Press release from Columbia Games – Victory in Europe – Designer’s Notes from Ron Draker


Press release from Columbia Games – Victory in Europe – Designer’s Notes from Ron Draker

Further news for you from Columbia Games on a game that I think will draw a lot of attention.

Designer Notes from Ron Draker

I have always enjoyed grand strategy games on WW II in Europe and spent many hours of my youth playing “Third Reich” and “Advanced Third Reich.” Some of you may remember SPI’s monster game on WW II with division-level units and spiral production charts. Oh those were the days when we had weekends to play. Now, however, I find I do not have the time or patience to learn 30 or 50 pages of rules with hundreds of exceptions. I prefer a game I can play in a long evening with minimal time looking up rules. I started thinking about designing my own WW II game back in 2002 and then learned that “Europe Engulfed” was in development.

Having discovered and fallen in love Columbia’s block games in the 1990s, I shelved my idea thinking there was no need since a playable block game was in development. When Europe Engulfed came out my friends and I played it practically non-stop and I still love the game, but I felt I still would like to see a game with less playing time and fewer exceptional rules. My goal was to take the things I liked most from Third Reich, EE, and other great WW II games and blend them into something new.

I started in earnest around 2005 and found my first design, while using fewer units, was still a monster game. I started with hexes, then went to areas, and then back to hexes. I had abstract concepts for managing the air war off map and intricate spiral production charts that would put SPI to shame, but the more cool things I thought I wanted in the game the longer the playing time became.

Through much trial and error and literally dozens of game mechanics and different maps, I feel I have finally succeeded in designing an enjoyable game that is playable in a long evening thanks to the help of Tom and Grant Dalgliesh at Columbia Games. To accomplish this goal of course, much of the chrome originally envisioned has fallen by the wayside. These are the trade-offs for the Holy Grail of a WW II grand strategy game playable in one sitting.

Setting the right victory conditions to make the game challenging for both sides is one of the harder aspects of designing a game. I decided to make conquest of Britain or the Soviet Union a game-ender to give the Axis player an incentive to go for the big win but there are many paths to victory. I hope you find the choices made acceptable and enjoy the game.


Sequence of Play / Rules Summary

Draw Cards
At game start draw two each, and five in 1940 and thereafter.

Play Commands
Players simultaneously play cards. High card is player 1. Axis win ties until the US invades continental Europe.

Weather: The first and last card play of a year are bad weather turns with reduced movement and combat. In addition the 2nd card play of a year is bad weather in Russia.


  • Player 1 moves all units up to their allowance and hexside limits. Each command allows one hex to be declared for attack.
  • One command allows a para drop; may be supported by one air unit if in range. Para drops are the only move that can pass over enemy areas to reach their destinations.
  • Two commands allow an infantry unit to make a sea invasion or attack across a strait.
  • One command allows a carrier raid (see naval combat).

Strategic Movement

Player 2 follows same sequence.

Land Combat

  • Two rounds of combat unless Blitzkrieg, Desert War, or Breakthrough event is played. Must fight one round of combat.
  • Reinforce: the victorious side in a battle may immediately reinforce the hex with units from adjacent hexes.

Naval Combat
Interception of sea invasion within same major sea as attacker. The side with highest total fleet and air steps after two rounds wins battle. Remaining losing forces must retreat.

Leader Phase
Player 1 makes leader moves followed by player 2. Each leader may initiate one new battle per normal combat rules.

Strategic Warfare
Resolve blockade battles with destroyers.
Resolve bombing raids.

Check supply status and remove unsupplied units. Apply supply losses for limited sea supply

Check captured VP cities and move influence levels. Roll for any country in shaded zone if influence changed this turn.

Production phase
Both sides simultaneously resolve production. Add captured resources.

Next Card Play
Follow above procedures until all cards are done for the year.

New Year
Add played cards back to player’s deck and add cards for the current year.

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