Storm Over Stalingrad second look

The first look was just going through the contents of the box.  This second look I’ll talk about my thoughts after reading through the rules a couple times.

Let’s get through the normal stuff.  Units have a fresh side and a spent side.  Moving or firing a fresh unit will cause it to flip to it’s spent side.  Fresh units have firepower/defense/movement while spent units have only defense.  Spent units are pretty much just in defense mode until they are flipped back at the end of a turn.

Moving costs 1 movement point(mp) to move to a new area.  Add 1 mp if you are moving from an enemy controlled area or containing enemy units.  Add 1 mp if you are moving into an enemy controlled area or containing enemy units.  You take control of an area if your side is the only one present in an enemy controlled area at any time.  Moving into an empty area where you are subsequently eliminated or forced to retreat by a Mine card being played does not change control of an area.

So the basics are pretty simple.  Standard attack/defense/movement characteristics.  Movement will cost either 1-3 mp.

The game is 6 turns made up of multiple impulses.  Impulses switch back and forth between players until both players pass in succession, ending the turn.  Each impulse can be used to move or file unit(s) from one area, play a card, or pass.  (Some cards can be played at any time, even during your opponents impulse.)

The Russian player can activate any number of fresh units from the same area while the German player is restricted to activating only fresh units from the same division plus any fresh independant units.  So you need to pay attention to how your moving your divisions, or you’ll risk not having the punch when you need.  All activated units must perform the same action, either firing at the same are or moving the same. (The Overrun card can change this restriction.)  For movement, they move at the slowest unit’s movement rate.

Combat is pretty simple.  All attacking units firepower is added together and added to a 2d6 roll.  This is compared to the largest defensive value of a single unit being fired at, plus defensive terrain value if applicable.  The terrain value doesn’t get counted if the attacker and defender are in the same area, the defender doesn’t control the area, or if a Fire marker is present in defender’s area belonging to the defending side (meaning at some point the defending side had fired out of that area).  Subtract the final defensive value from the final attack value and you have the number of damage points that need applied.  Damage point can flip a fresh unit to spent (1 point) or retreat a spent unit one area (1 point), or eliminate a spent unit (2 points).  Most of the time the defender gets to apply the points as they see fit, but some cards let the firing player apply points to units.  As many points must be used as possible, any overflow would mean all units are dead.  For example, 3 points would cause a unit to flip from fresh (1 pt), and then be eliminated (2 pts).    4 points against 2 fresh units would either eliminate one and flip one, or flip and retreat both.  A table gives a more detailed additional point mapping but those are the basics.

That’s pretty much it.  There’s reinforcements and some German units must be withdrawn at some point.  Units are flipped back to their fresh side at the end of every turn.  The game goes for 6 turns and the Russian player wins if they hold a certain number of areas with defensive value of 3 at the end.  This is decided by bidding and any +3 area counts, not certain ones.  The rulebook suggest beginners bid to hold 2 or 3 areas.

So it seems like this should be a simple fast moving game.  The low attack values on the units would seem to indicate it will be tough to dislodge defenders without massing an attack or using a big attack card (Heavy Artillery Support for example).  Also, forfeiting the area’s defensive value by firing will need to be done at the opportune times.  The box indicates the playing time is 3 or more hours and I think that seems feasible.  This isn’t a rules heavy beast where improper hex placement early on will spell doom at the end.  No complex ratios to calculate, a quick look and you have a good idea of the risk of your attack.  Almost beer & pretzel like, I look forward to finding out.

Upon first look at the cards, I think they may be the only aspect that could lead to confusion.  For the most part their pretty good at indicating when they can be played, but some left me not sure.  I’m sure that once I sit down and actually get into a situation I’ll figure it out.

Looking forward to getting this one to the table.  I thought the wif-al unit had found my exacto knife, but it turned out to be just my cutting pad.  Time’s grow desperate,  and I may need to raid a toolbox for a utility knife.

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3 Responses to “Storm Over Stalingrad second look”

  1. gojim Says:

    Looks like an interesting game, I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out once you get the chance to play with it. We’re giving ‘Conflict of Heroes’ a go this weekend – much lighter fare than the OCS games we’ve been playing the last couple of weeks.

    In the next couple of weeks I hope to get a good DAK2 scenario in!!!

  2. FloydWing Says:

    So what is your suggested OCS introductory game, if I ever finally take the plunge? Preferably, one that’s still available.

  3. gojim Says:

    Tunisia would be my first choice if you can find it someplace (it’s usually fairly cheap compared to other OCS titles) – Burma and Case Blue are the only two that are actually in stock at the moment. Case Blue has some good starter type scenarios, but at $220, not one I would buy to test the system. 🙂 Burma is more reasonable ($42 at wargame depot), and supposed to be a pretty darned good game, but plays differently than the others due to terrain and the IJA.

    If you ever make it out to the Fort again sometime and have a free hour or so, you can always give me a yell and I can give you an overview of the system. It’s really turning into one of my favorites.

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