In a deliberate, continuing avoidance of the more classic, Western Front battles, The Artistocrats has, with Red Star, started a trilogy of expansions for Order of Battle which focuses on the Soviet’s battles through WWII.
One of the main things which made the original release of Order of Battle: World War II (at the time called Order of Battle: Pacific) stand out was that the developers clearly had no fear about diving into areas rarely covered in traditional wargames. The first campaigns were specifically about the Pacific theatre, representing the American island-hopping campaign. Later they would dip into the Blitzkrieg, the battles at Burma Road and even some of the African conflicts. They even dipped into the ‘Winter War‘ campaign, specifically touching into defending against the early Soviet incursions into Scandinavia. It makes sense that they eventually popped us into the Eastern Front with Red Star.
As I mentioned in the intro, Red Star is the first in a trilogy, and they’ve cut up the campaign in quite a straightforward way: by dividing the War at the very start of 1942 and again in the Spring of 1943. This means that Red Star deals with conflicts at Grodno, against the Polish Army, Lake Khasan, against the Japanese, and early war moments like the (temporary) liberation of Rostov from German forces. A truly jet-set expansion, and one which doesn’t shy away from the extensive variety of troops that are already built into Order of Battle’s forces.
To cover the period, new Soviet units were added to the game, including artillery, anti-air and tank units as well as two tactical bombers. The latter is especially useful in the latter theatres, being that the game fights from the USSR’s Eastern front to its West as the campaign continues.
Much like the other Order of Battle expansions, Red Star slots really well into systems that The Artistocrats first rolled out. It’s definitely a testament to the team that they build a system that still feels well balanced even after it’s had dozens upon dozens of new units bolted into it, and a mass of campaign scenarios.
Order of Battle’s Red Star expansion is available now on PC and Mac.