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Subject: Full Game Walkthough - No Retreat! rss

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Richard Hecker
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Following Smoo's ongoing project to document extended plays of card-driven games - see this one for for Paths of Glory - I offer this in the same vein to introduce No Retreat!. It's a great, evocative game and often offered as a beginners wargame. It has many common wargaming tropes, of history, of hexes and maps, or zones of control, of replacements and reinforcements. The game does have many small exceptions; while not complicated is will perplex anyone not ready. Let this walkthrough help.

I am playing both sides myself. Both sides will be trying to win, and playing as if they had no knowledge of the other player's hand. I will try to include a snapshot of the board after each turn. I'll also not play as cunningly as I might - there are some tricky strategies that are worth discovering.

For the first few turns I'll overexplain what is going on. Soon enough the mechanics can pass and each turn will be terser.

If you are experienced, skip over to the game turns. The following is for those reading the rules for the first or second time.

~~~

As a player you step into the shoes of the Dictator of your choice, HItler or Stalin. Hitler's Axis forces have conquered Poland and France, but met with some resistance against Britain. The Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement has kept advances from the USSR at bay, but the Axis has decided to strike east. Stalin has been caught by surprise. The most dangerous campaign of the Second World War has begun.

As a leader you're looking at the big picture, ordering entire armies about. You win by holding certain places on the map - the military victory. As the game proceeds you score Victory Points (VPs). For the first half of the game the Axis have initiative and only the Axis score VPs. At the beginning of turn 12 (March 1943) the Axis record their score, the 'high tide'. Thereafter the Soviets have initiative, and only the Soviets score and seek to beat the Axis high tide. If the Axis have not achieved a victory through occupying three of their objective cities by about turn 10 (Autumn 1942) it will become very unlikely, and victory for the Axis comes through denying the Soviets their victory. Axis, get busy; Soviets, be patient.

Every few turns there will be Sudden Death check to ensure Victory Points have not gone below a minimum. These a useful way to both focus the mind and reset the game if cards and luck are not going your way.

This is not a card driven game. There are certainly cards to play, but you move pieces as you wish, not to some number of operations dictated by a card play. The cards can be played for events, or discarded for disruptive attacks ('counterblows') or for repair or replacement of units. The top half of each card is event should the Axis play, and the bottom half for the Soviet. Some events are marked to activate when a side has initiative. For example, a card with a star in the top half shows that this event will trigger if played only by the Axis player in the latter half of the game when the Soviets have initiative.

Most counters that represent military forces are marked on both sides, as they have steps, one side being weaker (lower combat strength) than the other. The Axis forces start on their better side, the Soviets on the worse. If an Axis unit takes a hit, it flips to the worse side, known as a step-loss. These are resilient units. If a Soviet unit takes a hit, it is eliminated. These are brittle units. The Soviet units will improve to their stronger side in time, and later still will win the step-loss.

Finally, before you begin - look at rule 13.5 and the game turn effects. This is an abstraction of the improving Soviet economy and experience, as well as the limitations in numbers and resources facing the Axis. The Soviets will become stronger and rtowards the end the Axis will weaken. The first few turns are grim for the Soviets, but life will improve. On the other hand, the Axis is on a countdown.

~~~

Enjoy. Feedback appreciated.


Legend:
bold: turn headings
underline: impulse headings during action phase
italic: sidebar commentary by me
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Richard Hecker
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The game is set according to the Campaign Game, and I'll be using the rules of February 2012, not the ones in the box. These rules have some minor clarifications. I'll play with the weather as written on the turn track, and ignore the Sudden Death conditions - it would be a boring walkthrough to stop too soon!

Turn 1 - June 1941 - Clear weather
Axis has initiative
Axis has 3 Blitz markers
Limited raid capacity - Axis cannot make any rail moves, Soviets can make just one.
Axis cannot discard cards to Improve or Replace units.
Soviets cannot stack nor Improve.

Housekeeping
None, it is all in the setup.

Turn 1 - Axis actions

It was going to be a quick war, a three pronged stab into the heard of Russia. It will be quick and no need to bring too much material for repairs or adjusting Soviet railways. That will just bog down our lightning fast attack.

Axis Card Phase
As per set-up, Axis draws 6 cards, discards 2
- 13 Summer Campaign - nice, will be easy to declare 3 attacks
- 19 Roving Cauldron - discard, only applicable when Soviets have initiative
- 23 Stalin Orders Attack! - nice to force Soviets to spend a VP
- 36 Surprise Attack - useful
- 37 Heinz Guderian - useful to force retreat but can discard if needed
- 43 Panzerbliz - o yes
Discard 19 & 37.

Nothing nastily offensive but most of these cards will trigger in the Soviet turn. If I can create some pockets and force units out of supply and then to surrender, that will be the best outcome. Surprise Attack and Panzerblitz will be perfect for the push towards the Soviet heartland.

Axis Supply Check Phase
Everything is in supply; we're still all in Greater Germany: All of my units are within 4 hexes of an Axis-supplied city, and all of the cities can trace a path to the western edge.

Axis Organization Phase
Nothing to do, no reinforcements or replacements are waiting.

Axis Movement Phase
Most wargames have restrictions on the first turn; this is no different. There is a minor restriction for this first turn only, dictating which Axis units may attack which Soviet ones: ‘N’ units can only attack the Russian Northwest Front unit, ‘C’ units can only attack the Russian West Front unit, and ‘S’ units can only attack the Russian Southwest Front unit. Further, the ‘R’ units cannot move or Advance after Combat (but they may attack and Advance after Combat).

For the first few turns I'll overelaborate on the moves; later there will be much less detail.

18th Army stays where it is.
16th Army moves northeast to stack on the 18th. If you are playing this on Vassal, this is marked as hex 0412. The open space costs 1 movement point of the 4 points the 16th has to spend.
4th Panzer (Pz hereon) moves southeast, then east into the bend in the Neman river hex 0513. This costs 2 movement points of the 6 points the 4th has to spend. In entering this hex the unit has entered the Zone of Control of the Northwest Front and so must stop.
That will deal with the Northwest Front unit. The Panzer unit is across the river which will take a combat penalty, but worth it for an advance after combat. The river will screen the 4th in case of a counterattack.

9th moves east then southeast to be positioned immediately northeast of the West Front.
3rd Panzer moves northeast into the forest, east, then southeast to stack on the 9th. The Terrain Effects Chart (on map) shows a forest costs a Panzer unit 2 movement points, so the entire move cost 4 mp of the 6 the unit has.
4th Army moves southwest, the east across the Vistula and into the ZOC of the West Front (hex 0811).
2nd Panzer moves southeast then east to stack on the 4th.
Nice. The positions of the 9th+3rd and the 4th have their ZOCs positioned to block the supply path of the West Front. The unit is 'locked' insofar as it costs 1 mp extra to move away from the current ZOC. Whichever unit's ZOC is looks to move from will mean it moves into the ZOC of one of the other Axis units, and so it must stop. The West Front is surrounded and has no path to freedom unless rescued.

17th Army moves into Lublin and west of the Southwest Front, and 1st Panzer to the northeast and 6th Army into the forest to the northwest of the Southwest Front.
If the 17th could have gone one hex further southeast the Southwest Front would be trapped like the West Front. Entering a ZOC for the first time forces a unit to stop, and the mountains cost 2 mp per hex and too expensive for the 4 mp the 17th has available. No entrapment here.

11th Army plus 3rd Romanian and 4th Romanian are not permitted to move.

In this turn Axis units are not permitted to use rail movement.
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Axis Combat Phase

The Axis has five Target markers, a black circle-and-cross on a grey background. These designate where a combat will voluntarily occur and are placed on the target hex. This is a limit; the Axis cannot declare more battles than markers. These regenerate each turn

Your poor planning staff have only so many hours in the day!

The Axis also has three Blitz markers as part of Turn 1, representing extra support in the battle. These cannot be saved for later; any not used will be lost.

Axis places on Northwest Front a Target and Blitz, (hex 0413) on West Front a Target (hex 0712), on Southwest Front a Target and Blitz (hex 1010), and on South Front a target and Blitz (hex 1410).

Against the Northwest and Southwest Fronts, we're trying to hit hard so we can push east as far as possible before the weather worsens. The forces facing the South Front are weak and across a river, so it is a useful help, although not attacking and risking these few weaker forces was considered but we must press east. Against the West Front we could not attack and try to put the unit out of supply, but with such good numbers, attacking and advancing after combat is attractive. Axis forces are going hard.

Normally the Soviets would declare any counterblows to interrupt the attacks. Each counterblow requires a discard. However the Soviet player has no cards - the attack was a complete surprise. So the poor Soviet can only trust to the dice.




We'll consider each attack from north to south.

1. Attack on Northwest Front

16th + 18th Army combat factors 3 +3 vs Northwest 3, so attack at 6:3 -> 2:1 odds. Before rolling a die and checking the Axis Combat Results table on the map, we need to check for any column modifiers, effects that will modify which column we shall use. The defender is on Open terrain, no shift. Blitz marker, right shift. Net effect is a roll on the 3:1 attack column, an improvement to the attack. Pretty good chances to push the unit back.
Now if the 4th Panzer joins the attack, the added 5 combat factors makes the attack 11:3 -> 3:1 odds. Again, check for column shift. The defender is on Open terrain but one attack is coming over a river, so left shift. The Blitz marker adds a right shift. We get now an armor bonus - the attack includes the Panzer unit into a clear hex in a non-Mud weather - for another right shift. The next effect is one left and two right, for a final roll on the 4:1 column. Yes, we shall certainly include the Panzer unit in this attack.
The Axis gets a 3. On the 4:1 column this is a DS result, Defender Shattered. Defender needs to retreat two hexes, then come off map and into the Shattered Units box. The Northwest Front can retreat to Riga and then enters the Shattered Box.
With the loss of the unit, victorious advancing units may advance, first into the now-vacated hex, then one more beyond. The 16th moves two hexes east to end southwest of Riga, the 18th moves east then southeast to directly north of Minsk, and the Panzer northeast then east, then, as a special only for German armor units in clear weather, moves one more into Riga. If it isn't obvous, the overrun and advance after combat makes German tanks during clear weather quite formidable.
In taking Riga, place an Axis control marker in on the city. This wins the Axis player wins a victory point. The square VP marker moves from 12 to 13 VPs, reflecting the 12 VP locations in Greater Germany plus the new conquest of Riga.

Life is good. By taking Riga we have a new supply waypoint. Also, the Soviets can't drop a trainload of troops behind our lines.

2. Attack on West Front

Everyone into battle. 4th + 9th + 2nd Pz + 3rd Pz vs West, 4 + 4 + 7 + 6 vs 4, 21:4 -> 5:1 odds. Clear terrain, Panzer overrun, net 6:1 odds. Roll 5, and DD, Defender Destroyed. The West Front must retreat two hexes towards the east, but the only free hex, the one west of Minsk, is in an enemy ZOC. Retreat is not possible, and the unit is eliminated. West Front goes to the Destroyed units box.
Again, advance after combat. All units enter the space then east. 4th and 9th now immediately west of Minsk, the Panzer units in Minsk. Another conquest, another VP.

Alert players would notice that on the 6:1 column all results required the defender to retreat, but the locking ZOCs would always result in an elimination result. A more efficient move could be to have used a weaker force in the battle and moved at least one unit east in preparation for future battles.

3. Attack on Southwest Front

6th + 17th + 1st Pz vs Southwest, 15:5 -> 3:1 odds. No terrain shifts, blitz shift, armor shift for a net roll on the 5:1 column. Roll of 6 and a very lucky DD result. The unit retreats southeast twice then to the Destroyed units box. Target and Blitz marker are removed. All advance into the hex then 6th east into the forest (note an advance after combat is a free move and does not take terrain penalties). 17th and 1st Panzer advance southeast and end two hexes west of Kiev and northeast of the Bug river. We're ready to assault Kiev next turn or lend support if the attack on the South Front is difficult.

4. Attack on South Front

11th + 4th Romanian vs South, 6:3 -> 2:1 odds. One left shift for the river, one right for the Blitz. Roll 2, CB counterblow. The Axis places a counterblow marker on the 11th.

What does this mean? In the Soviet player's turn the 11th, tucked in the mountains, must be attacked by an adjacent Soviet unit. At this stage that would be silly, and a sensible Soviet commander would order the unit to move east. Later in the game though, when the lines have hardened, such a forced attack can be painful indeed.

Axis Marker Removal Phase

Target markers are collected back in to the Axis player hand, Blitz put to one side until the turn permits their reuse. There are no other cleanup jobs at this stage.

Axis Detraining Phase

Nothing on the trains at this stage.

A pretty standard first Axis turn. Soviets, your time for revenge will come, but the first job is to slow the advance. We'll start now with the Soviet steps


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Richard Hecker
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Turn 1 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase

Soviet's empty hand discards down to two cards - in effect, nothing happens - then draws four new cards.

- 12 General Mud - that needs to be discarded. As we're not playing with variable weather - just the weather conditions listed on the turn track, nothing happens. Instead we draw:
- 07 Scorched Earth - useful to slow the attack into a city
- 14 Prepared Offensive - event only triggers on Soviet initative.
- 16 NKDV - if timed well, could be useful
- 22 Russian Courage - nice, but not quite what I need.

At this point the Axis could play Stalin Orders Attack, as there is no way the three attacks are possible, but instead chooses to hold off - might need the card later.

Soviet Supply Check Phase

All Soviet units are in supply.

Soviet Organization Phase

No Soviet units have step levels yet, so the Flip Step can be skipped.

Shattered Soviet units can be placed for free back on the map in any Soviet controlled city. The Northwest Front appears in Kiev, and a Disorganized marker goes on top.

Destroyed Soviet units can be placed for the cost of one discard. Prepared Offensive will be discarded and the Southwest Front recreated in Smolensk. A Disordered marker goes on top. The West Front remains in the Destroyed box.

The Disorganized markers will come off later in the turn. The Soviets will not spend a card to remove the Disorganization immediately.

This should make Kiev more expensive to take and its ZOC will slow down the Axis advance. The unit cannot attack this turn, but sitting tight in Kiev will do nicely with the Central Front right behind for extra support. The Briansk front can assist defending Smolensk. Unlike Axis units, Soviet units cannot stack yet - think ill-disciplined mobs that cannot coordinate. I can't defend everywhere but Kiev looks like a good place to make a stand.

We pity the poor overmechanized Axis units who can't maintain themselves.


Soviet Movement Phase

Leningrad moves one hex southeast to make room for next turn.

And trusts the terrible terrain slows the Axis...

Southwest Front remains secure in Smolensk.

Reserve in Moscow entrains and enters the Soviet Rail Movement box.

Briansk moves west then northwest (hex 0916) to hold the south bank of the Dvina.

Northwest front moves southeast then east (hex 1214) to guard north bank of the Dniepr, Central Front enters Kiev.

No pockets here, the Northwest will preserve a line of supply to Kiev.

South Front withdraws to Odessa.

Axis plays PanzerBlitz.

O, crud. Stalin will not be pleased.

2nd Pz + 3rd Pz in Minsk move east then southeast to face the Bryansk front across the river. 1st Panzer moves southwest of Kiev. Grey Counterblow marker added. 4th Pz moves two hexes southeast (hex 0516) to the bend in the Dvina.

Axis plays Surprise Attack.

Stalin is really not going to like this at all.

4th and 9th move east of Minsk.

That could have been worse - Axis look like they are interested in moving as far east as possible.

Soviet Combat Phase

There are no places to add a voluntary attack, so we just have the involuntary attacks forced by the Counterblows.

Bryansk Front vs 2nd + 3rd Pz. 3 : 6 + 7 -> 1:4. This attack is across a river so one left shift. Panzer bonuses do not apply when defending. The combat table is capped at 1:3. As this attack is worse than that, the outcome is considered an automatic CA, counterattack. The Axis is now considered the attacker without any terrain penalties. 6 + 7 : 3 -> 4:1, plus armor bonus to 5:1. Axis rolls 3, Defender Shattered. Briansk front can retreat and Panzers overrun to west and southwest of Smolensk. The counterblow marker is removed.

They've broken through already! I need more time!

Central Front vs 1st Pz. Soviets play NKVD, hoping to distress the Panzer. Axis rolls 1, Soviets 2. 1st Pz takes a step-loss and weakens from 7-6 to 5-6 unit. Combat is now on the 5:5 -> 1:1 column (rather than 5:7 -> 1:2 column).

A slim chance here.

Soviets roll a 2. On the 1:1 Soviet Combat Results this is a Counterattack. Axis will take the opportunity - on the 1:1 Axis Combat Results a roll of 4 is disaster, everything else is acceptable. Axis roll 1, this is another Counterattack. Soviets do so, and roll a 3 for an Indecisive Battle. The see-saw first encounter in Kiev ends. Counterblow marker removed.

The Ukraine is not for you.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase

Counterblow marker on the 11th Army and Disordered markers on the Northwest and Southwest Fronts removed.

Soviet Detraining Phase

Reserve unit alights in the forest hex southwest of Tula (hex 1018).

The ZOC will stop the 2nd Panzer making an unhindered run into Tula or Moscow.

Stalin is, as his generals guessed, not at all pleased.


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Turn 2 - July-August 1941 - Clear weather

Housekeeping

Advance turn marker.
Axis will gain 2nd Army (Panzergrenadier), Soviets will gain Caucasus (mechanized infantry) and Kalinin. Mechanized units behave like infantry units but when attacked by a Pz unit they do not grant the armor bonus.)
Axis will have 3 Blitz markers


Turn 2 - Axis actions

Axis Card Phase

Axis has two cards in hand so no change in discarding down to no more than two cards.
- 13 Summer Campaign - nice, will be easy to declare 3 attacks
- 23 Stalin Orders Attack! - nice to force Soviets to spend a VP
Axis takes four cards, and also discards Summer Campaign to draw three more. Eight cards is formidable.
- 01 Erich von Manstein - double strength unit will crack a city
- 03 Troop transfer - excellent, can patch the Pz
- 04 Elastic Defense - useful
- 20 Anti-Bolshevik Crusade - must discard this immediately
- 22 Albert Speer - useful discard as event occurs in Soviet initative
- 23 Stalin Orders Attack! - nice to force Soviets to spend a VP
- 25 Erzatz Units - useful discard as event occurs in Soviet initative
- 38 Hedgehogs - nice trap for a disposable Romanian unit

Soviet plays Scorched Earth on Kiev.

Axis Supply Check Phase
Everything is in supply as no unit is more than four hexes from an Axis controlled city. However our forces cannot advance further in the center until Smolensk is taken - the supply line from Minsk cannot stretch further, and the ZOC of the Southwest Front will limit supply. The problem is now worse in the south as the line from Lublin is limited, and restoring Kiev will take time. We can maintain supply on the coastal hexes of the Black Sea. Taking Odessa is now important.

Axis Organization Phase

Axis plays Troop Transfer to restore 1st Pz.

Flip step is not yet permitted for the Axis forces

Axis has no recovering units. The speedy 5-5 2nd Army is a reinforcement and needs be placed in a city in Greater Germany. Lublin is the choice to help the stalling southern push.

Axis Movement Phase

To speed matters I'll describe only the destination hexes
4th Pz 0516 -> 0318, southwest of Leningrad
16th 0414 -> 0318. Note that for infantry clear and forest hexes cost the same
18th 0412 -> 0416, southwest of Leningrad, southeast of Riga, south of Lake Pelpus.

Catching up, but also protecting the supply line in case of some tricky Soviet action.

3rd Pz 0816 -> 0916 -> 0917, southwest of Smolensk The tricky move is to get out of the Southwest Front's ZOC.
2nd Pz remains in 0917
4th & 9th 0715 -> 0816, west of Smolensk.

Over the Dvina and into Smolensk. Southwest is too slow to move around the infantry's ZOC, so our supply lines ought to be fine. Strongly tempting to move the 2nd Pz southeast and try to counterblow the Reserve, but taking Smolensk is more important.

1st Pz 1212 -> 1412, northeast of Odessa
11th 1409 -> 1511 west of Odessa, unfortunately over the river
3rd Romanian, 4th Romanian 1411, northwest of Odessa

Stretching supply here. The 11th can trace the four-hex supply line from Bucharest or from adjacency to the Black Sea, the Romanians from Lublin (or from Bucharest via the 11th in the adjacent daisy chaining), but the 1st Pz is dependent on the Romanians. That could pose a problem.

6th, 17th to 1112, west of Kiev
2nd to 1212, southwest of Kiev

Axis Combat Phase

On a map in Berlin five Target markers and three Blitz markers are gleefully fondled by a failed Austrian artists.

Targets and Blitz markers set on Smolensk, Kiev, and Odessa. We've met the conditions of the Summer Campaign.



Attack on Smolensk
4 + 4 + 6 + 7 : 5 -> 23 : 5 -> 4:1. -city, +Blitz. No armor bonus for attacking into city. Axis rolls 1, Exchange. 9th flips to its 3-4 side, Southwest has no flip side and so is Destroyed. There is no advance into Smolensk.

Very bad. Russians units can be created inside enemy ZOCs and the siege of Smolensk will continue - and our drive on Moscow slowed.

Attack on Kiev
4 + 4 + 5 : 5 -> 13 : 5 -> 2:1. Scorched Earth treats the land as a swamp, so shift -swamp Blitz. Axis rolls 5, DR, defender retreat. Central retreats to 1115, due east of Kiev. 6th and 17th enter Kiev and take control, and VP to 15. The terrain prevents any further advance.

Just lucky, but two intact Soviet units across the Dneipr await.

Attack on Odessa
4+ 2 + 2 + 7 : 3 -> 15:3 -> 5:1. -river, -city, +Blitz, net 4:1. Axis rolls 5, Defender Destroyed. South Front to Destroyed box. 11th Army enters, takes control and sits on the east side of Odessa, 1st Pz into city, east, then bonus overrun to the northeast. Romanians enter Odessa and stop. VP to 16.

Axis Marker Removal Phase

Blitz and Target markers collected. Scorched Earth marker remains on the board.

Axis Detraining Phase

Nothing on the trains at this stage.

The delays in Kiev and Smolensk have certainly slowed the advance. This would be fatal in a competitive game as a Sudden Death end is likely. The Axis has played too safely, but we're on track to go for a longer game.
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Turn 2 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase

Soviet has one card in hand. No need to discard down to two, so draw four new cards.

- 15 Conflicting Hitler Directives - excellent card
- 24 Strategic Reserves - useful
- 29 Wave Assault - red-starred, so event can't trigger
- 16 NKDV - if timed well, could be useful
- 22 Russian Courage - might eventually be useful.
- 34 Russian Tenacity - a forced EX result will hurt the Axis.

Soviet Supply Check Phase

All Soviet units are in supply.

Soviet Organization Phase

Ignore flip step
Shattered Briansk unit recreated in Dnepropetovsk.
Discard Wave Assault to recreate Disorganized Southwest Front in Smolensk.
Discard Russian Courage to recreate Disorganized West Front in Kalinin.

Kalinin Front reinforces in Leningrad
Caucasus Front reinforces in Moscow.
We may not match for quality, but we're close in number.

Soviet Movement Phase

Kalinin moves to 0218, immediately west of Leningrad.
Leningrad moves back into Leningrad
Kalinin moves to 0519, mountains south of Leningrad
Caucasus entrains
Southwest remains in Smolensk
Reserve remains in forest
Northwest Front moves to hex 1415, northeast of Dnepropetrovsk, across the river
Central moves south to 1214

Soviet Combat Phase

Soviet declares no voluntary combats.

Axis discards Albert Speer to place a CB on hex 0917, 2nd and 3rd Pz. Soviets play Conflicting Hitler Directives to cancel the card play.

Axis discards Ersatz Units to place a CB on hex 0318, 4th Pz and 16th Army.

Attack on Smolensk
5 : 6 + 7 -> 1:3. Soviets play Russian Tenacity, and result becomes automatic Exchange. 3rd Pz flips, Southwest Front Destroyed, and no advance is possible.

Soviet plays Strategic Reserves to return Southwest Front via Rail movement. Smolensk is still a legitimate destination.

The definitions of turn 1 & 2 state extra rail capacity cannot be purchased but I interpret the card as not buying the capacity in the normal flow of a turn. Either way, slowed the Axis attack for two cards.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase

Disordered markers removed. Scorched Earth marker in Kiev removed.

Soviet Detraining Phase

Caucasus will remain in the Rail box.

Stalin is quietly pleased. The Axis onslaught in the center has not moved and with General Mud about to visit, Moscow will be safe in the short term.

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Turn 3 - September-October 1941 - Mud weather

Mud limits all units to 3 movement points, Panzer units do not get their armor bonus, and advances after combat are limited to one hex. In the face of vigorous Axis attack, here is the first, albeit short, respite for the Soviets.

Housekeeping

Advance turn marker.
Soviets will gain Sevastopol and Moscow garrison units. These are two-step units that can be flipped /'improved', which we shall see this turn.
A cadre is also available for immediate placement when another unit is eliminated. Note its white combat factor - it cannot actively attack but can participate in 'elicited' attacks such as Counterblows and Counterattacks.
Axis will have 2 Blitz markers.
Axis are now permitted to use Rail movement

This is a Sudden Death turn - see the skull on the turn track. Checking the VP track the turn 3 VP requirement is 20 points for the Axis; currently the Axis has 16. We're not using the Sudden Death conditions, so the game will go on, but the Axis will discard a card now and draw two fewer as a penalty.

[ Note added after posting: Comment from the game designer - see below - noted I mis-recalled the rule. Had the Axis exceeded 20 VP, then the Soviets lose cards. There is no penalty for the Axis to not meeting the VP requirement. I will not edit/redo the turn further. Call this a playthrough in the Enrico Viglino 'Calandale' style. ]

It is usually not hard to pass the first Sudden Death check. Cutting the West out of supply on turn 1 rather than attacking would have given an extra VP. Call it an student exercise to better this example - it should not be hard.

Axis discards Elastic Defense.

Turn 3 - Axis actions

Axis Card Phase
Axis has three cards in hand so discards Hedgehogs then draws 4 -2 cards.
- 01 Erich von Manstein
- 14 Inexperienced Soviet Officers - nice event-cancelling card.
- 23 Stalin Orders Attack! - nice to force Soviets to spend a VP
- 36 Surprise Attack - this lovely is back

Axis Supply Check Phase
Everything is in supply.

Axis Organization Phase
Nothing to do, no reinforcements or replacements are waiting.

Axis Movement Phase

14th and 16th Pz sit. They cannot move closer to Leningrad. Should they move southeast they are caught in the West Front ZOC and must stop.
13th moves one hex east to 0417. Going further could lead to a forced and ugly counterblow against the West Front in the mountain terrain.
4th army moves southeast to hex 1115, immediately northeast of the Central front.
9th, 2nd Pz, 3rd Pz remain besieging Smolensk.
17th to hex 1014, northeast of the 4th.
6th and 4th Romanian to hex 1314, southwest of the Central Front.
1st Pz and 3rd Romanian to 1414, northwest of Dnepropetrovsk
2nd and 17th to 1514, west of Dnepropetrovsk

Axis Combat Phase

Two Blitz markers

Target Kalinin Front, Southwest in Smolensk, and Dnepropetrovsk.
Soviets play Russian Courage to elicit a counterblow on the Northwest Front to help comrades in Dnepropetrovsk, and on Central front to break out of the supply trap.
Axis cancels this play with Inexperienced Soviet Officers.

The command to open Smolensk is coming from the highest offices.

Kalinin Front
5 + 3 : 4 -> 2:1. Axis plays Erich von Manstein on 4th Pz to adjust the odds to 5x2 +4 : 4 -> 14:4 -> 3:1. -forest, -river, +Blitz. Rolling on 2:1 column Axis gets a 6! Defender Shattered. Kalinin pushed back to southeast of Leningrad and off to Shattered box.

Smolensk
3 + 7 + 5 : 5 -> 3:1. -city, +Blitz. Roll 3 and Defender Retreats. Southwest Front now in 0819, immediately west of Moscow. 9th and 3rd Pz enter city. Mud forbids any further advance. Square VP marker to 17.

Dnepropetrovsk
5 + 4 + 7 + 2 : 3 -> 18 : 3 -> 6:1. One right shift makes no difference and capped at 6:1. Overkill, but it did give capacity in case of a counterblow. Roll 3, Defender Destroyed. 2nd and 11th enter Dnepropetrovsk. Square VP marker to 18.

Axis Marker Removal Phase

Blitz and Target markers collected.

Axis Detraining Phase

Nothing on the trains at this stage.

Reached Lenigrad, Kharkov, Rostov, and Sevastopol weakly guarded. Some days are good. The thrust on Moscow has been slowed but we've pushed on a broad front and not directed solely to the city.
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Turn 3 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase

Soviets have no cards, so draw four new cards.
- 05 Cavalry Raid - mildly useful,
- 24 General Mud - an immediate discard and redraw
- 26 Na Berlin - red-starred, so event can't trigger
- 30 Andrei Yeremenko - save that one for next turn
- 44 Axis Alies Waver - minor useful at this stage.

Nothing too exciting. But we Soviets have read the scripture and know Winter is Coming.

Axis plays Stalin Orders Attack.

Soviet Supply Check Phase

Central Front is out of supply, marker added. The unit does not have a ZOC now and any attacks on it are shifted two columns right. Central Front attacks as strongly as ever - but will be in trouble is the OOS marker remains at the end of the turn.

If the Northwest Front or other unit comes to rescue, the Axis may then envelope both units. This might be a sacrifice for the Motherland.

Soviet Organization Phase

Shattered Kalinin unit recreated in Stalino, it will remain Disorganized.
Ostatky 1 cadre in Cadre Units box
Moscow garrison in Moscow.

The garrison units do not need to go into the named city; placing Moscow garrison in Kharkov is tempting.

Sevastopol garrison in Sevastopol.

The Russian fortification begins. The Sevastopol garrison is in Sevastopol and is allowed to be immediately flipped to its fortified side, from 2-3 to (3). The unit is no longer mobile (no movement rating), cannot attack (white combat factor), and has no ZOC (combat factor in parentheses). On the other hand, it is tougher, immune to retreats, and inside a city. The Crimea is hardened.

Soviets discard Na Berlin to recreate Bryansk Front in Kharkov.

Soviet Movement Phase

West Front to southwest of Leningrad
Southwest Front pulls back to Tula.
Briansk unit moves two hexes northeast to hex 1118 and adjacent to the Reserve.
Northwest Front pulls back to Kharkov.
Kalinin Front remains in Stalino

Axis plays Surprise Attack to move 2nd and 11th to northeast of Sevastopol and places a CB marker.

Not good news at all, on the other hand the Axis' hand is empty.

Soviet Combat Phase

Central attacks 4th to try to burst out of the encirclement.

Soviets have not initiated at least 3 voluntary combats and so forfeit 1 VP. For these VPs for surrender or events, the round 'events' VP marker is adjusted first. This goes from 0 to 1 VP. The square overall VP marker is now adjusted to reflect this change, from 18 to 19 VP. The 'events' VP adjustment is for events, surrenders, and cards, and is capped to 6 VP, and for that reason it is tracked separately. The square VP marker tracks overall VPs.

The Axis do not discard any cards for additional Counterblows.

Central attack: 5:4 -> 1:1, no adjustments, Soviet rolls 1. Counterattack! Axis declines to counterattack, preferring to force a surrender.

It was always a long shot, but fools that allow themselves to be trapped don't deserve rescue, says our Leader.

Sevastopol attack. A Fort unit has a white combat factor so while it can't initiate voluntary attacks, it certainly can be induced to attack with a Counterblow. 3 : 5 + 4 -> 1:3, -marsh. At worse than 1:3 this becomes immediate CA result. Axis attack 3:1, but a CA does not permit terrain modifiers. Axis rolls 3. Defender Retreats. Against a Fort a DR is downgraded to no effect (and DS to EX). The Sevastopol fortress holds.

A one in three chance for the Fort to fall. While it is there, it remains a threat to shift back to a mobile unit and cut off supply through Dnepropetrovsk.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase

Disordered, CB, and Target markers removed.

Central Front failed to restore supply. OOS marker removed, unit moves to the Surrendered box. Axis gains a VP. The round marker moves from 1 to 2 VP and the square marker from 19 to 20 VP.

Soviet Detraining Phase

Caucasus detrains in Novorossiyk.

The Sevastopol garrison has no ZOC, so this will stop a cheeky slide into the city and onto Rostov. The Axis can draw supply from the Black Sea coast, and an Axis-controlled Novorossiysk leads shortly to attacks on Rostov and Stalino. That must be prevented.



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Turn 4 - November-December 1941 - Snow weather

Snow limits all units to 4 movement points. Rivers freeze and in game terms have no defensive benefit. Unlike mud, armor retain their armor bonus in combat but don't get the bonus third hex advance on overrun.
The Axis forces don't perform so well in the cold weather and use the Soviet, not the Axis, combat tables. Attacks on Russian forces take a shift to the left. Worse, for this and next turn the Axis lack of winter planning bits deep, with the Soviet Shock markers (identical in effect to a Blitz marker) allow two shifts to the right.

The weather of the east is a challenge to even the most vigorous dictator.

Housekeeping
Advance turn marker.
Soviets gain two more units, Volkov and Crimea, and two Shock markers.
Soviets also gain the strategic reserve. This allows one unit to return from the Soviet Rail movement box during Soviet or Axis detraining.

Events are happening in the wider world. The game turn has event, Pearl Harbor. Each of these events is a point against the Axis and recorded with the round VP marker. Round marker from 2 to 1 VP, square marker from 20 to 19 VP.

Turn 4 - Axis actions

Axis Card Phase
Axis has no cards to discard and draws 4 cards.
- 08 New Tank Design - red starred
- 17 General Staff - useful to keep moving in the terrible weather
- 27 River Crossing - useless in snow turns
- 42 Soviet Industrial Relocation - some fun

Soviets play Axis Allies Waver. Axis random choice is Soviet Industrial Relocation.

Axis Supply Check Phase
Everything is in supply.

Axis Organization Phase
Nothing to do, no reinforcements or replacements are waiting.

Axis Movement Phase
The Soviets will hit hard, plus Leningrad or Moscow will fortify, so the Axis will try to get in first.

4th Pz, 16th remain and battle Leningrad
18th to forest at hex 0318 and attack West Front
9th, 17th remain in Smolensk
2nd Pz to hex 1117, east of Bryansk, attack Bryansk
3rd Pz to hex 1216, northwest of Kharkov, attack Kharkov
17th to 0918
4th to 1216
4th Romanian to Dnepropetrovsk
3rd Romanian to Rail box
1st Pz to 1416, southwest of Kharkov
6th to 1416
2nd, 11th remain and battle Sevastopol

Axis Combat Phase

Soviets tempted to discard to elicit a Counterblow on the West Front but that would be met by an attack by the 18th Army and not affect the Axis assault on Leningrad. Save the card, trust to fortune.

Leningrad
5 + 3 : 3 -> 2:1, -objective, -snow, net 1:1. Axis roll 4 (on Soviet table) is Counterblow. Axis CB placed on hex.

Bryansk
7 : 3 -> 2:1, -snow and no armor bonus, net 2:1, Axis roll 5, Defender Retreats. Soviets play Andrei Yeremenko and shift attack left to an Exchange. Briansk to Destroyed box, 2nd Pz flips.
[ Note added - I used the Axis not Soviet table here. My error! ]

Kharkov
5 + 4 + 7 + 4 : 3 -> 20:3 -> 6:1, -snow, -city, net 4:1. Axis rolls 6, defender shattered. 6th into Kharkov and to southeast (hex 1417), 1st Pz into and east (hex 1318), 3rd Pz to 1318, 4th into Kharkov and northeast (hex 1217). Axis VPs from 19 to 20 VP.
Unfortunately had the result been DD or EX the cadre could be placed.

Sevastopol
5 + 4 : 3 -> 3:1, -snow, -objective hex, net 3:2. Axis rolls 3, Counterblow, Axis CB marker added to hex.

Axis Marker Removal Phase

Target markers collected.

Axis Detraining Phase

3rd Romanian remains.

The breakthrough in Kharkov opens the way to Stalingrad and the oil. Yes, matters are grinding in Leningrad, but ... Stalingrad! The Volga beckons. Stalino will be a delightful snack on the way.

Turn 4 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase

One card in hand, draw four more

- 05 Cavalry Raid
- 06 Partisans - will be handy
- 09 Red Orchestra - perhaps wait until they take cards next turn
- 10 Strategic Surprise - if not this turn, certainly the next
- 21 Allied Strategic Bombing - red starred event

Soviet Supply Check Phase

All Soviet units are in supply.

Soviet Organization Phase

Leningrad garrison flips to Fortified.
Volkhov unit forms in Voronezh
Crimean unit forms in Rostov
Northwest Front recreated in Kalinin, Disorganized
Soviet discard Allied Strategic Bombing to recreate Bryansk in Saratov, Disorganized

Soviet plays Partisans. 4th Romanian in Dnepropetrovsk takes a step loss. For these Axis Allies the reverse of the counter gives the time for return. 4th Romanian placed on Turn 8 (July 1942) box.

Soviet Movement Phase

Northwest Front to hex 0819, west of Moscow
Reserve move west to 1017, northeast of 2nd Pazner
Volkhov northwest to forest then southwest, to hex 1118, east of 2nd Pz
Bryansk to Rail box, mark with Strategic Reserve
Kalinin northeast to 1518, southeast of 6th Army
Crimean northwest to 1517, southwest of 6th Army
Caucasus across Kerch Strait to east of Sevastopol

Soviet Combat Phase

Red Target markers placed on 2nd Pz, 6th Army. Shock markers placed on 2nd Pz, 6th Army in hex 0218 west of Leningrad.
Axis discards New Tank Design to place grey CB on 18th Army.
Axis discards River Crossing to place grey CB on 4th Army.

Gah! This was to be the chance for the Soviet to show their mettle. Our attacks are blunted.





Leningrad battles
Each unit may only attack once (excepting CA results) and each hex can only be the target of one battle per combat phase. West Front must attack 18th Army and Leningrad Fort must attack 4th Pz and 16th. The Counterblow has prevented the West from helping the Fort.
Leningrad Fort: 5 : 8 -> 1:2 , -forest, +2xShock, net 1:1. Soviet rolls 6, Defender Retreats. 16th moves west to hex 0216 northeast of Riga, 4th Pz southwest to forest hex 0317 east of Lake Pelpas.
West Front: 4 : 3 -> 1:1, -forest, net 1:2. Soviet rolls 5, Defender Retreats. 18th to clear hex 0517.

That was fortunate. Time is the Soviet's friend, and that bought a little more time.

North of Kharkov
This too breaks into two separate battles due to the disturbing Counterblow.
Reserve vs 2nd Pz: 4:5 -> 1:2, +2xShock, net 3:2. Soviet rolls 5, Exchange! Reserve and 2nd Pz both moved to Destroyed. Cadre Ostatky 1 placed on hex formerly held by Reserve.
Volkhov vs 4th Army, 4:4 -> 1:1. Soviet rolls 6, Defender retreats. 4th goes directly east. Volkov will not advance.

The idea of entering and recapturing Kharkov flashed and cutting Axis supply, but all to easy to be encircled. Defending the cities east of the Don is more important.

South of Kharkov
3 + 4 : 4 -> 1:1, +2xShock, net 2:1. Soviet rolls 5, Defender retreats. 6th Army to west of Kharkov.

The temptation of Kharkov! But those Panzer units would effectively fight their way back into supply.

Sevastopol
3 + 3 : 5 + 4 -> 6 : 9 -> 1:2, -marsh. Soviet rolls 1, Counterattack. Recompute odds, 9 : 6 -> 3:2, no terrain modifiers for CA, Axis rolls 1, Counterattack. Soviets decline the opportunity.

That worked as well as it could. Sevastopol remains.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase

Counterblow, Target and Disorder markers removed.

Soviet Detraining Phase

Briansk detrains into Voronezh.

Far from ideal, but its ZOC should slow the Axis Panzers racing east.
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Jeff Johnson
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Hamster007 wrote:
Turn 3 - September-October 1941 - Mud weather

This is a Sudden Death turn - see the skull on the turn track. Checking the VP track the turn 3 VP requirement is 20 points for the Axis; currently the Axis has 16. We're not using the Sudden Death conditions, so the game will go on, but the Axis will discard a card now and draw two fewer as a penalty.



Why are you drawing 2 cards less for the Germans this turn? What rule is that?
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Thanks for reading: 15.6 'No Surrender' outlines what happens if you abandon the Sudden Death rule. THere is a penalty in card draw depending on how far off the Initiative player is from the Sudden Death goal.

It's a nice twist that forces a player to go for goals and not turtle, but not so severe as to lose the game for trying and missing.

(At this moment I'm at turn 13; the Axis did recoup ground but not enough to overcome the tentative first two turns, so the card penalty arose again and again. Sudden Death - the gift that keeps on giving.)
 
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Hamster007 wrote:
Thanks for reading: 15.6 'No Surrender' outlines what happens if you abandon the Sudden Death rule. THere is a penalty in card draw depending on how far off the Initiative player is from the Sudden Death goal.

It's a nice twist that forces a player to go for goals and not turtle, but not so severe as to lose the game for trying and missing.

(At this moment I'm at turn 13; the Axis did recoup ground but not enough to overcome the tentative first two turns, so the card penalty arose again and again. Sudden Death - the gift that keeps on giving.)


Read the rule 15.6 again please, the Axis cannot lose Cards this way this early in the game (Turn 4) it affects only the side without the initiative (so the one that can lose by sudden death in the regular rules). when the Initiative changes later in the game, if they have not advanced enough then of course they will pay. Oooops.... meeple
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I stand corrected by the game designer. This error of penalising the failure to meet the SD VP score will play through the next few turns. Mea culpa. I'll not re-do the game thus far.
 
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Turn 5 - January-February 1942 - Long Winter

As per Snow weather, Long Winter limits all units to 4 movement points and rivers provide no defensive benefit. Like mud turns, units cannot advance a second hex and armor do not retain their armor bonus in combat. Finally the Axis can only use three Target markers.

Housekeeping
Advance turn marker.
Soviets gain three Shock markers.
Axis gains a cadre.
Axis now allowed to discard to Replace or Improve units.
High Command has begun to provide sufficient materials to complete the war.

Turn 5 - Axis actions

Axis Card Phase
Axis has one cards in hand and draws 4 cards.
- 20 Anti-Bolshevik Crusade - triggers immediately
- 02 Gott Mit Uns - nice repeat event
- 17 General Staff - in combination with Gott Mit Uns, that will push the forces
- 25 Soviet Manpower Crisis - red starred event
- 41 Defense Works - red starred event

Soviets play Red Orchestra and discards the Axis' Gott Mit Uns.

Axis Supply Check Phase
Everything is in supply. The Panzer units east of Kharkov will need to take care.

Axis Organization Phase
Restoring a flip step to the 3rd Pz costs the Axis two cards (in contrast this costs the Soviets but one).

Returning the 2nd Pz costs the Axis one card, but will land the unit in a city in Greater Germany, so there is delay in getting Axis forces into battle. Flipping the 3rd Pz only improves the unit from 5-6 to 6-6. So long as it remains stacked and a companion can take any losses, we can preserve the unit until later.

Axis discards Soviet Manpower Crisis to place the 2nd Pz, Disordered, in Lublin.

Axis Movement Phase

2nd Pz entrains
16th Army moves south around the Lake to hex 0418
4th Pz moves to hex 0418
18th Army moves east to mountain south of Leningrad
1st Pz and 4th move to hex 1217, southwest of Volkhov
3rd Pz and 3rd move to hex 1416, northwest of Crimean Front
2nd moves to hex 1616, southwest of Crimean Front and immediately west of Stalino
11th moves to Dnepropetrovsk.
Leningrad's assault will be refocussed, and let's clear the way for a push to Stalingrad in 1942. Sevastopol can wait.



Axis Combat Phase
Targets to West Front, Volkhov, Crimean Front.
Soviets play Strategic Surprise. Caucasus moves to Stalino, Southwest Front moves to west of Voronezh.
Soviets discard Cavalry Raid to place red CB marker on Southwest Front.

Attack on West Front: 3 + 5 : 4 -> 2:1, -forest, -winter attack on Soviets, net 1:1. Axis rolls 1, Counterattack. Soviets decline to attack.

Attack between Kharkov and Voronezh: Each Axis unit must separately attack Volkov or Southwest.
- 4th on Volkov, 4:4 -> 1:1, -winter attack, net 1:2. Axis rolls 3, Counterattack. Soviet will take the risk. 1:1, no shifts. Soviet rolls 4, Counterblow. Red CB marker placed on Volkov
- 1st Pz on Southwest. 7:5 -> 1:1, -winter attack, no armor bonus, net 1:2. Axis rolls 4, Indecisive Battle. CB marker on Southwest removed.
Costly card play for Soviets but effectively defended and nicely set up for their turn. Damn this Russian weather!

Attack outside Stalino: 4 +5 + 5 : 3 -> 14:3 -> 4:1, -winter attack, net 3:1. Axis rolls 6, Defender Shattered. Crimean to Shattered box. 6th Army & 3rd Pz advance. Long winter prevents any further advance

Axis Marker Removal Phase

Target and Disorder markers removed.

Axis Detraining Phase

2nd Pz arrives in Kharkov.

Turn 5 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase

Soviet draws 4 cards
11 - No Mercy - just need to locate the right target
21 - Russian Steam Roller - red starred event
27 - Ivan Konev - red starred event
30 - Andrei Yeremenko - save for next turn

Soviet Supply Check Phase
All Soviet units are in supply.

Soviet Organization Phase
Moscow garrison flips to Fortified.
Crimean placed, Disorganized, on the Ostarky 1 cadre. Ostarky 1 cadre placed in March/April 1942 box on the turn track
Discard Russian Steam Roller and Ivan Konev to reform Central, Disorganised, in Kalinin.

Soviet Movement Phase
Central moves northwest to 0520.
Crimean moves east into Forest.
Tempting to try to put Smolensk out of supply with these units but they are too weak to hold against a directed assault that will inevitably follow as the Axis restore their supply.

Soviet Combat Phase
Red Target markers placed on 1st Pz + 4th, on 4th Pz + 16th, and on 3rd Pz + 6th Army. Shock markers placed on all.
Some really iffy attacks here, but the Shock markers are calling.

Axis discards Defense Works to place grey CB on 2nd.

West Front. 4 : 3 + 5 -> 1:2, +2xShock, net 3:2. Soviet rolls 1, Counterattack. Axis elects to attack, 2:1 no adjustments, rolls 3, Exchange. West Front to Destroyed box, 16th flips.
Foolish! Foolish! Foolish!

North of Kharkov. As each hex may only be attacked once and each unit battle once, Southwest will battle into hex 0622 with the benefit of the Shock marker, and one of the Axis units in 0622 will attack the Volkov unit. Axis chooses the 4th to hit Volkov and so the Panzer will the shock-attacked.
- 4th vs Volkov: 4:4 -> 1:1, -winter attack, net 1:2. Axis rolls 1, Counterattack. Soviet takes the opportunity, 1:1, no shifts. Soviet rolls 5, Exchange. Volkov to Destroyed units box, 4th Army flips.
- Southwest vs 1st Pz. 5:7 -> 1:2, +2xShock, net 3:2. Soviets roll 4, Exchange. Southwest Front Destroyed. 1st Pz flips.
That was bloody. The Axis are fragile but we have little to oppose them. Winter thaw preserve the Motherland!

Outside Stalino.
- Caucasus to 2nd. 3:5 -> 1:2, no shifts. Soviets roll 4, Indecisive battle.
- Kalinin to 3rd Pz + 6th: 4 : 4 + 5 -> 4:9 -> 1:3, +2xShock, net 1:1. Soviets roll 6, Defender Retreats. 3rd Pz into Kharkov, 6th northeast of Dnepropetrovsk. Kalinin will not advance.
That counterblow interfered badly but the south holds.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase

Counterblow, Target and Disorder markers removed.

Soviet Detraining Phase

Nothing on the trains. That may hurt this next turn.
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Turn 6 - March-April 1942 - Mud

Spring is here, and a young man's heart turns to conquest.

Advance turn marker.
Axis gains 2nd Hungarian Army, Soviets the North Caucasus
Axis one Blitz marker
Soviet cadre returns

This is the second Sudden Death check. Checking the VP track the turn 6 VP requirement is 23 points for the Axis; currently the Axis has 20. Axis has caught up a bit from the earlier check. [ As per turn 3 the penalty of two cards was incorrectly applied to the Axis. ]

Soviet Education begins.

Turn 6 - Axis actions

Axis Card Phase

[Axis discards General Staff and draws 4 -2 cards. This is an error; neither discard nor two less draw was necessary.]

- 16 Operational Reserves
- 34 Backhand Blow

A thin hand, will avoid playing either if possible. Will just need to play through turn and preserve what's on the board.

Axis Supply Check Phase
Everything is in supply.

Axis Organization Phase
2nd Hungarian forms in Lublin.

Axis Movement Phase
4th Pz, 16th Army move through forest to west of Leningrad.
18th moves to southwest of Leningrad.
2nd Hungarian entrains
1st & 3rd Pz to west of Voronezh
2nd Pz to southwest of Voronezh
6th to hex 1417, northwest of Kalinin
4th to hex 1418, northeast of Kalinin
2nd and 11th west of Stalino
If the attack into Stalino works, we'll have Kalinin out of supply.

Axis Combat Phase
Target Leningrad, Voronezh, Stalino. Axis uses its own Combat Tables again.

Leningrad: 5 + 3 + 3 : 5 -> 13:5 -> 2:1, -objective, net 1:1. Axis rolls 3, Counterblow. Grey CB marker placed on hex including 4th Pz.

Voronezh. 5 + 5 + 5 : 3 -> 5:1, -city -river +Blitz, net 4:1. Axis rolls 1. Exchange. Bryansk destroyed. 3rd Pz destroyed. No advance into Voronezh permitted.
Dammit. The Soviets will reform a unit in the city now and we'll have to re-assault the city.

Stalino: 4 + 5 : 3 -> 3:1, -city, net 2:1. Axis rolls 5. Defender Retreats. Caucasus retreats to southeast of Rostov. 2nd and 11th advance into Stalino, but cannot advance further to Rostov due to mud. Axis takes control of city and VPs increase from 20 to 21.

Axis Marker Removal Phase

Target markers collected.

Axis Detraining Phase
Hungarians disembark into Dnepropetrovsk.



The workmanlike advance continues. Leningrad back under siege. There's not much facing Moscow but Stalingrad, and the oil fields, are certainly in reach. That's three objective hexes - an operational victory in capturing those three points beckons.


Turn 6 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase
Soviets hold 2 cards and draw 4

- 08 Allied Lend-Lease - excellent
- 11 No Mercy
- 24 Strategic Reserves
- 30 Andrei Yeremenko
- 37 Western Allied Offensive - red starred
- 42 Seymon Timoshenko - useful next turn

Andrei Yeremenko would have made no difference to the Axis attacks, but certainly the difference in the number of cards will help us get forces back on board.

Soviet Supply Check Phase
Kalinin is OOS.

Soviet Organization Phase
Soviet education: Battle-hardened NCOs and experienced leadership begin the reverse the purges of the 1930s. Now the Red Army can arrest the retreat without relying on space and weather. The units are still brittle and do not have a flip step. It will be some time before we can push the Axis back.

Caucasus flips to 2nd Tank side, from 3-3 to 5-4
That will help break Kalinin out of the encirclement! Pity Kalinin is OOS and cannot be upgrade; its improvement is is formidable.

Soviet plays Allied Lend Lease for another upgrade.
Central flips to 5th Guards Tank 5-3 to 8-4

North Caucasus forms in Rostov
Discard Western Allied Offensive to recreate Southwest Front, Disorganized, in Voronezh.
Discard No Mercy to recreate Reserve, Disorganized, in Tula.

Soviet Movement Phase
5th Guards moves northwest to 0419
Northwest moves northwest to 0518
Voronezh moves one hex east
Out of the way of Counterblows but still preserve the ZOC
2nd Tank to 1520, southwst of the Don, to protect Stalingrad from a summer rush
North Caucasus moves east then northwest, to hex 1618 and create a lifeline to the Kalinin front.

Soviet Combat Phase
Target on 18th Army & 4th Army
Axis discards Operational Reserves to place grey Counterblow marker on Stalino.

With so few cards in their hand, they must be desperate to force the surrender of the Kalinin unit.

Leningrad garrison involuntary attack on hex 0218. 5 : 5 + 3 -> 1:2, -forest, net 1:3. Soviet rolls 2, Counterattack! Axis attacks, 8:5 -> 1:1, no terrain modifiers. Axis rolls 4, Exchange. Leningrad Fort flips to 3-3, 4th Pz flips to 4-6 unit.

5th Guards vs 18th: 8 : 3 -> 2:1, -forest, -river, net 1:1. Soviet roll 4. Red CB placed on 5th Guards.

Kalinin vs 4th: 4:3 -> 1:1, left shift river. Soviet roll 1, Counterattack. Axis declines the opportunity.

N Caucasus involuntary attack on Stalino. 4 : 4 + 5 -> 4:9 -> 1:3, -city. Odds worse than 1:3, so automatic Counterattack. Axis takes opportunity, 9:4 -> 2:1. Axis rolls 1. Indecisive battle.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase

Grey CB, Target, OOS, and Disorder markers removed.



N Caucasus east of Stalino breaks the ZOC from the Axis units, and supply restored to Kalinin. N Caucasus' own supply line is fraught. Rostov is in an enemy ZOC, and going around Rostov to Novorossiysk is more than 4 hexes. Similarly the trace out of enemy ZOCs to Voronezh is too far. The line to Stalingrad is exactly 4 hexes. Surely the Axis will see this is a precarious position and push hard in the south.
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Turn 7 - May-June 1942 - Clear

Advance turn marker
Axis gain 8th Italian Army
Soviets gain Voronezh and Stalingrad.
Axis gains two Blitz markers

World events: Battle of Midway. Axis loses one VP. Round VP marker moves from 1 to 0 VP, square VP marker from 21 to 20 VP.

Turn 7 - Axis actions

Axis Card Phase
Axis holds 1 card, draws 4 more
- 12 Fedor von Bock - great, I need a replacement
- 22 Unseasonal Weather - automatic discard and redraw now. Draws card 32
- 32 Counteroffensive - a nasty surprise there
- 34 Backhand Blow
- 43 PanzerBlitz - might indeed reach Stalingrad!
- 44 Paul von Kleist - reroll Indecisive battles. Meh.

Axis Supply Check Phase
Everything is in supply.

Axis Organization Phase
8th Italian forms in Lublin.
Play Fedor von Bock to recreate 3rd Pz, Disorganized, in Warsaw. Axis draws new card
- 28 Soviet SNAFU - another delightful surprise

Axis Movement Phase
18th Army moves west to hex 0318 and out of the counterblow
17th Army loops to southwest of the Crimean Front.
1st Pz enters Voronezh and stops in the Southwest ZOC. Control of the city taken, VPs from 20 to 21.
2nd Pz travels east to cross the Don and stops southeast of Voronezh.
6th Army moves northeast out of Kalinin ZOC then southwest to hex 1418 with the 4th.
2nd Hungarian moves east to position west of Kalinin
3rd Pz entrains
8th Italian moves to west of Kiev. It's a long walk if no-one pays for trains.

Axis Combat Phase
Target Leningrad, Voronezh, Kalinin unit near Stalino. Blitz on Leningrad and Southwest.
Soviets discard Strategic Reserves to place red CB on North Caucasus.
Axis play Backhand Blow to cancel that Counterblow.

Leningrad. 3 + 4 : 3 -> 2:1, -objective, +Blitz. No armor bonus unfortunately. Axis rolls 4, Defender Retreats. Soviet plays Andrew Yeremenko and shifts to 3:2 column and result becomes Exchange. Leningrad garrison Destroyed. 16th Army Destroyed. No advance possible.
Brutal self-immolation!

Voronezh. 5 + 5 : 5 -> 2:1, +Blitz +armor, net 4:1. Axis rolls 4, Defender Shattered. 2nd Pz advances, then moves south to 1420 at the confluence in the Don southeast of Voronezh.
A risky position but threatening two cities ought to force the Soviets back.

Outside Stalino: 4 + 5 + 2 + 4 + 3 : 4 -> 18 : 4 -> 4:1, -river, net 3:1. Axis rolls 4, Defender Retreat. First hex must be into N Caucasus, then east of Rostov. 5th and 4th Army advances into open hex, 2nd Hungarian advances then onto the 6th Army.

Axis Marker Removal Phase

Target and Disorganization markers collected.

Axis Detraining Phase

3rd Pz moves to 0318, where the 18th is located.
3rd Romanian two hexes east of Kharkov, southeast of Voronezh.

Turn 7 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase
Soviets hold 1 card and draw 4
- 03 Black Sea Fleet - not much use
- 15 Conflicting Hitler Directives - always handy
- 16 NKVD - good
- 20 Major Offensive - iffy to use at this stage
- 42 Seymon Timoshenko

Soviet Supply Check Phase
All in supply.

Soviet Organization Phase
Kalinin flips from 4-3 to 7-3 1st Baltic
Voronezh forms in Gorki
Stalingrad forms in Stalingrad
Southwest Front reforms, Disorganized, in Saratov.
Discard Black Sea Fleet to form Volkhov in Leningrad
Bringing the Leningrad Garrison back was an idea, but needs to survive an entire turn before it can be upgraded as a Fortress since upgrades occur before reinforcement. The Guards should suffice to clear the enemy from the home of the Revolution.

Soviet Movement Phase
5th Guards moves southwest of Leningrad
Northwest moves southwest to hex 0717, northwest of Smolensk
Reserve moves west to hex 0918, southeast of Smolensk
Voronezh unit moves to immediately east of Tula
Southwest moves west to the opposite bank facing 2nd Pz
1st Baltic enters Rostov
Stalingrad entrains as Strategic Reserve

Soviet Combat Phase
Target 11th Army
No other battles; let the Axis spend their cards for counterblows.

Axis plays no cards for counterblows.
Hmm. I assume there are some nasty cards coming my way.

Stalino: 7 + 4 : 4 -> 2:1, -city, net 3:2. Axis play Soviet SNAFU, use column 1:1. Soviets roll 4. Counterblow. Red marker placed on 1st Baltic.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase
Target and Disorder markers removed.

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Richard Hecker
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Turn 8 - July-August 1942 - Clear

Advance turn marker
4th Romanian returns
Axis gains new cadre
Axis gains two Blitz markers and an extra card draw

Turn 8 - Axis actions

We're coming to the end of the first stage of the game, in which the Axis reaches for the best score they can, and perhaps a knockout blow. An operational victory, taking three Objective hexes before the Initiative changes, is certainly possible. The Axis leadership wriggle forward on their seats to watch the next turns play out...



Axis Card Phase
Axis holds 3 cards, discards to 2 then draws 4 + 1 more

Discard Paul von Kleist
- 01 Erich von Manstein
- 07 Production Problems
- 12 Summer Campaign
- 22 Albert Speer - red starred event
- 29 Walter Model
- 32 Counteroffensive
- 43 PanzerBlitz

Axis Supply Check Phase
9th Army is OOS.
With Minsk in reach, the Northwest Front must be halted.

Axis Organization Phase
4th Romanian appears in Lublin.
Discard Summer Campaign and Albert Speer to flip 4th Pz.
Discard Counteroffensive to restore 16th, Disorganized, in Warsaw

Axis Movement Phase
18th moves northwest, east to join 4th Pz.
There is no secret passage through the marshes.
17th Army to southwest of Smolensk
8th Italian two hexes east of Kiev
4th Romanian east of Kiev
16th Army entrains
1st Pz east then southeast, positioned northeast of the Southwest Front.
2nd Pz loops to join 1st Pz
3rd Romanian into Voronezh
2nd Army northwest of 2nd Tank
6th Army west of 2nd Tank
2nd Hungarian northeast of Stalino
The knife did not plunge at Moscow hard enough in the beginning so our centre is weak.

Axis Combat Phase
Target Leningrad, Reserve, Southwest, 2nd Tank, N Caucasus. Blitz on Leningrad, Southwest.
Soviet discards Major Offensive for counterblow on 5th Guards

Leningrad: 5 + 3 : 4. Axis plays Erich von Manstein to double the Panzer strength. 13:4 -> 3:1, -objective +Blitz, net 3:1. Axis rolls 4, Defender Retreat. Volkov moves two hexes southeast. 4th Pz and 18th Army enter Leningrad then advance into marshes southeast of the city. [ Dear readers, this was naughty. City hexes do not prevent advances, but the Objective hexes do. ] Axis takes control, increase 21 to 22 VP.
The ZOC will keep the Guards out, but need to push onto Kalinin. But I don't think the battles around Leningrad are anywhere near done as yet.

3rd Pz involuntary attack. 5:8 -> 1:2, -forest -river, worse than 1:3 so immediate counterattack. Soviet takes the risk. 8:5 -> 1:1. Soviet rolls 5, Exchange. Disaster! 3rd Pz Destroyed, 5th Guards Destroyed. Note that the Guards reduce back to the Central unit on entering the Destroyed box.
[ Error; once upgraded the Soviet units don't downgrade when defeated. They have still only one 'side'. Once they gain the flip step much later in the game, then they can flip to the weaker side. This will unfortunately be a feature of this playthrough. Hey, I've made an error disadvantaging both sides, so we're even. ]
Both add cadre units.

Gott, most certainly, is Mit Uns. The Soviet hand reaching to Leningrad is very much weakened.

Smolensk. 3 + 4 vs 4 -> 3:2. Axis rolls 3, Counterblow. Grey marker added on 9th Army.
Far from great, but at least supply is restored through the 17th Army.

Outside Saratov. 5 + 5 : 5 -> 2:1, +Blitz +armor, net 4:1. Axis rolls 6, Defender Destroyed. Pz units enter space. 2nd Pz moves east. Armor overrun allows entry into Saratov. City controlled. VPs 22 to 23. 1st Pz moves two hexes south to end immediately northwest of Stalingrad.
I love Panzer units. They're the best.

Attack on 2nd Tank. 5 + 4 : 5 -> 3:2. Axis rolls 4, Exchange. 2nd flips, 2nd Tank to Destroyed box. No advances possible.

Attack on N Cau. 3 + 2 : 4 -> 1:1. Axis rolls 1, Counterattack. Soviet declines opportinity.

Involuntary attack on 1st Baltic by 11th Army. 4 : 7 -> 1:2, -city, net 1:3. Axis rolls an unbelievable 6, Defender Retreats. 1st Baltic retreats east and south behind a bend in the river. 11 Army advances. Rostov controlled. VPs 23 to 24. 11th Army advances east and stops behind river.

Axis Marker Removal Phase

Target and Disorder markers removed. 9th Army is supplied via adjacency to 17th, who trace supply to Minsk.

Axis Detraining Phase

16th arrives in Minsk.

A pity neither Leningrad nor Rostov are yet able to allow units to disembark, but that was a delightful turn of events. Leningrad is mine! Closing on Stalingrad! Oilfields are close. Edging closer to victory.

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Turn 8 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase

In hindsight not playing Conflicting Directives to cancel the Erich von Manstein tackle of Leningrad was a poor choice. I was expecting with so many other attacks that there were going to be other, trickier card plays.

Soviet discards Seymon Timoshenko in a huff and draw 4.
Who could have predicted such a weak attack on Rostov and so little more? Seymon would have guaranteed a better result.

- 15 Conflicting Hitler Directives
- 16 NKVD - good
- 19 Hitler Orders Attack - with the summer continuing I don't need this
- 25 Za Rodunu! - useful
- 20 Major Offensive - iffy to use at this stage
- 26 Na Berlin! - red starred event
- 36 Hitler's Interference - could be interesting.

Soviet Supply Check Phase
N Cau and Ostasky 1 OOS.
Northwest is in trouble too.

Soviet Organization Phase
Volkov flips from 4-3 to 7-3 3rd Baltic
Axis plays Production Problems to cancel the Improvement.

Soviet plays Za Rodunu to draw two cards
- 14 Prepared Offensive - red starred event
- 22 Sturmovics - red starred event

Soviet discards Prepared Offensive to reform Central, Disordered, in Stalingrad
Soviet discards NKVD to remove Disordered marker in Central
Soviet discards Stumovics to reform Southwest, Disorded, in Astrakhan
Soviet discards Na Berlin to reform West Front, Disordered, in Kalinin

Soviet Movement Phase
West moves two hexes northwest, adjacent to cadre
Northwest moves northeast and southeast, ending northeast of Smolensk
Voronezh moves east of Smolensk
Crimean moves east out of forest and southeast of 17th
Central moves east, northeast, then northwest, ending southwest of Saratov
1st Baltic moves east to Stalingrad
Astrakhan moves along the Volga's west bank
Save North Caucasus or defend Saratov and Gorki? We chose the latter.

Soviet Combat Phase
No voluntary battles.
Axis discards PanzerBlitz to place CB on 2nd Pz
Clearly they're concerned about supply. Saratov was a reach too far.

Involuntary attack on Smolensk. 4 + 3 + 3 : 3 -> 3:1, -city, net 2:1. Soviet rolls 3, Exchange. Axis plays Walter Model. Odds recalculated: 4 + 3 + 3 : 2x 3 -> 10 : 6 -> 3:2. Counterblow. Red CB marker on Reserve

Involuntary attack on Saratov. 5 : 5 -> 1:1, left for city, net 1:2. Soviet rolls 5, Defender Retreats. 2nd Pz moves northwest then west. Central enters Saratov and takes control. VPs decrease from 24 to 23.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase

Grey counterblows, Target, and Disorder markers removed
N Caucasus remains OOS and surrenders. Round VP marker moves 0 to 1 VP, square VP marker moves 23 to 24 VP.
Ostatky 1 is back in supply. (Note that even if it was not supplied, its loss would not give a VP.)

Not a great round for the Soviets. A cautious time, restoring forces back onto the board, and we waiting for a change in the weather.
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Turn 9 - September-October 1942 - Clear

Advance turn marker
Axis gains two Blitz markers and an extra card draw
Soviets gain Don unit

This is the third Sudden Death check. Checking the VP track the turn 9 VP level is 26 points for the Axis; currently the Axis has 24. Axis has caught up a further from the earlier two checks. Yeah, yeah, I messed this rule but I had already played this far when I reported turn 3, so the Axis incorrectly suffer a discard and draw two fewer this turn. Poor babies. They're doing alright.

Turn 9 - Axis Actions
Axis has no cards to discard. Axis takes 4 + 1 - 2 cards.
- 04 Elastic Defense
- 31 Stalin's Interference
- 38 Hedgehogs

Axis Supply Check Phase
All units in supply.

Axis Organization Phase
No action

Axis Movement Phase
16th moves east to northwest of Smolensk
8th Italian move east, to 1117, two hexes directly north of Kharkov
4th Romanian entrains
2nd Pz moves to 1622, northeast of Stalingrad
6th moves to 1721, west of Stalingrad
11th moves to 1921, southwest of Southwest Front
2nd moves to 1820, west of Southwest Front
4th to 1420, the bend in the Don
2nd Hungarian to Rostov

Axis Combat Phase
Target Stalingrad, Southwest Front, West Front. Blitz on Stalingrad and Southwest Front.



Ah, glorious. Supply is still drawn through the marsh hex, but there is a world of nasty about to descend.

Soviets discard Hitler's Interference to add red CB to Volkhov
Axis plays Stalin's Interference to cancel the Counterblow and take the Hitler's Interference card, where it is the Surprise Attack.

South of Leningrad: 3 + 5 : 4 -> 2:1, -river -marsh, net 1:1. Axis rolls 3, Counterblow, Grey CB marker placed in hex 0320

Involuntary attack on Reserve. 3 + 4 : 4 -> 7:4 -> 3:2. Axis rolls 3, Counterblow. Grey CB marker on 17th Army.

On Southwest Front. 8:5 -> 3:2, +Blitz, net 2:1. Axis rolls 6, Defender Shattered. Southwest retreats east then to Shattered box. 2nd advances to 1821 then stops.

Stalingrad. 5 + 5 + 4 : 7 -> 2:1 -river -objective +Blitz, net 3:2. Axis rolls 2, Indecisive result.
Bollocks! Not unsurprising, but bollocks nevertheless.

Axis Marker Removal Phase
Target, Disorder, and red Counterblow markers removed.

Axis Detraining Phase
No action

Turn 9 - Soviet Actions

Soviet Card Phase
Soviets have two cards, draw four new
- 06 Partisans
- 15 Conflicting Hitler Directives
- 19 Hitler Orders Attack
- 29 Wave Assault - red starred event
- 39 Bridgehead - red starred event
- 40 Great Patriotic War - must immediately activate

Soviet Supply Check Phase
1st Baltic is OOS

Soviet Organization Phase
Central flips from 5-3 to 8-4 Guards Tank

Don reinforces in Gorki.

Southwest Front reforms in Astrakhan, Disorganized

Soviets discard Wave Assualt to reform South Front in Novorossiyk, Disorganized

Soviets discard Bridgehead to flip Sevastapol Fort to mobile garrison.

We hope the threat of losing undefended cities will force some Axis units back and reduce pressure on the front.

Soviet plays Partisans. 18th Army takes the loss

Soviet Movement Phase
Ostalky1 withdraws to mountain
West Front moves to Kalinin
Volkov moves to north of Ryblaskoye (hex 0522)
We don't need to suffer the counterblow
Tank Guards move to east of Stalingrad
Southwest move to Oil Fields
Sevastopol moves to southwest Dnepropetrovsk
Don entrains

Axis plays Surprise Attack. 11th moves to southeast of Stalingrad. Grey CB added.

That could become bad; possible both the Guards and Baltic could be trapped and surrender

Soviet Combat Phase
Target Smolensk.
Axis discards Hedgehogs for Counterblow on 2nd Pz. Soviet plays Conflicting Hitler Directives to cancel CB then allows redraw. Soviet draws 12 General Mud, immediate discard and redraw, draws 23 - Sturmovics.

Involuntary attack outside Leningrad: 2 : 5 + 3 -> 1:4, -swamp. Automatic counterattack. 4:1, Axis rolls 5, Defender Destroyed. Cadre to Nov-Dec 1942 box on Turn Track. Axis units will not advance.

Smolensk. 3 + 3 + 4 : 3 -> 3:1, -city, net 2:1. Soviets roll 4, Exchange. Voronezh Destroyed, 9th Destroyed. No advances possible.

Involuntary attack outside Smolensk. 3:4 -> 1:2. Soviets roll 5, Counterblow. Red CB placed on Crimean.

Involuntary attack outside Stalingrad. 8 + 7 : 4 -> 3:1 -marsh -river, net 3:2. Soviets roll 4, Exchange. 1st Baltic retreats and to Destroyed box, plus flips back to Kalinin. 11th Army flips.
Very unfortunate. Still, better that the Baltic be destroyed than surrender.

Soviet Marker Removal Phase
Grey counterblows, Target, and Disorder markers removed

Soviet Detraining Phase
Stalingrad arrives in Stalingrad.
Strategic reserve switches to Don



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Jeff Johnson
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Hamster007 wrote:
Turn 8 - July-August 1942 - Clear
3rd Pz involuntary attack. 5:8 -> 1:2, -forest -river, worse than 1:3 so immediate counterattack. Soviet takes the risk. 8:5 -> 1:1. Soviet rolls 5, Exchange. Disaster! 3rd Pz Destroyed, 5th Guards Destroyed. Note that the Guards reduce back to the Central unit on entering the Destroyed box. Both add cadre units.


Hamster007 wrote:
Turn 9 - September-October 1942 - Clear

Involuntary attack outside Stalingrad. 8 + 7 : 4 -> 3:1 -marsh -river, net 3:2. Soviets roll 4, Exchange. 1st Baltic retreats and to Destroyed box, plus flips back to Kalinin. 11th Army flips.
Very unfortunate. Still, better that the Baltic be destroyed than surrender.


That's a mistake - the Soviet upgraded (red) units should go to the destroyed box red side up.

No Retreat 2nd Edition rules pp6 wrote:

[7.2.2] Upgraded, but Brittle: Even after Upgrading, those stronger (red) Russian units still have only one step until Turn 17, when they become 2-step units (see 7.3, below). Thus, as Upgraded one-step units, when they are eliminated, they are placed in the Destroyed or Unsupplied boxes on their red (one-step) side and will return, when replaced, on that same side. However, they are considered two-step counters for removal to the Surrendered Holding Box (see rules 10.7.1 and 11 .1).


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Aleksandar Pesic
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Axis turn 8


"Leningrad: 5 + 3 : 4. Axis plays Erich von Manstein to double the Panzer strength. 13:4 -> 3:1, -objective +Blitz, net 3:1. Axis rolls 4, Defender Retreat. Volkov moves two hexes southeast. 4th Pz and 18th Army enter Leningrad then advance into marshes southeast of the city. Axis takes control, increase 21 to 22 VP."

Mistake: Objective hexes stop advance!!!
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John Brady
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I'm really enjoying this...where's the rest of it?
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I thought this was a good idea for a thread too. Format is fine, commentary was fun. A couple unfortunate rules glitches but still a good article.

Found another rules mistake, IIRC:

Quote:
Soviets discard Bridgehead to flip Sevastapol Fort to mobile garrison


In the NR 2e rules, the rules for this were unfortunately screwed up by what looks like a cut-and-paste error, but I'm pretty sure flipping from fort to mobile is free and doesn't cost a card?
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Carl Paradis
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Oakfed wrote:
I thought this was a good idea for a thread too. Format is fine, commentary was fun. A couple unfortunate rules glitches but still a good article.

Found another rules mistake, IIRC:

Quote:
Soviets discard Bridgehead to flip Sevastapol Fort to mobile garrison


In the NR 2e rules, the rules for this were unfortunately screwed up by what looks like a cut-and-paste error, but I'm pretty sure flipping from fort to mobile is free and doesn't cost a card?


Fort flipping is both free and not free. You can flip using a card, or you can use one of your Soviet Improvements to do it (although it might be a bad idea to do the latter as it stops a regular non-fort unit from becoming "red", something they cannot do with a card discard until late in the game).
 
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Jeff Johnson
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Promoting from mobile to fort costs a card or improvement - what about the reverse? It costs a card to go from fort to mobile as well? 7.5 only has text saying going from mobile to fort costs a card, and doesn't mention going from fort to mobile.
 
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