For 45 years(!) it was the only consim covering the entire Italian campaign of WWII (No Retreat: Italian Front came out in 2015). Anzio is an advanced igo-ugo wargame design. Zones of control are rigid, with compulsory attacks; combat losses are taken by step-reduction.
A sketchy youtube review of Anzio uploaded by Gilbert Collins (August 2021) prompted me to re-examine my 4th edition copy of the game. Having purchased the 1st edition early in my wargaming years (as a teenager), I recall how confusing it was prior to Tom Oleson's rewrite. I also recall how much I enjoyed playing this game years ago. I recently found one of the few remaining copies of the 7th edition available for purchase, which includes printed maps and counters by Mark Simonitch, and PDF copies of the latest rules and charts (circa 2017).
Anzio is ideally suited for Vassal conversion, with its long vertical map orientation and step-reduction combat system. The module available here covers only the orignal 4th edition Basic Game. It uses the Simonitch map from 2004 (fixing ambiguous hexes), cropped to include only the area of Italy displayed on the original Avalon Hill mapboard.
Victory objective hexes are marked with a light blue dot.
The limit of Allied air cover from Sicily is shown by a dotted line running southeast from Napoli. This is a more accurate air radius from Sicily, compared to the original rule specifying the "bottom map fold" as the air cover limit.
The units in the module are Game-piece images using the color scheme of the Simonitch counters:
- British: khaki
- Commonwealth: khaki with accent color symbol
- United States: olive drab
- Luftwaffe: light blue
- Wehrmacht: light gray
Data shown on the counters has been modified slightly from the printed versions. Here is the German 29th Panzer-Grenadier as an example:
Top: unit identity
Left: stacking value, Middle: unit symbol, Right: steps remaining
Bottom: combat factors
Unit size (XX division, X brigade, III regiment) is not included on the counter because it has no bearing on game-play. All that matters is stacking value and steps remaining. Step reduction is implemented as a Game-piece Layer. As each step loss is taken, lower combat factors are shown, as well as one less step remaining at the right side of the counter.
Inverted Units: Instead of using a blank image for an inverted unit (as in the physical game), the last step of each unit is shown as either a 0-0-12 or 0-0-8 with one step remaining.
Stacking points and steps-per-unit is an interesting way to reflect combat efficiency without writing a special rule for it. For example, German panzer divisions have twice the steps for the same stacking value as a British or Indian infantry division. Note also that a German division broken down into regiments (advanced game) is not as efficient (step-wise) as when operating as a unified division. Stacks of allied units from different nationalities incur a 1-point stacking penalty, showing reduced efficiency.
Basic vs Advanced: The rules to Anzio are structured logically: Fundamental, Basic, Basic Supplementary, Advanced, and Advanced Supplementary. At each step up, you are using all the rules already learned. There are very few rules from the Basic Game that are replaced in the Advanced. The complexity of the Advanced game comes in managing the Allied and German orders of battle, dealing with the Italian army, and adding fog of war (hidden units).
The choice of Allied strategic goal determines the length of the Advanced Game. The German player can choose between historical, reinforced, or maximum OOBs.
The goals of our module are:
- Provide an option for playing 4th-edition Anzio, Basic (15-turn) Scenario on Vassal without the distraction of advanced game orders of battle and rules incorporated into existing vmods.
- Use the updated map by Mark Simonitch to eliminate terrain ambiguities - retrofit to the same area of Italy as that shown on the Avalon Hill mounted map.
You will need your own copy of the 4th edition rules and charts (they are not in the module). Contact me through geekmail if you'd like a PDF (or if you're interested in playing the game).