Thunder in the East Rules Update Released (v1.1)
Updated: Mar 5, 2021
By Alan Emrich with Gerald “Jay” Johnson and Gil Winters
There is still plenty of thunder still emanating from in Thunder in the East; so much so that player enthusiasm for a living rules book (incorporating all the errata) now brought to you by the Frank Chadwick’s ETO development project specialist team of Jay Johnson and Gil Winters. They have worked together to bring you this smooth .pdf file now available as a free download here:
Thunder in the East v1.1 Living Rulebook
There is also a revised Barbarossa scenario for these new rules here:
Thunder in the East v1.1 Updated Barbarossa Scenario
Important: For equivalently skilled opponents, we recommend that you do not play the Barbarossa historical setup scenario! Use this new, revised scenario instead. What can we say? Stalin’s deployment was catastrophically bad and the game is balanced for competent play on both sides, including setup. So, without a huge discrepancy in player ability, avoid the Barbarossa historical setup scenario.
Read All About It!
But this TITE rules update project is not all; the team did not stop there. We have been very diligently playtesting the full ETO rules (encompassing all its volumes combined) and some of those refinements have been introduced into these Living Rules. These enhancements were selected based on their ease of incorporation into the released version of TITE and present the fruits of many hours of additional playtesting labors.
Although there are new rules and game mechanics, your TITE counters and cards are fine for use with this 1.1 version of the rules book. It is not the full ETO rules book, but it moves things a step closer by adding select new rules (rules that are now core to the ETO series). This is not the planned TITE2 project’s full ETO expansion kit (with all the Naval rules, new card decks, etc.) which is still in development.
Ah! Something New Has Been Added...
Thanks to this project’s great, steady, and loyal playtesters, hours and hours of continued playtesting on the entire ETO series have improved play balance and historical correlations in Thunder in the East. We have streamlined rules, made rules more historical/realistic, and through considered observations of the fulcrums of game balance, we have made tweaks and introduced a section of play-balance options for opponents of different skill levels.
One thing to note is the evolution of the Dogfight Table. It is largely the same, but a new result allows the rolling player to “Press,” and increase the damage inflicted to both sides. The addition of more damage gradations means that Air units will be mending a bit longer, overall, and that there is more strategy in operating your Destroyed and Flown box forces than before as the Suppression marker selection method applies to selecting Air units recovered from the Destroyed and Flown boxes as well, yielding much more realistic looking (and playing!) comparative Available Air units each turn.
Similarly, through repeated playtesting we noticed the Soviet VVS recovered and grew too quickly (and, from playtesting, we discovered that was a common problem for all Air Forces). In ETO, and now retrofit to TITE v1.1, Air unit construction, upgrades, and repairs now typically only once per Month. This appropriately regulates the pace of building up an Air Force.
We also added 2 new Fighter Air Missions. In addition to the existing ESCORT and INTERCEPT missions, now you can STRAFE and SWEEP, providing more options that are simple, clever, and historical (and fun!).
From air to ground, the bond that holds these two aspects together is the weather. In ETO the weather has evolved considerably. The new weather rules for TITE v1.1 move the gameplay away from the “all on / all off” type of weather results found in the game’s original release and close to the ETO system refinements with more subtle ground and air effects.
On the ground, there is what you see: Minor Heavy units (i.e., German Panzer Divisions and Soviet Tank Corps) have Zones of Control but do not penalize Retreating Heavy units fleeing past them.
And what you don’t see: The Reserve mats are gone! HQ markers are now the on-map locations for Reserve units and preparing paratroops now pack their ‘chutes on the Air Display mat.
Some changed card faces are illustrated at the back of the v1.1 rulebook with the only new card being the very-short term Jericho Trumpets which underscores the success of Stuka attacks early in any war where they were being newly-confronted. The German book kicking down the Soviet’s door is a little heavier now.
Other tweaks/clarifications have been added for:
Attrition die rolls (due to Isolation).
A step-by-step sequence for determining supply.
Inclement weather impact on motorized unit supply.
Weekly RP spending maximums.
The building of Improved Defense markers.
RP spending on Garrison, Specialist, and KG units.
HQ double column-shift Hammer Blows.
Air Night Missions
The selection priority for air units (losses and repairs).
Sneak Attacks (and Major Offensives) from the Blitzkrieg! card.
Spring Months are now 3 weeks/month, not 4.
The Mid-East theater.
Partisan unit placement and bomb-throwing damage.
There is also an optional section at the end of the 1.1 rulebook with counter, event card, and table errata – you can ignore this section, or print it out (full color!) to add to your game. A total of 8 cards have been updated, and one new card has been added: Jericho Trumpets!
The intent of all these changes, big and small, is to help you get the most out of your existing TITE game and to give you a taste of what’s in store for you with TITE2 and the fuller ETO system.
Enjoy TITE v1.1
In the meantime, we're continuing to press ahead with a full TITE2 update kit providing ultimate mate-ability with the other volumes of the ETO series. We are currently coming to grips with designing and testing out all five volumes (of which TITE is the first) and their connections.
Look for our forums on ConsimWorld, Boardgame Geek, and especially here on the official site for the Frank Chadwick's ETO series on Watchword!