Eastern Front (1941)

Atari

I had nothing to do with this game beyond writing the manual for it. I list it in this gallery because the manual won an Award of Merit from the West Coast Art Directors Association.

Eastern Front (1941) was created by a games genius named Chris Crawford. It was one of the first computer war games to pass muster with hardcore board war gamers, and concerns the German invasion of the Soviet Union, which swept deep into Russia...until winter set in. The Germans were turned back at the gates of Moscow, after months of hard battle, and a combined death toll of 6 million.

What made Eastern Front unique for its time was the complexity of the AI. Russian troops would evaluate weaknesses in their defense, and move units to fill holes accordingly. If the German army managed to circle around behind a group of Russian units, the Russian supply lines would be cut and combat strength would begin to drop. And this extended through lengthy campaigns. But the higher you got in levels - the more accurate the depiction of the war - the less likely you were to win! Chris liked to replicate realism.

My task was to capture the epic sweep of all that in print, and being an adventure writer was essential. My thanks go to Bill Lange, who supplied the images from his "personal favorites" site.


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