Recommend
36 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Duel for Kharkov» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Duel for Kharkov - A Radey Good Time rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Here I am reviewing another Jack Radey game. Am I a glutton for punishment or a closet masochist? I would like to yhink neither, instead I have discovered that despite the inevitable errata I enjoy the way Radey simulates the battles he designs games of.

Duel for Kharkov was published in 1985 and Radey shares design and development credits with David Bolt. (It should be noted that this review is based on playing a one map scenario rather than the two map campaign game.) The game shares much in the way of mechanics with other Radey designs but there are some important differences that keep it from being a clone of an earlier game.

The most important mechanic is determining initiative, which depends on the types of orders given to each formation you control. The available orders are assault, defense, mobile, retreat, pursuit and travel. After assigning orders both players get one point for each formation given mobile or pursuit orders and 2 points for each assault order, they then add the results of a die roll and highest total gets the initiative. Because the order system is so central to the game let’s take a closer look at the different types of orders.

Assault – This is a formation primed to deliver the maximum combat damage. It will get a favourable shift on the combat results table but it cannot turn losses into retreats. It also costs the most supply points (SP) to be in this mode. 2 for the Germans and 3 for the Russians, as well as possibly costing the Russians a fuel point (FP).

Defense – Opposite of assault, a formation ready to hold its ground. Units can get a favourable column shift in combat, and it can cost no SP unless a unit in the formation is attacked. Units with defense orders can only move 1 hex in the movement rounds.

Mobile – The most flexible mode. Costs 1 SP for both sides, plus a FP for the Russians. No combat advantage but no combat disadvantage either.

Retreat – Units in this mode must move towards their edge of the board. They can still attack, this isn’t a rout, but must still end their turn closer to their edge than when they began. Also costs a SP for both sides and a FP for the Russians.

Pursuit – This mode emphasises movement over combat as long as the movement is away from a player’s board edge, i.e. the opposite of the retreat order. Again costs a SP for both sides and a FP for the Russians.

Travel – This mode is for units in the rear areas to move quickly to the front. These units cannot attack and it costs no SP to be in this mode. Russian motorised units pay 1 FP.

Orders last for a turn and cannot be changed until the start of the next turn. As you can gather it is important to make sure your units have the right orders, especially if you want to react to something your opponent has done.

As you can also probably see from the order descriptions supply plays an important part as well. Each side receives a certain number of SP each turn, and the Russian also gets FP. (This represents the issues the Russians were having getting fuel forward to their troops during this battle as the dumps were back behind Stalingrad.) The actual supply rules are quite straight forward and deal with how you establish whether a unit is supplied or not and the penalties for being ‘cut off’ and ‘out of supply’. The penalties for being ‘out of supply’ are quite harsh, the unit’s defense strength is halved and it may not attack, and if motorised they can retreat 1 hex but must take all other retreats as losses.

There are rules for air units, which can bomb, perform ground attacks and engage in air-to-air combat. Radey also has rules for limited intelligence and the use of dummy units to add fog-of-war, and uncertainty to the game. There are rules dealing with conducting reconnaissance and probes to discover enemy dummy units. Even playing solo I found these rules fine as there are so many units on the map that I more than
Once managed to surprise myself with a dummy unit I thought was a threat, and the other way around.

The rest of the rules are quite straight forward and contain no real surprises, and any wargamer would quickly pick them up. There are 7 scenarios which either take 1 or 2 maps, including the full campaign. There are a lot of variety in the scenarios and the campaign game itself looks to be a suitable challenge, as well as a playable mini-monster. I can recommend this game to East Front enthusiasts, it plays well and provides plenty of chances for both sides to attack and defend. I only discovered this game because it is recommended in the design notes for Lost Victory by David James Ritchie as a good game on the topic, and I would have to agree. Special mention must be made to the cover artwork by Spain on the 1st edition, the Russians a very swarthy and very stereotypical but I’m not sure what they are trying to convey with it. There is a2nd edition of this game with an expanded Russian Order of Battle and some other changes, but seeing as I don’t own it, I can’t comment on it. Overall a fun game, and one I hope to get to the table again soon.
31 
 Thumb up
2.50
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kenneth Stein
United States
Toledo
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review. Thanks for keeping another oldie alive.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gerald Clarke
United States
Rockaway Park
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Your review makes this game sound interesting, but I wonder about unit stacking and density: is this one of the old crowded, cramped, hex and counter games like Prados' Panzerkrieg where you need a set of tweezers and pliers to move the units?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
abesoc wrote:
Your review makes this game sound interesting, but I wonder about unit stacking and density: is this one of the old crowded, cramped, hex and counter games like Prados' Panzerkrieg where you need a set of tweezers and pliers to move the units?


There is some stacking sure, but not as bad as Panzerkrieg, though for Panzerkrieg I found the tiny hexes more of a problem.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gerald Clarke
United States
Rockaway Park
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks for the quick reply. I think you're right about the Panzerkrieg hexes. I'm going now to NWS to pick up a copy of the 2nd edition. Thanks again.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Dean Naval Warfare Simulations / Tactical Warfare Simulations (Land/Air Combat)
United States
flag msg tools
abesoc wrote:
Thanks for the quick reply. I think you're right about the Panzerkrieg hexes. I'm going now to NWS to pick up a copy of the 2nd edition. Thanks again.


Thanks for the support!

Christopher Dean
NWS Online Gaming Store
Director of Operations
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gerald Clarke
United States
Rockaway Park
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
You bet. You guys are fast, cheap (in a good way). and reliable.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.