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Although the game is a semi-monster, and covers the entirety of the conflict from the launch of Barbarossa to the end of the war, the game system emphasizes playability rather than rules overhead, allowing the players to concentrate on strategy choices rather than rules minutiae.

The core of the game system is a "chit-pull" activation system. Each turn a variety of action chits are drawn, in a random order, from the Action Chit Pool, and it is this that determines the exact flow of operations on that turn. If a German "Move/Combat" chit is drawn, the German player decides to move or fight (but not both), with all Axis units.

If a German PZ HQ chit is drawn, units in command range of that HQ can move and conduct combat (with greater flexibility for armored units). If the Soviet Stavka chit is drawn, units may be deployed from Stavka Reserve to attempt to stem the Axis onslaught. If the Soviet Counterattack chit is drawn, Stalin insists that the attacks are made upon the fascist invaders, possibly to the detriment of the overall defense. When the Logistics chit is drawn, supply status is checked for all units.

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The Dark Valley

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