In the mid-nineties the frantic pace of earlier publications GDW was known for had slowed down considerably. Partly this was due to the increased effort game designers undertook in researching and understanding the subjects of their games. The industry had matured from generic counters to the attempt of historical accurate representations, Some of the research done for orders of battles or game mechanisms could easily withstand scientific scrutiny and were up or even more precise than a lot of historical publications available.

The opening of archives after the Fall of the Wall as well as the fact that World War Two slowly turned from an event shaping generations to a historical date enabled designers to base their designs on primary sources and thorough analysis. So it is not surprising that Second Front was delayed for more than three years. The result, while at times bordering on the unplayable, boasted several "firsts" - first complete order of battle for the Western Allies 1943-45, first wargame simulating the whole western theatre on a divisional level, and many more. For years, discussions, rules questions and reviews filles up lots of paper and screenspace in the Europa Universe. Second Front is truly a monster game, and with a steep learning curve demands a lot from players to master.

The game, as already noted, simulates the War in the ETO and picks up where "Torch" had left the Europa universe: From the Invasion of Sicily to the Normandy landings, from Arnheim to the Ruhr it covers the battles between Axis and Allies in 1943 right up to the end.

Designer: John Astell
Published by Games Research/Design in 1994

First Edition Game Components

  • dice
  • rules set set of game charts
  • Four Europa Maps
  • 17 countersheets

Special Edition

The special edition is in summary a normal Second Front but lacking some counter sheets and being delivered in a white box. to make up for that, there are a couple of bonuses not in the original ‘Second Front’ game:

  • An extra sheet of game markers.
  • A copy of the Axis Higher Headquarters & Second Front Errata Counters countersheet.
  • A complete listing of all errata published for the game.
  • A $25 coupon that could be used (at some point in the future) to take $25 off the price of either: a) a copy of Second Front (when it is reprinted about 2 years down the road) or b) a copy of the Second Front refit kit when that kit is released (also about 2 years down the road)

Game Reports

Second Front - Baby "Grand Europa: In March 2000 Robert Williams started a game of Second Front with the inclusion of Spain. The result makes quite a read.
To the game report

Second Front from WitD: Phil Mason and Derek Cassidy explored the possibilities of prolonging War in the Desert into Second Front in 2000. Their game resulted in an Europa-Howto on how to do just that, as well as in this game report.
To the game report

Second Front - Accountant Style: Alan Tibbetts was so impressed by Rich Velays description on "Accountant-Style" game play in TEM that he decided to test it for himself in 2001, resulting in this massive game-report on a solitaire Second Front game.
To the game report

The Long Left Flank - Twice! Lee Hanna tests out the "Long Left Flank" scenario of Second Front  in 2017 to test some Allied strategies against the Axis West Front defenses.
To the game report 


ETO Newsletter

Amphibious Rules in Second Front – Outline and Commentary, Bill Stone - ETO 55
Amphibious Rules in Second Front – An Example of Play, A. E. Goodwin - ETO 55
Battlefield Buletin: Second Front- ETO 40 and ETO 51
New Rules for Second Front Playtest, Bill Stone - ETO 56
Pre-Production maps (#26/27) for Second Front - ETO 15
Second Front: A Prospectus or Europa: “The Next Generation,” Victor Hauser - ETO 29
Second Front Now! - ETO 54
Second Front Playtest - ETO 57

The Europa Magazine

“Air Battle Over Sicily.” By Alan Tibbetts. TEM 56.
Amphibious Operations. “Second Front Amphibious Assaults.” By Chris Riches. TEM 46.
Amphibious Operations. “Second Front Amphibious Recap.” TEM 40.
“An Analysis of the Second Front Air-Combat System: A New Look at a Familiar Friend.” By Mark Swenholt. TEM 22.” “Anvil-Dragoon, Desert Options, and WitD Q&A.” In “Inside Europa.” By John Astell. TEM 56.
“Assault on Alderney.” By Alan Tibbetts. TEM 59/60.
“The Battle for Rome.” By Frank Watson. TEM 45.
“The Battle of the Bulge.” By James Broshot and Eric Pierce. TEM 67.
“Battlefield Report: 1943 Italy Campaign.” By Lars Wistedt. TEM 56.
“Battlefield Report: Playing Operation Husky.” By David Tinny. TEM 56.
“Behind the Bulge.” By David Lippman. TEM 67.
“Breaking the Gothic Line.” By Frank Watson. TEM 73.
“The Canadian Army in Second Front.” TEM 52.
“Clash of Titans - Grand Europa 1943 Linking Scenario.” By Jason Long. TEM 43/44.
“Continuing WitD into SF.” By Eric Pierce. TEM 78.
“Crating Air Units, Off-Map Movement, Q&A” By John M. Astell. TEM 59/60.
“First Impressions: Second Front.” By Rick Gayler. TEM 11.
“The First Second Front Battlefield Report.” By Peter Robbins. TEM 37.
The Fleets off Sicily. “Facts Behind the Counters.” TEM 48.
“French Geography Lessons.” By Arnaud Delauney with John Astell. TEM 59/60.
“Gothic Line, Operation Olive.” By Frank Watson. TEM 73.
“Holding the Westwall.” By Rich Velay. TEM 67.
“The Invasion of Sicily: Operation HUSKY - July 1943.” By Frank Watson. TEM 48.
“Invasion! They’re Coming! – Frequently!” By Merv Tierney. TEM 67.
“A Logistical System for the SF Allies.” By Bradley Skeen. TEM 52.
“Logistics for Second Front.” By Dave Tinny. TEM 72.
“Long Left Flank.” By Brian McKie. TEM 52.
“Naval-Lite - A Second Look at the Second Front Naval System.” By Alan Tibbetts. TEM 49.
“Operation Infatuate.” By Frank Watson. TEM 41.
“Operation Slapstick - The Capture of Taranto.” By Cory Manka. TEM 56.
“Operation Slapstick - Counterpoint.” By Rich Velay. TEM 56.
Point/Counterpoint. “Air Power in Second Front” By Ray Tumbleson & “Maybe It’s Not Quite THAT Bad?” By Frank Watson. TEM 78.
“Questions and Answers.” By Rich Velay. TEM 67.
“Raid on Dieppe.” By Frank Watson, Jason Long, and James Broshot. TEM 52.
“Rapid-fire Naval Gunnery.” By Frank Watson. TEM 49.
“Reminiscences from the Second Front.” TEM 36.
“Second Front, British Columbian Style.” By Peter Robbins and Rich Velay. TEM TEM 59/60.
“Second Front Colorado Style.” By Cory Manka. TEM 73.
“Second Front Colorado Style, Part II.” By Cory Manka. TEM 78.
“Second Front Combined Operations.” By Jeff White. TEM 67.
“Second Front Designers Notes.” By John Astell. TEM 37 and TEM 38/39.
“Second Front Designer Notes: Canadian Forces.” By John Astell. TEM 52.
“Second Front Draft Order of Battle: The Free French.” By John Astell. TEN 4.
“Second Front Errata Sheet.” By John Astell and Rick Gayler. TEM 36.
“Second Front Errata Supplement - March 3, 1996.” By John Astell with Rich Velay. TEM 48.
“Second Front Errata Addendum – March 3, 1998. By John M. Astell. TEM TEM 59/60.
“Second Front: ETO 1944 Scenario.” By Blake Woodside, Peter Robbins, Kevin Schnetter. TEM 62.
“Second Front Naval System Q&A.” By Rich Velay. TEM 49.
“Second Front Newsletter #1.” By John Astell. TEM 14.
“Second Front Ohio-Style.” By Ron Shown. TEM 62.
“Second Front Order of Battle Q&A.” In “Inside Europa.” By John Astell. TEM 48.
“Second Front Questions and Answers.” By Rich Velay. TEM 53, 54, TEM 59/60.
“Second Front Q&A.” By John Astell. TEM 73.
“Second Front Report.” By Rick Gayler. TEM 29.
“Second Front Report.” By John Astell with Rick Gayler. TEM 30.
“Second Front Report.” By Victor Hauser. TEM 31 and TEM 32.
“Second Front/War in the Desert House Rules.” By Rich C. Velay. TEM 59/60.
Sick or Slick. “Siege Guns Over the White Cliffs of Dover.” By Peter Robbins. TEM 66.
“Soft Underbelly: A ‘43 MTO Campaign for Second Front July 1943 - June 1944.” By Sam Rosania. TEM 56.
“Southwest England in Second Front.” By Alan Tibbetts and A. E. Goodwin. TEM 59/60.
“Suggested Amendments to the Air Replacement System (in Second Front).” By David Hughes. TEM 50.
“Update: Second Front.” By Rick Gayler. TEM 25.
“Victory in the West.” By James A. Broshot and Frank E. Watson. TEM 59/60.
“The Way of the Accountant - Part I.” By Rich Velay. TEM 46.
“The Way of the Accountant - Part II Defending the Med in Second Front.” By Rich Velay. TEM 48.
“The Way of the Accountant - Part III Defending the MTO in Second Front.” By Rich Velay. TEM 49.
“Yet Another Second Front Amphibious Example.” By Rich Velay. TEM 73.

Line of Communications

"A Second Front in 1943?" by Rich Velay, LOC #1
"Aircraft Counters for Second Front" by Duncan MacLean, LOC #5
"Battle of the Bulge" - Playtest report by Steve Bristov, LOC #6
"Second Front Annotated Sequence of Play" by Luiz Cláudio Duarte, LOC #1
"Second Front: Updating and Understanding an Old Favorite" by Joey Sabin, LOC #5
"The Wayward Accountant" by Alan Tibbetts, LOC #1