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Subject: Case Blue after 70 years (image heavy) rss

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Michel Sorbet
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"A son seul aspect n'est-on pas terrasse? Nul n'est assez hardi pour l'exciter" Job 40:28
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Welcome to the Caucasus!

After few Dragon wargames (Kreta 1941, Ardeny 1944, Kircholm 1605, Grunwald 1410) this time I decided to give a try to a GMT title. I am a huge fan of GMT games (more than 20 titles on my shelves) but most of them are not pure wargames. One of the few exceptions is The Caucasus Campaign – a game that I bought mostly due to the theme it covers. This campaign has always fascinated me and as Mark wrote in the rulebook – there are very few books and games about this very interesting period of WW2.

I decided to play the full campaign – 14 turns of intense fighting and struggling against the clock for the German side.

Here is a look at the initial setup:



And a closer one on the Rostov sector where all the action will take place at the beginning.



TURN 1

The German super compactor crushes everything on its way. The “Not a step back” order immobilizes the Soviets and causes many eliminations. The line of defence is still here but the German spearheads are closing in.



Victory check: 0 / 18 VP.

TURN 2

The battle rages and the Germans take Pavlovskaya and Yelsk giving them their 1 victory point (out of 18 needed to win the game). Salsk is being surrounded. The Soviet defence will be soon overwhelmed.

German spearheads pass between the two Soviet groups. Voroshilovsk and the Kuban river are within reach.



A quick glance at the Soviet cadre box to see the damage made so far:



Victory check: 1 / 18 VP.

TURN 3

The Soviet defence trembles. The Axis take Salsk, and Romanian cavalry enters Armavir. Voroshilovsk is exposed to an imminent attack. So is Krasnodar where the Soviets managed to gather the remnants of their units retreating from the north. To add insult to injury the Germans managed to take Maikop without firing a single shot!



Is there anything that can stop the Nazi machine?

Victory check: 5 / 18 VP.

TURN 4

The VIII Flieger Corps is no more available so the German offensive will be a little bit slower.

Voroshilovsk still holds on but it is surrounded and the final assault is near. Krasnodar is still in Soviet hands but many units are now supplied only via roads.



Victory check: 5 / 18 VP.

TURN 5

The turn starts with the roll for the Italian Alpine Corps. The valorous Italians are sent North so the Victory margin for the Axis side will remain at 18 points.

The Krasnodar defence still holds on! This is bad news for the Germans as it is crucial to them to reach Taman as soon as possible.



Voroshilovsk on the other hand falls and the Axis forces quickly advance towards Pyatigorsk.



Victory check: 6 / 18 VP.

TURN 6

Weather will be tested from now on to the end of the campaign. A roll of 2 means the sky is clear and both sides will have secondary impulses.

This is the first turn too when the number of victory points of the Axis side may cause an automatic win of the Soviet side. The minimum number of points required for the Axis to prevail is 7 so at the beginning of the turn they are at pressure. Not for long though...

Krasnodar is finally taken!



Pyatigorsk is cut off and will fall in a brief moment. Grozny is within reach!



Victory check:
Minimum = 7
Points - 8 / 18 VP.

TURN 7

Hitler takes command so the reinforcements flow will be more steady.
The weather is still good.

The Taman offensive begins. At first Primorsko-Akhtarskaya is taken.



Pyatigorsk falls and the German Panzers enter Prokhladnyy.



Here is a look at the whole Caucasus front:



Victory check:
Minimum = 8
Points - 10 / 18 VP.

TURN 8

Weather roll: 4.

The Soviets gather strong forces to defend Taman and Novorossiysk. As long as this defence hold on the Axis reinforcements cannot enter play.



The Soviets try to mess up with the German supply lines.



Nalchik falls but the Soviet forces in the Ordzhonikidze and Grozny sector are building up.



Victory check:
Minimum = 9
Points - 11 / 18 VP.

TURN 9

The 298 Infantry Division is sent north. As it was on its reduced side the Axis side will receive only one reinforcement this turn.

On the other hand the first of the three Ost troops enters play.

Weather roll: 1

The Axis finally pierce through the defence line around Novorossiysk and the siege begins. Temryuk is under pressure too.



The German advance continues towards Ordzhonikidze. Will the city fall just as every other did before?



Victory check:
Minimum = 10
Points - 11 / 18 VP.

TURN 10

The mountain passes close, the seasonal marshes are filled.

Weather roll: 3.

The Novorossiysk push is successful and the city is taken. On the other hand although Temryuk falls Taman remains in Soviet hands! The German reinforcements are still out of play!



In the Ordzhonikidze sector the Soviets launch a counter-offensive which cuts off the elite Mountain divisions. The Panzers are heavily reduced and the Axis situation in the sector becomes critical.



Victory check:
Minimum = 11
Points - 14 / 18 VP.

TURN 11

Weather roll: 6. There will be no secondary impulses this turn.

Taman is taken (at last!). The huge Axis reinforcements will enter play next turn.



German reinforcements are sent to the Ordzhonikidze sector. The Mountain divisions try to fight their way back but they still remain cut off. Germans abandon Mozdok and entrench in Prokhladnyy.



Victory check:
Minimum = 12
Points - 14 / 18 VP.

TURN 12

The VIII Flieger Corps returns from Stalingrad.

Weather roll: 3.

The Axis advance towards Tuapse. The race against the clock enters into the final stage.



Nalchik will remain German. The offensive towards Ordzhonikidze is very dubious though...



A precious victory point is obtained by taking Ellista. The Soviets bring reinforcements to Astrakhan to avoid any bad surprise.



Victory check:
Minimum = 13
Points - 15 / 18 VP.

TURN 13

The Germans desperately need 3 more points and a good weather roll is crucial.

Weather roll: 4!

Tuapse falls! The race towards Sochi is under way but the Soviets manage to contain the Axis at the city outskirts.



In the Nalchik sector nothing happens. Ordzhonikidze and Grozny will remain Soviet.



Victory check:
Minimum = 14
Points - 17 / 18 VP.

TURN 14

The situation is crystal clear. The Germans need 1 more victory point and there is only one place where it can be obtained: Sochi. To succeed one thing is crucial: a good weather roll.

Weather roll: 6!!!. There will be no secondary impulses which means that the Axis WILL NOT MANAGE to capture Sochi.



The situation at end of turn 14:



and the Victory Point track with the hilarious Soviet losses alongside:



Victory check:
To win = 18
Points - 17 / 18 VP.

The game ends with a Soviet win!


FINAL THOUGHTS:
The Axis hammered the Soviets during the entire game and even so they lost! Had the game lasted one more turn or had the final weather roll been different, the 18’th victory point would be easily gained.

The major reason for which the Soviets prevailed was the Taman delay. The crucial reinforcements arrived just one turn to late and this fact proved to be decisive.

The game was really fun and I must say that I am surprised how well the gameplay reflects the real campaign:

- The German advance was fast until it reached the mountains.
- The Ordzhonikidze fight proved to be the turning point of the offensive in that sector.
- The lack of Panzer units hindered the offensive and the upcoming reinforcements relaunched it from time to time.

Great title and I am sure that I will give it another try it the near future!
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M·ANTONIVS·M·F·M·N
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I had a flat experience while playing this game.

Maybe it is time to drag it out and give it another try.

Awesome AAR.
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Kev.
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May I share on the big board blog?
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Todd Reed
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Just like many games at this scale and subject matter - Dday, Ardennes, Thr Russian campaign...does it have Replayability? Or do they come down to a matter of a couple lucky rolls - like your final weather roll?

Understand i'm not criticizing, I'm interested in getting this or Mark's other game, Normandy '44 and I I'm wondering about playing a game for 3-5+ hours and coming up almost always the historical result.

Not that following history is such a bad thing. You just need to ensure all the players know you're playing an experience game and not necessarily a competitive game.

Great AAR btw.
 
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Michel Sorbet
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"A son seul aspect n'est-on pas terrasse? Nul n'est assez hardi pour l'exciter" Job 40:28
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hipshot wrote:
May I share on the big board blog?


Sure. Please do so

mojayhawk wrote:
Just like many games at this scale and subject matter - Dday, Ardennes, Thr Russian campaign...does it have Replayability? Or do they come down to a matter of a couple lucky rolls - like your final weather roll?

Understand i'm not criticizing, I'm interested in getting this or Mark's other game, Normandy '44 and I I'm wondering about playing a game for 3-5+ hours and coming up almost always the historical result.

Not that following history is such a bad thing. You just need to ensure all the players know you're playing an experience game and not necessarily a competitive game.

Great AAR btw.


Well, the game went to a final die roll but if not some blunders during the offensive I believa that it might have gone the other way.

It's just a game. Soemtimes luck is the ultimate judge. Even in stategy games.

As far as it concerns replayability I believe that it has some potential. I don't have the feeling that every single game will be the same.
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Rumpelstilskin
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Great AAR, but I miss a lot of German troops, especially in the Initial Set Up.
Compare to the Set Up Card which is part of the GMT website
http://www.gmtgames.com/p-215-the-caucasus-campaign.aspx
and the Counters as well.

So I think - outnumbered as you were - you had no real chance winning as the Germans.

I had the experience to always win with the Germans. Hard Stuff for the Reds.
 
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Michel Sorbet
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"A son seul aspect n'est-on pas terrasse? Nul n'est assez hardi pour l'exciter" Job 40:28
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Nothing was missing. The German units were stacked so it is hard to see all of them in the first images.
 
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