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Subject: Three solo sessions of No Retreat rss

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Gábor Valló
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(Please note that English is not my first language.)

I became interested in No Retreat because I’m what may be called a „light wargamer”, and this game, with its short playing time and low counter density appealed to me from the beginning. So I preordered it from GMT, and while it took some time to arrive in Hungary (it arrived on 8 Sept!), it was definitely worth it. The game is beautiful to look at and the rules are clear.

I wanted to try it at once, and because my gaming friend wasn’t free, I decided to run it solo. (I’m aware that there are solitaire rules for NR, but I didn’t use it. I usually have no problems playing different sides at the same time – I just play honestly and pretend not to know what cards are in my other hand. ninja) It eventually became three games as I experimented with different scenarios to get a feel for the different periods of the war.

Before I describe the sessions I have to admit that I had a slight preconception regarding the game. Upon seeing the many upgraded Soviet units of strength 7-8, I had feared that the later part of the game might be a bit boring for the Germans, as they are trying hopelessly to stop the unstoppable Red Army. (I enjoy more if I can attack and maneuver around.) Luckily, I proved wrong with that.

1st session: Barbarossa

The Wehrmacht made a steady advance in the USSR. The game was quite fluent, the only part of the rules which I had some problems with were the Counterblow/Counterattack rules. I noticed that the positioning of the four German Panzer armies had a big impact on strategy – they signify where your attack priorities are. I decided not to send any of them to the heavily forested north, but let three of them go against Moscow and only one to the south to enable some quick encirclements.

This „Moscow-centered” strategy was helped by extreme luck. Sept/Oct turned out to be Clear weather, so the German Panzers got to the gates of Moscow. In the final turn I used Siege Artillery to reduce Moscow, then Guderian to capture the city without a fight. A surprisingly clear German victory.

2nd session: Operation Saturn

This scenario made me realize that the Soviets do have a hard time in the game, if they want to advance quickly enough. I made the mistake of playing them a bit more leisurely than needed. I managed to clear up the south, driving the Germans far from Stalingrad and the oil well, but I didn’t recapture quite enough cities and the German Panzers were still adjacent to Moscow when the scenario ended. Another German win.

3rd session: Operation Bagration

This was a very interesting game as I had now both some experience and many strong units to play aggressively with the Soviets. Still, the liberation of Mother Russia was a slog. The Soviet CRT usually produces an "exchange" result that does not enable any advances, and the Soviet stacking limit prevents any real concentration of forces most of the time. The Soviets have to attack in the opponent’s turn as well, burning their cards. I managed to break through with them in Romania and captured the oil well, but when the last turn started, the Soviets were still 6 points from winning.

Amazingly though, I succeeded in gathering those points in a single turn! First, the Germans proved too reckless in one of their counterattacks, and while captured Minsk, they let two of their armies be surrounded. The Soviets recaptured the city and sent the two armies to the POW camps (3 VPs). Second, the Germans were surprised by the appearance of the Yugoslav armies. With a lucky roll, the Yugoslavs liberated Belgrade (4 VPs). Because of that, one German army was stuck in Romania, cut from supply (5 VPs). And finally of course, the Allied armies won the Battle of the Bulge, which gave the Soviets the final point for victory.

All in all, No Retreat is a wonderful game. I’m sure I will spend many hours playing it – hopefully with a real opponent soon!
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Carl Paradis
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valgab wrote:
(Please note that English is not my first language.)

I’m sure I will spend many hours playing it – hopefully with a real opponent soon!


Hey, English is not my first language either (it's French) and I only played the game ONCE against another player since I designed it in 2008!!! soblue

As you realized the Russians have a bit of a hard time during the first plays. But you should be able to reverse that trend with some experience. In solitaire the attacking player gets benefits from "knowing" the hand of it's opponents, as the effect of a defensive surprise is a bit lost.

Do try to bonus "Solitaire" game if you have the time!
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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Gabor, thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for, the first impressions of a "light wargamer" (what I have become with age...)!

And they are good...
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Kevin Davidson

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valgab wrote:

1st session: Barbarossa

The Wehrmacht made a steady advance in the USSR. The game was quite fluent, the only part of the rules which I had some problems with were the Counterblow/Counterattack rules. I noticed that the positioning of the four German Panzer armies had a big impact on strategy – they signify where your attack priorities are. I decided not to send any of them to the heavily forested north, but let three of them go against Moscow and only one to the south to enable some quick encirclements.

This „Moscow-centered” strategy was helped by extreme luck. Sept/Oct turned out to be Clear weather, so the German Panzers got to the gates of Moscow. In the final turn I used Siege Artillery to reduce Moscow, then Guderian to capture the city without a fight. A surprisingly clear German victory.


Just a quick question for you on this scenario, I have played it several times. You mention that you capture Moscow and that it was a clear German victory. My question is did you capture Moscow and one other German Objective, or did you take 23 cities/oil wells and Moscow was part of that count. If you just take Moscow and don't have these other conditions met the Germans don't win.
 
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Tomas Lundin
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And you do have to hold on to Moscow til the end of turn 5 right? So there's no instant win situation I believe.
 
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Gábor Valló
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A great game, Carl! thumbsup

Miguel: In that case I'd definitely recommend you to try NR.

Quote:
Just a quick question for you on this scenario, I have played it several times. You mention that you capture Moscow and that it was a clear German victory. My question is did you capture Moscow and one other German Objective, or did you take 23 cities/oil wells and Moscow was part of that count. If you just take Moscow and don't have these other conditions met the Germans don't win.


The Germans didn't capture any more objectives in that game. (I'm not sure Leningrad is worth trying as it's difficult to get to and strongly defended. I did not bother with Sevastopol, and Stalingrad and the oil well is a bit too far away to capture in 5 turns.) So yes, Moscow must have been the 23rd VP. Since the scenario starts with 12 VPs and the Soviets automatically get 1 VP from Pearl Harbor, that means there were 9-10 captured cities and 2-3 surrendered Soviet fronts. (Sorry, I don't remember the exact numbers.)

Quote:
And you do have to hold on to Moscow til the end of turn 5 right? So there's no instant win situation I believe.


It wasn't an instant win, but the Soviets were in no position to recapture Moscow after Herr Guderian drove them out, or anything else in the final turn.
 
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Kevin Davidson

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towncrier wrote:
And you do have to hold on to Moscow til the end of turn 5 right? So there's no instant win situation I believe.


Yes indeed, the Russian's would have their turn to take it back. There would be no instant win. Also the Sudden death rules are used only in the campaign, but sudden death can only happen where it's marked on the Turn Track and this happens at the beginning of the Turn.
 
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Kevin Davidson

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Thanks for clearing that up for me Gáborcool
 
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