Designer Notes

MASTER EUROPA was conceived as an alternative rules system to the rules as written for the entire Europa game series. This was due to the innate urge most of us have to "Mess With The System" (MWTS). I wanted to create a system that was more realistic, and still remain playable. The core of the system design is, and remains, the work of GDW. When building on such a foundation, a sound structure is much easier to build.

I also wanted to start the design with a firm view of what the general system was to be, an operational level representation of the European Theater of Operations in the Second World War. Thus the design is complete for all of the modules in this system, with only minor specific details to be filled in. Learn this one, and you truly have learned all of the games in the system (the great promise of the Europa system).

The guidelines for this project were simple.

1. Only minor changes in the existing counters or maps were allowed.

2. The basic look and feel of Europa would not be changed.

3. The rules would work in all editions of the games.

4. Realism was rated as important as play-ability, BUT if there was a dead heat play-ability would win out.

Who designed this system?

MASTER EUROPA did not spring from my head, pure and fully formed, but is the result of years of research, play-testing, argument, rages, revisions and input from customers. The project began from a solid foundation, the outstanding work of Frank Chadwick, Marc Miller, and Paul Banner who founded and launched Game Designers Workshop (GDW). Their work was slightly expanded upon by the team Winston Hamilton and John Astell, who kept the system going when GDW felt compelled to cease its work on it. The new company, "Game Research / Design" originally was founded to produce accessories for the GDW products. The untimely passing of Winston Hamilton lead the company to be purchased by its current holder - Carl Kleihege at "Millcreek Ventures" (In Michigan). These fine folks have created and have maintained the system that I have branched off of, and "mess with" with these alternative ideas.

My own "qualifications" for "MWTS" consist of having been a Europa gamer since the game first came out, involvement with play-testing (Fire in the East, Scorched Earth, and Winter War) and heading up Task Force Johnson.

I also bring a military background, and a great deal of historical study to the project. Plus the required confidence to say "here try this".

No such project can be done by one person, and I have many to thank for their help. Joe Hayes, Charlie Meyers, Duane Romfoe, Dave Lentz, Dave Collins, Keith Martinson, Phil Anderson, Gary Stagliano, John Bleiweiss, Craig Crofoot, and many others have all contributed their time and ideas to this project. My thanks also go to all the members of the Waukesha, & Verona Wisconsin gaming groups for their efforts and comments.

The credits belong not to me alone, but to all who helped. The blame for errors and omissions rests with me.

Basic Assumptions:

To divide the passage of time into "turns" is an immediate step away from reality. In reality both sides are moving and fighting at the same time throughout the area covered by the game. But, we must make do with the division to make the GAME work.

It is very important to remember that there is NOT a one week Allied turn, followed by a one week Axis turn. The entire series of player phases, is designed to represent to total actions by all units during a period of 15 days.

When thinking about a turn, and the 15 days it represents, consider these time scales for events (from Dupuy: Understanding War);

1. Duel = minutes, fought between individuals or single AFVs, for local objectives (that clump of trees, or the room at the top of the stairs).

2. Action = 1 to 24 hours, Fought by Squads to battalions for local objectives ( this hill, that block of the city).

3. Engagement = 1 to 5 Days, Fought by Companies to Divisions for tactical missions.

4. Battle = Days to Weeks, Fought by Corps to Field Armies for operational missions.

5. Campaign = Weeks to months, Fought by Field armies to Army Groups for Strategic objectives.

6. War = Months to years, fought by the entire nations forces for national goals.

In Master we deal with the levels Battle to War. We cannot influence the operations of the units below this level, and we cannot influence to set national objectives of the leadership of our nations. It is vital to realize this, since to allow "Hitler to be a nice guy" simply is not a reflection of the reality we are striving to represent.

If you wish to play such exercises, by all means do so, but don't look for a reliable gauge of the result (fiction writers of the world unite?).

The intent then is to create a simulation that provides you, the player, with as realistic a taste for the problems and planning encountered at the levels from Corps to Army Group/Theater level of command. The rules bring the effects of higher level HQs into play, and the counters and combat systems reflect operations at the lower levels.

Rules and Concepts

In this section I will try and give a brief look ‘behind the curtain’ so the player can see the reasoning behind the rules.

General Rules

Rule 3 Unit classes

I have changed the class names to more simply represent them to the player. Combat/Motorized has been changed to Motorized, since the branch (combat, combat support, or service support) of the unit is not really relevant to the games movement or transport ratings.

Rule 5 Zone of Control

Given the distance a full strength division could actually hold (with any reasonable success) a Zone of control is an indication of the Zone of Influence that the unit may exert. Thus a unit exerts more of an influence into the adjacent hexes than actually occupies them (patrols, artillery fire, and observation). This is a more realistic way of thinking about them.

Rule 6 Movement.

This was a major area of research, in fact it was the area that began this project. The maximum rate of movement now available is much closer to the historical norms. It is still LOW (slightly) for motorized units. The time portion of the calculations is 1 turn = 15 days of real time.

For example, a Panzer division can move 10 hexes, fight, to take a hex, and then move 10 more hexes in one turn. The is 21 hexes, or 525 Km; equaling a daily average rate of movement of 35 Km per day! (In miles this is 336 miles, and 22.4 miles per day)

Consider the total amount of distance moved as a partial measure of the level of resistance that advancing force receives over the 15 days of operations.

Rule 7 Transportation lines

The rail network rules are designed to make a more realistic depiction of the operation of rail roads during the period. Trains (a train is an engine, and cars) would move from one district point to another, with the engine being switched at the boundary of the "division" or network it is assigned to.

The switch of the old Europa "roads" to minor rail lines reflects more accurately the true density of rails, and their use. The collectors series of maps {They are Beautiful, Buy the new issues of the games if only to get them!} makes a much more accurate survey of the transportation systems of the period (Kudos to Arthur Goodwin).

The rail capacity of a nation represents it ability to move troops by rail, it IS NOT the entire railroad capacity of a nation. Civilians need trains also.

When invading another nation, the use of trains on the newly captured rails (before the rail network is completely in your control) covers both trains coming into the new lands from your existing networks (at no Rail cap cost to the captured network) , and movement inside the captured rails or out of the captured area is done using the captured capacity (the REs gained by capturing enemy cities). While this is not the 'perfect' method to show rail operations, it is close enough to serve here.

Given the importance of rails to most armies in this war, the rail net will guide your campaigns as it did in the real war.

Rule 8 Stacking

The stacking rule is changed to reflect more accurately the unit density that was normal during the period. In some instances this is LESS than historically done, but rarely is it higher than possible (what could be done vs. what was done). When units were packed in tighter, it normally represents the historical units being at a reduced strength, where the game holds them to a standard strength overall.

In Master standard stacking is 12 Regimental Equivalents of units, PLUS 8 Regimental Equivalents of artillery class units This means that in 1941 (for example) A German player can place 4 Panzer Divisions and up to 8 regiments of artillery in a single hex).

Rule 9 Combat

The effects of combat are adjusted to align with guidelines set in US Army manuals for judging maneuvers, and operational analysis of historical outcomes of combats. The chance of success (taking the hex) is factored into the result as much as the chance of taking or inflicting losses.

The AR result is gone, since it is pointless when the attacker can move back during the exploitation phase.

The result NE is removed. I think we are all tired of this argument. In theory the NE meant that nothing has changed in the positions of the forces, and the losses are not significant enough to disable the units involved (yes, being killed is VERY significant to the guy what gets elected, but that is far below the level the game represents).

I have opted to reward all the time and trouble of an attack with something, maybe good, maybe bad, but something! We are judging the effect of the attack at the operational/strategic end of the spectrum. so a poorly conceived attack will make a bigger dent than if Capt. Van Gorza decides to attack a pillbox and it just doesn't get off the ground as an attack.

The effects of being unable to retreat should be viewed as being flanked by the attacker.

The most radical concept here is the German Combat Effectiveness Variable (CEV). This is based on the research done by Trevor Dupuy, and a good look at the German situation by 1944!. See Dupuy's books on the Quantified Judgment Method of Analysis (QJMA) for a more detailed review of this subject.

Basically the CEV acts as a force multiplier, with the combat factor of the German unit being multiplied based on the time of the war, and the nation it is fighting. For example in 1944 a German 5 - 7 - 6 Infantry Division facing Soviet forces receives a CEV of 2.5, making it a 12.5 - 17.5 - 6. The same unit facing US forces would receive a CEV of 1.2, making it a 6 - 8.4 - 6. Thus German tactical ability and cohesion is accurately represented.

Rule 10 Armor & Antitank Effects.

There is no change in concept here, but to clarify how I see it:

AEC represents the use of a force heavy in armor in an offensive manner. Yes, even AECD. AECD represents the use of armor in the counterattack role rather than in the bunker and ambush ATEC method. ATEC then represents the defensive use of armor and antitank forces to stop an enemy advance.

These are slight differences, but critical in concept to how the rule works.

Rule 12 Logistics

The heart of military operations at the level the game represents is Logistics. The special supply system is based on tonnage's required and delivered to all the major combatants, the methods and means used by them to supply their front-line units, and the historical operations of forces at the level shown in the game cut off from supply for the duration represented in the game. (15 Days minimum!).

The effects of the first turn out of supply isolated are 'reduced' to allow the tactical choice to "attack OUT of here", or to assist a relief force to open a route for supplies. The effect is reduced to allow this, and thus seems to jump up radically for the next U level.

Supply is calculated at a rate of tonnage (daily) per division slice, multiplied by 15 days. The figure for supply is averaged for all nations, so there is some variance in exact totals of tonnage. however this variance is well within reason when the entire service and support rear area is factored into the exact number represented when a supply point is delivered to a combat unit.

The air forces are now finally brought into the logistics picture, with the provision for isolated airbases requiring supplies to operate at full capacity.

The Overseas system allows the game to proceed and yet brings those troubles that logistics bring to the command level we represent that were MAJOR considerations for our real counterparts. The "division" is used since the logistics for all theaters was calculated in terms of the "Divisional Slice". This represents the logistical requirements for every unit, air and ground, and the administrative elements in the theater, divided in by the number of divisions that were assigned. This basic calculation allowed the military to calculate how much more was need to commit each new division to the theater. This factor then becomes crucial to the high level commander, when planning and conducting operations in a theater.

In the game, the Quartermaster Corps sets new standards in delivering the exact required tonnage's of the exact required types of supply to meet this figure {great job guys}. In effect the supply system is given this miracle, so you only have to worry about the delivery of tons of stuff.

The supply system now eliminates almost totally the utility of "Ants" making deep raids, by making them very ineffective (as they would have been in reality) for the cost of the units usually used as "ants". {Ants die like flies, which is a particularly ignominious way to go!} You can now calculate the tonnage for every unit in the game. Carefully note that "ship tons" , "Metric tons" , and "long tons", are all being mixed together here!

Rule 14 Special unit types

Resource points are not used in Master. The calculation for construction and repair is engineer assets and time spent on the project, exactly as real commanders allocate projects. An engineer regiment can construct an air base (holding 3 air units) by spending 3 movement points. 2 such regiments could construct the same base by both spending 1.5 points.

Rule 15 Partisans

This is a tricky area, the effects of the partisan campaigns varied greatly throughout Europe. I believe that the rules now show the effects, strengths and weaknesses of partisan operations, and reward the player who can coordinate their use with the main forces. The influence has been primarily shifted towards demolition's and sharp raids on under-protected targets (airbases etc.).

The Partisan game can be very important, but the proper coordination of the partisans for harassment, and bridge blowing is vital.

Rules 18 - 22 Air rules

Airbases are considered to be what they were, grass fields (in the main). Thus the larger number that could be in an area, and the ease of building them (take a real good look at the typical W.W.II airbase and see if you still think concrete and bulldozers were essential). Type HB and SOME jets required the big runways, but this was not a major a deal for the countries who had them and so needed to have the bases to operate them.

The air system has been redone to eliminate the Air Zone of Patrol, as this is one of the most abused and misused rules in the Rules as written (RAW).

The entire air combat system is designed to allow texture (for the "air enthusiast") and yet speed play in the game.

The assumption here is that the air combats we do, represent the main effort of these units over the span of the 15 day turn. Each combat does not represent a single air combat, nor a single mission.

Also eliminated is the "damaged" air unit, at this level the air unit either accomplishes its mission, or not, and is either able to fly effectively or not. This also saves the time for rolling for each units repair.

The air combat system is designed to save time, represent the effects of massed air combat, and show the impact of the types of aircraft in combat. The experience factors are vital to show that though the plane may be good, the pilot and his support elements may not be.

The close support rules add in a very interesting aspect, FOG IN WAR. You will not be sure of the attack odds in the planning stage, so you best send enough "stuff" to be sure (just like the real world!). The defender allocates any available defensive air support to a hex under attack AFTER the attacker has declared the attack, and allocated the air support to it. The attacking air units begin to be assigned to ensure both combat odds (TBFs) and air superiority (or at least parity) to get the bombs on target, while the defender has a very flexible ‘reserve’ of reaction power to apply if not used in an offensive role first.

Other missions such as harassment of possible reaction forces also begin to come into play during the game

Last warning to you factor counters, the world is changing, so its time to start thinking like them folks with the uniforms and maps (grin).

Rules 23 - 31 Naval rules

The naval system is designed to allow the player to choose between a very detailed naval simulation, or (especially if just running one game or scenario) a simple naval game.

The base for the system is the excellent work done by Frank Chadwick in Their Finest Hour. I have modified his system in several areas however.

First, I do not use the ‘sea zone’ concept, as it just cannot generate the correct feel to naval operations in the game. Instead the War at Sea module provides a set of map sheets that link up to cover the world from North and South America East to Hong Kong - Manilla - Wellington. These are scaled at 200nm per hex. The rules include a simple technique for changing from this map to the standard Europa™ maps, and the ships are rated for movement on both maps.

The Naval Action Segment (NAS) is just slightly over a day (about 25 hours) in length, this to allow a more even transition from naval phase to real world time. The ships are rated at their ability to move a distance at their normal cruising speed during that time period. I have 7 of these in each player turn (totaling 14 in a game turn or 2 weeks). All naval movement occurs inside the regular movement phase (unlike RAW where ships are moving during exploitation (per SF)).

The gunnery and protection ratings for the ships are the excellent work of Alan Philson. Another one of the people to whom I owe so much on this project. The ships are rated at three possible firing range bands: Long (L), Medium (M), and Short (S). The rating is total firepower at the range (the closer you get, the more damage the ship can do to you. The different guns of the period can lead to such interesting situations as a Cruiser being able to engage at Long range. For example the German CA Prinz Eugen is rated at 3 - 8 - 14 while the British BC Hood comes in at 7 - 21 - 38.

All ships are rated with their endurance (the number of NAS they can operate without refueling) as check boxes on the laminated ship cards. You need only check off the box with a marker and thus the time remaining for the use of that ship can be easily checked.

Submarines are not represented by counters, but EVERY German U-boat is accounted for. British Submarines are provided, but I suggest that their only truly effective area in the game is in the Mediterranean Sea.

Each Naval Transport Point (NTP) represents 5,625 tons of cargo delivery capacity, NOT an individual ship.

RULE 37 Field fortifications

The basis for the ratings is derived from US Army FM 31-50 (Mar 1964), Chapter 2 section I, page 8.

"5. Types of Fortified areas. A fortified area is one containing numerous defensive works. These may include fortified weapon emplacements, or bunkers, protected shelters, reinforced natural or manmade caves, entrenchment's, and obstacles. Depending on its location, extent, and depth, a fortified area and its ports may be classified as follows:

1. Fortified Locality {ME level 1}. A grouping or defensive works about a single location, either without regard to any other defensive system, or as part of a large defensive system.

2. Fortified Position {ME level 2}. A series of strongly organized localities disposed in width and depth in such a manner as to be mutually supporting. Exceptionally, it may be a single, strongly organized locality.

3. Fortified Belt {ME level 3}. A linear grouping of fortified positions.

4. Fortified Zone {ME level 4}. A system of fortified positions extending laterally and in depth, normally consisting of two or more fortified belts."

The Field fortifications in the game represent these levels, and thus avoid the need to discuss if there are "portable pillboxes" or sufficient mines to create an area. The point is that the result of the works causes this level of benefit to the defending forces.

I recommend that you use the fortification markers provided with the game, dividing them into four groups, and marking them 1 - 4 to show a level of fortification.

The removal of unoccupied fortifications shows the normal reuse of construction materials & mines that occurs when a friendly position becomes a rear area one. The requirement also places limitations on players having a "more realistic" theory of defense. (Such as Germans building a 5 hex thick- solid wall of fortifications along the Polish border while the army is fighting around Moscow!) In the real world, commanders requesting permission to establish fortified areas to the far rear of their positions are not "encouraged in their career paths". (Especially if they are proved right!)

Rule 39 Victory conditions

As the rule says, you decide how the game went based on the situation at the end of the game.

Breathes there a gamer with soul so dead, that to himself hath not said "yeah, but I did better then the real guys did!"

Use the historical outcome as your guide, and have a good long discussion (munchies and beverages are essential at this point) concerning how the outcome should be rated.

National Rules

National rules are both those rules which apply only to a specific nation, or changes to the General rules that apply to the forces of a particular nation.

Final Comments:

As with the entire Europa™ project, the Master series is an evolving game (translation: I am always open to better ideas to accomplish the goal). With this in mind your comments and suggestions are always welcomed, and questions will be answered ASAP. I ask not to get just general complaints, if its wrong, suggest a better way, or provide information to illustrate your point.

Discussion Group

There is a Yahoo discussion group dedicated to Master Eauropa  (Subscribe:  It is an excellent source for further background information (the files area is packed with research and test information), rules clarifications, and discussions of current and future projects for the system.  You must request to join, and the only 'rules' are that the tone of messages be civil, and that
comments be related to the system or time period it covers.


Official standards for MASTER EUROPA

I found this chart to be a handy reference so here it is for you:


1 Mile #9; #9; = 1.609 Kilometers

1 Kilometer #9; = #9; .621 Mile

1 Nautical mile = 1.852 Kilometers

1 hex #9; #9; = 16 miles

1 hex #9; #9; = 25.74 Kilometers

1 hex #9; #9; = 13.92 Nautical Miles

1 hex #9; #9; = 128 Furlongs*


1 Game Turn #9; = 15 Days

1 Game Turn #9; = 1 Fortnight*


1 Cargo Point = 375 Tons

1 Supply point = 1,125 Tons

1 Supply point = 3 Cargo points.

*A German Infantry Division can move a maximum of 1920 furlongs per fortnight. A US Infantry Division can move 3072 furlongs per fortnight.

The German unit weighs in at 42 cargo points or 15,750 tons for shipment.

This information can be vital.


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