Kev Sharp of Big Board Gaming brings us the latest news from Central European front. The struggle for Air Superiority is raging in the first hours of Warsaw Pact’s offensive.
Forward, Comrades! Campaign game for 1985: Under an Iron Sky.
As already announced a few days ago, the dramatic events of the last few weeks are coming to an end. Talks for a ceasefire are now taking place in Belgrade, with both sides throwing in the last reserves to gain a tactical advantage on the negotiating table.
Whatever the result of these bitter diplomatic talks, Europe and the World will never be the same. For the third time during this century, European cities are in ruins and tens of thousands lives have been sacrificed on the altar of ideological conflict.
As a privileged witness of these historical events, I think my last duty is to report the key passages of World War Three and thank all the people who helped us during these extraordinary and dramatic circumstances.
September, 1 2017: “1985: Under an Iron Sky” Announced
February, 14 2018: DEFCON 3 and Production Print Started
March, 10 2018: DEFCON 2 – Production Print Completed
April, 07 2018: Official Presentation at Modena Play
Since this project started, I’ve been planning to publish a gallery of photos taken by 1985: Under an Iron Sky owners.
Well, here it is! In no particular order, all the snapshots I’ve collected and received during these months.
Another chapter in the increasingly creepy saga of KGB Colonel Fabrizio Leonidovich Vianello, brought to you by Grognard Emeritus Thomas Gaul!
TIME: 1:30am Moscow time, 14 Sept. 1985
PLACE: Deep, deep, in the bowels of the “Special Branch” of the KGB annex of the Kremlin, Special Interrogations Divisions
The “clack, clack, clack” of the boots of the military goons marching KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello to the door of “Special Interrogations Room” sounded to KGB Colonel Vianello like the shots of a firing squad. As he was being “guided” to his perhaps final destination, KGB Colonel Vianello’s mind feverishly worked to come up with a plan, a scheme, a plot, anything to avoid what he fully expected would be his last confrontation with the Soviet Party . Never had “the Survivor” needed the cunning of his personal avatar, “the Weasel” more than now. Surely, this was all a misunderstanding! None were more loyal, more dedicated, more devoted to the glorious Socialist system. Surely, this would be recognized? Surely he was still useful? Surely there were others the “Special Branches” division of the KGB were more interested in then him?
That was it! His genius had done it again! Denunciations! The last refuge and true product of the Glorious Soviet Communist State! Others were at fault! Many others!! His superiors, obviously. His colleagues without a doubt. And, of course, those lower on the totem pole than he anywhere at all in the Soviet system. And, in a pinch, his wife was none too trustworthy. Even his children had recently show an unhealthy and bourgeois interest in jeans, rock music, and fashion of the decadent West. A few decades in the Gulag would help to re-focus their aims.
The two goons frog marching him down the corridor sharply turned a corner and stopped abruptly before a larger than expect steel-encased door. Two other trogloydte-shaped thugs in the uniform of the Special Branches division gazed with beedy, pitiless eyes at the Colonel. For a moment, the four Neanderthals simply glared at the Colonel. Then, slowly, the largest and dimmest looking of the four guards took out his truncheon. Raised it. Stared at the Colonel. Suddenly, rapidly, the club and the arm holding it came crashing down.
And struck the steel-encased door. Like the tolling of a funeral bell, the sound rang throughout the corridor.
“KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello, is present, Major Olivares!”
“Send him in” hissed the feminine, surprisingly soft-spoken, sibilant voice of the enfant-terrible of the KGB’s Special Branch, Major Eleonora Olivares. With not a word spoken between them, the four minions opened the door, shoved the Colonel in, and then slammed it shut like the lid of a casket, leaving the Colonel alone with his Doom.
The Colonel blinked in surprise. The room was ordinary, looking more like one of the many briefing rooms throughout the Kremlin than the expected torture chamber. A desk, a chair behind the desk where the Major sat studying some papers, and another chair before the desk. Mounted on a wall behind the desk, somewhat dimly lit, was an enormous map of Germany, Central Europe, Scandinavia, and the rest of the battle area presently being fought over between the Glorious Forces of Socialism and the blood-sucking leeches of the Capitalists of NATO. Military symbols crowded over each other, but seemed to be in their correct place. Clearly the Major was kept well informed of the progress of the operation.
Spoken quietly, like the whisper of poison, the voice of Major Olivares compelled instant obedience. As if he had been shot, the Colonel collapsed into the chair in front of the desk. Major Olivares did not move at first but just stared at the Colonel with the coal black, burning eyes of the fanatic, inspecting her subject like she would a rodent who she had cornered and was contemplating how best to terminate.
The Major, despite her high rank, was young, mid-to-late 20s, no more. In spite of her youth, legends had already grown around her like weeds in a graveyard. Not since Beria had the KGB known such a terror in one person. How she had risen so far, so fast, had been the subject of numerous Party rumors, each one darker, more lurid, and more sinister than the last. Of course, most Party rumors were false, put out by the individual to terrify his opponents and enemies. With Major Olivares, the false rumors were put out to cover up the even more horrific true ones.
The foundation of the rumors began with the appearance of the Major herself. If the room itself was ordinary, the Major was not. Beginning with her “uniform”. Not strickly regulation. In fact, not regulation at all. Her boots, while boots they were, rose much higher up her legs than the manual authorized. Shined to a high gloss midnight black sheen, they had heels at least 4 inches higher than regulation. The uniform itself was as tight as a second skin, showing all her medals in distracting glory. Her hair, black as a starless night, was bound tightly as required but the binding was done by a clasp in the shape of chains. Around her neck, worn on the outside of her uniform (against all dressing standards of the Red Army), was a necklace embossed with the motto, “Pain is the Way to Truth and I am the Guide”. And, with her at all times, including now, was that for which she was most infamous. Her knout.
Kev Sharp of Big Board Gaming goes deep into 1985: Under an Iron Sky, facing “Next War” series Game Designer Mitchell Land in the “Forward, Comrades!” campaign game!
Don’t miss this epic struggle between NATO and Warsaw Pact. Ragnarok will be a trivial bar brawl in comparison.
The latest (and maybe the last one!) chapter about the intrigues and maneuvers of KGB Colonel Fabrizio Leonidovich Vianello.
As usual, developed and written by Grognard Emeritus Thomas Gaul!
Time: 9pm, Moscow time, 13 Sept. 1985
Place: Special restaurant of the KGB officer’s club of Dedicated Socialist, soon-to-be-Hero-of-the-Soviet-Union, soon-to-be-KGB- General-presently-KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello
Feet propped up on his table, boots off, head back KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello savored the moment. He had allowed himself a rare luxury (well to others it was rare; to him, as a true son of the Communist system, less so) and richly deserved it. Vodka was, of course, well and good and necessary, but a true French wine (Bordeaux, of course) to wash down the chef prepared gourmet meal, complete with the best prepared steak in Moscow, was a special part of the non-existent heaven of decadent capitalist religions. Of course, such things only existed to dull the minds of the exploited workers of the Capitalists pawns, but, if they did exist, surely this would have to be part of it.
The Vassal module for 1985: Under an Iron Sky is ready and available for download!
Created by John Rainey with the same graphics used in production print, the module contains ready-to-use setups for the four scenarios and two campaign games of the boxed version. It also adds several handy functions:
- SAM coverage overlay
- Air Superiority Areas overlay
- Automatic “Return to Base” for Air Squadrons
- Integrated Sequence of Play
No feeble excuse can now save you from the final showdown between NATO and Warsaw Pact. You had a lot of time for visiting Russia, today it’s too late. Russia is visiting you.
Another chapter in the plots and conspiracies of KGB’s Colonel Fabrizio Leonidovich Vianello!
Brought to you by Thomas Gaul, retired KGB (or CIA?) agent and Grognard Emeritus.
Time: 2:24 am Moscow time, August 21, 1985
Place: Kremlin, private office of KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello, extra-top-secret sanctum cubicle of KGB Colonel Vianello
KGB Colonel Vianello suppressed a massive yawn and contemplated his new work with with the self satisfied inner bliss of one who has completed the “perfect” 5-year plan, or in this case the plan to solve the problems of the initial war-plan against the capitalist swine that was NATO. Of course, the initial plan prepared by him and his team had been nearly flawless, but as ever, wreckers and pseudo capitalist leeches, or even worse, personal enemies of the Colonel, had failed to anticipate events correctly, or even actively worked to smear his plan. But what he had now completed would correct those errors of lesser minds.
In preparing to implement the “more correct” correct plan, Colonel Vianello gave to himself the mental congratulations for his justified foresight and genius. Not all his opponents could or should be sent to the gulag and forgotten. All, of course, must be sent to the gulag (for an enemy of his was obviously an enemy to the State) but some should be sent to the gulag and still used for the Glorious Soviet State.
And such had been the fate of former KGB Major Marco Josevich Cimmino. An early “genius” in the field of computers, his future had been bright. Too bright. He had sought to replace the Colonel and his team, claiming his computers would do the job better and more certainly, without the corruption of humans. Him, Colonel Vianello, soon to be hero of the Soviet victory, corrupt!! As if a few richly deserved rubles, dachas and women, were anything other than proper rewards of a grateful Soviet State! The Major had been investigated, found lacking in proper Communist ideology, properly denounced, and the gulag it was.
Yes! 1985: Under an Iron Sky is going to have a second print run, code named Second Echelon.
The only differences from the first print run will be:
- Rules Booklet updated with the errata included in Living Rules version 15
- Tables assembled in a single 6-pages booklet, easier to use
- Box with a “Second Echelon / второй эшелон” label in the lower left corner
Second Echelon should be ready in September and, short of a popular uprising, will be printed in 200 copies only.
As for the First Echelon, we’re not going to use PreOrder or KickStarter. If you want to be sure to grab a copy, you may reserve one simply by stating it in the following BoardGameGeek Thread:
And now, the eye candy section with some images of the First Echelon! As already said, Second Echelon will have only minor differences.