This little glossary of Europa-related terms, wargamers lingo and strategy game acronyms was culled from various sources across the web and assembled here to help gamers new to the Europa-Series to get aquired with the games - or better, the three series that by now comprise the extended Europa-universe.


Abstract Game

A game with a high level of abstraction (and a corresponding low level of realism). A good example for a very abstract game is chess.
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Abstraction

The grade by which real-world phenomenons are grouped and categorized as to fit into a set of game rules. An example for a game with a high level of abstraction would be chess, whereas "monster games" with low levels of abstraction tend to have extensive rule books to cover all kind of historical events and conditions.
Example: Whereas the weather is an inherent chaotic system which can change several times a day and be theoretically different every couple of miles, Europa abstracts this into one single weather roll that determines the weather conditions for all weather zones of one game.
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Accountant Style

A gaming style by which the player tries to opimize his victory chances by extensively calculating strength factors, available ressources and victory conditions.

The term "accountant style" was coined by Rich Velay in his series of articles on Second Front in the Europa Magazine which featured an elaborate assessment of port defenses as well as the utilization of the Westwall in Winter 1944. The possibility of using such a playing style of course rests on a strategy game being a) depending on fixed numbers (for unit ratings, movement factors etc.) to make such calculations possible and the complexity not too big to make them prohibitive. Despite SF's reputation as a "monster game" its limits in stacking and the straighforward combat result table enable the Axis player to optimize his port defenses against the Allied landings this way.

Critics point out that a game based mostly on mathematics removes the historical flavour, but also leads to ahistorical desicions. For example, analysis shows the defense of Sicily in Second Front is a pretty futile undertaking, so most players decide to abandon the island as soon as possible, a strategy that was not available to the real world actors. Same goes for the NODL-strategy in Fall of France. In the defense of the accountant it must be said that it stresses the gaming aspect vs the simulation aspect (in which players see themselves more roleplaying the historical opponents), and that each game needs to find a way to simulate historical capabilities (the operational component) while avoiding straightjacketing the player by forced movements and garrison requirements (the strategic component)
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Advance after Combat

A common wargame mechanic used directly after resolving a combat.  In certain combat results where the defending player is forced to retreat from the attacked hex as a result of the combat roll the attacking player is then allowed to advancing any surviving units into the vacated hex.
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After Action Report (AAR)

The military term for any report from a unit or HQ reporting on a military engagement, detailing the units orders, actions and results during the time of the engagement. Gamer lingo borrowed the term to describe the course of games played. Therefor, see Game Report.
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Analysis-Paralysis

That`s the name for a situation in which one player starts thinking about every little detail in a given scenario e.g. to analyze the ideal move, or the best combat formation etc. and which increases the "downtime" for the opponent. See Downtime and Overanalyzing.
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Answer Guy

In the Europa-series, the extensive rules books led to a growing number of questions about game mechanisms. For a while, several "Answer Guys" were appointed to decide issues in which rules were phrased unclear or contradictionary. Compare Rules Lawyer.
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Ants

The Europa Series had a high reputation for the accuracy of its orders of battle (OB) books, which were based on extensive historical research, and sometimes even primary sources. Despite being division-level games, all Europa-games included a significant number of non-divisional units to reflect the special abilities usually concentrated in these units, and to fully preserve the historical accuracy of the OBs. For example, even though basically every US division in the ETO had at least one tank bataillon and one AT bataillon permanently attached, the desicion was made to include these as individual units and not roll their combat strength into the counter rating, since these attachemnts were only semi-permanent and the units never were officially part of their parent divisions. In larger games such as Scorched Earth and Second Front, this led to a significant increase in counters, which because of their numbers were termed "ants" by the players.
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AT

AT is an acronym for "anti tank", any unit specifically organized and equipped to defend against enemy tanks. The first dedicated anti-tank units were created during World War I by the German Army that, lacking the ressources to develop their own strong tank force, had to develop anti-tank tactics. First an improvised combination of satchel charges, heavy rifles and the use of divisional artillery, in 1916 the first dedicated anti-tank gun, the "3.7 cm TaK Rheinmetall in starrer Räder-Lafette", was introduced, supplemented in 1917 with the first dedicated armor-piercing amunition. Anti-tank guns have a higher muzzle velocity and usually rely on the kineic energy of the projectile instead of the explosives delivered to incapacitate the target tank.

Most nations started the Second World War with a mixture of anti-tank-rifles (being one-or two-person rifles with a high calibre and high muizzle velocity) and anti-tank guns with a small calibre and high muzzle velocity. These designs quickly prooved outdated against the advances in tank armour that had been made in the 30ies, the ubiquious german 37mm-AT gun earning the nickname "door-knocker" for its inability to pierce the armor of allied tanks anywhere but under most favourable circumstances. Heavier calibres were subsequently introduced by all nations, so that at the end of the war 75, 88, or even 100mm in the case of Soviet units were common calibres for AT guns.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-299-1831-26, Nordfrankreich, Soldaten mit Geschütz“ von Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-299-1831-26 / Hähle, Johannes / CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-299-1831-26, Nordfrankreich, Soldaten mit Geschütz“ von Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-299-1831-26 / Hähle, Johannes / CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The doctrine of combined arms, adapted from the German model into most armies of World War Two, ment that AT units were ususally available at any level of command. Single AT rifles were to organic to Soviet companies, AT squads could be found in the heavy companies of many armies, and most infantry regiments had at an AT company or at least a platoon. Likewiese, most divisions were equipped with a full AT batallion. The Soviet Union even created AT brigades to reinforce rifle armies, which were able to create "AT-fronts" of thirty of fifty concentrated AT guns, which were duly feared by German panzer commanders.

The last year of the Second World War saw the introduction of rocket propelled chaped charges, named "Bazooka" in the US army and "Panzerfaust" in the Wehrmacht. While crude and short-ranged at first, rocket propelled grenades proved themsels invaluable in combat in built-up areas, were cheap and could easily be mass-produced. Their subsequent evolution in the years following World War Two into mam-pads, shoulder-launched AT rockets and models that could be fired from helicopters and troop carriers lead to the slow retirement of AT guns from most armies.

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Attrition

Loss of personnel and/or equipment. Losses are typically both permanent (death, destruction, sinking) and temporary (sickness, wounds/breakdowns, battle damage).

An attritional strategy is a style of warfare that focuses on gaining an advantage by inflicting disproportional attrition of the adversary. Compare "Annihilation Strategy" that seeks to destroy the enemys will to fight rather than his means to do so.
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Auction Game

see Bidding Game"
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Balance

1. The way in which elements of a game are equalized relative to each player. Often balance is established by giving all players similar starting positions and maintained by using mechanisms to hurt the apparent leader or help the likely loser.

2. The state of a game where equally skilled players have a roughly equal chance of winning the game regardless of starting position, turn order, etc. Does not imply equality between the sides--a game like Ogre, where one side has a single huge tank vs. a side with many small ones can be considered balanced if both sides have an equal chance of winning.
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Beer and Prezels game

A game that is more concerned with having a good time than with any accuracy or detail and which is greatly based on luck so that it's nearly impossible for the players to plan any long-term strategies. Axis & Allies or - in Europa context - Balkan Front are good examples for a beer & pretzels game.
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Bidding Game

A game in which the players bid e.g. on resources in general or on special units in particular. Also a special variant of a non-bidding game, where the players try to change the given balance of a game by allowing to bid on units in order to change the normal set up. While the first is the official concept of a game, the latter is often a House Rule. See  Auction Game
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Breakdown

In most wargames, the military units come in different sizes: corps, battalions, armies etc.  A Breakdown happens when a bigger unit is split into smaller units whereby the smaller units usually have more Movement Points, i.e. they are faster than the big-ticket ones, but have less firepower or combat strength.

Second Front - Axis Breakdown Chart

Second Front - Axis Breakdown Chart

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Broken

Term for a game which has severe problems with the way the inherent game mechanics works, which has poor rules or an unfair balance, so it seems not worth playing.
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Chrome

Anything in a game that improves the playing experience as a whole, giving more “atmosphere”, realism, “feeling”…, but which is not actually necessary to play the game.
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Components

The sum off all parts that make a game. In the case of a strategy game, this includes usually at least a sort of playing board or map, a set of rules, and some or a lot of counters or game pieces.

Europa-Games usually also feature one or more bookletts that contain orders of battle as well als optional rules and lots of game charts (for example, a combat result table and a terrain effects chart) that denote the different die roll modifiers and enable players to determine the result of combats with the help of dice.
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Cosim, Consim

Abbreviation for Conflict Simulation, the more accurate term for what is usually called Wargame. Within wargaming as a whole, it’s a subcategory related to those games with more details and more “realism”, i.e. games that do portray historical events as close as possible in a game.
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Counter

Italian Counter from FitE

Italian Counter from FitE

Playing piece, mostly die-cut and made of cardboard paper, which represents a unit or contains other important information. Counters can be abstract and printed with symbols, numbers or other information (attack factors, morale, unit type and ID number etc.) or be printed with a picture of a unit, for example the face of a soldier together with his respective properties. The unit size depends on the game type, so a counter can portray a single soldier, horse or armor, or an entire army. Counter based games use counters instead of plastic playing pieces, pewter miniatures, wooden blocks, or other means of representing units. Almost all hex based games use counters when portraying units.
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Counter Density

The ratio of counters per hexfields/map space during a wargame. For example, Western Desert has a very low counter density, whereas March to Victory and Over There require players to manage huge stacks of units crammed into small areas of space.

Wargames can have a low or high counter density, depending on the number of counters that are actually used in the game at a time. That means it is not about how many counters a game has in total, since a game can have lots of different counters but still use only a few in any given turn.
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CRT - Combat Result Table

For Whom the Bell Tolls - Combat Chart

For Whom the Bell Tolls - Combat Chart with CRT (top left)

The Combat Result Table – is a chart which is used in many wargames for calculating the  results of a combat. It’s a certain math that combines attack/defense strength of the units involved or other specific attributes in a combat situation and links this combat factor to a die roll. The higher the attack value gets, the higher the chance of combat success actually is. The basic concept behind this is to have some fixed elements – the attack and defense strength or another certain ratio – combined with a certain element of randomness, because in reality both go along the same line. Combat success depends on more than the actual strength of the attacker or the weakness of the defender. Most CRTs take into account other things like terrain, weather, hindrances to Line of Sight etc.. to modify the attack/defense ratio.

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D6

two dice

Common abbreviation for 'six-sided die'. Similarly D8 refers to 'eight-sided die'. d10, d12, and d20 are also common terms. A pair of six-sided dice is sometimes called 2D6. These abbreviations are most common in RPGs and wargames.
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Dead Pile

In most wargames units can be step reduced or eliminated as a result of combat or other game mechanisms. The units not eligible for replacement in a subsequent phase of the game are usually placed off-board in a so called "dead pile", since the counters in this pile are no longer relevant to the game, except maybe for the calculation of victory points. See replacement pile
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Designer Editions

GDW typically noted the publication of a new title by affixing a tag or label with the game title, date, and the statement "N of 10" to the first 10 copies of a game that came off their assembly line. These tags were usually signed by the game designer. Most of these games were distributed to GDW staff, designers, or corporate friends. Designer Editions are the first off the line and thus do not have later upgrades or errata sheets which later production copies included.
Not to be confused with the Collectors Edition.
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dice-fest

A game using a lot of dice rolls during the course of play (like Tobruk) to get the results, or generally a very luck based game (like Axis & Allies).
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Downtime

Part of the game when a player is forced to wait until it’s their turn and has nothing to do in the meanwhile. Usually the term is used only if the time of doing nothing is reaching an undesired or even boring level because the opponent is overanalyzing or otherwise slowing down the game procedure. The opponent’s player turn is normally used to think about one’s own strategies for the next turn so a normal game speed keeps all players busy, either with acting or with thinking.
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DRM

A number added or subtracted from the value of a die/dice roll to modify its possible results. Die roll modifiers are usually used in conjunction with a die roll that determines an action of a unit, such as a combat result on the combat result table (CRT), or the attempt to use a special ability.
Die roll modifiers usually accumulate, for example, a die roll on the Europa CRT might incur the following DRMs, all at the same time: -2 for terrain, +3 for the use of armor (AECA), -1 for the use of armor in the defense (AECD), and +2 for inexperienced American troops in Tunisia. However, in most cases only one or two modifiers will apply.
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Dry

When a game has no “feel”, no story, no background, no chrome to get people interested in it and/or is heavily based on analytical game mechanics.
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Dummy

Some games use special markers to keep track of possible unit position and strength without giving away the exact information to the opponent (e.g. the concealment counters in ASL). Often these markers can also be used to trick the opponent when used like a normal unit on the map but when close contact is made with enemy units, it is removed from the game – it was a Dummy. This is portraying that soldiers may think there’s an enemy at a certain position because of noise or (wrong) intelligence and after actually reaching the pretended location, they realize that the position is deserted.
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end-game

Term for the final time in a game, when the players try to get what they can from their special situation according to the victory conditions. It’s actually the same as the end-game in chess and like in that game, wargames tend to have special strategies to open a game, for a mid-game and for the end-game.
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ETO

1. ETO means European Theater of Operations (see also PTO) and originates with the US military and its distinctions betrween the two theaters of war form the perspective of the US. ETO in World War Two includes the Western Front, the Eastern Front (these two descriptors clearly betraying the Axis point of view) and North Africa.
2. The most influential Europa fanzine of the Eighties, published under the full title ETO: The New Europa Newsletter by Bill Stone. Between May 1985 and June 1990 a total of 56 issues were printed. You can find an index of most issues here.
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Europa-Magazine, The

The Europa Magazine #32 - Cover

The Europa Magazine #32 - Cover

The Europa Magazine, also known as The Europa Newsletter or the Europa Systems Magazine, and generally abbreviated as TEM, was an in-house publication of the Games Research/Design (GR/D), dedicated to support of the The Europa Series, The Glory Series and The Great War Series of games. The magazine offers optional rules, scenarios, an inside look at the 3 series and reader feed-back, TEM ran from November 1987 to the Summer of 2004 on a generally bimonthly schedule. Until the takeover by Arthur Goodwin, 87 issues were produced,

The TEM index.

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Fart-Factor

This refers to the apparent ‘fart’ sound when a game box is closed. This usually occurs with games that have a significant number of components.
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Fiddly

1. Requiring frequent & excessive mental manipulations to play a game, which tends to detract from strategic/tactical planning and to bog down the ebb and flow of the game. Examples: Multiple modifiers for each dice roll (+2 for leader rating, -1 for brush terrain, +1 for ambush....), cumbersome arithmetic (I am selling 3 items at $377 each...), special chrome rules (Patton gets +2 combat DRM vs. Rommel, etc.

2. Physically fiddly (the normal definition): having multiple pieces that have to be manipulated excessively in order to play the game, like stacking multiple counters in a small hex in a wargame, requiring multiple denominations of paper money, etc.
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Fidelity

In the fields of modeling, simulation and wargaming fidelity refers to the degree to which the design reproduces the state and behavior of a real world object, process or conflict. Fidelity is therefore generally equated with realism.
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Flaw

A rule or game mechanism that is considered to reduce the joy in playing the game, either because (as in historical simulations) allows or even promotes ahistorical situations or gameplay, or because it can be exploited to one sides advantage, or because it restricts or influences gameplay in a way that is detriment to the idea of the game. As might be imagined, opinions about Flaws might differ, especially if it comes to historical simulations, where the capabilities and possibilities of politicians, generals and forces are still subject to severe disputes even among the historic profession.

A game which has flaws or is considered flawed, is a game where the mechanics are not working together in a satisfactory way. Therefore the game is working good enough to avoid being called broken, but has some minor problems the players have to deal with.
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Fog of War

Term for the hidden aspects of a wargame, e.g. enemy positions and unit strength. Hex ‘n Counter Wargames usually have low FoW since they give away many information to all players because the counters can be seen all the time. Knowledge of the player which goes far beyond what a actual commander would know in any given situation is called the “Omniscient Player Syndrome.” Some wargames try to limit this knowledge for the opposing side and therefore increase the FoW by using special markers that conceal real information regarding unit strength or even actual unit positions (see also Dummy). There are also games which are played double-blind so each player only sees their units on their own board and has limited information about the opponent’s board. While this is clearly increasing the FoW in a more realistic manner, it is much more based on trust than other game systems because double-blind games are open to possible cheating.
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Friction

"Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult. These difficulties accumulate and produce a friction, which no man can imagine exactly who has not seen war."

Carl von Clausewitz, "On War", p. 118, quoted after the translation JJ.Grahams (1873)

Propensity of unexpected delays to occur during armed conflicts. This phenomenon known to everyone who ever served in armed forces was first theoretically analyzed by the godfather of modern strategy, Carl v. Clausewitz, who`s quotes you might already have encountered in other places on this website.  It describes the phenomenon that in an army as in any other system that relies on a high number of mutually dependent contributing systems, one complication will usually cause delays and impediments beyond the individual system itself. To wit: A gun carriage or a tank breaking down on the bridge of a river crossing can delay the march of a whole division.
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Fudge-Factor

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Game Level

Scale of the game / level of abstraction: skirmish, tactical, operational, strategic, grand-strategic.

Grand-Strategic: The counters represent armies or other large units, the scale is global. Example: A World At War. (see also game level)

Strategic: level of abstraction in wargames using armies, corps etc., instead of single squads. Map scales are larger (entire countries or continents) and time frames portrayed in a turn are higher than in tactical games (often months or even years). Example: Totaler Krieg.

Operational: between tactical and strategic, with units mostly having battalion size up to divisions.

Tactical: using Squads, single Support Weapons etc. instead of armies, corps etc.. Map scale is smaller than in strategical wargames (villages, streets, countryside) and the time scale portrayed in a single turn is only minutes up to days.
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Game Report

Stories which were written to portray what was going on in a wargame. There are different styles to do that, either in the form of an actual combat report where the game is described as if it has been a real fight, or the more in-game style where the author is using the game terms to give a strategical /tactical overview. While the former are great to read, the latter often give more precise information to learn from. In the end it’s a matter of taste, though. The General Staff Archives host a plethora of AARs in our Archive.
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Gamer

A person who likes to spend most of his / her free time with playing games.
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Gamey

1. A game that has mostly mechanics that are not related to the historical background of the theme portrayed and/or which exchanges details in gameplay with simple structures to give the players some fun experience. Quite the contrary to a simulation.
2. In wargames, a mechanism or rule that seems contrived and/or encourages ahistorical or unrealistic tactics or strategies. Good example are:

  • "factor counting" where an attacking player will move his units to avoid wasting attack points on unfavorable attacks (Moving a stronger unit in to get a 15:5 (or 3:1 ratio) rather than 14:5 (which rounds down to 2:1)
  • "soaking off losses" where a defender, if he can choose which units will take losses/be eliminated, will pair off a strong unit with weak ones, so the weak ones will "take the hit" so the strong unit can survive and remain at full strength.

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GE

Acronym for "Grand Europa"

  1. The place where all good Europa players go to when they die to push golden-plated counters over a map so vast you can barely see the other side of a hex if you are standing on it while rolling sixes all day.
  2. The different attempts to unify all games of the Europa-series into a unified system enabling players to play through the whole of World War Two. These attempts have varingly been conceptualized as a set of stregic rules for production, national will and politics, or as a simple set of rules linking individual games to from a greater picture, such as the "Clash of Titans"-Scenario from TEM 39/40.
    Sadly, since the demise of GR/D the best chances of Grand Europa ever to see the light have probably passed.

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Geek

The people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult.

The General

The General was an in-house magazine of reviews, strategies, variants, commentary and other valuable information specifically for the owners of games produced by The Avalon Hill Game Co (TAHGC) (Pre-Hasbro). The magazine was not the first, but in the Sixties and Seventies definitly one of the most influencial in the wargaming industry. Starting in May 1964, the General was published on a bimonthly schedule, and in the three decades that followed, it became a mainstay of the gaming industry. Death came, as with most wargaming publications and companies, with the advent of the internet and computer games.September 1995 saw the last issue printed.

The General is now fully acvailable online in in the Internet Archive.
Boardgamegeek.com has an excellent Index of most issues.

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Genking

A move to disrupt an opponents advance by placing reinforments in unconquered cities beyond the enemies spearheads, thus being able to disrupt his supply lines and advance. Names after the Belgian town of Genk which was used in a PBEM-Campaign-game of March to Victory to host the arrival of a British division and assorted ants, who would have no realistic means to get there in the first place, but tore through german HQs and supply points and effectively ruined the Schlieffen Plan. Definitly slick: Allowed by the rules, but neither historical nor realistic.

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Granularity

Degree of detail that considered aspects of warfare are depicted. While some equate increase granularity with increased realism there is no guarantee that the factors examined in great granularity are those most decisive to the outcome of the armed conflict under consideration.Back to top

Grognard

This term has not so much to do with games as such, but refers to a special kind of player. It is used for very experienced wargamers and the term was originally a nickname for members of Napoleon’s Old Guard. It’s a french term meaning “Grumbler” and described the attitude of veteran soldiers who had deep insight in certain battle situations but couldn’t do much about it if the commanding officer released the wrong orders.

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Hauser-Line

The Hauser Line

The fort line connecting Moscow with the Kalinin lake proposed by Victor Hauser for the Soviet player to build as early as ressources permit in Drang nach Osten

On the maps of the first edtion of Drang nach Osten a line of four clear hexes northwest of Moscow between the outskits of the city and lake Kljasma that namesake Victor Hauser reccommended for fortification early on in the game, since these hexes provided an appropriate choke-point for any german advance on the Soviet capital. Additionally,  placement of the forts on a rail line meant reinforcemnts could be railed directly to the front line, or the line could be evacuated by rail if necessary.

Basically rendered moot by the introduction of new maps in Fire in the East, the name still stuck around for various fortification lines west of Moscow.

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Heavy

Games which have very complex rules, which need practise to be mastered, offer many options to carefully think about and mostly have a long playing time.
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Heft Factor

Describing the overall quality and sheer amount of a game’s components. A game with a very well made and attractive board, many detailed playing pieces etc.. is considered to have a high "heft factor."
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Hex

Westwall in Second Front

A map excerpt from "Second Front" showing hex fields covering
parts of the Westwall

Hex is short for hexagon, which is a geometric shape with six sides of equal length. Since a lot of strategy games concern themselves with movements of units on maps, hexagon fields are very poppular. Hex fields can be used to cover a map continuously, thus enabling standardized movement ranges by counting the number of hexes a unit is allowed to move (or fire). Hexfields have a significant advantage over squares since they reduce the distortion in distances required to move units in several directions.
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Home Rule

Rules which are created by the players themselves in order to enhance the enjoyment of a certain game, to incorporate new elements not
covered by the original system, or to adjust some problematical mechanics in a game which are not working right. (see also Optional Rules
and Variant Rules)
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House Rule

see Home Rule

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Incremental Odds

An optional rule in several Europa and Great War games to allow more low-odd combats by inserting a random element on the desicion which column on the CRT to use. Odds are not rounded up or down as ususally, but calculated down to the second decimal place, For example, Odds of 43:15 would  not be rounded down to 2:1, but instead to 2,87. Percentile dice are then used in an additional roll of dice to determine if the combat is resolved using the 3:1 or the 2:1 column.

Kriegspiel

German for wargame. As modern wargames originated in Prussia early wargames used around the world were often called Kriegspiele and used by the nascent general staff to train its officers in basic operational skills.

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Maneuver

The movement of military forces, typically to gain an advantage over an adversary.
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Maneuver Warfare

A style of warfare in with the principle method used to gain an advantage over the adversary is maneuver, and thus the opposite to attritional strategy
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Map

Besides the traditional “Map” which describes a playing board of a traditional wargame, this term also describes a “level” or “stage” in a PC- or video game. Here a map is defined as a limited area which can be a planet, a city, a building, an island or any other setting (depending on the game) where people meet and fight. Maps for multiplayer variants such as Capture the Flag are often taken from the main story mode and adapted to the requirements of a multiplayer level. In CTF two bases are necessary, while Deathmatch maps often consist of a central part which is surrounded by different ways and tunnels allowing the players to hunt for each other. The available space is often very limited in order to enforce a confrontation; the size of a map depends on the number of players it was designed for.

Europa map of the Westwall

Part of Germany depicted on the maps from Second Front. Along the french border the fortified Westwall hexes can be seen, their strength denoted by the respective numbers inside the hexagons. On the french side the Maginot line is depicted by fortified hexsides and the black hexagons along the nothern part of the border,

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Mechanism

That part of a game’s overall rule system that covers one general or specific aspect of the game. Having good mechanics means those parts work smoothly together.

cf. Home Rule.
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mini/max

Analyzing your turn with an emphasis on getting the best ratio of personal resources expended to realized gains. If this analysis gets too long, it is called overanalyzing and causes Downtime.
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miniatures game

Any wargame played with miniature figures of tanks, equipment or individual soldiers rather than counters or abstract pieces. While these miniatures are often used to represent a multitude of the item depicted, minature games are more often focused on tactical settings and/or battles with high troop densitiy like fantasy or medieval or ancient settings.

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Monster

Used for wargames which use very large maps and/or have a high counter density. Classic Europa-Example for this is Fire in the East.
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Montecarlo

A method of adjudication that attempts to replicate the spectrum of outcomes plausible in the real world. For example if Red has a 50% chance of shooting down each of 10 Blue aircraft under Montecarlo adjudication a random number is generated for each shot. The most frequent outcome is that 5 aircraft will be adjudicated as being shot down, but occasionally all or no aircraft will be adjudicated as lost.
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Moves

Moves #82 - Cover

Moves #82 - Cover

Moves was a wargaming magazine originally published by SPI (Simulations Publications, Inc.) as a house organ in 1972.
Strategy & Tactics had developed from a wargaming magazine into a military history magazine featuring a new game in each issue, and so Moves was intended to cover the gaming end of SPI - issues generally had a discussion of the next few games under development, and extensive articles on the latest game released. It was canceled shortly after the purchase of SPI by TSR, and the final issue (#60) of the original run was published in December of 1981.

Issue 1 to 108 visual index: Tactical Wargamer Moves page

Mulligan-Chip

The Mulligan-Chip is a popular house-rule in games that have few decisive die-rolls determining the course or even outcome of  a game, and helps mitigating any freak rolls. The Mulligan Chip is initially in possession of the player that moves first and can be used to revert any die-roll the player in possession of the chip does. The chip is used by declaring its use and  re-rolling the die (or the dice, if multiple dice are used in one roll)  in question. After the re-roll, the Mulligan chip changes hands and gets passed of to the other player, who then can keeps it until he chooses to re-roll a die himself.

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Nerd

A person that tends to be immersed in intellectual interests, or hobbies often at the expense of social functionality. (see also Geek)

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Newbie

Someone who’s new to a game, a beginner. Some newbies don’t like to be called by this term, though and it is often considered to be rude to use it.
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NGF

Abbreviation for "Non-gaming friend".
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Non-Divisional Units

Any independent military unit smaller than a division. Since modern armies until recently used divisions as the smallest unit capable of independent, sustained combined-arms operations, non-divisional units were used to support divisions with special capabilities or additional combat power. for example it was possible for divisions in a breakthrough sector to be reinforced with several batallions of engineers to clear paths through obstacles and minefields, or to have additional batallions or even regiments of artillery to increase their firepower. Other non-divisional attachments might contain additional transport assets or logistical support.

Non-divisional units are not capable of operating individually, since they only contain weapons or equipment of one particular type, such as an Engineer Regiment or an FLAK-Batallion. Thus they are not able to make use of combined arms operations, which is one of the central prerequisites for success on a modern battlefield. For NDUs in the context of the Europa- or Great War series, see Ants.

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Non-Gamer

Quite obviously somebody who does not play games.

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Non-overunnable Double Line (NODL)

The NODL was devised by Soviet players as a strategy in Drang nach Osten to slow down the german panzer corps in critical sectors. It works by placing two lines of units right behind each other, each line just strong enough to prevent the German payer from overrunning them. Since the odds required for a successful overrun are fixed, the number of defense factors to prevent such an overrun can be calculated easily. The first line of defending units will be most likely be eliminated during combat, the second line however prevents any advance by the German motorized units in the exploitation phase.

In effect, the soviet player trades men for space, which does not matter in FitE, since victory points are exclusively calculated based on the possession of certain key cities, and the Soviet player does not need a functional army of significant strength after the game ends in march 1942. As such, NODLS are a classic end-game tactic. NODLS have been used in several subsequent games, most notably Fall of France, where the Allied player uses it to prevent the German "Sichelschnitt" from  cutting off the Allied forces in Belgium. Since the player using NODS usually suffers proportionally much higher losses, this tactic is only usable under the following conditions:

  • The player has a surplus of units eligible to form a NODL
  • The game or scenario is short enough that the losses will not hamper him later
  • Losses are not part of the victory point calculation

The use of NODLs was one of the main reasons Europa introduced concepts of a rule enabling variable overruns, i e. enabling players to conduct low-odds overruns at a higher cost of movement points and a possible adverse result to the attacker.
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OB (Order of Battle)

A listing of all those units, weapons etc. that are part of a given player sides starting or reinforcing units in a Wargame. Europa long has had a reputation for having extensively researched and historically accurate Orders of Battle, with the various possible reorganisations, reinforcements and arrival dates subject to intense discussions on- and offline.
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odds

In wargaming, odds are usually used to calculate the force ratio in combat between enemy units. The result might then be modified by die roll modifiers (DRMs) and used to determine the outcome of the combat by use of a Combat Result Table. For example,  if units with combined attacking factors of 12 attack a stack of units whos combined defense factors are 4, the odds would be 3:1.

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OOP

Out Of Print. A game which isn’t published anymore. Sometimes, very successful games will be reprinted later, but until then, the games are hard to find and only available on marketplaces like boardgamegeek, ebay, and sometimes in specialized game shops.
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Operational

Up to modern times military art distinguished between tactics and strategy, being the difference between winning a battle and winning a war. The advent of mass armies and industrial production of weapons lead to significant advancements and a huge increase in the complexity of running an army. Additionally, wars, now involving vast armies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, were no longer decided with a single battle on a single day, but battles started to last days. This meant the defeat of an enemy in a single "theater of war" or province, or along a single frontier, became an art in itself. "Operational" is thus best defined as

The art of the use of battles for the purpose of attaining strategic objectives in war.

This definition, as the shrewd observer will notice, borrows heavily from Clausewitz` definitions of both strategy and tactics. Elevating operations to the level formerly inhabited by strategy means we will need a new definition for strategy. This is not a big conundrum, though, since the Clausewitzian definition was lacking economics and politics anyway, and long due for an overhaul. The proposed definition retains the focus on the purely military aspect while explaining that at operations concern themselves with the forces at hand for any given task, while putting emphasis on the fact that the coordination of said forces is at the heart of the matter.

Most Europa games are operational games, focussing on a single theater and usually a single operation - which is why most of the first games were named after the german code-names for those operations. Only the bigger campaigns (Second Front or Scorched Earth leave the operational focus and also involve a some strategy.
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Optional Rules

Many Europa games (as well as other games by other publishers, of course) contain rules that enhance the realism of the game at the price of an increase in complexity, i.e. more rules to remember, more possible moves for any player, and/or more dice rolls to make. Designers use optional rules to enable novices to play already complex games why enabling Grognards to more adequately represent the historical situation.

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Overanalyze

To use an exorbitant amount of time to find the perfect setup or an optimal move, especially when the resulting move is virtually equal to all other choices. (see also Downtime)
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Overrun

A game mechanic that simulates the appliance of overwhelming force at a point on the battlefield, enabling the attacking units to brush aside the outnumbered defenders as part of their movement instead of having to end movement and deploy to attack. In Europa with its distinct separation of movement and combat phases, overrun occurs during the movement phase. The classic Europa overrun rule requires odds of at least 10:1 for a successful overrun, which then is automatically successful. Conducting an overrun costs movement points and eliminates the units being overrun.

Due to various reasons, mostly the use of Non-overrunable double-lines (NODLs) in some Europa-games, various rules enabling low-odds overruns or variable overruns have been proposed or drafted in the past, with so far none making it into the official rules sets. 
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Overstack

Wargames often limit the amount of ground forces that can enter a single map filed or hex by introducing a stacking limit. Overstacking is a rule mechanism prescribing what happens to units that enter a hex in excess of the stacking limit. Usually, these units have their abilities and combat factors reduces to show the loss of efficiency that the massing of forces entails.

Overstacking was introduced as a rule concept since the usually applied stacking limits of the Europa- Great War- and Glory-Series are not capable of simulating in historical detail the conditions in several key battles of both World Wars, for example the massing of 50+ Allied divisions for the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, or the level of force concentration the Red Army achieved in breakthrough sectors of its succesfull offensives in 1943 and ´44.

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Parakeetitis

An affliction suffered primarily by Spielfreaks, it causes the gamer to be enthralled by gorgeous components. Sufferers can often be heard to softly murmur, "nice bits" while examining a game and can be easily distracted by the sight of shiny objects.
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PBEM

Abbreviation for Play by E-Mail, which is a descriptor of a game system that allows the players to play against one another through e-mail. Often these games have graphical user interfaces, and just use e-mail as the communications for their turn-based play.
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Percentile Dice

Some games have the outcome of the game hinge on only a small amount of dice rolls. For example in "Western Desert" the results of an especially unlucky die roll in  a key battle can have results influencing the whole rest of the game. Percentile dice are used to reduce the variability in dice rolls by allowing Incremental Odds.

Example: If the odds of a particular combat are calculated as 2.78 : 1, two ten-sided-dice are used to determine if the 3:1 or the 2:1 column is used when rolling for combat resolution on the CRT. One dice is used for the tens, the other one for the single digits. If the roll of the percentile dice is under 78, the 3:1 is used, if it is above 78, the 2:1 is used.

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Phasing Player

The player whose turn it is. Often called “active player”.
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Playability

The relative ease with which a wargame can be conducted. Wargames with low playability take a relatively long time to learn how to use and are cumbersome in execution. Wargames with good playability are quick and easy to learn and have initiatively obvious and convenient methods of execution.
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Player Interaction

The degree and frequency with which players can affect each other during a game. High player interaction means less Downtime.
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Playtest

To examine the rules of a game and to play a prototype game many times, testing the rules and experimenting with strategies in order to find possible improvements and obvious bugs.
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processional

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Popofsky Maneuver

A defense strategy named after Mark Popofsky who described it in an After Action Report in Bill Stone's ETO # 31/32

At its core is the realisation that sometimes the Best Defense is No Defense. The rules as written grant attacking units one hex of extra movement after a successful attack, the Advance After Combat.

Especially in FitE/SE the Axis player needs to move East fast in the first half of the game. Sometimes the movement costst in crossing the many rivers running north-south slow the Panzer spearheads down, as crossing such a river can cost several movement points. So if there is a weakly defended hex on the other side of the river, not only can this unit be eliminated, the attacking units also get to cross the river free of charge! The result is it is sometimes the more favourable strategy to leave hexes undefended instead of only defending them weakly.

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Punched

A game prepared for play by having the manufacturing-process materials that are still attached to the game bits removed. Generally, games which have been removed from the shrinkwrap are still very "new" or "like new" if they are unpunched. While many geeks enjoy punching a game as soon as they receive it, un-punched status can be important for some wargames as the myriad of chits can be hard to track once they have been punched.
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Random

When events or player actions in a game are very unpredictable, for example die rolls and card draws. Often players will have little, if any, control over the elements that control their performance in the game.Back to top

Reading a Game

Most collectors of wargames play only a few of their games (not surprising because there are folks out there who own up to 3000 games, or they don’t have any opponents in the area) and are satisfied with just “reading” the other ones of their collection. Which means they buy a game, lay out the map, punch out the pieces and read the rules while pushing some counters. Once they think they know the Dynamic Potential of the game, it goes on the shelf.Back to top

Realism

The degree to which a model, simulation or wargame matches the real world entity of interest. A one foot square map of the world can be realistic as long as all elements are correct/in scale.Back to top

Recreation

A game with a very high level of simulation which is trying to duplicate original historical conditions in detail. (see also SimulationBack to top

Replay-Value

A game’s capacity to remain entertaining and fresh after several playthroughs.Back to top

Rules-Lawyer

Either used for a gamer who interprets rules in an overly literal sense or in such a way to use certain aspects of a game to his favor, or used to describe a person that has an extremely detailed knowledge about a given rules system.

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Scenario

Many wargames do not have only one setting in which the players strive for victory, but do portray smaller battles and military operations as well. Such battles and the objectives the players are after in these battles is called a scenario (see also Mission). Many games offer a long campaign, portraying the entire war, and single scenarios which are spotlights on certain battles and events within this war. Sometimes, a campaign is played by playing a sequence of scenarios.
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Sequence of Play

Sequence of Play – in turn based wargames, each player must follow a strict sequence of actions which must be done in a certain order before the player turn is over and the opponent starts playing.
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Setup

The initial phase in a game during which players ready all the components that will be needed for playing, lay out the map, determine the sides and place their starting counters or pieces on the map.
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Sick trick

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Slick trick

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Slime

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Simulation

A game that puts major emphasis on accurately depicting (historical) reality. (see also Wargame and Re-creation)
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Soak-Off

A popular tactic in games where attacks against adjacent units are mandatory: before attacking the enemy unit which is the real target in a given combat situation, the phasing player makes attacks towards other adjacent enemy units with only a few and cheap units of his own, often even at bad odds. If everything goes well, the enemy unit the player is actually interesting in, is the only unit surviving this first attack and is forced to attack in the opponent’s turn, because he must attack adjacent units. This time though, the odds are in favor to the other player because he deliberately didn’t attack with many of his stronger units. After the opponent lost all adjacent units in the soak-off attack, he will also lose now his last unit against the stronger troops he is forced to attack.
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Solitaire

A game designed for one player. The player doesn’t control all factions represented in the game (as he does when playing a multiplayer game solitaire), but plays versus the game system itself which controls enemy movement. Examples for solitaire games are B17 or London’s Burning where the game system controls the german planes and defense by a random system. Most Solitaire games are limited to the tactical or operational level. (see: Multiplayer)
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Solvable

Not as good as it first sounds: a game which can be won almost every time if you apply a certain strategy or “trick” which exploits the game mechanics. When the players discovered this particular winning strategy, the game is solved – and put on the shelf because there’s no reason to play it anymore. (see also Broken)
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Stack

Most hex-grids on wargaming maps tend to leave enough place per hex to place one counter. However, in lots of wargames several units can enter the same hex, not to mention information counters like hit markers or counters denoting airfields. Players usually resort to placing all units on top of each other, creating a stack. See Stacking-Limit and Overstack.
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Stacking-Limit

In many wargames several units can enter one and the same map hex, creating a stack. Most wargams will also regulate how many units are allowed to enter or be placed in one hex to dissuade players from ahistorical game play.

In Europa there are stacking rules only for ground units, since the designers could not see any player benefitting from placing his whole air force (or navy) into a single hex. the classic Europa stacking limit is 3/3/2 - three divisions, three non-divisional units, and two non-divisional artillery units. Newer Europa-Games and the Great War Series started experimenting with slight changes to this rule, measuring the stacking limit for nondivisional-units in RE, for example.

See Stack and Overstack
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Staff

The part of a military unit responsible for the administrative, operational and logistical needs of the unit, usually having a significant amount of officers in it.
For most of human history, simple logistics had precluded the assembly of any army much larger than 70, 80.000 men except for very short times, since the logistics in feeding such a large host of men and animals became quickly prohibitive. Improvements in agriculture and industry led to a marked increase in population, wealth, and technological possibilities in the 18th century. The new ressources were immediately put to use, as humans do, to war, specifically, to raise, equip, and sometimes even feed even bigger armies.

To master the logistical challenges in maintaining more than 100.000 men alive long enough to die in battle and not from hunger required a significant administrative effort. The European armies reacted by creating specialists for seperate tasks such as supplying, equipping, and training soliders, and also for mapping terrain, planning movements and handling other administrative tasks. Louis Alexandre Berthier, chief of Staff to Napoleon and his Grandé Armeé, is credited with creating the first functioning staff which was a central factor in overcoming the "limited warfare" of the 18th century and enabling the huge French imperial armies to move and fight at speeds and with a presicion that left their opponents dazzled and outmaneuvred.

These professionals coalescenced into "staffs". Fittingly the Germans and their Prussian Officers are the eponyms of these institutions, named by the batons that officers used to carry to whip disobedient soldiers (or anyone who would low enough beneath their social status to warrant such a treatment, justified or not). Prussian Officers also developed the enlightened idea that every officer should have some qualifications, namely, having spent some time at school, and being taught military science - a revolutionary concept to the European elites, who were accustomed to command by birth of right or appointment of their king or emperor. The introduction of compulsory education and conscription went hand in hand, proving that more knowledge does not necessarily make humans smarter.

At any rate the Prussian Staff system, especially its Generalstab became first very successful, then copyied by most modern militaries, and then demonized and singlehandidly blamed for Germanys unsuccessful attempts to achieve dominance over its European neighbours by military means, which is why its one of the few model institutions that have been declared dissolved and any follow up organisation prohibited not only once but twice. Its brethren, however, are very much alive, since it follows that any army still needs someone to command it.

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Strategy

The overall plan which a player tries to put into action in a game. Gaming decisions based on long-range goals as opposed to immediately effective tactical decisions. (see also Tactics)
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Strategy & Tactics

Strategy & Tactics #45 - Cover

Strategy & Tactics #45 - Cover

Strategy and Tactics is a wargaming magazine now published by Decision Games, notable for publishing a complete new wargame in each issue. S&T was without doubt the most influential wargaming magazine during the heydeys of strategy gaming, especially the sixties and seventies. By breaking the industry standards of carefully crafted individual games in long production cycle and opting for six games a year, S&T dramatically lowered the hurdles to get into wargaming and increased its popularity manyfold.

The general decline of wargaming due to the rise of computer games and card games led to several buy-outs and takeovers, but S&T is still around at Strategyandtacticsmagazine.com

Africa Orientalé was published first in S&T 47
The Boardgamegeek has extensive links and indeces for S&T

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Supply

This term refers to supplies which are used by certain units in a game e.g., ammunition, fuel, food etc.. Units that have enough of those things are said to be “in supply” and units which don’t are said to be “out of supply”. The latter have to pay certain penalties in regards to movement and combat, and supply therefore plays a very important role in consims. Fun-Wargames normally don’t bother with this issue, because supply tends to slow down the overall game speed due to the time needed to plan blocking, freeing, and destroying supply lines. While extremely important in strategic level games, supply seldom is part of tactical level games, because the simulated time is too short for supply having any influence on the Scenario.

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Tactics

Usually referring to the actions aimed at winning a battle, thus "tactical" is anything related to one singular battle.

We at the Generalstab still believe Clausewitz defitition of tactics to be the most accurate, while leaving the necessery flexibility:

"Taktik ist die Lehre vom Gebrauch der Streitkräfte zum Zwecke des Gefecht"

The translation offered here is: "Tactic is the form of  knowledge on how to use ones forces for the purpose of combat".

Notes on the Translation:
Lehre is a generic enough term to encompass science, experience and art, and thus we are avoiding the long discussion wether warfare is a science or an art.
Gebrauch simply means use.
Zwecke (the "e" is lost in modern versions of the word) is best translated as purpose, again leaving the aim of the commander in battle open, for sometimes a successful withdrawal can be as complicated to achive as a defeat of an enemy force.
Gefecht refers to an individual fight of a military unit, be it a company or a regiment or a corps. A battle  is any combat with a significant outcome from an operational or strategic viewpoint, and usually involves multiple units.

Tactical games usually contain units from platoon up to bataillon size, battles are fought on playing fields representing a couple of miles at most.
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Terrain Effect Chart - TEC

Featured in most wargames. A chart showing the various terrain features of a wargame map and their effect on unit movement, combat, etc.

Storm over Scandinavia - Terrain Effects Chart A

Storm over Scandinavia - Terrain Effects Chart A

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Theme

The topic of a game, the story told by it – either historical, or fictional .
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Turn Based

Turn based wargames are played in an I Go / U Go fashion, which means that each player has a strict Sequence of Play with specific phases allowing some actions like movement, combat, rally, reserve etc.. When one player is through his Sequence of Play, his turn is over and another player starts with his actions.

Turn based games portray reality in a kind of abstract manner because of this limitation of actions one after another although they describe things that actually happen simultaneously and often have a special phase when the opponent can interdict movement or make Defensive Fire to avoid the unrealistic consequences of this style of play. (see also RTS)
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Under-developed

Having one or more mechanisms that are either too similar or insufficiently inter-connected, leaving a game that feels like the design was not completed.
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Units

In military lingo: Any group of soldiers organized for combat on a permanent base. Troops, Platoons, Companies, Regiments and Corps are all military units.  In strategy games units can be represented by counters, blocks, miniatures, plastic figures or by other means. Europa units are depicted on square pieces of cardboards named counter which represent any military unit involved or at least depicted in the game, from groups of planes to flotillas to corps, divisions down to bataillons and even companies in some cases.
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Variant Rules

Rules that are part of a game, but which are only used if the players agree on using some or all of them. Such rules are incorporated to increase the level of details and to be more accurate in portraying certain things, but since the game also works with the basic rules, the designer decided to leave the decision to the players if they want to use these additional rules, because they also increase complexity and/or playing time. Similar to Optional Rules but not to be confused with House Rules.
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Victory point (VP)

AWW - Victory Chart

A Winter War- Victory Chart

Victory Points. Sometimes pronounced either "Veeps" or "Vee Pees". Plural can be spelled VP's, VPs or just VP. Points accumulated for completing various actions which count towards victory.

In simulations which recreate a certain (historical) battle or war, players are given specific conditions which have to be fulfilled, a goal which has to be achieved in order to determine which player has “won” the game. These victory conditions tend to be very closely related to the actual achievements that were the goal in such a battle e.g. the destruction of a building, blowing up a bridge, holding out at a position, defeating enemies, capturing key countries or strategic locations etc.

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Wargame

A game in which players put military units in direct conflict with each other. The goal of these games is either annihilation of the opponent’s units or the attainment of certain strategic conditions. These types of games will often have high thematic content and a varying degree of abstraction. (see also Miniatures Game)

The term is also used to describe a subcategory within wargaming itself and then it means games on the lower complexity scale as opposed to consims. (see Consim, Simulation)
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Weather

Storm over Scandinavia - Weather Table

Storm over Scandinavia - Weather Table

The more accurate a wargame is, the more likely weather plays a big part in the game mechanics. While strategic level games have to consider weather changing like winter, harvest, sommer etc. through the course of the year, tactical level games more often have wind strength, rain and fog that influence movement and combat conditions.

Each Europa game usually comes with its own weather chart detailing the effects of bi-weekly weather changes on the different weather zones. In later games these tables have been standardized into one Grand Europa Weather Chart.

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Ziplock-Game

A game not sold in a cardboard box, but instead packed in a plastic ziplock bag. Europa examples are Wavell`s War and Africa Orientalé.

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Zone of Control (ZOC)

Units represented as counters may sometimes effect not only the hex or field the occupy, but also their surroundings. These effects are summarised in the concept of a "zone of control", which denotes the extent of this influence (in Europa, this is usually all surrounding hexes), as well as the effects the influence has. For example, an enemy unit leaving the ZOC of a friendly unit might have to pay extra movement points to "extricate" itself from battle, thus simulating the higher security measures necessary and the higher rate of off-road movement military units usually incur in proximity to the enemy.
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ZOC-Scam

Contrary to its name the ZOC-Scam is a perfectly legal game technique to maximize the opponents losses. In most Europa games, units retreating into an enemy ZOC will incur further losses, being reduced to cadre or eliminated. A skilled player will therefor aim to surround  stacks of enemy units with ZOCs before attacking them. A low-odds attack then can be made, which will result in the destruction of the enemy stack if it is forced to retreat.

An unwanted side effect of this game mechanism is that both players usually try to straighten their front lines to protect themselves against such attacks as good as possible.
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