Recently I’ve been playing a bit of Spearpoint 1943 (Eastern Front) and I thought it would make a nice subject for a quick review.
Spearpoint 1943 is a card based WWII game produced by Collins Epic Wargames and allows players to play a quick yet tactical game in about 45 mins. There are 2 versions of the game both of which have similar components but are based in different theaters of the war.
The original game covers the invasion of Italy with US and German armies included, whilst the second version covers the Eastern front with Russian units taking the place of the US ones. For this review I’ll be concentrating on the Eastern Front game
Both of these versions are standalone so you don’t need the original to play the second one. The game is well produced and well packaged with everything neatly contained in a small 6” x 4” box.
On opening the box you find the following components
- 220 cards
- 4 D10
The cards are the important parts and they are broken down into 4 decks
- Unit cards for both armies
- Command cards
- Damage Cards
- Event Cards
And on top of this you also get quick reference cards and scenarios all of which are printed on good quality cards
Here’s some images of the components
The game is played by players creating an army from the unit cards (there are points for each unit) this deck is called the reserve deck and usually works out at 80 to 100 points. Oh its worth mentioning that vehicles, artillery and aircraft all require crew so if you decide (for example) to take a card for a tank you have to remember to include a tank crew card as well
Once players have these reserve decks assembled the game can begin.
Players start by selecting 4 units from their deck and adding to this 3 command cards, this is the hand you start the game with. You then play a number of turns until one side takes enough losses to withdraw from the battle (usually 50% losses is enough to cause one side to withdraw)
The turn sequence is simple
- Dice for initiative (D10 roll off)
- Commitment phase
- Combat phase
- Draw phase
Initiative is simple enough so lets move on to the Commitment phase, in this phase each player commits units from their hands into battle, this is done simply by placing the cards in a line facing the enemy. Players have 2 lines (front and rear) and each unit card will specify the line it can be deployed into, generally only artillery units can be placed in the rear whilst everything else fights on the front line. Aircraft are different and are placed on the side to show they are in the area.
Once this has been done the combat phase begins and players decide a target for each of their units to shoot at, then once this has been done the player with the initiative resolves an attack. Players then take turns activating units and carrying out attacks until every unit has been activated
A game in progress with tokens showing who’s firing at what placed on top of units
Each unit may shoot with 2 of its weapons (if it has them) and the process is simple
- Roll to hit – each weapon on the card has a ‘To Hit’ value on the card for each type of target and that’s the number to roll equal to or greater then on 2D10
- Damage roll – if you hit with the weapon you roll a D10 and add the weapons damage value (again it’s on the card) and you compare that total against the targets Endurance (think hit points) some units have armour which reduce the damage total as you would expect
Every unit has an endurance level which is the number of hits that have to been done against it in a single turn to destroy it, units also have a damage level which is roughly half of the endurance, and if the unit takes enough damage to hit this level it is marked as damaged and a damage card is drawn and placed under the unit card. Damage is cumulative in a turn, but if at the end of the turn the unit hasn’t been destroyed then the hits are discarded. However, if the unit has been damaged the damage marker remains and next turn you only have to do enough hits to damage it again and it will be count as destroyed
We haven’t talked much about Command cards, but they are a vital part of the whole thing and good use of them can really change the game. They give the players different options for example they can allow players to pick cards out their reserve decks instead of waiting to be dealt, or they can help defend a unit against attack (like Foxholes for infantry) or lots of other options
The final phase is the ‘Draw’ phase where players each pick 1 command card plus 2 other cards to top up their hands, then the turn starts again
Here’s a video Collins Epic Wargames produced that shows the turn sequence in a bit more detail
I’ll be honest I’m not a card player but I really like this game, the components are top quality and the game is really good fun. The mechanics are simple to pick up but tactically challenging, a game lasts about 45 mins and each game is different. the scenarios included are based on real battles and really test each players skill (and of course luck)
As well as the basic games Collins have also produced token sets to aid game play, an add-on for the Eastern Front game which has more unit types in it and the map expansion which turns the game into a board game and offers even more tactical challenges, I’ll try and review this product in the future as I’m just about to start playing it.
All of this stuff can be brought direct from Collins Epic Wargames and if you are interested, take a look on there site as they have loads of info on the games as well as gameplay and tutorial videos. its also distributed by Esdevium Games in the UK so shops can get it from their as well