When I got notice of this game I ordered it right away. Why, you ask? Well, first its one of the first wargames from a German publisher. I was curious to learn what design idea the developers might follow. Second Aachen 1944 offers an interesting subject seldom treated in wargames. The only other campaign game that I know of addressing the Stolberg Sector comes with the Command Decision miniature rules. Last and by no means least I live in Aachen.
Thus I can relate to all those places shown on the area map. Also there are many official war diaries available as well as several historical studies on the events surrounding the taking of Aachen. Beeing as much interested in history as in wargaming this offers much reward for my investment in time and effort.
Aachen was the first german city to fall to the Allied forces. As so often the Nazi regime followed the strategy of scorched earth. The civilian population was ordered to leave the city and to move towards the Rhine area. Aachen was to be transformed into a fortress incorporated in the Siegfried Line defences and expected to fight to the last round.
Allied forces persuing German remnant units crossed the German border near Aachen on the 12 September 1944. Aachen was bypassed and the garrison was encircled against strong opposition from German forces detailed to defend against this first Allied ingression into the Reich. Aachen fell to an assault by the US Big Red One Division on 21 October 1944 after some 10 days of bitter house-to-house fighting.
So now lets have a look at the game itself. My first impression of the game components is excellent. The map is printed on heavy paer, its clear with good contrast to the counters. The artwork on the counters is clear, the numbers are large. The game comes with several colorful charts all in light cardboard. Everything is easy to read. This latter aspect gets more and more important with ageing eyes. So well done here!
Crossing The Line offers one small intro-scenario, two larger scenarios, and a full campaign game. So I will first have a go at the intro-scenario to get an idea on how the system is ment to work. One innovative instrument is a gauge that helps to find the correct combat result on the CRT.
The first scenario is only introductory indeed. I gives some insight into the game mechanics. The activation of divisional formations I find an interesting concept. The chit pull for combat resulution caters for a strong element of uncertainty. The incremental step loss is somewhat fiddly to handle on the tabletop, but seams to work well. All in all I think its worth the effort to understand the game system. I am looking forward to play one of the larger scenarios.