I call these Try-Out Reports because they are not in-depth carefully considered reviews after many plays. I am like a lot of people who have many games and not much time to play them so many will not have more than one play. This then is a quick report after my try-out of a game for others who may wish to see if it is worth it.
I think this is a good game and I enjoyed it. We (the royal 'we') played it over several nights and a day. We played all 18 turns. However after turn 10 I was tempted to call it off because the outcome seemed assured. I think it is due to the interesting system that I continued, just to see what possibilities were still open.
I am not sure that the German side will have any chance of a victory against a competant Russian opposition. The reason being that Victory Points are awarded for every single village, town, and city hex on the map. There are 135 villages, 43 town hexes, and Lods itself, a 7 hex city.
Lods is worth 35VP, the towns 2 each and the villages 1 each. The problem is that Lods is the German target and behind that are about half the villages, thus even if you can get Lods the 50 or villages behind it more than compensate the Russian who still holds them.
And getting Lods is really difficult if the Russian is there before you (and they should be).
The Russians have more units and so can afford to cluster a couple of Corps in Lods which, because you must attack all the units adjacent to the ones you attack, and cannot attack at less than 1-4 odds mean that it would take practically half the German army to achieve, whilst his flanks are thus too lightly defended.
This was probably the historical problem, and the reason why the armies swirled around each other trying to out-maneuver the other. In my try-out the Germans could not achieve a pocket of Russians and neither could they enter Lods.
Some have complained about the 'pollarded' counters which have up to 8 steps and are rotated and then flipped as these are lost. I thought it was really neat and much preferable to stacking with strength chits. Because of the high numbers of steps in each Brigade combat is a slow attritional affair (unless one trades space instead). Thus the pockets that were managed tied up a significant number of troops to reduce them.
The turn phases are interesting with units capable of being put in Reserve and moving after combat or in the oppenents turn. The combat is interesting with choices to entrench -thereby letting your opponent decide if you take step losses or retreat, and charge -thereby ensuring your losses will be double. More easily and well indicated modifiers also apply. The player aid sheet could have been better organised and more complete though, I soon jotted things all over it.
Cavalry feature alot and do a good job of screening but being quite weak in combat against infantry and artillery. They do a better job of slowing down and dissuading probes and flanking actions.
Thus, all in all a good game which, in my session, gave alot of movement in the first half and then became an exercise in closer in maneuver and unit shifting in order to find weak spots and press attacks.
I suppose it is quite a good simulation of the actual action and I am interested to play it again to try out other plans.
Who knew trench warfare could be such fun?
Ashwin in front of Tiger 131
Thanks for the AAR. I suspect the victory conditions issue would put me off. It will be interesting to see how much you enjoy your second game. Whether frustration starts to set in.