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Piercing Fortress Europa

Piercing Fortress Europa is an innovative operational-level wargame depicting the grinding World War II campaign in Italy, including the invasion of Sicily Players maneuver division- and brigade-sized units across a hex-covered map. The graphics are traditional, but the simultaneous execution of movement and combat is a rare feature for  an operational-level game.

If the saying “amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics” is true, then Piercing Fortress Europa is for professionals. Supply is key. For the Allies to achieve success, they must gain control of seaports with sufficient capacity, properly manage port workload, and precede all offensives with a buildup of combat supply for the attacking units. Daring maneuver comes predominately from amphibious and airborne operations, which must follow careful logistics planning.

Hardcore gamers who enjoy the intellectual challenge of creating and executing a sound plan will love Piercing Fortress Europa. It advances the art of operational wargaming.

Mark H. Walker’s Lock ’n Load: Heroes of Stalingrad

Mark H. Walker’s Lock ’n Load: Heroes of Stalingrad wargame set during the is a tactical-level bloody World War II Battle of Stalingrad. Players familiar with Walker’s Lock ’n Load or Squad Leader board games will feel at home here, for this is basically a computer simulation of a board game, complete with the rolling dice.

The game is brilliantly executed with crisp graphics. Players maneuver squads, teams and vehicles across a grid of 50-meter hexes, firing and moving in alternating impulses. The game mechanics, based on the golden age of tactical board games, have been improved with the addition of a variety of individual characters – leaders, commissars, nurses, snipers and heroes – who add a role-playing dimension and are often critical to success, whether rallying troops or assaulting a tank.

Heroes of Stalingrad captures the unique quality and tempo of a board game without the hassle of having to memorize the rules. It is fun and challenging, and gamers can almost feel the cardboard pieces beneath their fingertips.


Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Jeffrey Paulding is a lifelong student of military history and science. He has been playing wargames since he was a child.

Originally published in the November 2014 issue of Armchair General.