EUROPA SERIES BACKGROUND
From: Web grognards From: CardSharks <CardSharks@aol.com>
Subject: Re: The Europa Series (GDW)
I recently completed a detailed collector's overview of the GDW Europa
Series, complete with production numbers.
Please send comments to CardSharks@AOL.com
The GDW Europa Series (1973-1985)
The first game published by Game Designers' Workshop in 1973 was also the first
game in the ambitious Europa Series, a comprehensive simulation game history
of European World War II. The Europa Series established basic parameters (which
included division-level units, two-week turns, and sixteen mile hexes) for a
series of games covering the entire theater of war, and then defined campaigns
within the theater. Each of these campaigns is an individual game playable by
itself, but ultimately mateable with the others in the series-- to allow re-creation
of the entire war.
Over the years, Europa Series games have been produced in a variety of packaging
formats which reflected a growing or evolving marketing sophistication by GDW.
Originally, gamers were packaged in generic brown cardboard containers; later
games came in transparent ziplock bags; finally, they were packaged in flat
store boxes. The following is a list of Europa Series packaging types.
- Brown Corrugated Box (14.25 x 12 x 1.5). The quantity of components in the
original Drang Nach Osten and Unentschieden games required a thick box and
one was special ordered through a local cardboard maker. The first 1,000 copies
of DNO and UNT were packaged in this box. In some cases both DNO and UNT were
shipped in the same box.
- Brown Corrugated Sleeve (14 x 16). A flat corrugated mailer was developed
and adopted about 1974 to provide protection for games in the mail. Game components
were originally placed in the sleeve and it was taped at both ends. Later,
zip lock bagged games were slipped into the sleeve when they were sent out
by UPS or mail.
- Ziplock bags (12 x 15). About 1975, GDW began packaging games in ziplock
bags for ease of assembly, ease of storage, and for a better appearance on
- Flat Box (14.5 x 11.5 x 1.12). When the decision was made to box Europa
games for retail store sale, the flat box was created to hold them The first
boxes used a collage art technique by Dick Hentz; others were executed by
Rodger MacGowan. The later boxes used a graphic technique showing a map of
Europe with the game's subject territory highlighted.
EUROPA GAME EDITIONS
The following information has been gleaned from available GDW records, from
archival copies of the games, and from the memories of staff.
- Drang Nach Osten (DNO)
Game I, The German Invasion of Soviet Russia, June 1941 to March 1942.
Designed by Rich Banner and Frank Chadwick.
Five maps; 1680 counters.
6/73 edition. Initial publication. Brown corrugated box. Errata sheets for
the game were dated 30 July 1973 and 20 Aug 1973.
The initial production of DNO required a half sized counter sheet labeled
Europa Sheet 5. Because these sheets had not yet been die cut, a small quantity
of sheets were produced and packed into perhaps the first 100 games. The 30
July 1973 errata sheet promised a die cut counter sheet would follow shortly;
it was sent to all owners of record along with the 20 Aug 1973 errata sheet.
9/93 edition. Minor revision. Brown Corrugated Box. After approximately 1000
games were sold, packaging shifted to a 12 x 15 zip lock bag. Errata sheets
for the game were dated September 1973 and 1 Jan 1974.
- When Unentscheiden was published in September 1973, a few loose ends between
DNO and UNT needed to be resolved; this was accomplished by inserting a few
strategically selected pages into the DNO rules set; these pages were dated
1/75 edition. Revision. 12 x 15 ziplock bag. Errata sheets for the game were
dated Jan 1975, 1 Jan 1976, and 25 Jan 1976. The 25 Jan 1976 errata sheet
is considered definitive
When remaining quantities of DNO grew low, the determining factor became Europa
Counter Sheet 5. It was reprinted with some minor changed (notably the F2A
aircraft was now screened grey instead of colored white) and a final 900 copies
of DNO were produced in 1979.
- Fire In The East (FITE)
Game I, The German Invasion of Soviet Russia, June 1941 to March 1942. FITE
is a redesign of DNO.
Designed by John M. Astell, Paul R. Banner, Frank Chadwick, and Marc W. Miller.
Six maps, 2500 counters.
Test Edition. Playtest edition issued prior to publication. Packaged in two
collage art Marita-Merkur boxes. The responses from playtesters of this draft
game were used for final adjustments and changes in the 4/84 edition. Worthy
of note is the care lavished on this edition: in addition to using existing
Europa counter sheets, it included Europa Test Sheet A and Europa Test B-
both sheets of properly colored, printed, and die cut counters.
4/84 edition. Red double-thickness Europa Map box. Probably the largest game
ever published-and one of the best values for the money. The errata sheet
for the game were dated April 1984, and 10 July 1984. The 10 July 1984 errata
- Unentschieden. (UNT)
Game II, The Eastern Front of World War II, April 1942 to February 1945. Designed
by Paul R. Banner and Frank Chadwick. UNT is a continuation of DNO; it is
not playable without DNO.
9/73 edition. Initial publication. Brown corrugated box; after approximately
1,000 games were sold, packaging shifted to a 12 x 15 zip lock bag. Errata
sheets for the game were dated September 1973 and 1 Jan 1974 (errata for Unentschieden
were the same as for DNO).
1/75 edition. Revision. 12 x 15 zip lock bag. Errata sheets for the game were
dated Jan 1975, 1 Jan 1976, and 25 Jan 1976 (errata for UNT were the same
as for DNO). The 25 Jan 1976 errata is definitive.
Unentschieden is German for "stalemate."
- Marita -Merkur (MM)
Game III, The Campaign in the Balkans. November 1940 to June 1941.
Designed by John M. Astell and Paul R. Banner.
Two maps. 600 counters.
5/79 edition. Initial publication. Red Collage art box; the game was repackaged
in a blue Europa Map box in April 1984. Errata sheets for the game were dated
17 July 1979, 24 Oct 1979, and 18 Jan 1985. The 18 Jan 1985 errata is definitive.
Marita and Merkur are German operational names for their activities in the
Balkans. Marita-Merkur was originally scheduled as Europa Game III and was
supposed to follow fast on the heels of Unentschieden. When the designers
encountered difficulties in pinning down some aspects of troop strengths in
the Balkans, the decision was made to skip MM for the moment and tackle a
campaign which was more fully documented-Narvik.
- Narvik (NAR)
Game IV, The German Invasion of Norway, April to June 1940.
Designed by Frank Chadwick and Paul R. Banner.
Two maps. 720 counters.
9/74 edition. Initial publication. 12 x 15 zip lock bag; early games were
shipped in a brown corrugated sleeve instead of a bag.
The errata sheet for the game were dated September 1974, 1 November 1974,
and 14 January 1978.
Narvik posed a problem for the Europa Series: the division-level approach
of DNO made the operations in Norway trivial. Frank Chadwick determined that
a detailed battalion-level approach would work on the Europa scale map of
Norway. The result was an especially interesting study of invasion strategy
in WW II. Narvik proved to be one of the favorite Europa games among GDW players.
2/80 edition. Revision, reformat, and repackaging. Blue collage art box; the
game was repackaged in a blue Europa Map box in October 1984. Errata sheets
for the game were dated 21 April 1982 (which applied only to the first printing)
and 21 April 1982. The 21 April 1982 errata is definitive.
The second and subsequent printings of the 2/80 edition incorporated the map
errata of the April 1982 errata. The 2/80 edition did not differ substantially
from the 9/74 edition, but it did upgrade the maps to a multi-color format
and incorporate the previously noted errata into the rules.
- "Their Finest Hour" (TFH)
Game V, The Battle of Britain and Operation Sea Lion, July to December 1940.
Designed by Marc W. Miller, Frank Chadwick, and Paul R. Banner. John M. Astell
managed and participated in the 1/82 redesign.
2/76 edition. Initial publication. 12 x 15 zip lock bag. Three maps, 1330
counters. Errata sheets for the game were dated March 1976 and 1 April 1976
(which included the substance of the 4/76 edition).
Although marked 2/76, and called the 2/76 edition, GDW records reflect that
the first copies of TFH were produced 22 March 1976.
TFH was an ambitious project even for Europa. Two Europa scale maps provided
England, Ireland, and the Northern Coast of France; a third map handled an
operational level Sea Lion invasion game using a regimental level approach
similar to Narvik. A naval system, a Europa level air game, and a squadron
level air game were added.
This edition of TFH proved to be less than successful; on one hand was at
the helm in developing the game, and it suffered. Fixes were implemented immediately:
a correction counter sheet (about 60 counters) and extensive errata. It became
the 4./76 edition.
4/76 edition. Major revision. 12 x 15 zip lock bag. The errata sheet for the
game was dated April 1976.
1/82 edition. Redesign, repackaging. Blue early Europa Map box. Two maps,
1200 counters. Errata sheets for the game were dated 12 August 1982 and 21
September 1983 (which included a correction counter sheet).
9/84 edition. Minor revision. Eliminated the need for the correction counter
sheet (by changing the game counter sheets). The errata sheet dated August
1984 is definitive.
- Western Desert (WD)
Game VI, The Campaign in Egypt and Libya, December 1940 to January 1943.
Designed by John M. Astell and Frank Chadwick.
Two maps, 480 counters.
2/82 edition. Initial publication. Brown Europa Map box. The original box
back was blank, and a printed descriptive box back was added in 1983. Errata
sheets for the game was dated April 1983, 14 June 1983, and 7 December 1983.
The 7 December 1983 errata is definitive.
Western Desert provided Frank Chadwick, ever the North Africa buff, to design
a North Africa campaign game. The use of game mechanics originally designed
for the Eastern Front is a testimonial to the Europa Series game rules---
Western Desert ranks with Narvik in ease of play and overall enjoyment.
- Case White (CWH)
Game VII, The Invasion of Poland, September 1939.
Designed by Frank Chadwick.
Three maps, 480 counters.
7/77 edition. Initial publication. 12 x 15 zip lock bag; the game was repackaged
in a red collage art box in 1979. The errata sheet for the game was dated
15 July 1977.
The first 100 games were produced without the folder which enclosed the rules
in later production.
Case White provided another of the problems that confronts an undertaking
the size of Europa: the loss of Poland is a foregone conclusion. To make CWH
a more interesting game, variant situations were provided which allowed hypothetical
alternatives (free set-up, stronger Polish Air Force, increased Polish mechanization)
to be explored.
- Fall of France (FOF)
Game VIII, The German Blitzkrieg in France and the Low Countries, June to
Designed by John M. Astell.
Two maps, 2040 counters.
1/981 edition.. Initial publication. Red and blue MacGowan box. Errata sheets
for the game were dated 12 February 1981 and 9 September 1981. The 9 September
1981 errata sheet is definitive.
The counter intensity in the campaign led the designer to provide corps markers
in order to alleviate stacking congestion.
- Near East (NE)
Game IX, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.
Designed by John M. Astell.
Three maps, 240 counters.
5/83 edition. Initial publication. Red-brown Europa Map box. The errata sheet
for the game was dated 7 December 1983 and is definitive.
Near East is a module which provides forces and maps not otherwise provided
in Europa games; it is not playable separately, but can be played in conjunction
with Western Desert.
- Spain and Portugal (S&P)
Game X, The Iberian Peninsula.
Designed by John M. Astell.
One map, 240 counters.
10/84 edition. Initial publication. Blue Europa map box. No errata sheet has
Spain and Portugal is a module like the Near East. GDW's original plans envisioned
inclusion of the Spanish Civil War, but that project would have required additional
counters and game systems which would not have furthered the basic concept
of a World War II simulation.
- Torch (TOR)
Game XI, The Allied Landings In North Africa
Designed by John M. Astell.
2 maps, 480 counters.
11/85 edition. Initial publication. Brown Europa map box. Torch is a companion
game to Western Desert, although playable separately. The errata sheet for
the game was dated 2 January 1986 and is definitive.
Hobby Japan / Post Hobby translated the Europa series into Japanese and produced
the series as a boxed game between 1981 and 1987. These games are occasionally
seen in the American market.
GDW typically noted the publication of a new title by affixing a tag or label
with the game title, date, and the statement "N of 10" to the first
10 copies of a game that came off their assembly line. These tags were usually
signed by the game designer. Most of these games were distributed to GDW staff,
designers, or corporate friends. Designer Editions are the first off the line
and thus do not have later upgrades or errata sheets which later production
The Series The Entire Europa Series was planned to include
at least 12 games: They included-
- I. Drang Nach Osten (DNO), revised and republished as Fire In The East (FITE).
The German Invasion of Soviet Russia, June 1941 to March 1942.
- II. Unentschieden. (UNT), revised and republished as Scorched Earth (SE).
The Eastern Front of World War II, April 1942 to February 1945.
- III. Marita -Merkur (MM). The Campaign in the Balkans. November 1940 to
- IV. Narvik. (NAR). The German Invasion of Norway, April to June 1940.
- V. "Their Finest Hour" (TFH). The Battle of Britain and Operation
Sea Lion, July to December 1940.
- VI. Western Desert (WD). The Campaign in Egypt and Libya, December 1940
to January 1943.
- VII. Case White (CWH). The Invasion of Poland, September 1939.
- VIII. Fall of France (FOF). The German Blitzkrieg in France and the Low
Countries, June to September 1940.
- IX. Near East (NE). Turkey, Iraq, and Iran.
- X. Spain and Portugal (S&P). The Iberian Peninsula.
- XI. Torch (TOR). The Allied Invasion of North Africa.
- XII. Second Front (SF). The Allied Invasion of France.
The Europa Newsletter
To provide a vehicle for publication of news about Europa upcoming releases,
background, and scenarios for various games, GDW established the Europa Newsletter
in 1976. Promoted through GDW catalogs and flyers, it asked for an order blank
to be submitted and in return provided a free 4-issue subscription.
At the end of the first four issues, the newsletter turned into Grenadier Magazine,
which covered a broader range of game subjects (and not just GDW publications).
Ultimately, the Grenadier was acquired by Jeff Tibbetts.
- Issue 1. May 1976. Edited by Paul R. Banner. 4 pages. Circulation 1069.
Contents included Operation Taifun: The German March on Leningrad and Moscow
(a DNO scenario), and a Europa parts and price list.
- Issue 2. August 1976. Edited by Paul R. Banner. 8 pages. Circulation 1736.
Contents included Eastern Front Air Orders of Battle, Operation Platinfuchs:
The Assault on Murmansk, a list of the first 50 purchasers of DNO, and various
reviews and editorials.
- Issue 3. March 1977. Edited by Scott Renner. 8 pages. Circulation 2407.
The major article was Germany's East Front Allies: Italy (by Franklyn G. Prieskop).
- Issue 4. October 1977. Edited by Scott Renner. 8 pages. Circulation 2807.
Articles included Germany's East Front Allies: Slovakia (by Franklyn G. Prieskop)
and Operation Weserubung (a scenario for Narvik at the Europa level).
Experimental air rules, aircraft values, and order of battle/appearance.
Draft Europa Air OB/OA
Designed by Marc W. Miller
In 1976-77, GDW produced a draft air order of battle for the eastern front using
game rules and concepts developed in the design of Their Finest Hour. The information
was made available to Europa gamers on request. In addition, the draft material
in its printed form served to perpetuate the concepts for the GDW design staff
in a way that mere typescript manuscripts could never do.
- Air Orders of Battle and Appearance, DNO. The first set of draft material
(covering DNO) appeared with the date 22 June 1976; approximately 1000 copies
of the 4 page document were produced.
- Air Orders of Battle and Appearance, UNT. The second set of draft material
(covering UNT) appeared 1 May 1977 (500 copies).
- Air Orders of Battle and Appearance, DNO/UNT. In 1978, the two documents
were combined into an 8-page booklet (500 copies).
Production data of the Europa Series from the purchase order files indicates
the following print runs of Europa games.
- Drang Nach Osten (DNO).(6/73) 2,000
- Drang Nach Osten (DNO) (1/75) 6,000
- Fire in the East (FITE), 9,506
- Unentschieden. (UNT), (9/73) 1,500
- Unentschieden. (UNT), (1/75) 5,395
- Scorched Earth (SE) 5,000
- Marita -Merkur (MM). 6,048
- Narvik. (NAR).(9/74) 4,895
- Narvik. (NAR).(2/80) 8,420
- "Their Finest Hour" (TFH).(2/76) 1,000
- "Their Finest Hour" (TFH) (4/76) 1,770
- "Their Finest Hour" (TFH) (1/82) 6,008
- "Their Finest Hour" (TFH) (9/84) 1,719
- Western Desert (WD). 10,847
- Case White (CWH). 5,832
- Fall of France (FOF).` 10,986
- Near East (NE). 7,062
- Spain and Portugal (S&P). 3,756
- Torch (TOR) 5,396
- Second Front (SF). Not produced
In 1986, GDW transferred the Europa Series to Winston Hamilton and GRD, which
has continued to produce and revise the game system.
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