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No Retreat! The Russian Front» Forums » Sessions

Subject: NR as a gateway game rss

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Simon Ceder
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So I finally managed to convinced my wife to try NR. She has basically only played lighter euros such as Ticket to Ride. I have played 2 scenario games and one longer game head-to-head so far and several solitaire games so I'm not an expert by any means, but I have a reasonable grasp of the rules and some basic strategies.

I started by setting up the Barbarossa scenario, told her the theme of the game and what the counters represent, and asked her what side she wanted to play. She picked the Soviets. I know some people have said that the Germans are easier for a beginner, but IMO the Germans take some knowledge to fully exploit the first few turns without getting your entire army encircled, and really the main thing that makes them easier is that they cannot be eliminated by sudden death early on. Besides, this way she got to watch me go first.

First turn I only explained in brief the rules for movement and combat. She seemed a bit put off by the CRT, and never really got used to it during our session. First German turn played out normally with DR's and one DS. I chose not to go for the AGC pocket to avoid having to explain the supply rules.

On her turn I explain the movement rules more indepth and tell her about ZOCs, and suggest that she should be positioning her units to prevent me from moving where I want to. I also explain the use of cards (I didn't use any on my turn). She moves her units for a counterattack outside Kiev which is ill-advised, but I don't discourage her for the sake of learning the combat system.

At this point I actually have a great hand, notably Operational Reserves and General Staff. I consider going easy on her, but decide against it since A) a speedy conclusion to the game is less likely to make her bored of the game B) I could show off some neat tactics. I play Operational Reserves and move the 2nd Panzer, which was standing in Minsk, 2W of Smolensk, next to one of her units, and burn a card to put a CB on it. This gives me an opportunity to explain how cards can be used both for their stated effects, and burned for CBs and replacements.

The exchange around Kiev actually ends inconclusively and as German turn 2 begins I'm behind schedule in the south, but in a great position to the north. I drive the 4th Panzer all the way to Leningrad and gather most of the rest of AGN and AGC around Smolensk. Attacking Leningrad ends inconclusively, but I break through in Smolensk and play General Staff to move the 2nd Panzer up 1W of Moscow and encircle one of her armies. At this point I tell her about the supply system and use the control markers to illustrate where my ZOC is and why her army cannot get supply.

On her turn she launches a counterattack to free her trapped army and I tell her about some nuances of unit placement such as why it is not necessarily a good idea to keep an army in Moscow itself at this point in time. She does however attack the 2nd Panzer from Tula.

I put a counterblow on the 4th Panzer next to Leningrad (turn 2, no fort yet), and initially rolls a DR, but she plays Heroes of the Soviet Union and I reroll an EX. No matter, she has no units entrained so she cannot reinforce it before I get to move. This is a mistake on my part, I told her about the train move, but not really the significance of being able to plug holes after the combat phase. While being attacked from Tula, I roll a CA and then a DR and roll all the way into Moscow. At this point she surrenders since she has no way of preventing me from getting 2 objectives on the beginning of turn 3.

Overall she was skeptical at first, especially to the combat system which she thought was very complicated, but in the end she was earnestly enjoying herself as she scrambled her forces to protect the Motherland. We'll definitely play it some more.

And that's how I taught and played NR with a complete newbie in less than 2 hours. I absolutely think NR has value as a gateway game, the Barbarossa scenario actually works really well for easing in the rules, and something really clicked around turn 2.
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Nate Milbrath
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That gives me hope that my girlfriend will like it. She can handle complex games [War of the Ring or Through the Ages], but I'm not sure how much she likes confrontation. I'll have to bring it to the table and convince her to give it a shot. I've got her into watching World War II in HD and she's been dying to watch more of it. Wish me luck

Also, fantastic scenario report. It's very well written.

Edit: Typo.
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Willem Boersma
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You're a lucky guy! I wish i could get my girlfriend to play a wargame with me!

As for the encirclement of AGC's Russian opponent: I'm inclined to believe more and more that there's a lot to say for simply attacking it:

A: That way you at least get to advance your troops and a near certain capture of Minsk on German turn 1.

B: I've found it relatively easy over and over again for the Russians to extract that encircled army and as far as I know there's nothing the Germans can do about it. there's no place they can position any one of their armies to prevent the arrival of a Russian unit in Minsk that can then save the encircled one. You may indeed end up with two destroyed Russian units, but none of them will surrender.The often suggested option of placing CB markers on the encircled Russian unit has become non-applicable as movement comes before combat and the overstacked Russian unit is already removed upon the end of the Russian movement phase. Possibly you could put a CB marker on the unit that moved to the rescue...
 
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Jan van der Laan
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boersma8 wrote:
You're a lucky guy! I wish i could get my girlfriend to play a wargame with me!

Why bother, a nearby wargame opponent is at hand.
boersma8 wrote:
As for the encirclement of AGC's Russian opponent: I'm inclined to believe more and more that there's a lot to say for simply attacking it:

A: That way you at least get to advance your troops and a near certain capture of Minsk on German turn 1.

Minsk will most certainly fall in the following turn and that is quick enough.
boersma8 wrote:
B: I've found it relatively easy over and over again for the Russians to extract that encircled army and as far as I know there's nothing the Germans can do about it. there's no place they can position any one of their armies to prevent the arrival of a Russian unit in Minsk that can then save the encircled one. You may indeed end up with two destroyed Russian units, but none of them will surrender.The often suggested option of placing CB markers on the encircled Russian unit has become non-applicable as movement comes before combat and the overstacked Russian unit is already removed upon the end of the Russian movement phase. Possibly you could put a CB marker on the unit that moved to the rescue...

Carefully manoevering your units and positioning them well at the end of the moving phase will force the Soviet unit that came to the rescue to surrender and you will find the road to Moscow wide open. The Soviet response will be weakened by the extra handcard lost to get the surrendered unit out of the Surrendered Box. 2 VP's and the Soviet defense further unhinged. Not bad!

These kind of discussions make clear that there are a lot of different strategies to be explored. Doesn't that make the difference between a good game and a superb game?
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Daniel Jacobsen
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pickboy87 wrote:
She can handle complex games [War of the Ring or Through the Ages], but I'm not sure how much she likes confrontation.


All these wives and girlfriends remind me of lab monkeys with their geek partners running around the cages in lab coats with clipboards. "Nope, this one will have to be put down - she can't even handle Downfall of Pompeii."

Though I fear it is most frequently the geek who is the one in the cage.
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Jan van der Laan
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duron600 wrote:
pickboy87 wrote:
She can handle complex games [War of the Ring or Through the Ages], but I'm not sure how much she likes confrontation.


All these wives and girlfriends remind me of lab monkeys with their geek partners running around the cages in lab coats with clipboards. "Nope, this one will have to be put down - she can't even handle Downfall of Pompeii."

Though I fear it is most frequently the geek who is the one in the cage.
laugh
 
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Fabrice Dubois
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Even if my wife loves Ticket to Ride and despite the train to be the common point, i am wondering how could i introduce this game to my wife.

I think it is pretty hard to play the Soviet as a newbie because of the overwhelming German Blitzkrieg in 1942. The Soviet is on the back foot and must accurately defend, a hard thing to manage as a newbie. How has she managed this ?
 
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cc the calm
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Morholt wrote:
So I finally managed to convinced my wife to try NR.


shake
Oh damn you OP! Now the seed of hope has been planted in my soul. And it´s starting to tease me with supposedly awesome wargame evenings with my girlfriend, having nail biter games, discussing the pros and cons of the system and the chosen strategy. "Sounds sweet!" one might think!

But as I cannot ask her to play a wargame with me without doing something very nice (and probably unmanly) first, I´ll now have to go dancing, or go and see a romantic/comedy movie where beautiful/rich people are getting close, then not so close and then marry at the end (sorry for the spoiler). Because only after having me suffered such enormous pain, she will even consider getting a wargame on the table.
But I´ll endure the pain. I´ll keep telling myself:”there is that on guy on BGG who made it happen – and so can I”. I hope it´ll be worth it.
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To note:

There are some very manly, nice things you could do!

devil
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