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Posted on Dec 31, 2007 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Lock ‘n Load – Not One Step Back Game Review

By Brandon Neff

Overview

Not One Step Back brings the Eastern Front theater of World War II to the Lock ’n Load game. Players recreate combat in the unforgiving terrain of the Russian steppes and the bloody streets of Stalingrad, adding serious armor to their arsenals including the JS-2, T34 and King Tiger tank. The Germans have opted for a war on two fronts and now they will pay the price!

Components

Not One Step Back is a supplement for the Lock ’n Load: Band of Heroes game created by Mark Walker and produced by Lock ’n Load Publishing. Ownership of the core game is required and a previous supplement, Swift & Bold, is also recommended.

The supplement arrives in a large zip-top bag and contains 12 scenarios, 3 map boards, 255 full-color counters, a sheet of map overlays, new rules section, a player-aid card and an errata card.

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The scenarios are printed on cardstock and at first glance you may think you are missing one. However, the Prochorovka and Room at the Inn… scenarios are printed on the same card. Like all scenarios in the system, they include a brief historical overview. This is something I enjoy reading and it helps set the mood for the game. The scenarios range in duration from 6 to 10 turns. However, the included player aid only allows you to track turns 1-8. This is a minor inconvenience that should have been caught in production. Most scenarios include special events, triggered during the game. These remain a secret until triggered and often change the outlook drastically. This is an exciting feature of the game, however it does not have the same impact when playing through a scenario more than once.

The maps are numbered 19-21 and depict much more open terrain than many of the hedgerow-riddled maps of Band of Heroes. The maps also lack the white hex borders found on the core maps. This was something that was viewed as a nuisance to many Band of Heroes players, feeling that the bright borders caused eye-strain. Those same players will be pleased to see the new maps are free of that feature. The artwork on the maps is incredibly detailed and is one of my favorite aspects of the series as a whole. Lighting shadows are visible on buildings and trees. The bleed-over of terrain from one hex to another is not as prevalent as on the core maps.

The counters are similar to those found in the core set. They represent Soviet Guard units, Soviet line troops and Partisans as well as some German troops and game markers. My only complaint with this otherwise incredible supplement is in the counter production. The Soviet line troops are colored gold and the two counter sheets were printed with two different shades of gold. This is a quality issue that doesn’t affect game play, merely an aesthetic annoyance. Likewise, the half-sheet of counters was die-cut on the backside rather than the front. This means that when the counters are punched, the smooth edge is on the reverse side of the counter. This does not affect gameplay at all and was addressed on the errata card. Lastly, the half-sheet counter has a printing error on the T34 tank. The reverse side of the counter contains a hit table used during combat and the hit tables for the T34 on the half and full sheet are different. The errata card includes a corrected hit table which can be cut out and glued to the counters. Or, as suggested in the errata, leave them as-is and randomly select the T34 when you set up and assume the correct hit table represents a veteran crew, which I think is a spectacular idea and ought to be implemented in future supplements. This would work in this supplement, except the color problem previously mentioned makes it all too obvious which T34 has the correct hit table and which does not.

The map overlay sheet contains four new terrain items to add to the maps. The new items include two hills, Pavlov’s house and a ruined apartment building. These must be cut out of the sheet for use.

The cover of Not One Step Back includes additional rules for this supplement, describing the new units, weapons and terrain. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the rules printed on cardstock, like the scenarios and player aid, but this works just fine.

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