Eastern Front (1941)

(Recommended tor teenagers and up/Written in machine language)

Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Russia during World War II, started a campaign lasting nearly four years and taking nearly 20 million lives. Could you have done better than the real German commander? See how well you can maneuver your troops to obtain a good position before the winter sets in and the Russian counteroffensives begin!

EASTERN FRONT is an exceptionally complex one-player wargame. It re-creates the conditions of the campaign, including terrain, seasons, and types of military units, and it adjusts these factors over time. The game closely follows the historic sequence of events. The Germans sweep in, wiping out Russian armies everywhere. But the Russians keep fielding new armies and the Germans, depleted by a long campaign, start to wear down upon approaching Moscow. Reaching Moscow as the mud season sets in, the Germans fail to take the city. They resume their offensive thrust during the winter, making further gains, but they can’t achieve decisive results. Their rapidly fading strength combined with the growing Russian strength first halt their advance and then force them to retreat. Your goal is to see if you can change the course of history, given the same physical conditions the German troops faced.

Each turn in EASTERN FRONT covers one week of history. To help you plan your moves, you can display vital information about a unit’s muster and combat strength. For realism, you can move your troops only so far within a week. At the same time you’re figuring your strategy, the computer is working out the Russian maneuvers. Hence, the longer you take to work through your moves, the more time the computer has to plan its own moves, (However, EASTERN FRONT has a handicap provision for novice wargame players.) Then on your command the computer simultaneously executes all orders. It moves troops and fights battles, taking into account terrain, type of unit, season, and presence of other units. Then it performs a variety of calculations related to the passage of time, including updating the date display, reconfiguring the map for the season, bringing in reinforcements, adding replacements, figuring logistics, and extracting penalties for troops whose supplies are cut off.

At the end of each week, the computer evaluates your performance and assigns you a score. Recalculated each week, your score reflects how far east your troops have moved, their aggregate muster strength, how far west the Russians moved, and their aggregate combat strength. In addition, if you captured key Russian cities, you earn extra points.

The use of intricate artificial intelligence routines makes EASTERN FRONT a challenging wargame. It approximates the true historical perspective of the campaign, making the game at once both complicated and rewarding to play.

EASTERN FRONT also makes exceptional use of the technical capabilities of ATARI Personal Computers. The result is a wargame that outshines virtually any other wargame available. For example, EASTERN FRONT uses player missile graphics to move your cursor smoothly over the foreground without disturbing the terrain and troops in the background. Multiple redefined character sets permit a colorful and detailed terrain along with a text display. A custom display list is responsible for EASTERN FRONT’S unique screen format. Multiple display list interrupts allow for lots of color — as many as eighteen colors on the screen at a time. Fine scrolling gives EASTERN FRONT a map occupying roughly ten screens of area — 2⅓  horizontal screens and 4⅓  vertical screens — that scrolls smoothly in any direction. (In fact, this is the first known application of fine scrolling for a game available for ATARI computers.) Finally, multiprocessing permits simultaneous moves by both you and the computer.

REVIEW COMMENTS

This is the best computer wargame we’ve ever seen. The graphic display is stunning.

Because EASTERN FRONT eliminates the drudgery of playing wargames, many people who’ve never cared for wargames before can enjoy this one.

The games takes two or three hours to play and you can’t save it, so be prepared for a marathon.

The user manual is VERY GOOD.

APX-10050, APX-20050

 


Eastern Front (1941) Mentions...

APX, Issue: 02 – Fall, 1981
Item on page 17, $23.25
APX, Issue: 03 – Winter, 1981
Item on page 28, $24.45
APX, Issue: 04 – Spring, 1982
Item on page 34, $29.95
APX, Issue: 05 – Summer, 1982
Item on page 40, $29.95