Updated: Oct 6
The Boxed Game Upgrade Kit
By Alan Emrich
Welcome back, fellow wargamers interested in Frank Chadwick’s ETO series. Let us begin with Old Business.
Old Business: Progress Status
As you can see on the spreadsheet, project progress continues. Please note how the milestones for the Thunder in The East 1A project are complete. This project is near release and is the subject of this article.
Before leaving this spreadsheet, please note the box around the Vassal kit for Decision in The West on the spreadsheet. When Thunder in The East 1A is completed, that is the next playtest kit we plan to release on Vassal later this year (and will, no doubt, be the subject of a future article).
New Business: The TITE 1A Print-and-Playtest Kit
Coming on 31 October 2023 (Happy Halloween!) will be a free update online for your boxed version of Thunder in The East. The ETO Team is preparing a .zip file with all the print-and-play materials you need to bring your manual TITE game more in line with further developed ETO series features and refinements. These components will take you not quite to TITE 2 but as close as possible using your board game’s original map and counters.
This article examines these printed update components for your boxed TITE game’s enhancement. In our next update article, we will show what the TITE 1A free Vassal version looks like, its many gameplay features, and other enhancements. So, ink first, pixels second… and now on with the ink!
The TITE 1A Component List
Late beta versions of these components are shown in this article; these are very close to finished.
The TITE 1A free download .zip file will contain the following:
A .pdf rules book. This is a cleaned-up version of the ETO rules, pruned to cover just Thunder in The East, and laid out less-than-professionally using MS Word.
You will find some interesting improvements to the Ground combat, such as “Leading Strong” for choosing your combat step loss, “Can Press” results have a more important decision-making element, and Mobile Assaults (i.e., “overrun” attempts) have evolved.
There is also a new weather in Russia: Rasputitsa!
The Dogfight CRT (Combat Results Table) has evolved with a new result: “Press,” where the Attacker can press for higher Dogfight losses to both sides!
An evolved ETO naval abstraction system (just right for use playing Thunder in The East) is presented, proving a far simpler alternative to those in the original TITE game.
And you will discover several other small refinements, too.
A complete set of TITE 1A cut-apart cards that synch up with these rules.
Some of the old TITE cards are gone (or have been moved to the new Events mat), and some new cards have been added.
Most of these result from long hours playing and balancing Thunder in The East.
However, you can still use your card set from the original boxed version if you like.
The scenarios have been brought in synch with the cards.
We have included a Barbarossa scenario historical setup version by popular demand (and for parallel playtesting).
It is in the realm of player aids where TITE 1A shines. You can look forward to the following:
An updated Dogfighting Combat Results sheet.
An updated Ground Battles Combat Results sheet.
A streamlined Air Unit Display mat.
New Faction mats for the Axis and Soviets.
An updated Build Cost chart.
The Economic map is updated for Campaign Gameplay.
The Weather and Turn tracks present an improved way of managing these activities.
The Morale mat is in synch with the latest rules.
The updated Sequence of Play chart is wonderfully useful for moving turns, along with key references included.
A new Events mat with some important additions.
Six OOB mats centering around a scenario’s place in a Campaign Game and featuring both sides’ forces.
Please Inspect Our Work
We have presented these almost-finished files in this article for your inspection. Please give them a look before their pending release and share your comments at the end of this article!
If you see something we could improve, let us know!
Our next article will feature the Thunder in The East 1A Vassal kit.
Our team’s “Vassal Guy,” Ken Keller, is supremely competent in programming exciting new features into the Vassal game engine. He has created numerous player enhancements (often from our playtesters’ suggestions!) for this program’s live (“face to face”) and PBEM (play-by-email) features. These customizations in Vassal for ETO series games are a big improvement over Vassal games you may have played in the past.
If you eschew Vassal from past experiences or have hesitated to play “2-player solo” or play versus real opponents via your computer, we urge you to return for our next article and see what Ken has in store!