I was invited by Emanuele to play his newest game, Stalingrad: Inferno on the Volga. I would like to point out, that we are using a prototype version of the game, using only the basic rules and basic Units and that this is a house version of the game, so light years far away from the retail version of the game which will be released next year after the Kickstarter campaign starting the 3rd of December 2017.
We are starting the SOLO game in which I’m playing the German versus the Soviet Artificial Intelligence.
Obviously my goal is to seize the city before it’s too late. To win I need to seize all the 6 Soviet Spawn Hexes: to representing land connections from the city itself and its Southern and Northern suburbs, the 3 Volga Docks and the Industrial Area.
The game starts on August 23rd and last until the Soviets launch “Operation Uranus”(this is a Soviet decisive victory I should avoid at all costs). This event happen as soon as the Soviet deck is empty (roughly 25 cards at the beginning) so the game should last between 30 and 60 minutes as the Soviet AI may draw up to six cards in the same turn, so I should not waste my time.
Let’s have a look at the board first of all.
The German starts with 3 cards and only 7 Units at the beginning, while the Soviets have 23 Units and no card in the "hand", but my Units are much better of the Soviet ones.
My strategy will be very basic: isolate the city first by reaching the Volga South and North of Stalingrad and then press the Soviets into the city breaking them into pockets smaller and smaller and then liquidate each of them until I seize the Docks and the Factories.
First of all I want to employ my 16th panzer to enter the Rynok. I will perform an Hasty Attack moving the stack on Hex “W” in Hex “1” and attack the Unit in Hex “2”.
Note that the initial Soviet deployment is random so I could have faced there a full strength Infantry division instead of a 2 dots single fire (hitting at 6).
I’m attacking with 4 white dots in total (hitting at 5 and 6) and with 3 red dots (hitting at 4, 5 and 6). My dice do not betray me and I manage to pulverise the Infantry.
It’s the turn of the Soviet now. As the Emanuele explained to me, I need to check the top Stacked Hex (the Hex with the most number of Units) but at the beginning of the game all the Soviets’ Hexes are with only 1 Units, so the top stacked Hex is 1.
Then I count the number of Spawn Hexes the Soviet has (6 at the beginning of the game) and I check the number of top stacked Hexes on the board (23 because there are 23 Hexes with only 1 Unit).
When the number of top stacked Hexes is higher than the number of Spawn Hexes (in my case is 23 top stacked Hexes against 6 Spawn Hexes)
the Soviet will perform a spawn action.
I will Spawn one tank in hexes 3, 7 and 19, two infantry in Hex 13 and one infantry in Hex 3, 9, 15, 19. In order to spawn the Units I will take a random block from the appropriate pool on the board ( from the tank pool to spawn a tank and from the infantry pool to spawn an infantry) and I place it with concealed in the appropriated Hex...
Very promising indeed!
I also like the play time indicated!
The turn is back to me.
I consider the situation and I decide to call for reinforcements.
I draw a card form the top of the deck (Howitzer)
and roll six dice to see what Units I will get placing the dice on the corresponding space on the reinforcement track.
Unfortunately I get only one Blue Unit to send to the North. I wanted to start my push there too but it’s crucial to have the Blue Units there.
I deploy the Yellow Units in Hex “Y” and Hex "X" (in the yellow hexes) and I add the white Unit together with the Blue one in Hex “Z”.
The Soviet now has 3 Hexes with 3 Units each (top Stacked Hex) and 6 spawn hexes. The Soviet will now then perform a Movement Action rolling dice for each of those top stacked Hex.
I roll one die for each of the top Stacked Hexes and I check what it does. I get a 2 for Hex ’3”, a 3 for Hex “13” and a 6 for Hex “19”.
For Hex “3” I move one random Unit according to the compass in the “2” direction.
I will do the same for Hex 13 moving in the “3” direction
and I procede to do the same on Hex 19 but I notice that the “6” direction would lead the Unit on the mapboard therefore, the Soviet will not be able to move the Unit and will instead draw a Card.
In order to be able to call for reinforcement again in the hope to get the Blue Unit, I need to empty my Hexes first.
I decide to perform a Deliberate Attack (attacking an Hex without moving and being able to use a card) from Hex “Y” in order to eliminate the adjacent Soviet Unit.
The Soviet is forced to play one of its card (facedown randomly chosen) then I play my Sniper and after revealing the Soviet card I see a Tommy Gunner.
The Soviet card shoots me with two dice (hitting at 5 and 6) resulting in one hit toward my Units.
My sniper will hit immediately the opponent Infantry causing it to reduce to two pips giving my Units an easier target to be swept away in the close combat.
After that, the combat is performed simultaneously and I roll the dice for my Units and for the Soviet Infantry destroying completely my enemy and occupying the new Hex.
The turn is back to the Soviet
The only Top Stacked Hex of the Soviet rolls a 1 that make them draw a cards all the time to remind them “Not one step back”
With my Hex “X” I perform a Hasty attack (movement + combat and no card allowed), that forces the Soviet to play a random card resulting in an Infiltration, allowing them to Spawn a random Infantry in the attacked Hex.
I clear the two infantry easily sending them back to the infantry pool on the mapboard.
After a couple of turns of both the German and the Soviet slowly moving, I decide to test my luck again, calling for reinforcements.
I draw Paulus that goes immediately in play under my command. His ability will let me draw more cards during future turns. Any time I will have to draw one card, I will draw an additional card. That will let me find the He111 to seize the city.
After rolling the dice and assigning them accordingly.
I get 4 Blue Units at my command.
Bad news is, the Blue Hex has already two Units in it and that will let me add only two of my new Blue Units (my choice) to the stack, sending back to the reinforcement track the other two. Was a mistake not to consider that before.
The fight for the Volga, can now begin.
- Last edited Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:05 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:42 pm
Great stuff! Next it's time for the 4th Panzer to strike East. Too bad it's not a fully mechanized stack.
The Soviet now rolls for all its 6 spawn hexes full of 2 Units (currently the top stacked). Couple of Ones and couple of fives make the Soviet draw 4 cards ( 2 for the ones and 2 for the fives, same results make the Soviet draw).
Then the Soviet resolve the movement on compass “3”.
The Spawn Hex “3” rolled a “4”, that means moving forward according to the compass. But forward there is my stack I prepared for the Deliberate Attack I was going to make. The Soviet stack attacks me and could give me a good advantage in knowing what Units are there and gives me the possibility to clear their Units in the Soviet turn.
With a lucky die roll, the Soviet inflicts me only the Sniper Hit but I manage to clear completely the hex.
In my turn I take advantage of the situation and I move into the Soviet empty hex, conquering it. To do this, I have to attack the adjacent Soviet Unit.
After pulverising the Unit, the Soviet takes the turn moving couple of stack and drawing one card.
I decide to start my offensive on the Southern Coast using my Blue Units to perform an attack from Hex “Z” defeating the Soviet Unit and after another Soviet turn I decide to perform a Deliberate Attack into the Soviet Spawn Hex “19” breaking the Soviet defence with my Howitzer and my Panzers against the Red Army’s Units, conquering the second spawn hex of the game. I need 4 more to win.
Few turns pass with my Germans slowly advancing and the Soviet moving along the Volga.
But my next attack will change completely the state of the Battlefield.
I decide to move along the Northern side attacking some single stack Unit along the way. I perform an hasty attack using my Yellow Infantry, but the Soviet Card changes the battlefield forever.
Chuikov has decided to lead the Soviet Army for the rest of the game. From now on, everytime I will perform an attack, all the Soviet surrounding Units will shoot me, slowly reducing the strength of my Army.
Few turns after, with my freshly deployed Blue Units I perform a Deliberate Attack in order to push inside the city of Stalingrad.
The Soviet reveal its card to be the Anti-Air that does nothing against my Sniper Card, but generate Rubble in the Hex indicated, in my case Hex “13”.
Then the Opportunity Fire is performed and the only Unit manage to hit me with a “6”.
In a city area (circle inside the Hex) the defender always roll first and every time I perform a deliberate attack (like now), I have to roll for Rubble before close combat begins.
After rolling for Rubble and applying the appropriate modifier (2 attacking Hexes + 5 attacking tanks), I get a result over 19 that means Rubble are generated and they will provide defense to the Soviet tank.
The defender rolls first and hit me once.
Even with the Rubble to half my hits, the enemy tank is destroyed.
After few turn of pushing along the Volga, I finally reach the Spawn Hex I was aiming for but unfortunately, I have only one stack next to it.
I decide to attack another hex in order to position my second stack in a better spot to do Deliberate Attack on Hex “15” in a future turn.
After destroying the Soviet Units, the AI decides to punish me rolling 3 "threes" drawing 3 cards from the deck.
I must hurry my attack before Operation Uranus starts (when the deck runs out of card).
The turn is back to me and I perform a Deliberate Attack to the spawn hex, using everything I have and spending my He111 hoping not to face an AA card.
I manage to deliver the fatal blow to the Soviet Hex during the close combat.
With 3 spawn hexes left in the hand of the Soviets I am only half way to the victory with the time running very short and a never ending enemy force, I must press the attack both along the Volga and from the bottom on the map all the way up to the river coast.
The Red Army is never ending. The more Units I destroy the more they come.
Every turn they are always in place to block my way to conquer the Volga.
Chuikov's Opportunity Fire is making my Units miserable, slowly damaging them on their way to the Volga.
My pressing along the Volga must continue with whatever I have. The clock is ticking and it is just a matter of time before Operation Uranus start, putting an end to my offensive.
My Blue Units are the strongest at the moment, I decide to use them again to attack along the Volga.
After clearing their way, my Units are in position for a deliberate attack on the spawn hex "13" already full with Rubble.
I send in my He111 to support my Units, while the Soviet spawn an infantry in that hex thanks to the "Infiltration" card.
The Close Combat is savage, but with a lucky roll, I manage to pull out a victory even with the Rubbles protecting the defenders.
Only Two Spawn Hexes left and the German flag will soon wave in the city.
One of the two hexes has a solid barrier of Units to protect it. I must start from the tractor factory and then work my way to the dock.
I send all my Units to perform a Deliberate Attack into the Factory, with the help of my He111 once again, that with 4 hits clear out the Hex completely.
One Spawn Hex left.
The objective is clear, removing as many Soviets as possible, in order to attack the Hex with as many stack I can.
I begin the attack against the Hex hoping to break the Soviet defense which in response, play an infiltration card to spawn an infantry in the attacked hex, raising the number of my enemy from 2 to 3.
The Opportunity Fire does not forgive me either, having the two units roll 2 sixes.
With my Units weakened and the Rubble to protect my enemy, my attack does not deal enough damage to clear the hex but it weaken the Soviet Units.
When the turn is back to the Soviet, an unexpected turn of event, make the Stack roll a 4 and declare a Deliberate attack against my Units.
Thanks to the fact that I roll first ( I am defending in a city hex now) I manage to resist to their attack and to weaken my enemy even more.
It is time to finish the job.
With the last card in my hand (Pioneer) I perform again a Deliberate Attack toward the last Spawn Hex, and this time, I succeed.
The whole Volga is taken. All the Spawn Hexes are mine now.
The Game is Over.
Mind that this is a completely asymmetric game so if you are looking for a skirmish style Wargame in which both opponents clash with huge armies against each other, you will be surprised to not find a fantasy battle here. But if you are a fan of the battle of Stalingrad and you are bold enough to successfully lead the Germans toward the ambitious task they were committed to - but that they fail historically - or if you are well motivated and long term oriented to lead the Soviets to resist beyond their capabilities - as they historically did - then this is probably a game you would enjoy playing both parties, and in any of the four modes of play.
Hi! Willa be there scenario uranus? And chance for German player to stop red army pincers? Does icon stickers will be available?
Hi Lukas, from the information I have, Operation Uranus is represented by the deck of cards. I saw an image that shows how far that happen comparing to the game map size.
Here is the naked map and on the bottom right there is the game area.
Regarding the Icon stickers, I heard that they will be on sale as Add-On
I love it when a plan comes together!
larger file for better seeing the area of operations: