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    Take this from an infantryman and combat veteran of 30 years service: No other board-game ever played out the actual tactical quick-decisions of a combat commander like “OPERATION BARBAROSSA" from Zvezda does. Congratulations to “Art of Tactic” ™ game designer Konstantin Krivenko for his exceptionally unique, surprisingly playable, and remarkably realistic new game system. This is the first of Zvezda’s new Art of Tactic wargame series and it is a “Must-Buy” game for all wargamers and serious students of military history.

    There is nothing artificial about these simple and yet exciting rules. Unlike systems generalizing play to fit WWII into abstracted or “fantasy-battle-imitation” game rules, players select and execute authentic combat orders. Instead of drawing action cards they don’t want or can’t use and waiting, players mark specially designed unit orders cards with a dry-erase-marker and resolve combat simultaneously. Players must decide when to shoot, move or communicate just as real combat commanders do. Players can truly -- as one Historian/wargamer put it -- “Fight the Battle, Not the Rules.” To illustrate how easy this game plays, my 8-year-old son learned it in 10 minutes and can teach friends to play after one session. It takes about a half hour to play a small scenario, an around an hour to play a moderate one.

    Rules-system components include a complete Rulebook, Scenario Book, 2 Reference Sheets, 21 unit orders cards, 4 Kampfgruppe orders cards, and 4 minefield cards and 2 Dry-erase pens. Also the latest rules and scenario editions, order of battle, player aid cards and several bonus scenarios can be downloaded from online.

    Not only is the game system for Barbarossa a winner, but the game pieces are impressive. Barbarossa contains scores of magnificent high-end miniatures for which Zvezda is internationally renowned. With historically accurate troop characteristics and capabilities for multiple units, Barbarossa players can select from the same troops, organization and equipment as WWII commanders did. The pieces require snap-together assembly which quickly build into excellent detailed models, which can be painted or left in their original army colors (German gray and Soviet green.) The Barbarossa game offers an excellent combined arms assortment for an introduction to WWII wargaming, including infantry, machinegun, mortar, trucks and command units for both sides, as well as a Soviet T34 and German Panzer II and Panzer III Tanks.

    These highly detailed models of vehicles and infantry are from Zvezda’s extensive 1/72 scale (20mm) figures and 1/100 (15mm) tanks. These miniatures can be augmented from Zvezda’s growing line of range over one hundred expansion kit selections. From Paratroopers and Transport Planes to Cossack Cavalry and Flak 88’s! Each includes its own unique card for game play. The latest Zvezda lines have figures from the 1940 Blitzkrieg Campaign, and North African Desert battles.

    The final and equally outstanding components are the game boards. Barbarossa includes 6 double sided inter-connectable (mix-and-match) terrain boards, 30 double sided terrain hexes; 6 elevation hexes, and 1 set of fortification miniatures. The game board and terrain hexes are very appealing works of art, and the six elevation hexes are very innovative 3-D way to convey height of hills.

    With the latest Danube, and Blitzkrieg games just now out, possibilities are endless. However, with just the Barbarossa game, and maybe a couple of expansion kit units, players can design (or download) and play an infinite number of historical battles and “What If?” scenarios. What more can a wargamer need?

    ***** FIVE Stars out of five

    • 54 Soviet and German infantry miniatures
    • 3 Armor miniatures (2 German, 1 Soviet)
    • 2 truck miniatures (1 German, 1 Soviet)
    • 1 aircraft miniature (German Stuka)
    • 1 Anti Aircraft M-iniature
    • 1 Anti Tank gun Miniatures
    • Obstacle and construction miniatures
    • 6 double-sided inter-connectable game boards
    • 30 terrain modifying hexes
    • 6 terrain height hexes
    • 29 unit game cards
    • Game Rules
    • Game Scenarios book
    • 2 Reference Sheets
    • 2 Dry-erase pens

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