Combat Leader   Game Series
Sample view of 1st edition components for Combat Leader: East Front.  (Map 1 is in upper left corner, followed by Map 2) with other 1st ed. module components shown as well (Map 4, then Map 3) with various components from other modules.  These maps, counters, Reference Cards, and scenarios (and special rules folders) may be found in the various modules described above. 

     Combat Leader is Minden's game series that simulates tactical level infantry combat during the Second World War.  Counters (5/8th inch) represent individual soldiers that are individually named and rated for marksmanship, morale, melee ability, leadership rank, and weapon.  The map scale is 17 yards per hex, and time scale is between 45 and 60 seconds per turn.  A variety of scenarios enables gamers to conduct firefights between individual squads.  The game was designed for two-players.
     Like all Minden releases, this game series emphasizes historicity and playability.  Games and modules may be freely combined.  The first two releases cover the titanic struggle on the east front, at the smallest scale possible... individual German and Russian soldiers.  The counters reflect the strengths and weaknesses of each army.  Note that players must supply a six-sided die and deck of standard playing cards to play, and the two-sided counters must be cut apart prior to play.  
     Tanks?  No tanks!  The Combat Leader system is a two-player game designed to simulate tactical infantry firefights between individual soldiers and leaders in an historically faithful yet highly playable manner.  And yes... more games and nationalities for the Combat Leader system are planned.
     While the Combat Leader game system was designed for two players, many solitaire enthusiasts would consider it "solo friendly" since it is low complexity, there are not many units on the map at any time, and there is some "chaos" and variability built into the system (similar to other two-player games published by Minden).

     Combat Leader: East Front is the original game of the series, and contains all game components and standard rules (plus advanced options) necessary to play.  Players command a single German or Russian squad in rural (and varied) terrain during the initial months of Operation Barbarossa in 1941.  Besides the supplied scenarios, there is an almost limitless number of situations you can design on your own. 
     Soldiers are armed with various weapons, which include the German GewehrK98K Mauser rifle, MP38 machine pistol, and MG 34 light machine gun, and the Russian Mosin Nagant M1891/30 rifle, PPSh-41 machine pistol, and DP 1928 light machine gun.  Each weapon has its own characteristics for range, penetration, effectiveness, and reliability.  Enough men are supplied (33 for each side) to fit out squads of many different varieties. 
     Supplied scenarios include:  Clash of Squads (CL1), Meeting Engagement (CL2), Hotel Henn (CL3), Scamble at Dusk (CL4), Reconnaissance in Force (CL5), and Breakthrough (CL6).  Each scenario has its own victory conditions, special rules, and play variants.  Components include German counter set A (60 counters & markers), Russian counter set B (60 counters & markers), two identical double-sided Reference Cards, three double-sided Scenario Cards (with six scenarios), and 12-page illustrated rule booklet.
     Note that CL: East Front is out of print, and has been replaced by CL: Ostkrieg.

                 ​Combat Leader: East Front '41           Click here for a Boardgamegeek review.

​                                           COMBAT LEADER: Abbreviated Sequence of Play

     Men on both sides are set up as per the scenario instructions, and start the game inverted. They remain upside down until disclosed by firing or being fired upon, at which time soldiers are turned right side up and fake counters removed.  Each scenario has its own victory conditions, length, and special rules.  The order of play is essentially "I go/you go", but with a twist.  The following sequence of play is repeated until the scenario is over.

1.  Player 1 phase.  Phasing player activates one occupied hex, whose occupants may move or fire.
2.  Player 2 phase.  Phasing player activates one occupied hex, whose occupants may move or fire.
3.  Initiative phase.  Roll on the Initiative Table to see if phase 4 OR phase 5 is completed this turn (the other phase is skipped).
4.  Bonus phase.  If a Bonus phase is awarded, the designated side gets a bonus activation.
5.  Rally phase.  If Rally phase occurs, both sides may attempt to rally pinned men.
6.  Phase Reversal phase.  Roll on a table to see if player 1 and player 2 designations are reversed.

     Advanced options include rules for weapon jamming, desperation rally, routing, mixed activation actions, Hesitation, maching gun penetration, green squads, and more.
     Leaders and assistant leaders can aid movement and firing ability of their men (though commissars can be a mixed blessing).  The individually named and rated soldiers can take on a life of their own during play.  While a lot of detail is provided, we must stress that the game system emphasizes playability.  Full rules, optional rules, game charts, and Designer's Notes are contained in a 12-page booklet...  this is a game series designed to be played and enjoyed by gamers, not rules lawyers!  Have fun with it!

                               COMBAT LEADER: VOLKSSTURM, 2nd ed.
     This module adds German Volkssturm soldiers and components as noted, combining elements of 1st ed. Volkssturm and the now out of print CL: Expansion







Complete game--simulating the Winter War of 1939-40 between Finland and the USSR--which adds the Finns to the system, with special Snow rules, and Finnish characteristics and weapons.  Includes full rules, Finn counters (Sheet G), Russian counters (Sheet H), WW Reference Card, maps 7 & 8.  Visit the page here for details.
To order Combat Leader games and component sets, visit the ORDERING page.

                   ​                          COMBAT LEADER: POLAND 1939

Complete game--simulating the Polish Campaign of September 1939 between Germany and Poland.  Adds the Poles, German SS, and complete core rules system in 24 page rule booklet, and five scenarios.  German and Polish counter sheets (J & K), two Reference Cards, maps 9 & 10.  Visit the page here for details.
COMBAT LEADER: CORE RULES is a 50-page book containing all the standard, advanced, and optional rules for the system, covering German and Russian soldiers (including rules for Green, SS, Assault Engineer, and Volkssturm squads, and commissars). For a general description of the system, see discussion to the right.  CL: Core Rules book is available through Amazon, or directly from Minden.  When you own the Core Rules book, you'll be able to play any Combat Leader module or game.

For those new to the system, along with the Core Rules book, you may buy one or more Game Component Set which will give you all the components necessary to play.  Each Component Set has maps, counter sheets, special nationality rules (as necessary), Reference Cards, and scenarios. There are three Game Component Sets currently available. If you already own CL games/ modules, you do not need to buy the component sets as you already will have what they contain

CL: Ostkrieg has taken the place of CL: East Front (out of print), containing German and Russian soldiers, and maps 1, 2; counter sheets A, B, C; game markers, three scenario cards (with 6 scenarios), Reference Card, but no core rules. 

CL: Volkssturm 2nd ed. adds German Volkssturm soldiers to the system, containing maps 3, 4, 5; counter sheet D, game markers,one scenario, Reference Card, no core rules.

CL: Component Set A has German and Russian and German Volkssturm soldiers, and contains maps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; counter sheets A, B, C, D; sheet of game markers; three scenario cards, two Reference Cards, eight scenarios (six from CL: East Front, and two from CL: Volkssturm), a four-page special rule/scenario folder, but no core rules.  

CL: Component Set B has German, Polish, Russian, and Finnish soldiers, and contains maps 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; counter sheets E, F, G, H, J, K; sheet of game markers; two Reference Cards; a 12-page folder with rules covering special Polish and Finnish national characteristics and weapons, and nine scenarios (five from CL: Poland and four from CL: Winter War), but no core rules.  

Individual maps and counter sheets and other game components are also available for purchase separately, if you'd rather choose what exact components you'd like. Order components from this page, below right.

(Notes:  Component Set A has components and scenarios originally in CL: East FrontCL: Expansion Module, and CL: Volkssturm.  Component Set B has components and scenarios originally in CL: Winter WarCL: Poland, and CL: Solitaire Module (but please note that the solitaire rules booklet is not included, just the map and counters of that module.)

In future, when new nationalities are added to the system, gamers will be able to buy that individual module, which will contain new maps, new counters, new national characteristics rules, and new scenarios... the CL: Core Rules book will work with them all.

Order individual game components, below right.
CL: Set B Game Booklet