AAR Hitler Turns East
Germany (Axis): Rob M'cCoy
Soviets (Allies): Ian Buttridge
designed by Ted Racier
This is an interesting game, and deserves more attention from players than it has got so far.
As the designer states, this game looks at the Russian front in 41 'through the lens of command'. What this means is that players are not in as much control of theatre decisions as portrayed in other games. The front is divided into four parts or areas for each side. Each area is an army group front and is activated by a command chit. Thus there is a total of eight activations each turn, and except for the initial activation they are completely random, being drawn from a cup.
At the beginning of each turn, both players must buy offensive chits for the following turn which reflects advance planning and locks the front commanders into a strategy decided a month ago. On top of this there are idiot rules for Stalin's counter-attacks and Hitler takes command where many Germans are forced to hold and die because of a sudden lack of command points.
As you can imagine, this game is bloody. However, losses don't matter for victory conditions though players may want to make up there own limits for this. In our first playing both sides had nothing to brag about in this department.
By my count the Soviets won a decisive victory in our first playing. This was in part due to my bad luck with Army Group South, and a misreading of the Victory cities and towns. The map though wonderfully clear has one problem for colour blind types like me who have trouble telling black apart from dark red which were the colours chosen by the printer/developer for victory cities (dark red) and other cities (black).
The following is a breakdown of the vp cities and towns— please correct me if I am wrong:
Auto Victory cities with regular victory points in brackets: Leningrad (2), Moscow (3), Kiev (0), Rostov (2), Sevastopol (2), Maikop (1).
Victory Cities, one vp each: Kalinin, Orel, Tula, Yaroslavl, Voronezh, Kharkov, Kremenchug, and Dnepropetrovsk.
Victory towns, one vp each: Tikhvin, Demyansk, Veliki Luki, Rzhev, Lugansk, Stalino.
The Auto victory conditions include an interesting twist where by taking the southern resources and the cradle of the Revolution, Leningrad, while ignoring Moscow, an axis player can win a sudden death victory.
Of course, if the Axis are attempting an auto victory, then he better do it before the end of November. Once winter comes, the axis supply situation becomes quite precarious. And the German army is very vulnerable to Soviet attacks because of its stretched supply lines which are simulated by the old elastic trick of minuses per hex to the supply heads which suddenly seem very far away come December. To make matters worse, Luftwaffe support and replacements vanish. Unlike some other games at this scale which end in December, the Axis must endure three winter turns and the Spring thaw before victory points are assessed at the end of Mar 42.
The rules are very clean, but there are two or three pitfalls.
Rule 5.16 is literal about bringing a German army back up to full strength with one replacement point. This means a one-step German army (sp 2) may be rebuilt to 4 steps (sp 8) with just one replacement point.
River shifts are not in effect unless all units are attacking across a river. I believe a new addenda will cover that.
note (b) on the TEC where it talks about swamp hexes north of XX07 becoming forest in winter and frost turns really just means the Pripet Marsh hexes never freeze, all other marsh hexes do. Plain English works better.
Don't forget about the MP cost (2 in Mud) on the TEC for clear hexes. It is only in effect during the March 42 turn. The 'Light Mud' in September is handled by a -1 mp penalty on all units.
So keeping a careful eye on the TEC chart during your first play session is very necessary because of the little extras hidden there.
The one thing my worthy opponent and I did not explore was the Soviet (Black) Sea Invasion rules which do look like they add some extra tension to the game — maybe next time.
What strikes me the most about this game is its elegance. It certainly delivers a lot with such a minimalist package. This one could become a classic.
- Last edited Fri Dec 7, 2012 1:19 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Dec 7, 2012 1:14 am
Thank you for this AAR.
I will have to add the River clarification to the addenda file which I seem to have somehow missed doing it back in March of this year.
You are mostly correct about the VP Cities/Towns except:
Kiev is not a VP city.
Maikop in the south east is a VP Town.