Rick Galli
United States
Scottsdale
Arizona
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The 4th Hussars Do Not Ride Donkeys!
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Scenario 17.4 (The Second Day) starts with the Soviets occupying the Hotel (M16). So, one presumes, this objective was achieved historically during the first day.

Yet in about 20 plays of scenarios 17.1, 17.2, and 17.3 (as both sides, none of which were solitaire) I have never seen the Soviets take the Hotel on the first day (before or during Turn 5). By the end of the Turn 4 Finnish Action Phase, there is usually a stack of at least 1 company and 2 or more MGs fully dug-in in the Hotel. With the ability to ignore the first loss, throwing the Finns out of the Hotel is a time-consuming and troublesome task!

So I'm curious, have any players been able to take the Hotel during the first day (on or before T5)? And if so, what's your secret?
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killy9999
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I only played 3 games so far (2x17.2, 1x17.3) and I haven't seen Soviets taking the Hotel on the first day. What surprised me though is that when playing as Finns I lost the Hotel on the second day, although I was convinced it will be an easy place to defend. I had a dug in infantry company + 3 machine guns which I figured out will be enough to give me a good combat ratio. Looks like I underestimated the power of Soviet artillery.
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Mark Mokszycki
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My own feeling is that the Soviets won't be able to take the hotel on day 1 against a competent Finnish player. Barring consistently horrible dice results which favor the Soviets, of course.

In maybe 25% of the games I've played, the Finnish player has managed to hang on to the hotel throughout day 2 as well. It usually falls mid to late day on day 2. It is easy to defend, but its flanks are more difficult to defend. Eventually the Finns will need to pull out voluntarily lest they become completely surrounded.

As to why the Soviets captured it so quickly historically - see my notes in the playbook for some theories. In brief, the culprits include poor Finnish leadership at the company level and a mistaken belief that they had already been outflanked by a Soviet regiment. When the Finns accidentally shelled their own troops with 81mm mortars, this probably just added to the belief and the general confusion.
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Mark Mokszycki
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fyi, the fact that you guys are saying that you haven't seen Soviets take the hotel on day 1 means that you (or your opponents) are playing the Finns correctly.

During the early playtests several players told me they thought the First Day scenario was impossible for the Finns to win. I still feel it is slightly pro-Finn. Losing the hotel on day 1 equates to losing the First Day as the Finns, as does losing too many strength steps.

In the Campaign, if the Finns lose the hotel on day 1 they'll have a tough time stopping the Soviets on days 2-3. Of course one interesting campaign strategy involves voluntarily giving up the hotel on day 1 in order to pull back everything to the village and rally to full strength.
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Mike Hoyt

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I spent several games bashing my head against the hotel until I realized the flanks are the key. Not that it is easy, but if you can slip around to the north and threaten the Finns with encirclement you can squeeze them out of the hotel that way.

I specify north because you're going to have to cross the ice to do it, and the Finns will have the southern flank well protected with fire from the Island or the Village. And of course the Finns can make the northern approach tough by extending their flank a bit, even a single hex to the NE of the Hotel makes it harder to outflank them.

I've never captured the hotel on Day 1 against a competent Finn, but I did grab it pretty easy on my first couple of solo plays
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Michael Gustavsson
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In my current game, in GT8 and playing the Soviets, I´m stuck three hexes away from the hotel. This caused me to commit (for now) one armored unit in order to attempt a breakthrough. Bad decisions and poor die rolls (causing lots of step losses) led to this. The armored unit has just reached the frontline and will be used next game turn.
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Mark Mokszycki
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Keep us posted on the Soviets' progress, Michael!
 
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