Watch on the Rhine: The Siegfried Line Campaign, 1944-45 (WotR) is a two-player (solitaire adaptable) historical simulation of the final operations of World War II in northwest Europe.
Each hexagon on the map represents 10 miles (16.2 km) from side to opposite side. The units of maneuver are almost all divisions or brigades or their ad hoc equivalents. There are two corps-sized units representing the First Allied Airborne Army when it’s used in paradrop operations. Each full game turn represents 10 days to one month of ‘real time,’ depending on the time of year.
What Makes This Project Special?
We at Canvas Temple have been at this a long time; designing and playing wargames. The youngest of us has been playing over 35 years. Like many old-school wargamers, our eyesight has declined, our fingers have become fumbley, and our time has become scarce.
So we decided to make wargames more suited to us old timers. This operational level wargame is big in scope (and lettering) and can be played in a (long) evening. Rather than standard 9/16" or even 5/8" inch counters, this game utilizes our custom 3/4" counter die to create large, thick counters that are easy to see and manipulate. The base game also contains two full-sized maps with giant hexes, and a well tested game system that approaches its subject with enough abstraction to keep the game tight, but enough detail to do justice to history and create an array of complex decisions.
The maps illustrate the militarily significant terrain found in and around this border area of western Germany in 1944-45 when portrayed at this scale. The national boundaries shown are the final internationally ones from just before the war began in 1939.
A hexagonal (“hex”) grid is printed over the map to regulate the placement and movement of units across it, much like the squares in Chess and Checkers. A unit is considered to be in only one hex at any one time. Every hex on the map has a unique four-digit identification number printed within it. They’re provided to help find exact locations more quickly and to allow for the recording of unit positions if a game has to be taken down before it can be completed.
The Playing Pieces
Most of the unit-counters represent combat formations; others are provided as informational markers and memory aids. Units organizational sizes, from larger to smaller, are shown using standard notation:
- XXX – corps
- XX – division
- X – brigade
If a unit’s size symbol is beneath a bracket, that means it was an ad hoc formation of approximately that size.
Initial Sequence of Play:
- I. Allied Player Turn
- A. Allied Supply Sector Allocation Phase
- B. 1AAA Entry Phase
- C. Allied Reinforcement & Replacement Phase
- D. Allied Movement or Combat Phase
- E. Allied Combat or Movement Phase
- II. German Player Turn
- A. German Reinforcement & Withdrawal Phase
- B. German Movement or Combat Phase
- C. German Combat or Movement Phase
- D. Watch on the Rhine Determination Phase***
- III. Terminal Logistics Phases
- A. German Terminal Supply Check Phase
- B. Allied Terminal Supply Check Phase
Not convinced? You can download the current working version of the rules: WotR Rules.
Base Game Contents:
- 2 sheets of 3/4" die-cut, double-sided, full-color counters
- 2 full-sized 22" x 34" map sheets that join together to form one large playing surface
- 1 Book of rules
- 1 sheet of player-aid card
The base game will be published in folio format if only the base funding goal is achieved.
Achievement of this stretch goal will add an OB layout and set-up sheet for the main scenario.
Achievement of this goal will make the game a boxed game and include dice and storage baggies for the counters.
The Counteroffensive Short Scenario. This would add a new set up sheet, providing the historical dispositions of both sides as they were historically on 16 December 1944 at the start of the Battle of Bulge. But only the German units the Allied high command had identified on their situation maps would be shown in their set-up hexes. All the others – all the units brought in by Hitler specifically for the counteroffensive – would be available for free set up anywhere behind the German front line. That means the German player can launch his counteroffensive against the Americans in the center, as was done historically. Alternatively, he can try for a victory in the south by recapturing Strasbourg and thereby effectively knocking France out of the war for a year or so via the political chaos that would’ve generated. Or he can drive strait into the British Army, hoping to cause enough unit losses within that replacement-strapped force to wreck its further offensive capabilities.
Adds an additional map and counter sheet.
Operation Cobra. This would add one new sheet of counters, two pages of special scenario rules, and a third map that could be attached to the assembled WotR game’s northwest corner. Cobra could be played as a separate game, covering the events in northern France from late July through the end of August, and it could also be added to the WotR parent game. That would turn WotR from a “mini-monster” into a true three-map full-on “monster game,” taking its geographic coverage all the way west to the base of the Normandy peninsula at Avranches. The goal in the game – whether playing it alone or as a prequel add-on to WotR, would be to make the campaign as free-form as possible within strategic historic constraints. That is, for example, the German player wouldn’t be required to send Seventh and Fifth Panzer Armies to certain destruction at Mortain before being allowed to retreat east. However, the earlier he withdraws those forces eastward, the more difficult his victory conditions would become. The orders of battle for Cobra would essentially be the same ones as in WotR, but the German divisions that were historically mangled breaking out of the Falaise pocket, and then later rebuilt, would have stronger versions included here. When playing the extended campaign game, replacement rules would be included to handle any necessary switching from one to the other as they come out of the dead pile.
Adds one addition counter sheet.
The 1936 Rhineland Crisis. This would add one sheet of counters and two pages of special scenario rules, which together would allow for the modeling of the war that would’ve erupted had the French moved to overturn Hitler’s remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936. The assumption here is Germany doesn’t erupt into civil war when the French attack; rather the populace and military of the Reich rallies to support Hitler and fights to defeat the hated invaders. The Belgian Army will also be on the map as active French allies. The French Air Force will be attempting to bomb the Ruhr, which will force the German player to have to split his scant Luftwaffe resources between ground support, his own terror bombing campaign against Paris, and strategic air defense.
Adds one additional Map.
The 1938 Sudetenland Crisis. This would add a third, geographically separate, “east front” map covering Bohemia and Moravia (western Czechoslovakia) and two pages of unique scenarios rules. The Allied (French) commander would be attacking on the two WotR “west front” maps, while defending against a German attack on the new east front map. Play would cover the month of October 1938, and both players would be rushing to fulfill their offensive objectives – and thwart their opponent’s matching efforts – before late-autumn weather and ammunition shortages shut things down for the winter. This would add two more full counter-sheets, with fully historic orders of battle, on which all the Czech and French units would have untried and tried strength sides. The German divisions would be known-strength two-steppers, along with rules to cover the still-developing German armor doctrine for their panzer divisions. A Soviet expeditionary corps would also enter, on the Allied side, on the eastern map via Romania and Slovakia. Air power would be variable and uncertain, with the both sides potentially conducting terror and “strategic” bombing missions.
Why Support Us on Kickstarter?
We don't do gimmicks to get you to support our Kickstarter projects; no exclusive items, none of that with one exception: those who support us through Kickstarter (and only those) will receive a certificate with their game signed by the design team. You may ask, why should I pledge via Kickstarter when I can probably buy the game through some discounter after the game is released? Because Canvas Temple Publishing products will not be distributed to any retailer (except for European fulfillment). That's right. We will only print enough copies to satisfy Kickstarter orders, plus some extra for direct sale via our website at full MSRP (for those who miss the Kickstarter campaign). So if you want the game at a discount, this is your chance. We don't plan to keep a lot of inventory around, so once they're gone, that's it.
Time Line for Publication
We are expecting the game to be ready to ship by March of next year. The current state of the game is:
Design and Development: Complete
Art work: Complete
Rules Layout: In Progress Now, should complete by July
There are many things that could happen to delay that, but we have built in some cushion. If things go swimmingly (and why shouldn't they?) we might even have the game delivered early. But as all of us old codgers know, Murphy always rides in your pocket.
A Note About Shipping Costs
Our shipping calculations are based upon meeting stretch goals and what the projected weight of the game would be once they are met. If we based the shipping calculations on the base game build, we would simply not be able to pay the shipping costs if stretch goals were met. That is simply unavoidable.
As mentioned above, CTP Games are not being distributed; but sold directly from us. As a result, we ship everything directly from our warehouse (except to one EU fulfillment house, who will fulfill EU orders).
US shipping is based upon medium flat rate shipping.
Our international shipping price is based upon a 4 pound package (what we estimated the game would weigh if it had mounted components in a box) to non-EU overseas destinations. We have recently made a deal with an Australian distributor that now allows us to charge the same shipping price as EU customers. The USPS charge for non-EU countries and Australia at the time of this writing is $52.75 first class international. We are charging slightly less than that.
EU shipping is based upon calculating the following 4 items:
1. Cost to bulk ship EU orders to the EU
2. Per unit VAT fee for that shipment
3. Per unit shipping fee of European fulfillment house
4. Actual European postage based upon a four pound package
In estimating the numbers, this adds up to $34.
We understand that other companies charge lower shipping amounts in their Kickstarter campaigns. After researching that, we found that they are doing this by amortizing that cost in the price of the game itself. We thought about doing that as well, but two factors stopped us. The first is that what is going to happen in a KS campaign is unknown, and each scenario we looked at had risk over certain number ranges. Because we are essentially a micro operation, we do not care much for risk. However, we also simply felt it was unfair to others to make them subsidize shipping costs that are not their fault. And that is why the shipping costs are what they are.
Risks and challenges
This is our fifth Kickstarter project as Canvas Temple Publishing, but as individuals we have almost a century of combined board game publishing experience. The company founder, Jon Compton, has been in the professional wargame publishing business since the mid-1990's having gotten his professional start as the General Manager of 3W Inc. He has already successfully completed and fulfilled four Kickstarter projects through One Small Step. Ty Bomba and Joseph Miranda both have resumes that speak for themselves, having been editors of Strategy and Tactics and Command Magazines, and both having published games numbering in the hundreds. We have experienced just about every possible way a project can go wrong and we have overcome it. This project will be no exception.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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