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Subject: The simpler but weaker of the series rss

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Fierce fight Leningrad
Issue game of Game Journal #49
Game Journal
Designed by Tetsuya Nakamura

Background
This is one of “Fierce fight Army Group Manstein”. And it is announced that this will be the first part of Barbarossa trilogy. Other two will be named “Kiev” and “Smolensk”.
The game starts at surprise attack on June 22 and ends at the start of siege of Leningrad in September.

Game system
As always in this series, the game is chit-draw activation.
This is the smallest game in this series so far. And German player has only 3 HQ and 4 chits. The last chit is Manstein chit as you can expect. In this game, this chit is not put in container, instead held by German player. And when the chit is drawn from the container, he can decide to overtake the action. Then the chit drawn is put back to the container and instead the 4th Army group is activated. In this game, German player cannot select the army, he can activate 4th Army group automatically.
The victory is decided by points. Most points are awarded to control of cities on the map. There are only 7 city hexes on the map and 3 of them are Leningrad. Each of them is worth 10 VPs if having supply line back to friendly map edge and worth half without supply line. And for Russian player only, Leningrad hexes are worth 20 VPs.
This means that basically German player must at least cut the supply line to Leningrad while he control all other 4 hexes. Or he must control some of Leningrad hexes.


Challenge for players
Comparing with other games in this series, the situation is simpler due to its narrower front line and smaller number of units.
The most important point is how fast German Armored group can reach around Leningrad. For this consideration, Russian player must design his strategic defense plan even in very start of the game. There are 3 possibilities on the map where he can place defense line, Dvina River, Stalin line and Luga River. The other option is constructing fortress in Leningrad itself.
In any case, the situation is seriously influenced by chit-draw order. Unfortunately, Russian player can do nothing for this. So, his plan must be arranged with the situation flexibly. On the other hand, German player can play Manstein chit for denying the drawn chit once per turn. Though, this is very far from perfect control, he must do it effectively as possible as he can.

Conclusion
This is a most playable game in this series. So, players who’d not played other games in the series, it is really good choice for the first game.
But, the situation is simpler and less interesting in my honest opinion. The decision is usually very apparent especially for German player. The decision of Russian player is much more difficult since the result could be judged in very late in the game. And the worst thing is that in bad luck situation Russian player can have nothing effective to do. This usually happens due to eliminated HQs by German Armored group. So, he draw his chit but there’s no correspondent HQ on the map and can do nothing at all.
So, if you are experienced wargamer, I do not recommend this game strongly. Instead, you should try “A victory lost (English version of “Fierce fight Army Group Manstein”)” .
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