REFORGER ’88 reflects the same kind of careful research and exciting game theory that the hobby has come to expect from Gary Grigsby after games like Guadalcanal Campaign, Carrier Force, Objective Kursk, and War in Russia. In this simulation, a hypothetical invasion of the Fulda Gap by Warsaw Pact forces with the primary goal of securing the Rhein Main Air Force Base near Frankfurt, US and West German forces must fight against the Soviet and East German aggressors so that the superior capacity of NATO forces to take their toll on the communists. The game can be described as a great tactical warfare in which the player is concerned with unit to unit battle where terrain and target selection is vital for success, but where the player must also be concerned with overall warfare assignments. supplies, air superiority and/or targeting and aerial reconnaissance generally reserved for strategic decision makers.
Thus, the game features a great mix of two levels of decision-making where many games go for a strategic or tactical level. In solo mode, the player is limited to playing as NATO forces. Of course, this must necessarily limit its appeal to the aggressive player who wants to play against a computer opponent. In the two player version, the game plays smoothly and is friendly enough to allow playing an exciting game in an afternoon. Grigsby wastes little programming time on superfluous “whistles and bells” like unnecessary cover art and graphics. Instead, it offers useful features like “automatic move deposit”. This feature allows supply depots to reach the front lines very quickly, limiting the need for the player to try and find the best route to get to the front lines. Once the depot has stopped near the front lines, the player can maneuver it to supply the units they need most. However, the game’s presentation could have been improved if the overlay maps had been printed with the map’s coordinates. The game could have been sped up considerably with that little addition.
As in most Grigsby ground ops games, supply is a very important factor. Out-of-supply units find themselves not only virtually defenseless, but also unable to move. It’s not nice to be easy prey when surrounded by five or more Warsaw Pact units. The successful player will read the supply rules carefully and make a significant effort to reach the required two hexes in order to supply all of his units.
The second most important factor in winning the game is the air mission assignment phase. The most important mission is “air superiority”. No matter how many combat points the player can put up in a “ground attack”, they will lose an inappropriate number of aircraft if the enemy’s “air superiority” is significantly greater than their own. I have found that the NATO player is wise to use all of their F-15 and F-16 Falcons, as well as most Tornados, on “air superiority” missions, so Phantoms, F-111s,
The A-10, PAH-LS, and AH-64 will have a reasonable chance of surviving. This suggested assignment has the advantage of using each of the aircraft according to their strongest combat point values (except for the Tornados, which have a better ground attack rating, but are desperately needed to counter “air superiority”). ” of the Warsaw Pact because its 9 CP is the third highest in “air superiority” missions. So, just when a player thinks they have the game mechanics in hand, they must learn to be alert to two very important advantages of the Warsaw Pact. Warsaw Pact, paratroopers, and chemical warfare For the best strategic use of paratroopers, see CGW 5.2 Strategically speaking In chemical warfare, the Warsaw Pact must have strategic objectives in mind, since doubling the effectiveness of attacks air strikes and bombing is halved when used against a battlegroup that previously experienced a chemical attack.So it is foolish to use war Chemistry so early in the game that its strategic value and demoralizing effect are not available when defending NATO f Forces dig in. One last brief suggestion is in order. Unlike some games (and ours, real battles) where the same terrain, hill or block is taken and retaken multiple times, NATO defensive objective means that once the Pact forces of Warsaw enter a city hex, NATO forces can never take it again.
Therefore, it is vital that the NATO player meets the enemy before the city hex attacks. In this way, the NATO player can retreat to the city if he is defeated and take full advantage of the city’s defensive terrain effects.
REFORGER ’88 is an excellent game that uses a smooth and easy to use system that is satisfying to play from the initial start up to the last turn of battle. It’s the product of an incredible amount of research, and even a close perusal of the list of weapons systems makes some of the Pentagon’s budget considerations seem clearer. The game is designed for a large amount of play time and a long lifespan.