Rise and Decline of the Third Reich

Rise and Decline of the Third Reich

"Rise and Decline of the Third Reich" or more commonly "Third Reich" is a grand strategy wargame covering the European theater of World War II designed by John Prados, and released in 1974 by Avalon Hill. Huge in scope, players take on the roles of all the major national powers (Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Soviet Union, United States) and can simulate the entire war effort from 1939 until the end (often isn't until 1946).

A favorite game of many because of an excellent balance between economics, politics, and military might. The game gives players a chance to try things that did not happen historically to see if they might have worked better (e.g., Germany invading Spain). Definitely not for the novice gamer, the rules are intricate and there are many factors for players to deal with: resources, unit production, negotiation, and of course strategic warfare. Due to this complexity, games were known to take many hours to complete.

At Origins 1975, "Rise and Decline of the Third Reich" won the Charles S. Roberts Award for "Best Professional Game" of 1974. [cite web| url=http://www.originsgamefair.com/awards/1974| title=List of Winners (1974)| publisher=Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design| accessdate=2007-10-29]

In 2001, Avalanche Press released a new version of "Third Reich".


Each turn represents three months, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Central to the game is the novel development of an economic system for creation of new units, reconstitution of lost units, ability to declare war, and ability to conduct a strategic offensive, using the Basic Resource Point (BRP), informally called "burp", as the generic representation of industry and economic power. BRPs automatically refresh at year end based on the economic capacity, which might increase or decrease by conquest or loss, or increase by accruing interest on unused BRPs at year end calculation. Since the side with more BRPs moves first, by foregoing offensives or purchases the previous seasons, a player could gain a shift in initiative, which can mean a flip-flop whereby the opposing side does not move when expected and the side with more BRPs gains two consecutive seasons moving.

A new power entering the war can cause a shift in initiative by sudden inclusion of BRPs in Allied or Axis totals. The game uses an interesting strategic cap on maximum military capacity in terms of number of manipulable units/counters of a particular military, loosely based on historical data like available manpower and the number of divisions actually fielded and their organization, giving a realistic feel for what is strategically possible and what is not, in that units cannot be endlessly piled up once an advantage is achieved, only more easily reconstituted due to economic strength. An insight into the sort of thinking that went into the design of the game is that despite historical technological and organizational advances in war, unit capability remains the same throughout the game, which the designers rationalized by noting that technological and organizational advances were systematically adopted by all sides as the war progressed.


ee also

Advanced Third Reich

External links


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