Round five of the Ironmen tournament saw me choosing to play Storm over Stalingrad, this game appeals to me as it is a very quick game. I have played the game once before and it took less than three hours to finish, face to face. After the long game play of Warriors of God in my last round, this will be a breeze to go through and I plan to finish this round in a short time and should have plenty of time to write this AAR… Well this proves me wrong thus far (more on this later)…
I got paired up with Michael Sosa, a great player, although a bit busy at times. He prefers to play by email to fit his schedule better which I have no problem with. This is Michael’s first game and my second one, so I will have an understanding of how the game works and some general strategy.
In my first game, I have played the soviet and would like to play that again, thus I make a bid of 3, unfortunately, Michael also bid 3 on his bidding and we have to dice off, which ended up with Michael taking the soviet side and I taking the Germans (see Conclusion in the end for a complain and discussion of the bidding system).
What should have been a short game turned out to be a lengthy affair. Play by email with Storm over Stalingrad seems to be a chore and seems to grind on forever. Because of its’ highly interactive nature of the impulse system and the card play element, it took us around two weeks of emailing back and forth to finish the first turn. With no ending insight we are forced to schedule at least three short online sessions to finish the game in time… Let it be a word of warning that this game can take forever, playing by email…
Well, enough of the chit chat and off to the AAR right now:
For the first turn, my card draws are: Dive Bombing, Russian Ammo Shortage, Pioneers, sniper, Engineer support and Heavy Artillery Support (Fire Power of 10). Not a lot of high offensive cards, but I think it is sufficient to do some damage.
The weakest moment for the Soviets are in the first turn, as their defense are not consolidated, a lot of the soviet controlled area are empty and all of the areas with units deployed are at fire power of three or less (except Barrikady Gun Factory area, which have 3 units of 2 attack strength, which makes it 6 fire power).
German units have a higher mobility factor; all their tank units have four movement points, and all units in the 24th Panzer Division in particular have four movement points each, while the highest movement points in a soviet unit are 3. Together with the movement rules (1 mp to enter an area, +1 to leave an area with enemy units or enemy controlled, and +1 again to enter into an area with enemy units or enemy control) makes it easy for the Germans to trap the soviets in their specific areas and disperse their fire power.
Moreover, the fire rules make firing from adjacent area risky and at a major disadvantage (Terrain effects), it is much better to move into an area and fire from within the area.
My objective for this turn is to:
1) Capture Mamayev Kurgen (the +1 card bonus makes it a major advantage for attacking).
2) Move units into the Soviet controlled area (especially the two +3 areas on each flank - Railroad Station 2 and Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory) to trap them and limit their movement ability and also setup for next turn’s internal firing position.
Since I have an Engineer Support card, I should be able to move my units into those areas even if the soviet player has a minefield card.
Like ASL, it is also good for the German player to move his units piece meal (2 or 3 at a time), into the Russian controlled area, and if the Russian choose to fire, they will be in a weaken state and a good target for the remainder of the group to fire into the area…
First, the soviet player did not use his card to take the first impulse, and I use my first move to run 3 units including one tank of the 24th Panzer Division from “Duboyava Gully” to “The Sanitarium” and then to “Army Barracks”, taking control of “The Sanitarium” and locking up the guys in “Army Barracks”.
Following the first, my second and third moves are into areas like “Tsaritsa Woods” and “Railroad Station 2”, trying to draw defensive fire from within the area or the play of a “defensive fire” card from the soviet player, but the majority of his counter moves are reinforcing from the Ferry Landings to the needed area.
I then fire all ten units of my 71st Division from “Stalingradsky Airfield” into “Mamayev Kurgen”, my roll of a 6 (3,3 – below average), did not did much damage (3 of the soviet units ended up retreating to “Central Gully”). In return the soviet units counter-attack from “Mamayev Kurgen” with the help of an “Anti-tank Guns (12R)”, rolling a 10 (16 total against 8, netting 8 damage), which ended up with eight of my ten 71st Division units retreated to “The Sanitarium”. This is kind of a bad news.
But this counterattack leave a weak spot in Mamayev Kurgen’s defense (Firing out make all soviet units lose terrain bonus, plus they are spent and with a lower defense value, and last but not least spent units can absolve less hits), now there are only two spent units remain in that area and the highest defense is a 9.
Seeing this rare opportunity, I move the remainder of my 24th Panzer Division from “Duboyava Gully” into “Mamayev Kurgen” and play my “Dive Bombing” card, with no opposing card play (like a sniper or anti-aircraft gun), I proceed and roll a 11 which effectively obliterate all of his units (including a 2-10-3 tank) and gain control of “Mamayev Kurgen” (First objective met).
The soviet then try to take back “Mamayev Kurgen” by first moving units into “Stalingradsky Airfield” and then firing from “Army Barracks” into “Stalingradsky Airfield” (trying to cut my retreat route there), which I foiled using my “Russian Ammo Shortage” card. In the meantime, I move units into “Dzerzhinsky Workers Settlement” and “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory”.
To further along my assault, I played my “Heavy Artillery Support (5G)” card, raining down fire into “Rail Road Station 2”, the Russians play his “Rubble (24R)” card, doubling defense to a 6, which I then played “Pioneers (25G)” nullifying all terrain bonus (effectively cancel the rubble card also), my roll of 5 does not help much and I did not gain control of “Rail Road Station 2”, all because of a lousy roll…
Russians continue to firing into “Stalingradsky Airfield” with a 2 FP unit (normally this is hardly anything), and rolls a 11, which eliminates my two spent 8 defense point units and success in gaining control of “Stalingradsky Airfield”. This is a bummer as my spent units in “Mamayev Kurgen” now have no retreat rout and is highly susceptible to enemy fire, lucky all of the eligible Russian units around “Mamayev Kurgen” are spent(or it seems)…
My firing into “Central Gully” with units in “Hill 98.9”, trying to create a retreat path for the units in “Mamayev Kurgen”, yield moderate success, the Russians simply move those high fire powered units into “Red October Workers Settlement”. Hmm, something does not smell right there… He then played “Chuikov Rallies the Troops 17R” there, trying to rally for an attack into “Mamayev Kurgen”, which I was sensing. Luckily I have a “Sniper” card and I use it to cancel out the “Chuikov Rallies the Troops 17R” card.
With all of the above excitement passes, the rest of the turn simply ends with some futile Russian firing in areas where I move my Germans units in, my moves of German units into position to support for next turn’s attack, and one futile attempt to take “Central Gully”.
Seeing that both of the “Red October Factory” area and “The Tennis Racket” area is vacant of Soviet units, I take the opportunity to pass after the soviet player decided to pass to end the turn. My units currently in “Mamayev Kurgen” will have a good time of freely moving into those two empty area next turn.
I still have an “Engineer Support” card remains and the soviet player also have one card remain in his hand.
So I draw 6 cards at the start of this turn and draw: Russian Ammo Shortage, 2 x Level Bombing (8 FP), Sniper, Pioneers, and Overrun. With the remaining “Engineer Support”, from previous turn, my card hand seems mainly on the defensive side, but this is good, since the four 24th Panzer Division units in “Mamayev Kurgen” may have a chance to survive.
The soviet player after drawing his card then plays “For the Motherland! (26R)”, lucky I have a “Sniper” and use it to take back initiative.
Taking advantage of the first move and the vacancy in both the “Red October Factory” and “The Tennis Racket” areas, I move two units of my 24th Panzer Division from “Mamayev Kurgen” to “The Tennis Racket” gaining control of it. This is a major move, although it appears gutsy, there are several major advantages: 1) blocking the Ferry units’ free flow, 2) is a major +3 objective, 3) serves as a retreat point for “Mamayev Kurgen”.
Soviet play consists of moving one Russian unit from a ferry landing to “Red October Factory”. This will prevent the Germans from further gaining control of “Red October Factory” cheap without any fighting.
German then plays a “Level Bombing (9G)” card hitting “Central Gully”, rolling an 11, successfully eliminated the two soviet units there and gain control of “Central Gully”.
The Soviets then, determined to gain back control of “Mamayev Kurgen”, make four successive assault and firing attempt: First, an “Artillery Support (6R)” card, which countered by a German “Engineer Support (17G)”, and roll an eight resulted in no effect; Second, a “Rockets (7R)” card, which again countered, this time by a “Russian Ammo Shortage (20G)” and discarded. Third, all three 2 FP units in “Red October Workers Settlement” fired, but before that, the soviet played a “Sewer Movement (20R)” card and moved a 2 FP Russian unit from “Barrikady Gun Factory” into “Red October Workers Settlement” and create a fire group of 8 FP, but the dice roll is a 3 and resulted in only 1 hit. One of the German units taking the hit retreat to the just clear out “Stalingradsky Airfield”, and take control of it.
In the mean time, the Germans in “The Sanitarium “ fire into “Stalingradsky Airfield” and clear out the area with a dice roll of 8, yep right before the third assault on “Mamayev Kurgen”. The down note of all this is that German fires within “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory” rolling a 3 and failed to clear out that +3 objective area.
The Fourth and final Russian assault into “Mamayev Kurgen”, involve a soviet unit moving into that area and two units (total of 3 FP) in “Army Barracks” firing into “Mamayev Kurgen”, with a dice roll of 11, which result in those two German units taking 4 hits, enough for the soviet to clear out that area – the two remaining unspent unit being spend and retreat out to “The Tennis Racket”.
What a major effort and use of soviet resources. By this time, the soviet player has used up all of his cards and ran out of all offensive power for the turn…
That victory is short lived, however, The Germans moved a unit back into “Mamayev Kurgen” and in my next move play a “Level Bombing (8G)” card into “Mamayev Kurgen”, rolling an 8 and eliminated all of the Russian units there. I cannot afford to lose “Mamayev Kurgen” as the extra card is a central strategy for the overall attack scheme of the German army…
The turn ends with another high note: my units were able to clear out “Rail Road Station 2” by firing within that +3 object area. Although there are various other small moves and fire fight within other areas, but all those goes down without any major affects.
In concluding the turn, I put my 100th Division reinforcement directly into “The Tennis Racket" to make it ten units strong. “The Tennis Racket” which situated right in the middle of all the +3 objective areas is a great place to be in, besides blocking the ferry landing soviet reinforcements, it also acts as an anchor for future assault on both flanks, plus it breaks up the Russian movement so that they cannot coordinate together and form powerful kill stacks.
I was hoping to gain one more +3 objective area – “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory”, but luck is not on my side. Gaining two +3 objective areas of the needed five is not bad in one turn and I did rather have “The Tennis Racket” as it has more strategic value. Furthermore, I should be able to gain control of “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory” without any problem next turn.
At the end of the turn, I still have two cards left in my hand: Overrun and Pioneers, they are good offensive card and will prove valuable in the coming turn…
My starts of turn card draw are the following: Heavy Artillery Support (FP 10), Overrun, Pioneers, and 2 x German Command Coordination. With my retained card last turn, I now have 2 x Overrun, 2 x Pioneers and 2 x German Command Coordination, and a Heavy Artillery Support (FP 10) card. I do hope to have drawn some defensive card, but this hand is heavily offensive and should do some damage.
I do not worried about the “The Tennis Racket” this turn, as there is not a lot of Russian build up yet, I should be able to hold onto it without much problems. My major concern is the four soviet units in “Red October Workers Settlement” forming an 8 FP fire group, which is a direct threat to “Mamayev Kurgen”, couple with the 5 FP fire group in “Army Barracks”, I may not be able to hold “Mamayev Kurgen”. We will see how it went.
Another problem coming up for the Germans is that the 29th Motorize Division, the 60th Motorize Division and the 129th Panzer regiment (those black units, I am sure they are not SS) will need to be withdrawn at the end of this turn. Beside losing some highly mobile units, I also need to make sure that they do not ended up in enemy control areas, as their replacement arriving as reinforcement, can only be placed in German controlled area and it may leave a gap in my defensive line…
For the first impulse, Russian plays “For the Motherland! (27R)” to take initiative, I don’t have any card to counter, so in this turn, the Russian will go first.
The Russians, still determined to take “Mamayev Kurgen”, opened with a “Sewer Movement (21R)” card and fire (8 FP fire group) from the “Red October Workers Settlement”, which cause me 4 hits of damage. The “Sewer movement” card let the Russian to move a unit from “Railroad Station 1” to “Mamayev Kurgen” without having to spend that unit. Now if they can clear out “Mamayev Kurgen” of Germans, they will be able to control it. The soviet player then play a “Defensive Fire (4R)” card and attack from “Army Barracks” with a strength of five, rolling a 11, it successfully make all the German units in “Mamayev Kurgen” retreat and gain control of that area.
Meanwhile, in the “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory” area my German makes a successful attack, a roll of 10 eliminate all of the soviet units there and finally gain control of that +3 objective area.
Seeing the loss of “Mamayev Kurgen”, I then played one of my “Overrun (13G)” card and attempt to overrun with all of my 295th Division units in “Central Gully”. Splitting the group into two, I moved six units into “Mamayev Kurgen” and one unit into “Red October Workers Settlement”. Soviet response with a “Mines (8R)” card and roll an 8, 8-4 = 4 and I took 4 hits, retreating four of the six units back to “Central Gully”, the remaining two units did not fire (effects of minefield) and became spent, while the one unit fire in “Red October Workers Settlement” came with no effect. Not a successful assault, but the soviet player is again out of cards in his hand…
The soviet attempt to take back “The Tennis Racket“ as expected fare minor results, and seeing that all of the attack ready Russian units in there have already fired, I make another overrun attempt. This time I moved the 24th Panzer Division units (four of them) from “The Tennis Racket” into “Railroad Station 1” (another +3 objective area), which have only two soviet units defending there. To increase the odds of my attack, I have moved II/71 of the 29th Motorized Division from “Grain Elevator” into “Railroad Station 1” beforehand, so I can use the “Pioneers (26G)” card, I have a bad roll of 2 (what are the odds) and have to use my “German Command Coordination (21G)” to get a re-roll, the second time is a 9 and effectively eliminates the two soviet units, taking control of that area (now I have four +3 objective areas of the needed five in my pocket, which is a boost in morale).
To make this turn better, I make an attack out of “Army Barracks” into “Mamayev Kurgen”, trying to take back control as I cannot afford to lose it in this early of the game. I have three units of the 24th Panzer Division there with a total of 5 fire power. My dice roll of 7 (average) effectively clear “Mamayev Kurgen” out and with my two units which moved into the area in the previous overrun attempt (the first one which meet with some mines attack), I gained back control of “Mamayev Kurgen”… That was a major relieve, as I can now try to take care of that four (8 FP) units in “Red October Workers Settlement” with my Artillery card.
The soviets fire their 5 FP units in “Army Barracks” and get a bad roll, which results in no effect. Seizing the moment, I play my “Heavy Artillery Support (6G)” card into the “Red October Workers Settlement” area, I roll a 9 and the Russians is taking 10 hits (they fire out before which means that their terrain does not apply and the highest defense is a 9), there is only five spent units in that area and the 10 hits eliminate all of that fire group… Wow, that is a major victory there as four of those units are heavy hitters each with a fire power of two.
Unfortunately, I lost control of the “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory” at the end of the turn, the soviet have a good roll of 10 while attacking with his three units of 6 FP total in “Barrikady Gun Factory”, yielding 3 hits to my three spent units of the 16th Panzer, although I should have sacrifice a unit to retain control of that area, I choose to retreat and preserve strength.
The remainder of the turn saw my movement of units into “Mamayev Kurgen” and “Red October Workers Settlement” to further reinforce them and some minor local fire-fight which yield little results.
So far so good, now I have control of three +3 objective area, two more to go for a win, I think I still got a chance at “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory”, and “Red October Factory” area should not prove too hard of an objective for next turn. I think the main win this turn is the elimination of the four units of 2 FP in “Red October Workers Settlement”, that was a major dent to the soviet forces.
During the reinforcement phase (this is the largest reinforcement for the Germans in the game, simply to replace the withdrawn units), I put down all nine units of the 305th Division in Railroad Station 2 (effectively replacing the 29th Motorized Division), the four units of the 14th Panzer Division in “The Tennis Racket”, and the one panzer unit of the 24th Panzer Division to join his division mate at Railroad Station 1, this way I can use the whole division of the 24th Panzer Division together (they do pack quick a punch).
I still have two cards left in my hand: German Command Coordination (22G) and Pioneers (27G) which should give me a good chance of assaulting “Red October Factory”…
This turn, my draws are: 3 x Heavy Artillery support, Level bombing (FP 8), and Engineering Support. Not bad especially of the three Heavy Artillery support cards, those should make a big dent in taking control of “Red October Factory”.
Soviet player played “For the Motherland! (25R)” again and gain initiative and move first. On his first impulse, he decided to fire his 10 FP strong fire group from within “The Tennis Racket”, taking four hits, which I spent and retreat two units of the 100th Division into “Red October Workers Settlement”. Not that bad of a deal here…
In order for my Pioneer to work and before I make my heavy artillery strike into “Red October Factory”, I do need to have units in there, I started moving two units of the 389th Division there, the reason is four folds: 1) try to draw defensive fire, card play or another “mines” card, 2) Lock the units in there down, 3) control (if I can clear out the area) and last and main reason- using the Pioneer card to nullify terrain bonus. I have also moved my previous turn retreated units (those three units of the 16th Panzer Division and the 244th tank regiment) back into “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory” hoping to fire again next turn.
Then came the first of my heavy artillery strike into “Red October Factory”, the soviet player plays a “Rubble (22R)” card, but I play my “Pioneers (27G)” card to negate all terrain bonus (again!)… I rolled a 9 and the soviet forces take 10 hits. In the end only one spent Russian units remained…
Soviet proceed to fire within “Red October Park”, playing an “Anti-tank Guns (11R)” card in the process, which gives the soviet units a total of 5 FP and rolling a 12 in the process. Taking 8 hits, all of my remaining four units of the 389th disperse into the surrounding German control areas…
Then came another heavy artillery strike into “Red October Factory”, this time the soviet can claim terrain bonus, and my roll of a 3 makes it 13 FP verse 11 defense, soviet still need to take 2 hits which is enough to eliminate the single spent unit. Now the Germans gain control of “Red October Factory”…
The Russians change tactics and attack my single 16th Panzer unit in “Dzerzhinsky Workers Settlement”, their attempt is to surround and cut off retreat rout for the three units that I have just moved into “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory”. The attack, which is from “Barrikady Gun Factory” (another +3 objective area), rolled an 8 and that single unit in “Dzerzhinsky Workers Settlement“ got eliminated.
Seeing that the soviet units in “Barrikady Gun Factory” lose terrain bonus and got all spent by firing out into “Dzerzhinsky Workers Settlement” before. I play my third and last “Heavy Artillery Support (4G)” card and target “Barrikady Gun Factory”, my opponent barked out one phase – “No Freaking way”, before I roll the dice… a roll of 6, makes “Barrikady Gun Factory” a lonely place, only one spent tank Russian units remained and stand in the way of German control.
Soviet forces proceed to cut off my retreat route by moving a unit into Radio Station, effective controlling it. The three units in “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory” maybe in trouble…
To finish the single spent unit in “Barrikady Gun Factory”, I played my “Level Bombing (7G)” card, which is countered by a soviet “Anti-aircraft Guns (13R)” card. So much for the German advantage…
Soviet forces then proceed to eliminate my three units in “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory”, by playing an “Anti-tank Guns (10R)” card, permitting his 0 FP unit to attack there, but rolling a 6 does not do any damage. The soviet player is now all out of cards in his hand.
The remainder of the turn, create not much excitement, there is a bunch of fire fights, much noticeable are the ones in “The Tennis Racket” which from my consecutive two case of attack fire, eliminate a total of four soviet units and I have to use my “German Command Coordination (22G)” for a re-roll. Soviet fire within the “Army Barracks” cause 4 hits and two of my 24th Panzer Division retreat to “Rail Road Station 1” to strengthen the defense there for next turn. “Tsaritsa Woods” (not an important area) got cleared off of soviet units and German gain control of it. Fire fights from within “Railroad Station 1”, make the soviet forces retreated to “Grain Elevator”, not much of a big deal, but right now “Railroad Station 1” did not contains any soviet units…
There are also a bunch of moves, mainly consolidating forces and defenses in various areas that the German controls.
Time to put in my reinforcement, six units of the 79th Division, all infantry units, better than nothing but I have had better… I dropped them all into Mamayev Kurgen, which have been vacated by my shuffling of units into the needed area (Railroad Station 1 mainly).
In the end of the turn, I have one “Engineer support” card in my hand, this will provide some defensive capability and counter another “mines” card that the soviet player may have for my next turn’s assault.
There is only two more turns to go, and I have controlled four +3 objective areas, I just need one more to win, provided I do not lose any. The strength of the soviet forces was still strong, but I think I should be able to win…
My card draw this turn is: 2 x Heavy Artillery Support (FP 10), Russian Ammo Shortage, Dive bombing (FP 6), Engineer Support, and Overrun. It is good to have an overrun card, and the two Heavy Artillery Support card will come in handy for taking control of “Barrikady Gun Factory”.
The Soviet player did not have a “For the Motherland!” card, so the Germans will go first this turn.
Planning ahead for this turn, my only objective to win is to gain one more +3 area. Thus, I can just concentrate on one area, pound on it and gain control. My other control areas look secure and there should be no problem in defending them. If my three units in “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory” can fire and gain control of that area, it will be better.
My first move consists of moving two units of the 389th Division into “Red October Park”, this way I can lock up the units there and make sure that no wild things from the soviet moves can happen…
Soviet player then uses a “Defensive Fire (1R)” card in “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory”, the attack creates no effect (lucky me), but their units there is still unspent. I may not be as lucky next time and so, I move those three units out of harms way into “Dzerzhinsky Workers Settlement” which have a retreat path there. Units save now can be reused and fight another day (next turn)…
The Soviet then proceeds to reinforce their defenses with units from the ferry landings, and I move my units into position for the assault into “Barrikady Gun Factory”. The soviet fire within “Red October Park” and did not get any effect. Then comes my first “Heavy Artillery Support (2G)”, knowing that the soviet player should probably have a sniper or a “Heroes of the Red Army” card in his hand, I plan to continue striking “Barrikady Gun Factory” until it is done, that means that I have to plan at least three attack with the two Heavy Artillery cards and the overrun card.
Not surprisingly, the soviet response with a “sniper card” canceling out my Heavy Artillery, and in his impulse moving more units into “Barrikady Gun Factory”.
My second play of the “Heavy Artillery Support (1G)” card strike the same place, this time, there is no response and I proceed to rolling a 7, giving 4 damages to the soviet units. Now they have only one unspent tank unit and one spent infantry unit left in the area.
Seeing the loss of soviet units, one more unit is being moved into “Barrikady Gun Factory” before I play my overrun card. My overrun consist of six units from the 24th Panzer Division in the Railroad Station 1 area, it has two tanks units with a total fire power of 10, soviet response with a “Mines (9R)” card, in which I play an “Engineer Support (15G)” card to negate that. I then roll a 10, but the soviet player uses a “Heroes of the Red Army (16R)” card, forcing a re-roll, my second dice roll is an 8, giving 5 hits to the remainder units. Now there is only one spent tank unit left. I then played my “Dive Bombing (10G)” card and roll another 10, effectively eliminated the remainder tank unit, and taking control of “Barrikady Gun Factory”. Mission accomplished...
Well, still not out of the woods yet for the Germans, as my previous overrun have left “Railroad Station 1” with only two unspent units, an easy target for Russian fire assault. I immediately spend the remainder of my turn, shuffling units around to provide a decent defense…
The soviet player play another “Defensive Fire (2R)” card, this time firing the 10 FP fire group in “The Tennis Racket” into “Railroad Station 1”, I use my “Russian Ammo Shortage (18G)” card to cancel that fire, but the 10 FP fire group is still unspent.
After I move more units into “Railroad Station 1”, the 10FP fire group in “The Tennis Racket” fire again, this time I play an “Engineer Support (16G)” card, gaining +4 to the terrain bonus. The resulting roll ended up with only 1 hit, which I retreat one unit of my 79th Division back to “Mamayev Kurgen”, and in my next move, I move another 79th Division unit from “Mamayev Kurgen” to “The Tennis Racket” making it a wash for the soviet.
The remaining turn see both sides firing their units within their own area, trying to clear out the landscape… Of sufficient notice are these incidents: Russians firing within “Army Barracks” with just one unit of 2 FP, rolling an 11 and effectively kill my one unit there; My units in “The Tennis Racket” fire two times, first time resulted in 2 kills and the second time 3 more, leaving only one spent soviet tank unit there (That area now seems like a death trap for the soviet, they cannot retreat and pouring more units from the ferry landing in means more kill for the German, not a pretty sight); Remaining Soviet units from the “Army Barracks” firing with only 3 FP into “Railroad Station 1”, rolling an 11 again (well, seem like the Russians got hot dice), resulting in 2 hits and ended up with the German 79th Division retreating back to “Mamayev Kurgen”; German fire in “Tsaritsa Woods”, eliminate another soviet unit there, a new replenish unit immediately move back from “Grain Elevator”; Soviet fire from “Grain Elevator” with 8 FP, rolling a 3 and achieve nothing, with those units in “Grain Elevator” spent, the German fire into “Grain Elevator”, resulting in 5 hits, the soviet player just retreat five of his heavy hitter into “Army Barracks” trying to create a big fire group for the next coming turn (nice move). German fire within “Railroad Station 2” and eliminate one soviet unit, again, the soviet player immediate move back one fresh unit from the “Grain Elevator”. These moves of moving 0 FP units into the enemy areas are an attempt to lock my units into place, so that I cannot move them into “Grain Elevator” from those areas.
This turn, I got reinforcement with a lonely 50th Panzer regiment (that can be used with any divisions), which I put into the much needed Railroad Station 1 area.
The turn ended with us both empty of our card hands. With my objective reached, the next turn will be the Germans hunker down and try to stay in those areas.
My seven cards draws are: Russian Ammo Shortage, 2 X Sniper, Overrun, Pioneers, Dive Bombing (FP 6) and Heavy Artillery Support (FP 10). This is a very good hand, Russian Ammo Shortage and the 2 sniper card will be good in defense, while the Artillery Support, Overrun, Pioneers and Dive Bombing will be good offensive. Even if I lose one area, I should be able to gain it back.
German first move is to eliminate the threat at “Barrikady Gun Factory”, forming a 13 FP fire group; I roll a 6 and effectively eliminate the 3 soviet units there. The soviet move the two units in “Dzerzhinsky Workers Settlement” back to “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory” for a better defense, yielding the control of “Dzerzhinsky Workers Settlement” to the Germans.
My second move is to again eliminate the threat at my objective area. This time “The Tennis Racket”, firing my group of 4 FP, I roll an 8, giving the soviet tank units 2 hits, and eliminate it due to failure to retreat. Soviet then play “Defensive Fire (3R)” using the 13 FP group in “Army Barracks” hitting “Railroad Station 1”, I play my “Russian Ammo Shortage” card to cancel the fire, soviet respond with a “Sniper card”, which I counter with my “sniper” card, a sniper duel ensures, I won with me rolling a 5 and the soviet player rolling a 3, this cancel the original fire, but that 13 FP group is not spent.
In response I move two units of the 71st Division from “The Tennis Racket” into “Railroad Station 1”. Soviet fire again with the 13 FP fire group and this time he rolls a 9, the German has to take 10 hits which got two spent unit of the 71st Division eliminated and two unspent unit of the 295th Division eliminated.
I further move two more units, this time from the 24th Panzer Division from “The Tennis Racket” into “Railroad Station 1”. Soviet continues the assault with an “Artillery Support (5R)” card, this time he roll an 8 and gives the Germans one hit.
Seeing that all the soviet fire power is gone, I move a unit of the 295th Division from the “Barrikady Gun Factory” to “Dzerzhinsky Tractor Factory”, preparing to make an assault in my next move.
Finally, Michael realized that there is no more play for the soviet side and he resign.
On further looking at the situation, with the cards that I have, and some luck, I maybe able to gain one more +3 area, and if the dice is really good, I maybe able to control another +3 area, making the soviet control none…
For some additional information, check out the dead pile: Total Soviet units eliminated – 43 with 37 infantry units and 6 tank units. Total German units eliminated – 8 with 6 infantry units, 1 mechanized infantry and 1 Reconnaissance unit.
Storm over Stalingrad is truly a great game. There is a lot of subtlety with high strategic and tactical depth. It is also a very tight game in many levels. The Germans are never in a comfortable position during the whole game even if they are at an advantage early on in the game.
The Russian can deal a lot of damage if allowed to form a massive fire group. They are also numerous and can absolve a lot of beatings before breaking.
The feel of the game is also very accurate. It is very much like Stalingrad, with both sides pouring resources in without any ending in sight and some areas can act like a death trap (look at the death pile of soviet units in this game!)
There is but one grip for me with this game, it is the victory condition bidding system. The variance and range of the bid number is too low, valid and good numbers are only one, two and three (bidding with a four or higher will spell curtain doom to the soviet player). And with only three limited numbers, it is certain to collide frequently, and to resolve it, a dice roll!!?? What happened if both bid one? Might have just roll the dice and determine win or lose there!!!
Anyway, I still love this game, it is great fun to play, and will gladly play this game again and again (there is so much to learn and a lot of strategy and tactics). But next time I may think twice before I play this in a tournament (unless the victory condition bidding is fixed), also I will think again if I plan on playing this by email.
--- Ken ---