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Subject: Into Darkness - The Dark Valley AAR pt1 Barbarossa! rss

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Chris Buhl
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This will be an AAR of as many turns of The Dark Valley as I play solo before I either a) decide I've screwed it up enough that I need to start over; b) get a good PBEM game rolling and decide to learn a new game instead of keep this going, or; c) conquer the world! I don't expect I'll fight the entire war, but we'll see how it goes.

Here are the starting positions for my first try at Barbarossa with The Dark Valley.



This Russian setup is not accurate, I took the photo before realizing that both maps share hex numbers. I'd originally deployed the forces assigned specific hexes to the East map, they re-deployed before I set up the Germans.


Army Group North




The diagonal lines of counters are the stacks on the respective border hexes, so the actual forces are visible.





AGN will attempt to clear a path for the supply depot to advance, and encircle Soviet forces NE of Memel.


Army Group Center




Every time I play an eastern front game (such as Blocks in the East), I see Army Group Center's forces lined up west of the Prippet Marshes, and am inclined to send about a third of their forces north to help AGN clear the Baltic and push for Moscow, while sending 2/3 of them south to help AGS push through the vast expanse of Southern Russia. It always seems to me that the Germans dedicated too little toward the southern front, where oil and resources are. I probably discount the importance of capturing Moscow. In game terms, there seems a bigger reward waiting down south, especially in a game like BitE that really focuses on production.




In The Dark Valley, AGC's units are only allowed to attack Soviet units in the Western Military District on turn 1, which more or less funnels them north of the Marshes. I assume that is historically accurate. So in this game, I'm going to focus on capturing Moscow with AGC. In other games I've played, splitting their forces north and south of the Marshes has sometimes worked, but has seemed a bit of a half measure at times.


Army Group South







I think AGS is too weak to really drive to and take the Caucasus (as they proved to be in the 1940's), but I'll have them strike out in that direction. As the war progresses I'll give them firmer objectives, for now they'll drive hard for the Dneiper, trying to create an anvil for the forces in Romania to hammer lagging Soviet units against.


Romania




Initial German attacks went well, as expected. I think I could fine tune the plan and create better gaps, but I'll stick with this.



Here are the positions of forces after the starting German attack & movement rounds. The next chit drawn is 4th Panzer HQ.

Army Group North





The German counters are rotated b/c that's how I tracked the units I'd moved.


Army Group Center





Army Group South





The whole front





Now it's time to see what the 4th Panzer can do.
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Filip Labarque
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I loved your BITE AAR and I'm looking forward how this one will proceed, since TDV is next on my wishlist.

One question, do you need tweezers to manipulated the counters? They seem really congested.
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Borat Sagdiyev
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IMHO there are too many German attacks in the AGC sector and too many Soviet units that will manage to escape death (even if isolated) by using emergency withdrawals when the Soviet Move chit comes out.

I can tell you from personal experience that those Soviet lonely units will cause all sorts of nuisance in the German rearguard during the following turns. whistle
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Fernando Darlington
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Yep. Those 1-4 can wander into the german rearguard cutting railroads so some depots will be unable to advance. Maybe even destroy some weaks fors in Germany and forcing one of the airbases to rebase flipping the plane.
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Chris Buhl
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Flupperdeflup wrote:
I loved your BITE AAR and I'm looking forward how this one will proceed, since TDV is next on my wishlist.

One question, do you need tweezers to manipulated the counters? They seem really congested.


I have small fingers, so I can manage the counters with some difficulty. Otherwise yes, I would need tweezers. So far this game looks interesting, but obviously I've not figured out many of the nuances to playing well as Germany.
 
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Chris Buhl
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harzal wrote:
IMHO there are too many German attacks in the AGC sector and too many Soviet units that will manage to escape death (even if isolated) by using emergency withdrawals when the Soviet Move chit comes out.

I can tell you from personal experience that those Soviet lonely units will cause all sorts of nuisance in the German rearguard during the following turns. whistle


Quote:
Yep. Those 1-4 can wander into the german rearguard cutting railroads so some depots will be unable to advance. Maybe even destroy some weaks fors in Germany and forcing one of the airbases to rebase flipping the plane.


Yes, it seems that I may reach the end of this first AAR due to Case A in the opening! If the Germans get favorable chit draws, maybe they can avoid that fate which their general seems to have created for them.
 
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Tom Stearns
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In reading the strategy threads here and on CSW, as well as my own experience, less is more when it comes to opening German attacks. The CRT is retreat heavy. Many of the Russian units simply retreat and create more problems. Attack along the rail lines. Keep the German infantry divisions in position to isolate the Russian units and protect the rail lines as you clear them.
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Chris Buhl
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gohrns wrote:
In reading the strategy threads here and on CSW, as well as my own experience, less is more when it comes to opening German attacks. The CRT is retreat heavy. Many of the Russian units simply retreat and create more problems. Attack along the rail lines. Keep the German infantry divisions in position to isolate the Russian units and protect the rail lines as you clear them.


That may well prove to be the case. Initial German attacks were heavy on the BL1 and to some extent DE results, which may prove fortunate. I'm working on the Soviet counterattack chit now, and I think the Werhmacht may escape the worst possible result of its over-aggression (the mandatory CA roll was 12[!]), but we will see. As you said in another post, it's easy to re-set and restart if need be ... (?) Well, maybe I'd say "Not super difficult" as opposed to easy.

Gotta buy some of those fancy big tweezers I think.
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henry schweichler
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Better than tweezers is play the game on Vassal: a great advantage, especially for re-trying a scenario, as Vassal sorts the pieces by army group/district for you for any scenario or campaign with all replacements already done by Vassal, by game turn, as well! ; no need of tweezers (or that horrible situation of accidentally knocking over a pile of counters), and it's easy, using game markers to keep track of which piece or stack has been moved, or, for that matter which units have been activated by a headquarter. In short this game begs to be played on Vassal
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Chris Buhl
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gohomeschool wrote:
Better than tweezers is play the game on Vassal: a great advantage, especially for re-trying a scenario, as Vassal sorts the pieces by army group/district for you for any scenario or campaign with all replacements already done by Vassal, by game turn, as well! ; no need of tweezers (or that horrible situation of accidentally knocking over a pile of counters), and it's easy, using game markers to keep track of which piece or stack has been moved, or, for that matter which units have been activated by a headquarter. In short this game begs to be played on Vassal


I certainly have used Vassal for that very reason. In fact, if I decide to reset this game I'll likely move it to Vassal. However, I have found over and over again that in order to really learn a game, I need to put it on the table and move the counters around, manually roll the dice, sift through reinforcements, etc. etc. I'm not sure why that is, but I just have never experienced much success learning a game purely on Vassal. And I tend to enjoy it more on the table as well, if I'm soloing it.
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