September 23, 2023

#UnboxingDay ~ Traces of War by VUCA Sims

Billy Riley, 18 May 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay

This is my first Vuca Simulations purchase. I’ve kept an eye on their page and there are games that interest me. I’ve also seen the quality of their products – it really seems to be of a high standard, and this shows true in this game.

I don’t know what drew me to this. I think I saw a video of it on Youtube…that’s normally how these purchases happen. Yeah – I remember seeing the map and thinking it was pretty cool looking. And then I heard the mechanics and they sounded interesting. So the normal happened…I headed over to BGG to read up on it.

I liked what I saw.


Box Art

Looks like the Russians are leaving Panthers in their wake

unbox traces 1

click images to enlarge

The back shows details about the game, including a complexity of 4 and a solitaire suitability of 9. Those suit me just fine

unbox traces 2


The Rule Book

The manual is a 15 page semi gloss book in colour. There’s actually 8 pages of “game play” rules…so removing the notes on game components, player aids etc.

The last two pages are dedicated to historical notes and a piece on Erich von Manstein.

There are some nice detailed colour examples.  


The Counters

There are 3 counter sheets holding a total of 303 counters – all of which are 5/8” and ¾” in size…though I’d say fairly thin. Thinner than I recall seeing. They punch easily and cleanly too, leaving only the tiniest nub on the sides of the counter.



Two 6 sided die come with the game.

unbox traces 15


Player Aid Cards

There are four player aid cards – 2 Player Aid Card A and 2 Player Aid Card B.

Oddly – these are thicker card stock than the counters.

Player Aid Card A shows a summary of the Sequence of play with a detailed list of steps on one side and various charts on the other.

Player Aid Card B shows what appears to be a summary of important rules with the rule number handily displayed


The Map

There are two maps – 20.7” x 28” in size. Whatever I tried to do, I could not get them lined up exactly. I believe there’s a slight flaw in the print. It’s not bad and may be of slight distraction.

Once you get one edge lined up – and I started at the top (though top may well be subjective – more on that in a moment) and pinned one side down to ensure it was flat. I then edge the other map over it to align the hexes which I did…and as I moved down the map I could see that the hexes were “out” by a few millimetres. If you try and move the map so the hexes line up, the features start to unwind.

Like I said, it’s not terrible.

unbox traces 20

The map is excellent quality. I love the look and its not standard paper. It seems to have a very slight textured feel to it.

Onto the orientation of it. I think this is where it gets messy. Some of the admin boxes are facing me and some are facing the other way. I understand that this is a two player game – but it makes no sense in my view. They haven’t done the same for the hex numbers. They have done the same for the towns – sort of – two different spellings of the same towns and cities litter the map.

I like it – I do – but I do wish the admin boxes were facing the same way to assist solo players.

However – that’s maybe where this little nugget comes in. It’s a heavy card piece showing what appears to be the admin stuff for both sides, but in a handy cut out…and it identifies itself as the Solitaire Track Sheet…

unbox traces 26

So in short, they’ve oriented the map for two player but provided a nice handy cut out for solitaire play – thank you.

It really is a beautiful map.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And that’s that. I seem to have gone from having no games on the Eastern Front to having about 6 in a relatively short period of time.

This looks nice, has a chit pull system and a simple ruleset…can’t wait.


Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed a look under our hoods!  You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
You can find our regiment’s social media on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  (We have an Instagram page and we never use it.)  We also have our Patreon, where you can support The Armchair Dragoons activities.
Feel free to talk back to us either in our discussion forum, or in the comments below.

Want to contribute to next month’s #UnboxingDay? Drop us a line in the #UnboxingDay thread in the forum and let us know

With trembling hands and eager zeal,
I unbox a wargame with great appeal.
Countless components I behold,
Strategies yet to unfold,
In this box, a battlefield surreal!

One thought on “#UnboxingDay ~ Traces of War by VUCA Sims

  1. Billy, how much did it cost? It looks like a period map rendered for a wargame, and I like that.

Tell us what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: