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A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943» Forums » Reviews

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Gerald Gan
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I haven't written a wargame review in awhile... not because my interest in playing wargames has been waning (in fact, it's higher than it has ever been) but simply because writing a wargame review requires more thought and effort than say writing a review for a children's game or a family game.  Then came A Victory Lost (yes, I realize I'm late playing it, but better late than never, specially in this case) and I just KNEW I had to write a review for it. 

A Victory Lost is a game designed by Tetsuya Nakamura and published by Multi-Man Publishing (MMP) in 2006 as part of its International Games Series.  It is a two-player game that plays anywhere from one to four hours (at least in my experience it does) so it's easy to break out and play in an afternoon or long evening.  It is a 2007 Golden Geek Best Wargame Nominee and a 2006 Charles S. Roberts Award winner for best world war two boardgame.

COMPONENTS:
The game comes with a standard sized map/board, a player aid, a rulebook, a couple of dice and a bunch of counters.  That's it.  From the get go, simplicity is stressed... but don't confuse spartan for inelegance... a wargame is not (or should not be) judged by the quantity of its components.

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Picture Submitted by: Will Green || Taken From the BGG Database


Everything is standard MMP fare.  Simple but efficient.  The rules are well-written and very easy to read.  All-in-all, nothing to write home about, but not much to complain about either.

GAMEPLAY:
I will not discuss every little rule here, as I believe there are other reviews that have covered that (plus you can easily download the rulebook online). I will run thru the gameplay very quickly, just to give people an overview, and maybe help them decide if this is a game they'd like to own and/or play.

Setup is easy (if a tad fiddly)... you just basically place your units on the map as written/printed on the map itself.  Each player chooses a side, and selects a certain number (the number varies depending on the game turn) of chits/counters to be put into an opaque cup.  After that, you are now ready to begin playing the game.

At the start of the game, the Soviets get a Special Combat activation wherein they can choose one HQ to activate all of the units under its umbrella and attack with them.

Then the regular game begins, and a chit is pulled out of the cup indicating which HQ (Axis/Soviet) activates and all the units under its command are activated for movement and/or combat.  After the units under that particular HQ has moved and/or attacked, a new chit is drawn and all the units under that HQ are now activated.  Rinse and repeat until all the chits are drawn.

Combat is quite simple.  You total the attack strength of your units and divide it against the defense strength of your opponent's units and apply the corresponding result based on a combat result table.  So let's say the odds were 3:1, you apply any modifiers (if applicable) and then roll one dice and apply the result.

After all the chits have been drawn, supply checked and victory conditions checked, you then put your chits back into the cup and play the next turn.

I skipped over some nuances (like how the Stavka chits worked, etc.) but that's generally how the game is played.  Simple, noh?

CONCLUSION:
A Victory Lost is a marvelous game brought together by a simple but not simplistic system.  The chit-pull mechanic that was applied in this game fits the scenario very well (in my opinion, better than it did A Victory Denied), providing an immersive and narrative experience each and every time you play.

This game is one of my few 10/10's, and with every succeeding game, I almost wish I could give it an 11/10.  A truly great game from a brilliant designer.
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thanks for the review. I've had my eye on this one and A Victory Denied. I'd like to own one at some point, but have waffled about which. Of course it looks like only "Denied" is still available. Is "Lost" out of print?
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Gerald Gan
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Unfortunately, A Victory Lost is currently out of print.
 
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Raiyfe wrote:
Unfortunately, A Victory Lost is currently out of print.
Drat. A game denied.
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Bryan Martin
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Keep an eye on eBay. I was able to find a copy at a very reasonable price. There's also a couple of copies for sale on here for $55.
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One of the best wargames ever.
Bad that is still OOP.
MMP should and must reprint it again...

One of my favorites. Can´t say no to this game...
Still I enjoy AVD very much and have it in high regard. More chrome but not best than AVL.
Thanks for the review. I must add that the AVL game is a constant stressful game in the play because we are in constant push for the part of the Soviets and the Axis have powerful mechanized units. It´s highly rewarded when a strategic play makes sense and its working but in fact in a matter of time that all can change.
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Barton Campbell
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UniqueRabbit wrote:
thanks for the review. I've had my eye on this one and A Victory Denied. I'd like to own one at some point, but have waffled about which. Of course it looks like only "Denied" is still available. Is "Lost" out of print?
Warning: A Victory Denied: Crisis at Smolensk, July-September, 1941 does not use the same system as A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943. The major difference is that when a HQ chit is pulled in A Victory Lost any unit, infantry and armor, within their command radius is activated. Therefore, the same unit may be reactivated several times during a single turn (think of the HQ's as additional supplies rather than administrative centers). However, in A Victory Denied, no armored unit may be activated by another HQ chit. Therefore, it's has a completely different feel. Actually, the German armor is much more sluggish in A Victory Denied and not as fun. But on the other hand, it is possible to activate most of the German infantry up to three times in a single turn. As German armor has a movement of 10 and German infantry has a movement of 5 and the infantry can be activated up to three times in a single turn, strangely enough, German infantry is the fastest unit on the board at times. Conclusion, try A Victory Denied before you buy, however, run out and get A Victory Lost as soon as you can!

P.S.- There are other problems with A Victory Denied as well. For starters if the German's simply go hell bent for Moscow, the Russian's can only win by building their reserves almost exclusively in and around Moscow, making for a game that's not very fun.
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that's a pretty good sales pitch!
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Just posting a correction - A Victory Denied does use the same system as A Victory Lost...and I might as well add the poster's strategy in playing AVD is, well, interesting I guess is the best word for it...

Also in print is A Victory Complete - uses the same system for a game on the Russian invasion of East Prussia in WWI.

Thanks to the OP for some very nice comments on A Victory Lost. I'll make sure Tetsuya knows about it.
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Barton Campbell
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UniqueRabbit wrote:
thanks for the review. I've had my eye on this one and A Victory Denied. I'd like to own one at some point, but have waffled about which. Of course it looks like only "Denied" is still available. Is "Lost" out of print?
bartman347 wrote:
Warning: A Victory Denied: Crisis at Smolensk, July-September, 1941 does not use the same system as A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943. The major difference is that when a HQ chit is pulled in A Victory Lost any unit, infantry and armor, within their command radius is activated. Therefore, the same unit may be reactivated several times during a single turn (think of the HQ's as additional supplies rather than administrative centers). However, in A Victory Denied, no armored unit may be activated by another HQ chit. Therefore, it's has a completely different feel. Actually, the German armor is much more sluggish in A Victory Denied and not as fun. But on the other hand, it is possible to activate most of the German infantry up to three times in a single turn. As German armor has a movement of 10 and German infantry has a movement of 5 and the infantry can be activated up to three times in a single turn, strangely enough, German infantry is the fastest unit on the board at times. Conclusion, try A Victory Denied before you buy, however, run out and get A Victory Lost as soon as you can!

P.S.- There are other problems with A Victory Denied as well. For starters if the German's simply go hell bent for Moscow, the Russian's can only win by building their reserves almost exclusively in and around Moscow, making for a game that's not very fun.
adamant wrote:
Just posting a correction - A Victory Denied does use the same system as A Victory Lost...
However, armor can only be activated by their own HQ chit in A Victory Denied: Crisis at Smolensk, July-September, 1941. Meaning an armored unit can only be activated once per turn. While in a A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943 any German HQ can activate any German armor unit numerous times per turn. This is a significant difference.
adamant wrote:
and I might as well add the poster's strategy in playing AVD is, well, interesting I guess is the best word for it...
Sorry, for using such a stupid strategy in AVD (I assume you mean using infantry to blitz past my panzers). Look, I didn't write the rules.
 
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bartman347 wrote:

P.S.- There are other problems with A Victory Denied as well. For starters if the German's simply go hell bent for Moscow, the Russian's can only win by building their reserves almost exclusively in and around Moscow, making for a game that's not very fun.
This is not my experience. One thing I have noticed is games between people new to the game tend to end due to one of the sudden death victory conditions (Minsk or Moscow occupied). This is good, it highlights poor play, and stops such games dragging on.
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ShallowThought wrote:
bartman347 wrote:

P.S.- There are other problems with A Victory Denied as well. For starters if the German's simply go hell bent for Moscow, the Russian's can only win by building their reserves almost exclusively in and around Moscow, making for a game that's not very fun.
This is not my experience. One thing I have noticed is games between people new to the game tend to end due to one of the sudden death victory conditions (Minsk or Moscow occupied). This is good, it highlights poor play, and stops such games dragging on.
That's great.
 
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