react with your units to his actions. This continues until both players pass and the turn then ends. You do any scoring indicated on the turn track and then set up for a new turn by resetting your units to the unused side and resetting your command points (minus one point for each unit you lose). You then roll again for initiative and start the next turn. After you finish the final turn you do any final scoring and the person with the most victory points wins.

Attacks are very simple. You roll two dice and if the amount rolled plus your firepower and any bonuses due to range exceeds the target’s defense value plus any bonuses for terrain, you score a hit. For each hit, the unit must draw a damage tile (separate sets for Infantry and Vehicle units) randomly from a cup and put it with the hit unit. This damage tile modifies the abilities of the unit and can only be removed through rallying (costs five action/command points). A second hit, drawing an instant kill tile or exceeding a unit’s defense value by a factor of four or more will eliminate the unit. As you progress through the scenarios more rules and units are added including vehicles and artillery as well as special action cards (number and type designated by the scenario) which can give you special actions or discounts to action costs.

Overall this is a fairly fast playing game with easy to learn rules. Though it can be played with up to four I would recommend two to avoid downtime unless your are playing with experienced players. I found the rules very stripped down which made the game easy to learn. However a number of rules needed better clarification and occasionally more detailed examples which resulted in me having to send a few e-mails to the designer to figure out what he meant in certain sections. These questions and a number of others can be found on the Academy Games website at Uwe answered my questions promptly, often the next day after I e-mailed them to him.

Conflict of Heroes allows you to concentrate on strategy and has a fairly strong real life decision feel to it as you try and balance out when and how you are going to use those command points to win the game. I liked the game system as a whole (even with the occasionally fuzzy rules) and look forward to playing this many times in the future. – – – – – Chris Kovac


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