- Advanced European Theater of Operations
"Advanced European Theater of Operations" (also known as "Advanced ETO" or just "AETO") is a strategic level board
wargamesimulating the military campaigns in Europe during the Second World War.
"Advanced European Theater of Operations" was designed by Eric Harvey in the late 1990’s, and he based most of its combat mechanics’ (the rules designed to simulate combat operations during game play) on the foregoing "European Theater of Operations" (from whence "Advanced ETO" derives its name.) First published in 2002 by Decision Games (whom had previously purchased the rights to "ETO"), "AETO" was praised for its impressive detail, but likewise criticized for its excessive complexity.Fact|date=August 2008 "Advanced ETO" was an ambitious attempt by designer Eric Harvey to inculcate as much accuracy and detail as possible within a two-map game of the European Theater. Indeed, "AETO"’s counter manifest is double that of "ETO", and it includes an impressively-detailed variety of units representing virtually every major and minor nation of Europe during World War 2 (approximately 90% of which are combat-representative units, and only about 10% are informational or play-aid pieces.) The "AETO" rules are ponderously lengthy as a result (nearly 150 pages as edited), and entail much more complexity and detail than almost every other similar game system (nearly equaling or exceeding the preceding versions of "World in Flames", and subsequent "World at War", despite the fact that they encompass both the European and Pacific Theaters.)
According to Mr. Harvey's comments at the consmiworld.com forums, the system expanded to such lengths based on several intentions:
*to formulate ratios of game counters and associated rules based upon historically-accurate data, and not upon any preexisting limitations inherited from "ETO".
*to write the rules with no lexicon or abbreviations whatsoever (using only normal English vernacular to ease understanding and comprehension).
*to write each of the game’s rules with intentionally-excessive verbosity (in an attempt to minimize ambiguities and loopholes.)
"Advanced ETO" is comprised of two large (22” x 34” each) maps that together represent all of Europe, North Africa, and much of the Middle East, with each hexagon representing approximately 50 statute miles. The "AETO" maps were based upon...and thus are very similar to...the "ETO" maps, but are notably quite evolved. Eric Harvey undertook much effort to accurately reconstruct the "ETO" maps, and also update the cartography to include a rail line network, historically researched ‘resource hexes’, additional cities, rivers, lakes, islands and so forth, and also completely re-rendered mountain ranges (which are geographically more accurate.) The most significant upgrade, perhaps, is the re-rendering of the various ‘large sea areas’ that represent the Atlantic Ocean; in the early stages of the maps’ redesign, Mr. Harvey spoke at length about the involved calculations to accurately represent the correct “movement point number” (i.e., the movement point cost required of naval pieces to transit sea areas) of each sea area (asserting that the forgoing "ETO" maps’ values were mathematically incorrect.) Pursuant thereto, "AETO"’s naval movement mechanics have indeed been shown to represent a fairly accurate model of ship travel, which is not the case with "ETO". The maps’ graphic artwork was drawn by renowned wargame map-artist Joseph Youst, to whom Mr. Harvey credits the idea for the re-rendered mountain ranges. In addition to the obligatory cartography, the "AETO" maps also include a variety of printed charts and boxes for player-aid purposes. While convenient, and in some cases necessary, some "AETO" players have criticized their presence on the map (as taking away from space that could have been used for enlarging the maps’ cartographical area.)Fact|date=August 2008 Such criticisms are arguably refutable because only the corner areas of the maps are printed with said charts, and the charts only tend to cover areas of Europe where no significant battles occurred, historically speaking.Fact|date=August 2008 Together, the two "AETO" maps are about 3’ x 3’ (approximated), small enough to fit onto most average-sized tables, but considerably larger than the maps of games such as “The Rise and Decline of the Third Reich” (more colloquially known as just “Third Reich”), but not excessively large (as is the map layout for “War in Europe”.) Nevertheless, the "AETO" maps comfortably encompass all of the European Theater (even as far north as Northern Norway, which is often ‘cut off’ on many other wargame maps) and environs.
The "Advanced ETO" pieces are not especially unique for a strategic-level game, sporting a combination of icons for air and naval units, and standard NATO symbols for land units. However, they are a notable upgrade...stylistically speaking...from the original "ETO" pieces. The artwork for the air and naval units in "AETO" were rendered by Jon Comppton (primarily imported from Jon’s existing artwork archives at the behest of Decision Games, as an attempt save money during production.) The artwork of the "AETO" air and naval units are the opposite of convention for a strategic game insofar as the aircraft are presented as side views, and the naval units are presented as top-down views (a style that was not particularly preferred by Eric Harvey, he claimed, but was received reasonably well by "AETO" players nonetheless.) The land units, being mere derivatives of the "ETO" NATO-symbol style, were relatively standard in appearance but did entail some improvements over "ETO" (e.g., an ‘exploitation-allowance’ circle added to armor units.) During production, however, Mr. Harvey discovered and became dissatisfied with some of the ancillary artwork that was being submitted (for example, submarine artwork was represented as nothing more than protruding periscopes), and he set to redrawing some of the artwork himself by hand...sending it along to Mr Compton for incorporation. The result of this was some notable accomplishments, such as accurately drawn submarine silhouettes (distinguishable by individual nationality, in fact.) However, generals were depicted with an iconic officer’s cap silhouette that resembled something more akin to a baker’s hat (or, according to some, a muffin), and was almost universally panned by "AETO" players...especially those whom preferred the previous "ETO" style (e.g., an Iron Cross shape for German generals, a star shape for American generals, and so on.)Fact|date=August 2008 In fact, Mr. Harvey has acknowledged it as an artistic faux pas.
"Advanced ETO" includes 2240 game pieces (eight counter-sheets of 280 pieces each) representing most of the nations of Europe and environs during World War 2. In this regard, the manifest of "AETO" game pieces bears no resemblance to "ETO" at all; "AETO"’s “Orders of Battle” was a complete re-mastering by Eric Harvey from top to bottom. Such was the overhaul that the variety of game pieces available to "AETO" players is exceptionally large and diverse, and includes numerous types of units (e.g., panzer-grenadier divisions) not present in "ETO". Moreover, the breakdown of individual types of units (of all kinds) is arguably the most varied of any other game of the same genre. Directly because of the intensified research devoted to the creation of "AETO"’s ‘Orders of Battle’, the multiplicity of everything from cruisers to minor-nationality units was increased exponentially over "ETO", and thus provides "AETO" players with a bewildering assortment of representational game pieces. By and large, most "AETO" players relished the array of units, and eagerly welcomed the new variety of game pieces with much enthusiasm, although a minority of "AETO" players did voice some modest objections, citing their own rationale that such detail disproportionately slowed game-play for the realism achieved.
Perhaps most remarkably of all was the effort devoted to the actual data of each "AETO" game piece. Even before "AETO" was in production, Eric Harvey spoke at length about his prolific research of every combat unit, and his fervent desire to achieve as much technical accuracy as possible. As a matter of fact, the ratings of the original "ETO" pieces were largely disregarded, and each unit in "AETO" was rated according to the most reliable information possible. Mr. Harvey claims to have conducted redundant research to compensate for conflicting data from different sources (and the result of this is that erratum pertaining to game piece ratings is extremely low.) Some research mistakes have been noted (e.g., the armor value of the U.K. aircraft carrier “Eagle” should be rated a 9, not an 11), but less than a dozen technical errors have been uncovered since "AETO"’s release in 2002.
The Atrocity counter
The most controversial game piece in "AETO" (and indeed one of the most controversial game pieces throughout the entire wargaming hobby) is the infamous “Atrocity” game piece, which was misunderstood by some in the wargaming community to be an active task to be accomplished during game play (i.e., some misinformed people misunderstood its intent to be the commission of ‘atrocities’ as a means of achieving victory.) The Atrocity rule itself (pursuant to the application of the Atrocity game piece) was a conceptual addition to "AETO" (i.e., not a feature of "ETO") that actually penalized the German player whenever he employed “Waffen SS” units during game play (essentially representing the atrocities committed by SS units, such as those of “Kampfgruppe Pieper”, as well as abstractly representing atrocities committed by the whole “SS” culture throughout the war, generally speaking.) To those gamers that did not understand the actual intent of the rule, the artwork of the Atrocity piece (depicting a silhouetted German officer about to shoot a kneeling prisoner) was regarded to be rather macabre (and is, incidentally, incorrectly attributed to Mr. Compton, whom has stated that he was not the specific artist of the Atrocity piece). When "AETO" was in the final stages of production, the Atrocity piece caused a minor uproar within the wargaming community, and Eric Harvey reported receiving numerous e-mails over the matter (presumably from people unaware of the rule’s actual intent and function.) On an internet blog (consimworld.com) in October 2002, Mr. Harvey posted:
..."to simulate the existence of things like the einsatzgruppen and the atrocities committed by the Germans (and the negative repercussions), the German player is essentially penalized whenever any SS unit (albeit Waffen SS) is employed into any particular enemy nation (even if conquered). This then increases the allowable Partisan activity therein;And:
"I think, though, some people actually thought that the 'atrocity' chit was a good thing for the Germans to do...and hence the offense. In all reality, the German player will want to avoid the atrocity effect whenever possible (translate: atrocity is not a good thing!)"When examining the mechanics of the Atrocity rule in "AETO", it is evident that the effect of the rule is to demonstrate the deleterious and negative impact of the atrocities committed by the “SS” during World War 2, and is clearly an indictment of the “SS” organization and their barbarism during the war. Since the release of "AETO", the controversy has completely faded, perhaps once the true intent of the rule circuited through the wargaming community.
"AETO" Force Pools
Perhaps the most interesting and fun component of "Advanced ETO" is its comprehensive force pools, which is more detailed and complete than any similar World War 2 game. Featuring a relatively accurate tabulation of all the belligerents (and even neutrals) of the Second World War, the "AETO" force pools present players with an extremely well-organized spreadsheet that manages the arrival schedules of all the game’s units and pieces, including units that are purchasable by the players, and units that are automatic historical arrivals (such as the powerful Soviet ‘Siberian’ units, which may arrive just in time to help the Soviet player defend Moscow, as happened historically.) The force pools present a very organized apportionment of each belligerent’s forces according to historical timeframes, and this has the effect of simulating the war more historically than most other strategic-level wargames (e.g., the initial German panzer units...though effective during the war’s early stages...are gradually replaced by better-equipped and more powerful panzer units, as occurred historically.) Because of "Advanced ETO"’s extensive scope of units, ships and aircraft, the "AETO" force pools are quite extensive (7 pages), but they are very detailed for the game’s scale (some players have contended that they are too detailed), and even include the precise comings and goings of naval units that historically transferred back and forth from other Theaters (i.e., the Pacific), as well as obscure details such as the former names of certain ships (e.g., the Soviet cruiser “Petropavlovsk”, which was formally the old German warship “Lutzow”.) Such is the extent of the force pools’ detail, the length of the “notes” actually exceed the length of the force pools unit tabulation themselves, in most cases. Though very detailed, the "AETO" force pools are well organized, intuitive and easy to comprehend.
Without a doubt, the "AETO" rules are a tome, but a dichotomy of clarity and verbosity. Written from scratch (i.e., inheriting almost nothing from the "ETO" rules), and boasting a lengthy 144 pages, the "AETO" rules are the embodied example of an extreme intent to attain perfect clarity and no ambiguity. While it can be said that such an endeavor is virtually impossible with any wargame, it is almost certainly impossible with complex strategy games. Nonetheless, the "AETO" rules are very nearly successful, being arguably the most carefully-written and thoroughly-explained literary effort for any wargame (with the exception of, perhaps, “Advanced Squad Leader”.) Though not totally absent of ambiguities, the "AETO" rules are nothing short of amazing in their well-expressed style of writing, particularly because they are not saddled with any “wargamingese” whatsoever (such as ASL’s prolific abundance of acronyms specific to the ASL rules.) Indeed, "AETO" players are given a superb example of extremely thorough rules, although the unfortunate result of such clarity is an excessively over-explained rules set that attempts to express nearly every conceivable eventuality that players may encounter during game-play. The outcome of this for most "AETO" players is ambivalence because the rules are nothing less than intimidating at first glance, though they do prove themselves to be fairly complete...even during some of the most obscure eventualities. Taken carefully and slow, the "AETO" rules are extremely useful, helpful and understandable. What is more, the result of their application tends to be a very accurate simulation of the war in Europe...perhaps even uncannily so (players often report on game sessions that seem to mirror history, even when unintended.) But that said, if not applied correctly, the "AETO" rules become fragile (i.e., forgetting some minor and/or obscure detail can disrupt a particular game’s delicate balance), and it is fair to say that a good comprehension of the rules and their interwoven relation with sub-rules and the game’s overall engine requires practice (at least one full ‘campaign game’.) Literary accolades aside, the "AETO" rules are undoubtedly the most aesthetically unappealing rules ever produced by any major game company. Simply, they are sterile and plain, bordering on ugly (with almost no formatting whatsoever.) This unsightliness was the unfortunate result of extremely poor layout and formatting by Decision Games, whom did not demonstrate much aptitude in converting Eric Harvey’s original formatted rules (penned with a basic Microsoft ‘Word’ program) into their own in-house program (probably ‘InDesign’.) More unfortunately, Mr. Harvey has stated that he had not known of Decision Games’ practices pertaining to rules conversions (not having worked with Decision Games before), and had no awareness of how the "AETO" rules would ultimately appear (that is, until he received an actual production copy, by which time it was too late to effectuate any fixes or changes.) Worst of all, the "AETO" rules had also been edited by Decision Games...so poorly that some actual deletions and altered phrasings of key and consequential rules occurred (in some cases, to the detriment of the rules’ integrity.) To further add insult to injury, the first production run of "AETO" rules were actually misprinted with missing pages, and the initial customers were forced to wait for weeks while Decision Games corrected the problem (although in fairness, this particular production snafu was likely the fault of the printers, specifically, not Decision Games directly.) Overall, Decision Games’ fiasco was so disconcerting to Mr. Harvey that he set about to privately produce a whole new "AETO" rule book based on his originally penned ‘Word’ files, and offer it for sale direct to "AETO" players; these reissued rules were nicely organized and formatted, and even spirally-bound (perhaps necessarily so when considering the length of the rules), and also included four new Optional Rules. As an additional bonus, a CD was included as well, which contained a bevy of bonus files (including the rules files themselves) such as player-aids, and an interesting designer’s notes article (verbose in its own right at 8 un-spaced pages). By and large, "AETO" players have expressed satisfaction with the Mr. Harvey’s reissued rules (colloquially known as the “"AETO" Kit”), but more especially for his unrelenting on-line support (which appears to be limited to the consimworld.com forums, as far as is known.) Ironically, Mr. Harvey’s unrelenting support for "Advanced ETO" may have been born of his fervor to correct Decision Games’ multiple production errors...the proverbial ‘blessing in disguise’ for those of us that actively enjoy playing "AETO". Since "Advanced ETO"’s release in 2002, "AETO" has benefited from hundreds of players’ game sessions, and the "AETO" rules have undergone a paced and methodical update by Eric Harvey at the behest of devoted fans. Important errata and clarifications have been steadily introduced, and occasional glitches have been hammered out when they have been discovered. Thus, the present incarnation of "AETO" is a reasonably smooth-running game system, albeit no less complex. Experienced players do generally contend that familiarity with the rules’ complexities improves exponentially with each game-turn played, and the historical ‘feel’ that results is probably superior to any other similarly scaled World War 2 game. However, a full campaign game (1939 to 1945) can last two to four months (assuming fairly regular sessions), depending on the experience (and number) of participating players.
Besides the main campaign game, "Advanced ETO" only includes 8 unique scenarios...few of which are particularly intricate; some are even considered slightly flawed (e.g., play-balance.) However, various other scenarios are well-crafted, interesting and fun (the “Crete” scenario being a favorite among "AETO" players.) Additionally, a subsequent larger scenario covering the entire Eastern Front campaign was designed by Steve Miller (and approved by Eric Harvey) in 2005, and was intended be available in future expansion modules. Nevertheless, the originally published scenarios are regarded as very instructional. In fact, the first few scenarios are obviously designed to focus on different aspects of the game’s primary mechanics (i.e., sea, air and land engagements), and do that much well enough.
"AETO" Game Concept and Evolution
"Advanced ETO"’s design philosophy maintains a strict adherence to historical fact, with very little deviation beyond what was reasonably possible during World War 2. Players of either side are given the opportunity to deviate from historical campaign strategies, but geo-political historical deviations are extremely limited. The "AETO" rules require participating players to operate in accordance with historic political realities (e.g., Italy may invade Greece, as occurred historically, but Italy may not join the Allies against Germany.) Furthermore, the "AETO" rules restrict players to historically fielded units and combatants (e.g., the Soviet Union cannot launch any aircraft carriers, although Germany may launch one historic aircraft carrier...the Graf Zeppelin.) Some allowances, however, are permitted with the proviso that they were historically possible, or at least plausible (e.g., the United Kingdom may invade a neutral Norway, but France cannot invade Switzerland), but it is obvious that Eric Harvey’s design intent was to mandate compliance with reasonably feasible historicity. Hence, it is not possible for an "AETO" campaign game to drift wildly into the realm of the fanciful or farcical. Rather, most "AETO" campaigns tend to follow an overall historic course, except when altered by actual player strategies. Indeed, the "AETO" rules generally encourage and facilitate historic strategies with few exceptions (though actual strategy is still ultimately the purview of the participating players.) Germany, for example, is not required to establish the Vichy puppet State, but to not do so would invite abject disadvantages for the German player (such that most German players will always opt to establish the Vichy State.) In that regard, "AETO"’s design is deceptively poetic insofar as it allows unwise players to make foolish decisions, or likewise allows brilliant players to manage seemingly foolish decisions to achieve a greater end. Generally speaking, historic strategies and decisions will generate historic results, and vice versa. For instance, if the German player prosecutes the so-called “Battle of the Atlantic” in the same manner as history, he will likely replicate the same basic results (unless the Allied player’s strategy is markedly different than the historic Allied strategy.) Any variation of the historic German strategy for control of the Atlantic will be reasonably true to what would have happened during the actual war (if the same variation had occurred) to the extent that such can be known or hypothesized. In any case, the "AETO" rules make no allowances for implausible variations, such as Germany foregoing the construction of its surface navy so as to increase the size of the U-boat arm.
"Advanced ETO" players are truly a worldwide community, and as of the time that this Wikipedia article was written, "AETO"’s international popularity spanned no fewer than 25 countries around the globe, including Japan, Brazil, Finland, Rumania, and so forth. In fact, the enormous "AETO" rules have even been carefully translated by dedicated fans into other foreign languages, such as Italian and Spanish. For example, the full Italian translation (by Manuele Cogno) is currently available for download at boardgamegeek.com.
A thorough review of "Advanced ETO" appeared in the September/October 2004 issue (#55) of "Paper Wars" (published by Omega Games), written by Rick Lechowich, detailing "AETO"’s sequence of play. Mr. Lechowich’s review serves as a nice introduction to the game’s engine, and he even touches on some actual combat mechanics (unlike Mr. Harvey’s designer’s notes, which only make scant mention of how the combat systems function.) What is more, Mr. Lechowich’s general overview is very positive, and is thoroughly unconcerned by "AETO"’s complexities (and even explains their necessity), but does acknowledge them (in fairness, Mr. Lechowich does forewarn timid and new wargamers to be wary of "Advanced ETO".) Nevertheless, Mr. Lechowich demonstrates a clear comprehension of the rules, and even a deeper understanding of their purpose with regard to World War 2. Much of his article appears to be filler, of a sort (a summarized facsimile of "AETO"’s sequence of play), but unwittingly reveals "AETO"’s depth of complexity as a result. Mr. Lechowich’s interest in the game and its detail shines through, and his excitement about "AETO"’s prospect for realism is delightfully infectious, especially to experienced monster wargamers that relish the kind of intricacies that "Advanced ETO" offers. Even casual wargamers that would become overwhelmed by "AETO"’s scope may become enticed to attempt to play it. For wargamers that love the challenge of dissecting historically themed rules, Mr. Lechowich’s overview conveys the clear idea that "AETO" is not as overwhelming as its lengthy rules might ostensibly suggest, and is even a rewarding experience, when all is said and done. From the review:
"Advanced European Theater of Operations combines good looks with size and combat system fun with a very large overlay of chrome to live up to its name. The game is indeed advanced and reflects the dedicated efforts of serious players, devoted fans, and the occasional rules lawyer. Depth and thoroughness in the rules is another reflection of the game’s complexity. This is not an introductory level game by any means. It does provide fans of the previous game a much deeper, involved, and realistic look at the strategic issues facing both sides in World War II".The Summer 2006 Issue (#142) of “Fire & Movement” (published by Decision Games) includes an Example of Play article, written by Darin Leviloff, recreating the German assault on Crete (a scenario included in "AETO"), and detailing the combined arms challenges of the historical battle for that Greek island in 1941. Mr. Leviloff’s articulation of the relevant "AETO" rules is well-elucidated, and he gives readers a good ‘feel’ for "AETO"’s intricacies, and particularly "AETO"’s remarkable ability to simulate the air, land and naval aspects of warfare during World War 2, especially as they interact with one another. The article is an impressive demonstration of command of the rules, and proper strategy within the context of a difficult battle (e.g., as in reality, the German sea-borne forces will find it very difficult to reach Crete, whereas the British forces will have difficulty repelling the German airborne assault there.) Is it noteworthy to add that most "AETO" players regard the ‘Crete’ scenario as the most popular.
Though never officially published, a designer’s notes Word file was included [on CD] with the reissued "AETO" rules, which explained the design process in great detail. Its primary theme pertained to Eric Harvey’s design rationale, and the derivation of "AETO"’s unit ratings (and the meticulous research invested to that end.) Additionally, some general economic strategies were intimated, as well as a brief overview of the game’s overall structure and balance. While certainly somewhat gregarious in style, the designer’s notes provided very interesting reading to detail-minded players, and gamers interested in wargame design in particular. But despite its 8-page length, the designer’s notes made very little mention of any actual "AETO" rules, and did not expound much beyond the game pieces themselves (there was no specific mention of any actual mechanics, or much reference to the innovations of various new rules). They readily acknowledged "AETO"’s excessive complexity (albeit rationalized), but the reader was accordingly compelled to believe in "AETO"’s acclaimed accuracy, as it was quite clear that "AETO" was indeed designed with little...if any...guesswork, and many examples of the actual research devoted to its design process were thoroughly explained.
East African Theater of Operations ("AOI")
In 2004, Eric Harvey conceptualized a full expansion game for "Advanced ETO" known as "Africa Orientale Italiana" (Italian East Africa) that encompassed the lesser-known East African Theater during World War 2. Mr. Harvey had stated that "AOI" was initially envisaged as a pet project, and then as a convenient medium to incorporate all of "AETO"’s errata. From that, the concept eventually expanded to also include the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, and even an entire Spanish Civil War expansion for "AETO". Both scenarios would thus be incorporated into the overall "AETO" campaign game, allowing ambitious players to recreate the entirety of the Second World War in the Euro-African hemisphere from 1935 to 1945.
"AOI" was designed to include an additional 22”x34” expansion map of East Africa and the Middle East (from where the "AETO" East map edge ends) to include all of Egypt, East Africa, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and even Eastern Iran.) In fact, the map’s expanded geography was apparently designed to entail tangible strategic significance within the context of an "AETO" campaign game, because it featured, for example, the Iranian oilfields, the Sahara Desert and its encompassment of the Qattara Depression, and the Western Indian Ocean as hexed sea areas (a potential chokepoint for Allied naval units en route to and from the Suez Canal.) "AOI" was also designed to include 480 additional game pieces, half of which are said to be all new supplemental combat units specifically for "AETO" (i.e., not specific to the East African Theater of Operations, per se.) The units inherent to the East African Theater include a complete Ethiopian Order-of-Battle, as well as additional Commonwealth and Italian units that historically remained stationed outside of the European Theater (i.e., those units that do not appear on the "AETO" Orders-of-Battle.) Overall, "AOI"...when incorporated into an "AETO" campaign game...is not reported to impact grand strategy significantly (according to public playtest postings.) Moreover, there is no apparent consensus that the inclusion of AOI is a particular advantage to the Allies or the Axis, although some speculations imply that the Axis are slightly advantaged initially, while the Allies are noticeably advantaged later.
From the outset, a Pacific Theater companion to "Advanced ETO" had been planned, and the "AETO" rules even occasionally make reference to an eventual "Advanced PTO", albeit without any definitive rules pertaining to the so-called “combined game” (intended to allow "AETO" and "APTO" to be played together as a conglomerate, linked game.) To date, not much is known about the pending APTO, except that Eric Harvey has stated to have already completed a workable prototype (as of 2008), which is currently in the final stages of development (and undergoing outside playtesting.) What is known...according to the Decision Games’ newsletter (“Dispatches”)...is that "APTO" will feature 6 counter sheets (1,440 game pieces), two maps (22”x34”), and a substantially smaller rules set than "AETO". Moreover, Mr. Harvey has made repeated references to the compatibility of the "APTO" rules with "AETO" (featuring only a few new rules in an attempt to give "AETO" players an essentially identical game system, and thereby avoiding burdening veteran "AETO" aficionados with too many additional rules to learn).
From what can be gleaned of Mr. Harvey’s public comments about "APTO", there are only about a dozen “new” additional rules for "APTO" (i.e., rules specific to the Pacific War, such as Kamikazes, A-bombs, etc.), although even this is offset by the numerous "AETO"-specific rules that are naturally not included in "APTO". The stated and probable result will be a substantively smaller set of rules, and less complexity, too. What is more, Mr. Harvey claims to have adapted numerous "AETO" rules to "APTO", such that players who are familiar with tried-and-true "AETO" mechanics will be able to transition seamlessly to "APTO" (for example, the “Magic” cryptography rules in "APTO" are reported to be essentially identical to the “Ultra” cryptography rules in "AETO".) For critics of "AETO"’s complexity, "APTO" is likely to add very little additional complexity, but much additional scope. Lastly, Eric Harvey has frequently indicated that "Advanced PTO" will be an all-encompassing Pacific Theater game, beginning as early as 1937. Even obscure facets of the conflict in Asia, such as the “Nomonhan Incident” (the military clash between the Soviets and the Japanese in Mongolia) are supposedly included as well. Above all, Mr. Harvey has indicated that the detail in "APTO" will be more “finite”, and feature an impressive demonstration of intense research, helped in part by the thorough research that went into the monster game “War in the Pacific”, which was playtested by Eric Harvey during its development, according to its game credits.
In 2007, Decision Games announced that an updated "Advanced ETO" would be re-released as a second printing run, to be known as "“AETO 2"”. In addition, "AETO 2" is also to include the East African expansion game ("AOI"), for a total grand game of 10 counter sheets (2800 pieces), 3 large maps (22”x34”), and 2 mini-maps (8.5”x11”.) More significantly, though, Eric Harvey has stated that "AETO 2" would be a complete makeover, taking full advantage of the refinements that "AETO" has undergone since its release in 2002, as well as a streamlined integration of the "AOI" rules (i.e., all coalesced into one conglomerating rule booklet.) But contrary to any expectation that "AETO 2" will be more complex, Mr. Harvey has stated that he will endeavor to actually streamline "AETO 2" (deleting numerous redundancies, and simplifying some mechanics), as well as (and perhaps most significantly) a re-rendering of all of the artwork and graphics, particularly the game piece artwork. To this end, Mr. Harvey has enlisted the aid of professional graphic artist Tom Willcockson (to date, Mr. Willcockson’s wargame graphics credits are the comprehensive ship artwork for “War in the Pacific”.) At the time this Wikipedia article was written, "AETO 2" is projected to be released by Decision Games in 2010.
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27th Special Operations Wing — Infobox Military Unit unit name=27th Special Operations Wing caption= dates= 1940 45, 1946 Present country=United States allegiance= branch=United States Air Force type= role= size= command structure=Air Force Special Operations Command current… … Wikipedia