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Subject: Am I missing something? rss

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Eric Loken
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Having looked through some AARs, and a bunch of solo attempts as well as one play with a friend, I am wondering about something.

How are the Germans supposed to not lose?

It seems to me that the game demands the German player perform to close to historical to not be summarily defeated in January '42 (at least 29 VPs still in German hands or automatically lose at the end of the turn), which requires the Germans to be at or close to their historical locations.

But from what I've been able to see, its really not that hard for the Soviet player to mess up the German advance. They can't stop it, and they will probably be in pretty rough shape, but they simply need to keep the Germans to 28 VPs or less and they will win. And as I said, that doesn't seem that hard.

It seems to me - and as I said, I may be missing something - that in '41 the German player has to both perform almost perfectly (which attacks occur in which order, where they advance to) and also get lucky (rarely get a badly timed AL1, or even BL1 when there is more than 1 Soviet unit in a stack, Stukas perform above average), and perhaps that the Soviet player screws up at a few key times (one or more of completely evacuate VP cities, not try to keep isolated units from disappearing at the end of the turn to act as partisans, not throw random units onto rail lines to stall depot advance, not reinforce VP cities, not defend key locations, not use terrain to advantage, etc.)

For example, the article on how to Blitz on Turn 1 involved capturing 4 cities with another 2 ready to capture. But Lwow was taken mostly by luck (bombers killing the 6-8 in the city, at best a 1/3 chance, and a 1/6 if the 8th isn't available), Riga was given to him by the Soviets evacuating (why you wouldn't leave a 1-4, or even that crap 1-5 motorized in there I have no idea), and Vinnitsa wasn't adequately reinforced during the Soviet move phase. Plus he somehow got all SIX depots clear to advance six hexes (seems pretty lucky to me, and sloppy by the Soviet player).

Heck, the vast number of 1-4s the Soviets have make fantastic speed bumps. They won't stop the Germans, but you have to kill them, and that takes TIME, and all this is about is delaying the Germans enough to keep him to 28 VPs or less, and those last few he needs are pretty far east.

Its been said that the Germans probably did as well as they could in the early years of WW2, or close to it. And the Soviets did extremely badly in the wake of the initial invasion in '41, that its hard to imagine them performing worse.

You can't count on luck and players to perform that according to script. And while I can accept the German player rarely actually WINNING the game (Bulge battles are the same, you don't expect to win as the German, just make a good showing), the player shouldn't have to be that skilled and that lucky just to not lose!

So while it may well be realistic, does it make for a good game?

Don't talk to me about 'simulations'...

Now, I'm not actually wondering if any of the rules need to be changed, I'm overall rather pleased by the system. I'm just thinking the victory requirements for the Russians in '42 and '43 might be a little easy for them.

Or is there some trick here that I'm missing? Something important?

Inquiring minds wish to know.

Heck, I'd be willing to do a VASSAL game, me as the Soviets if someone wants to show me how to properly kick Soviet ass as the Germans (I don't claim to be that skilled as the Soviets either, but I think I can do a decent delaying tactic).
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Paul Marjoram
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Eric,
There seems to be an emerging consensus that the victory Conditions for the Axis in the Barbarossa scenario are too hard, and should be dropped to 31-32VPs. I have not seen much evidence of a similar view regarding the victory conditions after that. Which is not to say that you are incorrect, of course, but just to say that, at the moment, I don't get the sense that your feeling is widely held.
 
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Dave Langdon
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Edit...sorry misread the double negative for the op. I correct myself.

Brain like frozen oil.
 
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Robert Fox
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There's no trick to it. It's just that the learning curve for the Germans is much steeper than for the Russians.

It appears after multiple plays the Germans will figure out how to use the system to get to the required VPs so that the campaign will continue.

I confess I haven't gotten to that point yet (having only played about 3 times), but it is possible. It's just that you have to play the Germans enough to get through their steeper learning curve.
 
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ted raicer
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To play the Axis requires giving up habits from most other Barby games: above all, a willingness to accept losses: attrition is your friend rather than your enemy in the summer of 41 as the Soviets have no replacements until turn 5, by which time you want them deeply in a hole.

You must also risk putting units OOS. In general, you want to play what I call "supply leap-frog", with half your spearheads on any front risking being OOS at a time, so that you always have at least half in supply between Logistic chits. And if you aren't using your full air supply each turn, you are certainly being too cautious.

Finally, depots, air units, and HQs are your key tools: you must clear the rail lines needed to allow the depots to keep your HQs in supply, and you must take advantage of the fact that in July, August and September, you have 7 potential movement/combats to the Soviets 2 (not counting the very limited move/combat for Stavka in August/September). Sending 2nd and 3rd Panzer to hammer a weak point in the Soviet line allows you to breakthrough a line 4 hexes deep (more with successful air support) and once supplied panzers are in the rear of a Soviet line, the Soviets are in trouble.

29 VPs is very doable; I would go so far as to say that an experienced Axis player can pretty much be certain of getting 29 VP.
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Eric Loken
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Hm.

Well, I guess I'll just have to play around some more to see if I can figure it out then.

In my latest solo game the Soviets are in pretty rough shape at the start of Turn 4, their lines are pretty mulched across the board with the only real strong point around Kiev (and its likely to be surrounded and either die to attrition this turn or next), and that's after a pretty bad first turn (4 of 5 air groups Done on their first attacks - 3 of those didn't get their targets either - Soviet move and then logistics immediately after meant that a lot of units escaped death to attrition).

One thing I will say, while I do like the chit system, it makes the game even more luck dependant than normal. Bad - or strange - timing on the chits can really make or break the day for either player.

Oh, and thanks for the replies, particularly your thoughts, Ted.
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Patrick Ries
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Hi all

currently we are playing our 3rd game, and i do play as the German. Right now I concur with the OP, 28 VP to lose early 42 is quite easy to do so. I would not rate me as the Uber German, but in most Russian front (reference intended) type of games, the Soviets do really suffer and during 42 come close to breaking or at least have to fight tooth and nails to survive. Here it seems a bit the other way round. Germans have to fight an uphill battle to just stay in the game.

Ted, I am not convinced (yet) that attrition is your friend. Losses are difficult to replace, and Russian at start units seem plentiful (esp rear echelon) and some nuts are really hard to crack (Kiev considering the speed needed, Odessa is a nightmare without diverting some massive german power, crossing of the Dnepr is not a walk in the park) Map as it is gives not a lot of manoeuvring space between smolensk (which is defensible if the soviet wants it for a few turns) and the pripiet. Gomel and Bryansk are no VP hexes....A lot of power is needed to go to Leningrad which seems neigh to impossible not only to take, but to make the Germans advance to historical lines without help from the finns and I could go on. First winter rules are very demanding with die roll penalty for germans and shock army bonus for Russians

As the OP I really do like the mechanics a lot, gives a fresh feeling but I am at a loss on how to win with the Germans.

Keep you posted
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Andre Oliveira
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Hieschen wrote:
Hi all

currently we are playing our 3rd game, and i do play as the German. Right now I concur with the OP, 28 VP to lose early 42 is quite easy to do so. I would not rate me as the Uber German, but in most Russian front (reference intended) type of games, the Soviets do really suffer and during 42 come close to breaking or at least have to fight tooth and nails to survive. Here it seems a bit the other way round. Germans have to fight an uphill battle to just stay in the game.

Ted, I am not convinced (yet) that attrition is your friend. Losses are difficult to replace, and Russian at start units seem plentiful (esp rear echelon) and some nuts are really hard to crack (Kiev considering the speed needed, Odessa is a nightmare without diverting some massive german power, crossing of the Dnepr is not a walk in the park) Map as it is gives not a lot of manoeuvring space between smolensk (which is defensible if the soviet wants it for a few turns) and the pripiet. Gomel and Bryansk are no VP hexes....A lot of power is needed to go to Leningrad which seems neigh to impossible not only to take, but to make the Germans advance to historical lines without help from the finns and I could go on. First winter rules are very demanding with die roll penalty for germans and shock army bonus for Russians

As the OP I really do like the mechanics a lot, gives a fresh feeling but I am at a loss on how to win with the Germans.

Keep you posted



I couldn't agree more.

I guess the problem is not that it is hard for the germans to win at the end. East front games are supposed to be like that.
The problem, in my opinion, is that there is a harsh sudden death condition that will stop your first few games after only one year of play.
And that can be really frustrating.

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Eric Loken
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Hieschen wrote:
Ted, I am not convinced (yet) that attrition is your friend. Losses are difficult to replace, and Russian at start units seem plentiful (esp rear echelon) and some nuts are really hard to crack (Kiev considering the speed needed,


I consider it more an amiable aquaintance than a friend.
Some attrition is okay, but it can quickly become a problem. You need those zones of control, and you need those divisions to allow your cotrps to attack. The 2-4 division stacked with a 4-6-4 corps is a good infantry stack in '41. but losing the division can become a problem.

Quote:
Odessa is a nightmare without diverting some massive german power


A 5-4 army and a couple other divisions makes Odessa a bear to take (7 or even 9 defense). The Romanian front advances very slowly without an HQ to boost them, and without diverting major German forces getting even a 3-1 attack would be difficult if not impossible with the forces available. And if he throws a city defense marker on it? Ugh, now you need at least 4 times the CF of the defenders in only 2 hexes to even have a chance at getting into the city.
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Eric Loken
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aro246 wrote:
I guess the problem is not that it is hard for the germans to win at the end. East front games are supposed to be like that.
The problem, in my opinion, is that there is a harsh sudden death condition that will stop your first few games after only one year of play.
And that can be really frustrating.


That was my feeling as well. My concern wasn't the long term winning, it was simply staying in the game past January.

I'm reserving final judgement, but I'm still thinking a cagey Soviet player should be able to have a good chance of winning the game in January '42 by simply preventing the Germans from getting to 28 points.

On that same hand, the Soviets may be pretty beat up by that point, so it could backfire pretty hard on them if they DON'T win in January.
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Apan Arne
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kato42 wrote:
Having looked through some AARs, and a bunch of solo attempts as well as one play with a friend, I am wondering about something.

How are the Germans supposed to not lose?

It seems to me that the game demands the German player perform to close to historical to not be summarily defeated in January '42 (at least 29 VPs still in German hands or automatically lose at the end of the turn), which requires the Germans to be at or close to their historical locations.

But from what I've been able to see, its really not that hard for the Soviet player to mess up the German advance. They can't stop it, and they will probably be in pretty rough shape, but they simply need to keep the Germans to 28 VPs or less and they will win. And as I said, that doesn't seem that hard.

It seems to me - and as I said, I may be missing something - that in '41 the German player has to both perform almost perfectly (which attacks occur in which order, where they advance to) and also get lucky (rarely get a badly timed AL1, or even BL1 when there is more than 1 Soviet unit in a stack, Stukas perform above average), and perhaps that the Soviet player screws up at a few key times (one or more of completely evacuate VP cities, not try to keep isolated units from disappearing at the end of the turn to act as partisans, not throw random units onto rail lines to stall depot advance, not reinforce VP cities, not defend key locations, not use terrain to advantage, etc.)

For example, the article on how to Blitz on Turn 1 involved capturing 4 cities with another 2 ready to capture. But Lwow was taken mostly by luck (bombers killing the 6-8 in the city, at best a 1/3 chance, and a 1/6 if the 8th isn't available), Riga was given to him by the Soviets evacuating (why you wouldn't leave a 1-4, or even that crap 1-5 motorized in there I have no idea), and Vinnitsa wasn't adequately reinforced during the Soviet move phase. Plus he somehow got all SIX depots clear to advance six hexes (seems pretty lucky to me, and sloppy by the Soviet player).

Heck, the vast number of 1-4s the Soviets have make fantastic speed bumps. They won't stop the Germans, but you have to kill them, and that takes TIME, and all this is about is delaying the Germans enough to keep him to 28 VPs or less, and those last few he needs are pretty far east.

Its been said that the Germans probably did as well as they could in the early years of WW2, or close to it. And the Soviets did extremely badly in the wake of the initial invasion in '41, that its hard to imagine them performing worse.

You can't count on luck and players to perform that according to script. And while I can accept the German player rarely actually WINNING the game (Bulge battles are the same, you don't expect to win as the German, just make a good showing), the player shouldn't have to be that skilled and that lucky just to not lose!

So while it may well be realistic, does it make for a good game?

Don't talk to me about 'simulations'...

Now, I'm not actually wondering if any of the rules need to be changed, I'm overall rather pleased by the system. I'm just thinking the victory requirements for the Russians in '42 and '43 might be a little easy for them.

Or is there some trick here that I'm missing? Something important?

Inquiring minds wish to know.

Heck, I'd be willing to do a VASSAL game, me as the Soviets if someone wants to show me how to properly kick Soviet ass as the Germans (I don't claim to be that skilled as the Soviets either, but I think I can do a decent delaying tactic).


Your points are valid, I don't think the "How to blitz" gives a fair representation of Barbarossa, the russian play is way too lenient on the germans.

As you say, sprinkle 1-4's everywhere, especially all along the rails, force him to attack them. He cant afford to leave them to die of attrition since then the depots are stuck.

By good setup, you can maximize 6-1 odds on virtually every single hex in the first combat round. Remember you ignore minor rivers. Also you must attack hexes in a specific order, to make sure as many as possible die to ZOC when retreating.

The 6-8 in Lwov have to unfortunately be attacked in force, you cant rely on bombing it. You can get 4-1 odds with enough units and still have leftovers to clear up other stuff in Kiev MD.

Have russian frontlines as deep as 3 to 4 units. Alternate 5-4s with 1-4s. Place as many 5-4s as possible in woods, cities, swamps or hills to avoid easy stukas.

As the russian, place your heavy 2-4's along the rails or preferably in towns/cities (like Brest) to force him to concentrate ALOT of force for just one hex.

Don't neglect Odessa, it will tie up vital rumainians and some germans for a long time and draw stukas to help reduce it.

Defend cities like Kiev to the death, even if a 5-4 or more might die to attrition its worth it, chances are he might have to attack it anyway if he wants the depot to advance.

Whenever you can, threaten his supply lines with stray 1-4's. It can outright win the game if a 1-4 at the right time can force the depot to halt or even force it backwards. Merely the threat requires germans to be mre cautious.

As germans, dont be afraid to put units OOS, just avoid IS.

The south is where you either win or loose the game. Everything up to Leningrad and Moscow are easy-grab points, but you need to typically get Kharkov and stalino and it might be tight if things go badly south.

Overall, you really should attack whenever you can with germans, even 3-1 is OK. Unlike what has been mentioned elsewhere, do Not be afraid to take losses; you have massive replacements anyway after the winter.

-----------------

All I can think of right now. Barby is incredibly hard as germans vs a good russian, but for the germans it is insanely fun and tense to get those VPs.
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yeah, axis don't have to hold 28 vp whole turn of 42 years,

axis only have to get 28 vp end of january, 42 years.

and if u wanna play game with vassal. plz e-mail or reply for me
 
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Andre Oliveira
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tdraicer wrote:


Sending 2nd and 3rd Panzer to hammer a weak point in the Soviet line allows you to breakthrough a line 4 hexes deep (more with successful air support) and once supplied panzers are in the rear of a Soviet line, the Soviets are in trouble.



Ted,

Where do you send 2nd and 3rd together to hammer the soviet lines? On the Minsk-Moskow road?

I`ve been sending:

- 1st Pz to guarantee the conquest of Kiev;
- 3rd Pz to run south to Odessa, Crimea and on to Rostov (deviating lots of Center assets on the southern push);
- 4th up north to secure Tallin and Leningrad;
- 2nd up the Minsk-Moskow road.

I've been doing this for a few times now and always fall short of the Jan'42 VP checkpoint. I always get to that point with 27 VPs.

What am I doing wrong? Please enlighten.

Thanks!

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Patrick Ries
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Done another game, same thing, Germans loose early 42 for a lack of 28 VP. Odessa with the fort.... you are sure this was play tested? I mean city marker in there (and why should it not be put in there), a 5/4 and some small fry, how do you want to take that? I mean you can bomb it with sub-optimal odds to force flips on your lucky day, but to take it with the Rumanians (as was historically the case, even if they took it in october only and their army was pretty much in shambles)? Even if you play it ignoring the terrain chart errata / Teds ruling here, the ability to ignore retreats, and feed through the black see 2 steps a turn makes this very powerful.

It is VERY easy to troll the rail with some 1-4 partisan and cut off supply or push back a depot, so the german has to pretty much make sure everybody dies, has to surround those units, because they actually can forward retreat, that is a nightmare for a pretty much stretched southern front.

North is very hard to achieve historical positions again without diverting half of Heeresgruppe Centrum and push through the mix of swamp and woods and defensive lines.

Do not be afraid to put your troops OOS....well i might be unlucky, but the logistics chit does kind of show up randomly, to be at a -2 die roll with isolated units is not really optimal, my Russian opponent tends to attack those units, they are quickly surrounded if you do a meaningful move.

Next game, we switch sides, will report back.

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Eric Loken
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Odessa is a pain in the butt, but doable. The city is irrelevant, its replaced by the fort - which other than the ability to not retreat, makes it weaker than a city, the city doesn't even give a +1 CF before turn 8. And as long as you have it Isolated by land, and an air unit in range the Soviet player can't keep sending units in.

Unless there was some changes that didn't make it into the living rules?

But reaching the 28 VP let alone historic levels, just doesn't seem viable.

Sending my panzers too far ahead of support seems like begging for them to be killed. Any missed small Soviet unit will jump on supply depots, cut rail lines, and force air bases to rebase. Other games have partisans, but there are means to deal with them, you don't have the forces as the Axis to chase around division sized partisans!

So far in a couple games against other players and more solitaire games than I can count, its always ended at 27 VP in January (my one game against Joe we took forward anyway, and its been mostly a stalemate in '42 - although there were mistakes made on my part, but I'm not convinced that things would have been WILDLY different if I had been smarter). Even if I barely scratch out 28 or 29 VP, those last cities are so stretched forward that the Soviet side should have absolutely no trouble taking them back - especially as mechanized forces SUCK in defending cities (halved strength).

The only advance that ever seems to come anywhere close to historic advance is the Minsk - Smolensk - Moscow line, and that is with both 2nd and 3rd Panzer HQs pushing the panzers and infantry forward.

My last solo game the Axis caused HUGE damage to the Soviets, 181 steps lost, but in exchange the German panzers were pounded to scrap metal. But the Soviets were still able to mount strong offensives against the most forward German captures in the winter and make sure that the Axis lost in January '42.

I'm starting to wonder if German victory - or failure - has more to do with luck than anything else. Or alternately that the Soviet player has to be foolish and be more concerned with saving the Red Army than slowing the advance of the German army - which will mean as an alternate '42 will be just a stalemate because the Axis just won't have the force to push back the waiting wall of rifle armies, guard corps, shock armies, tank corps, etc.

Personally I don't see why the Soviets shouldn't play a fairly aggressive delaying action until '42. With the way the Red Army gets reinforced and can be rebuilt, as long as they don't get too carried away, even if they somehow don't win the game in January '42, the worst they really have to fear is a historical '42!

So yeah, unless someone has some key tips on what I'm doing wrong, I think I'm about done with this one.
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Subudai (Pete) Khan
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tdraicer wrote:
To play the Axis requires giving up habits from most other Barby games: above all, a willingness to accept losses: attrition is your friend rather than your enemy in the summer of 41 as the Soviets have no replacements until turn 5, by which time you want them deeply in a hole.

You must also risk putting units OOS. In general, you want to play what I call "supply leap-frog", with half your spearheads on any front risking being OOS at a time, so that you always have at least half in supply between Logistic chits. And if you aren't using your full air supply each turn, you are certainly being too cautious.

Finally, depots, air units, and HQs are your key tools: you must clear the rail lines needed to allow the depots to keep your HQs in supply, and you must take advantage of the fact that in July, August and September, you have 7 potential movement/combats to the Soviets 2 (not counting the very limited move/combat for Stavka in August/September). Sending 2nd and 3rd Panzer to hammer a weak point in the Soviet line allows you to breakthrough a line 4 hexes deep (more with successful air support) and once supplied panzers are in the rear of a Soviet line, the Soviets are in trouble.

29 VPs is very doable; I would go so far as to say that an experienced Axis player can pretty much be certain of getting 29 VP.



Ted, I agree with you whole-heartedly. My playing opponent and I, who have played this game through several times, love your design. This is the only game I know where, over a succession of years, either side can win. But to win, you have to play differently to other east front games.
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