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Subject: Single Session Strategies for SoS rss

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Jack Stalica
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Here are my initial insights after one session of play as the Germans:

GERMAN STRATEGY

Overview: The Germans need to advance methodically - but quickly - move towards the Volga. They should be in a position to attack all the landing ferry areas no later than turn 4.

(1) ATTACK & MOVE!(or tactical tips that worked for me):

A] Pound an area (preferably one that's hard for the Russian to reinforce and those mentionned in (2)) with heavy artillery cards and/or bombardments (NOT the Dive Bomber);
B] If necessary, pound some more with 1/2 to 3/4 of a strong (>6 units) division from one or more surrounding areas; and,
C] Finally, move into the area with the unspent portion of a division (or a full one - if you can) with a view towards easily reducing Russian stragglers in the future and defending aganist a possible Russian counter attack.

A] and B] may also be interchanged depending on circumstances as will the proportion of a strong division that will fire or move. A combo of two smaller divisions in an area can also perform well.

Addtionally, nice German cards combos to follow up with are:
D] As above and then fire on the newly occupied area from a different adjacent area using the Pioneer card to reduce terrain bonus.
E] As above and then perform an Overrun attack from a different adjacent area. This one is particularly nasty (add a Dive Bomber card and not even the rats will survive!!).

(2) Target ANY areas where the Russians have Fire markers and/or spent units. Being able to ignore terrain effects means that many additional hits on the Russian and Rubble cards becoming useless.

(3) TAKE MAMAYEV KURGAN! The German gets a stable 6 cards per turn. Assuming he uses them all (ignoring for the moment saved cards) that means 36 cards total with a deck recycle rate of 33%. IF you take Mamayev Kurgan on the 1st turn that means 41 cards total and a recycle rate of over 50%! Imagine all those evil overrun and bombardment cards back in your hand...devil If that wasn't enough to convince you that it is crucial, the fact that it allows ground units to attack TWO landing ferry landing areas should. The only other area that can is the Red October Factory Worker's Settlement.

RUSSIAN STRATEGY

Overview: Realize and get used to the fact that you are on the defensive in this game. Attack sparsely; sacrifice units if required; retreat only if you must.

(1) DON'T ATTACK - DEFEND! Especially not into adjacent areas! Your units are needed for step losses and retreats. Spent units take less hits and are as good as dead in an area with a Russian Fire marker aganist a decent German attack. Even attacks into the same area should be undertaken only in very secure areas or in extremis. Even then be aware that the German's three Russian Ammo Shortage cards can stop your attack dead AND spend your units. It's better for them remain dead cards in the German player's hand. It's important to note that Rubble cards become useless in areas with Russian Fire markers. The exceptions to this recommendation are if all German units in neighourbouring areas are spent (near the end of the turn for example) - and the Defensive fire and Bombardment cards of course. Note that - if it's worthwhile (ie. you still own the surrounding area) - moving your units from the ferry landing areas one by one will almost guarantee your having impulses left after the German has finished his.

(2) Defend key areas to the death! The areas adjacent to the ferry landing zones are the obvious ones. They are Russian's only sources (and slow ones at that) of reinforcements and possession of them will probably determine Russian victory or defeat. They are needed to funnel troops to more forward areas. Don't forget that one can shift reinforcements from one landing ferry area to another next turn if it becomes necessary. The Army Barracks and Red October Factory Worker's Settlement are also important areas to slow the German advance. Be prepared to sacrifice bodies to do so. Save your best defensive cards for these areas.

(3) HOLD MAMAYEV KURGAN! There were good reasons historically why both sides fought tooth and nail for this extremely valuable piece of real estate. It MUST be held as long as possible - preferably at least until turn 4. The Russian needs the extra card to have any chance at deck recycle. Retaining possession for the entire game would mean 33 cards instead of 28: an improvement of deck recycle rate from about 4% to 19%! The German will capture it eventually, but allowing him to take it early and recycle his devastatingly offensive deck quickly will kill the Russian chances. Be aware that the German can attack two areas which contain ferry landings (yes, that IS a link to RailRoad Station 1) from it.


MUTUAL STRATEGIES

(1) As much as possible: keep maximum stacking in forward areas. The German need the combat factors to attack and the Russians need the steps to defend. The corollary to this is to leaving room in the rear (if you have any...) for retreats.

(2) Save those Sniper cards! They are essential to protecting a key offensive or de-railing it.

Afterword

My initial feeling is that bidding more than three areas for the Russian is risky. I will post further tips after more sessions.

I invite commentary!
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Cory C
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A good tip for the Soviets is to avoid stacking their units that have firepower ratings all in one area. As the game progresses some of the guard units begin to pile up and they can launch some nasty attacks.

However making huge 10+ firepower groups means the Germans will save their ammo shortage or engineer cards to neutralize that attack. Probably better to make a bunch of smaller shots instead.


By the way M. Kurgan seems like a Soviet deathtrap in a way with the +1 cover and abundance of German heavy artillery. I'd pile the 0 units into it - anything better (with a 2 or 3 fp) is gonna get stuka'd and picked off due to the bad cover.
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Jack Stalica
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CoryC wrote:
A good tip for the Soviets is to avoid stacking their units that have firepower ratings all in one area. As the game progresses some of the guard units begin to pile up and they can launch some nasty attacks.

However making huge 10+ firepower groups means the Germans will save their ammo shortage or engineer cards to neutralize that attack. Probably better to make a bunch of smaller shots instead.


Not all certainly, but a strong Russian firepower area can be successful. If you can remember (we always play with closed discard decks) how many German cards of either type have gone by you can mitigate the risks. Once had a 14 point Russian area and obliterated four German units that had penetrated an adjacent +3 area - basically halting the offensive on that side of the board.

Quote:

By the way M. Kurgan seems like a Soviet deathtrap in a way with the +1 cover and abundance of German heavy artillery. I'd pile the 0 units into it - anything better (with a 2 or 3 fp) is gonna get stuka'd and picked off due to the bad cover.


It is a killing ground to be sure. But remember, it's tough to take an area in SoS: one surviving unit maintains possession for the current owner. The longer it is kept the more tactical options the possessor will have in the final stages of the game. And IMHO, this benefit goes a long way to justify great efforts to take or defend it. Another point to consider is that each card the German uses to take MK, will be one less he uses against those tough +3 areas.
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