Game Title : Manstein’s last battle
Publisher : Game Journal
Game Designer : Tetsuya Nakamura
Game Thema : WW2 Eastern front after the battle of Krusk
1 game map, 1 counter sheet, rulebook
You must prepare a die for combat resolution.
This is a long-waited sequel game of Struggle of army group Manstein.
The game starts just after the battle of Krusk in summer 1943 and ends March 1944. Hitler fired Manstein March 1944, so this is really his last battle.
The game uses the same engine as its predecessor. Each player selects his chits each turn and put them to the cup, then they draw chit one by one and activate part of the force designated by the chit.
In case of Soviet player, he has 4 armies in this front, Voronezh, Steppe, Southwest, and South. Though each army has its own headquarter and chit, the activation is not limited by real organization. Instead each chit can activate the designated headquarter and the headquarter can activate all the Soviet units in its command radius. In other words, if some units are within range of more than one headquarter, they can activate more than once in one game turn.
So, keeping more than 1 HQ in hottest area gives him to move and attack several times in one game turn. This is a most important tactics in this game.
Also, each HQ has 2 chits. And Soviet player can choose 6 chits in one game turn. So, there’s a space for him to have 2 same chits in the most important front.
On the other hand, German player has 2 special rules. One is the Manstein chit. He has 2 Manstein chits and can select them to put into the cup. If this chit is drawn, he can do one of the below.
1: Activate any one HQ.
2: Activate determined number of units.
3: Use Hitler negotiation table.
The last one gives him negotiation points. There are 2 very important usages for them. The first is getting reinforcement from Hitler.
But, the second one is even more important.
In this game at the start, there are 6 cities ordered to defend to the death by Hitler. If one of them is conquered by Soviet player, the game is immediately won by Soviet player. But, German player can release these order by using negotiation points. As I wrote above, the Soviet player has very dangerous wave attack ability in this game. So, it is very important for German player to release their defend to the death city at an appropriate time.
Also, I must note that German player has very strong panzer corps in this game. If he has appropriate chit at an appropriate time, it is possible for him to attack Soviet player’s bridgehead and push back them. In this case, again the Manstein chits are very critical.
The real move of each game can be dramatically varied based on each player’s tactics and the order of chit drawing. But, in every game, both players will have very difficult decision making what chit should be put into the cup. And in every city surrounded by red army, there will be a dramatic German mobile defense and serious negotiation with Hitler.
The full campaign covers 8 game turns and will continue more than 8 hours. But, there is also a shorter scenario of 4 game turns.
The most attractive points of this game are that each army has its own strength. The red army has its dangerous wave attack and mass of the force. The German army has its very mobile panzer corps and Manstein chits that enable him to do dramatic mobile defense several times in the campaign.
I strongly recommend this game for players who like the Eastern front games, as long as he has enough time to play the whole campaign.