Tom Haesendonckx
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Hi all,

...and welcome to my first review.

In my review I will try to shed some light on different areas that I find important for any game I might be tempted to buy. In this way I hope to inform people who are tempted to buy this game, but feel unsure if it's a game for them.

1) Presentation and game components

The full color came components (counters and cards) are sufficient for this type of game. Counters and cards are clear and well made. I would be inclined to expext something extra from a game that has a rather high price, but as it is, the component are sufficient. The rules are not in full color (but they are downloadable in full color).


2) Rules

The layout of the rules is confusing at first. The rules explain all the cards and abilities first before putting them in a phase framework.
However, once you sit down for a trial play, everything quickly falls into place. The game is also very easy to explain to others, once you know the rules.

A real plus, for me, was that (aside from your first game) there is not a lot of rulebook-refering going on at all. This really speeds up your game.

I will not go down into a summary of the rules as this would take me to far from the aim of this review.

3) Playability

A basic game (3 turns) takes us about 80-90 minutes while a full game (6 turns)takes us the better part of an evening (up to 3 hours). I will let it up to each individual to decide if that suits their demands.

I like the replay value of this title though. Every game is different enough to catch your interest. On the other side, you do build up some familiarity with the cards and tactics to use. This speeds up play a lot but has the negative side-effect that the same tactics and strategies will show up from time to time. The good new is...that you learn to deal with them. arrrh

One more important thing: do download the solitary rules. They work well and are a real asset to the game!

4) Strategy and luck

As with all games, there is a certain amount of luck involved. A lot has been said about the break test system of Hell of Stalingrad. I agree with the designer though, stating that you try to influence the situation to maximize your chance of success...and then...you hope for the best devil

This may sound strange but it works very well and creates tense situations when the dice are rolled. surprise

The strategies in the game are plentiful and govern choices like where to deploy your forces, which combat cards to play and...when to play them, as timing is very important.

Will you go for a snipe-shot at the German veteran general, taking away the extra combat card that the general yields or will you try to deplete the German formation so it will be destroyed at the end of combat...? angry Ruthless decisions have to be taken with each card you play.

There's more than enough room for interaction between players as you try to out-think and out-guess your opponent. In some situations your opponent will be showing you his evil grin while playing a devastating combat card that will allow him to sweep away the building. But the sheer look of terror in his eyes when you counter his card with the intercept ability of a hero card that was tucked away in your hand makes his grin quickly dissapear behind your frenzied 'Revenge!' yell...

5. Personal opinion

My personal opinion of Hell of Stalingrad is very positive. I like the game mechanics, the short setup time and the replayability value.

The tense moments when he break dice are rolled and the general feeling of the game really adds to the feeling of being in your own Hell of Stalingrad.

The game isn't cheap but might be well worth it if you get it out enough. Here's where the game shines through its replay value, solitary play adn easy to explain rules.

Is it worth your money?

I would strongly recommend Hell of Stalingrad to the medium level wargamer or the cardgamer with an interest in WWII.

If your idea of a good game is high replay value, solitary playability and the fact that it can be played in 1 evening...this might be a good buy for you.

If you are the type of gamer that loves to be in control of every aspect and calculating in advance the result of every play...you better steer away from this one.




I hope to have given some potential buyers an insight into the game, without going over the rules (which can be downloaded and have been discussed elsewhere).

Hope it helps...

Tom

PS: English, obviously, isn't my native language...so excuse any mistakes or lack of style.


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Keith Mageau
United States
Summerville
South Carolina
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Great review.

Thank you.
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Andy Bultitude
United Kingdom
Guildford
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I found this review very useful - excellent job. I'd never have guessed English wasn't your first language, either.

Did you try this game solo? If so, how was it?
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Alberto Siepi
Italy
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Great review Tom, many thanks.I want to add just one thing: keeping Russians, did you try to use a massive number of sniper shots to kill German generals and keep away their combat cards?
I have to say that the opponent become immediately very nervous looking at his strategy destroyed...

Alberto
 
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Tom Haesendonckx
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Andy,

Yes, I did try the solo games. They both play differently and are fun to play.

I prefered the German one although the Soviet game kinda makes you feel in the middle of the 'Enemy at the Gates' movie, sniping away at officers :arrrh:

They are a real asset to the game and I think they should be included in a future edition.

Best regards,

Tom
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Tom Haesendonckx
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Hi Alberto,

Yes indeed...that is one of the first things you must learn as a Russian Player.

The Germans have another annoying strategy though: leave weakly defended regions unattacked until turn 5 while concentrating on the others. Then in turn 5, they attack the weak defence 1 buildings, scoring an easy win, because there are already fires from campaign cards on them.

I haven't found a good way around that one yet.angry

Best regards,

Tom
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Alberto Siepi
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Yes Tom, you're right! I am afraid that the only strategy to use is to place units before the German player will start attack (but usually at that time the number of +1 General is very high) and try to add the recon, in order to hope to get the initiative. The other strategy could be to try to maintein the best formations for the last battle and/or try to get Stalin's Ghost combat card in order to add extra power...
At the moment there are only ideas: not tested yet.

Have a fun

Alberto
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Marc Dabros
Canada
Orleans
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I've been on the fence about this game for some time. Your review - especially your comments on re-playability and solo play - has persuaded me to pick it up, probably next week.

Thanks for a great review!
Marc
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Gunter D'HOOGH
Belgium
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oddball_54 wrote:
I've been on the fence about this game for some time. Your review - especially your comments on re-playability and solo play - has persuaded me to pick it up, probably next week.

Thanks for a great review!
Marc


Just got this game as a Christmas present from my wife. I read down the "basic" rules and then browsed this site and saw your review, Tom!

I think I'm lucky to be able to add this game to my collection.

;)
 
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