Germans won on Turn 8 with 16 VPs.
Tikhoresk, Yeisk, Primorsko-Akhtarskaya, Temryuk, Krasnodar, Salsk, Voroshilovsk, Elista, Pyatigorsk, Nalchik, Grozny, Ordzhonikidze, Makhachkala
First play of this in a while, with much rules checking.
The game was pretty rough on the Russians. Every time I've played in the past I've played as ze Germans, so I naturally felt more comfortable during their turns. The Russian game seems more technically demanding as well. While the argument could be made that the German game requires more focus, the Russian game has a very dynamic component to it. You need to defend like crazy, while at the same time keeping an eye out for situations where the German player gets overconfident and is vulnerable to counterattack. At a certain point you also have to start challenging German gains with limited offensives. Very strange.
In this game, the German player got off to a fairly decent start. By turn 2 they were making the standard decision of where to go. Sitting in front of the Beisug river, I noticed that the Russian troops were abnormally weighted to the peninsula. The forces inside the Maikop to Temryuk area were far and away stronger than those without. Seeing that, I decided to try and sever the Russian right strategic flank and block with my infantry while my Panzers rolled towards Grozny.
The strike came around the Kropotkin area. The Panzers were more than able to punch through the defensive forces stationed there and started driving at full speed towards Grozny. As the Russians, I made a few probing attacks to try and punch through to force the Panzers to turn back, but I had deployed everything to try and set up a good defensive line. In the time it took to relocate elite forces to weak points, the Germans could respond by shoring up the line with light reinforcements.
This isn’t to say there weren’t German casualties in the Maikop area. Nearing the end of the game, there was actually a small breakout that required me to send some German Panzers back in order to close it off. The units in front of Krasnodar also took a fair beating, but the Russians ended up wearing out a good amount of their troops while one or two super solid attacks each turn wore them down.
The Panzer rush on Grozny was definitely an adrenaline pumping ride. The Russians couldn’t save up forces since everything needed to be thrown to the front line in order to slow the Panzers down. In retrospect, I think it might have been a better play to just set up a bulwark of crap troops around Grozny. Grozny is in a really awful position for reinforcements though, so I’m not sure how that would have gone.
There was a small scare on Turn 6 when mandated VP margins started up. The rush down the mountain range was effective in the long run, but it can get really dangerous if you don’t make good time. I have no doubt that I would have won in the long run regardless of how my initial push went, but the auto-loss condition of having 7 VPs as Germany on Turn 6 almost cost me the game.
All in all, fun play. The Germans definitely need to keep their foot on the gas and not be afraid of casualties though. 3-1 attacks are gold, and even 2-1 attacks are acceptable if you are getting nervous about progress. The main secret is just to GO GO GO!