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 


Second Front at the Boardgamegeek

The complexity of the Rules and the novelty of several concepts led to a whole series of errata. Grognard has them all.

Second Front is currently only available as "Special Edition" from HMS/GRD


Because of its volume, we have assembled all FAQs available into a seperate page, the Second Front FAQ.

If this isnt enough for you, the best collection and discussion of errata, clarification and discussion of rule mechanisms by the designers can be found at Luiz Duartes Second Front-page