A Victory Lost game update

Demons in the bedroom
Dogs are on the roof
I am in the basement
Looking for the truth

Tired of being patient
For the voice to come
If you want the answer
There is only one – only one
Goddess In The Doorway – Mick Jagger

Last weekend, the gaming nephews paid a visit for our only gaming get together of the year.  It’s been a crazy year and by far the most anemic gaming year since I started keeping track on BGG.  This marks like the fourth year now that we’ve found ourselves together around Christmas.  Those past exploits can be found within this very blog, going all the way back to 2005 before tags and categories were invented.  😉

Nephew #4 arrived Friday and since Nephew #2 wouldn’t arrive until Saturday we decided to dig into A Victory Lost again.  We’d played that last year and posted a turn by turn account here.  We had a few misunderstandings and were ready to give it another try with a firm grasp of things.  Nephew #4 (N4) wanted the Russians again, so I hunkered down to put on as good a fighting withdraw as I could.

Mistake number one for me was kind of a mixed bag.  After the initial free Russian attack, my Rumanian HQ was activated.  I used it to withdraw my panzer division away from the front line holding the river.  But I also withdrew the other Rumanian units holding around it.  I should’ve left them there to force the Russians to waste more time and resources.  N4 attacked with ferocity this time around, now that we weren’t thinking Russian infantry were worth VP.  The Italians vaporized as did most of the Rumanians that were left.  Very differently from last game, the Hungarians did a decent job of slowing the Russians down.  With two turns left, they’ve just only breached the last river in their way to Karkhov.  I’ve lost a ton of German infantry in fighting the delaying action.  I’ve struggled profusely to keep the withdraw orderly but it’s been quite difficult.

My mistake number 2 came at the start of turn 5 and is the biggest and possibly will lose me the game.  I got the Manstein chit pulled first.  This allows me to activate any HQ I choose.  The Karkhov front was in quite dissarray after 3-4 Russian activations at the end of turn 4.  So I activated in the north, totally forgetting about the 1st Panzer divisions waiting to enter in the south.  If I had activated them, I could have rushed them up to bolster Rostov.  As things turned out, a few Russian activations in a row saw them rather too easily take Rostov from me.  1st Panzer began the counterattack but my forces on the other side of the river were too busy being pushed back to Stalino to help.

Turns 6-7 saw the Germans finally starting to get their teeth.  The drive to Stalino was stalled with three massive counterattacks that destroyed four Russian tank divisions and nearly destroying two more, causing them each a step loss but they were able to retreat.  A Russian break through in the north required me to rush support to defend Karkhov as turn 7 ended.

With two turns left the situation is this.  The Russian drive has stalled in the south, as they stack pile forces around Rostov to hold the city.  A German defensive perimeter sits around Stalino.  The Russians have just breached the last river to Karkhov and defenders are light, but the Russians are a bit disorganized.  I’ve lost three Panzer divisions and Rostov (which hurts the most with the 10 point swing).  The VP totals at the moment show me leading by 1 at 20-19.  The final two turns should be quite hectic.

I can’t wait for N4 to come back in January to finish up our game.  Hopefully, we can start getting together somewhat regularly to get some other wargames played.

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2 Responses to “A Victory Lost game update”

  1. gojim Says:

    Playing this one now, we have two turns left. The Germans have a pretty good hold of the southern part of the map, but Kharkov has been pretty interesting. I used the old Manstein/1st Pzr trick to reinforce an undefended Kharkov on turn 5, and made the Russians put up a bit of a fight to take it. Unfortunately, I’ve killed very little in the way of Russian Mech (or infantry, for that matter).

    Each playing of this game gets a little more tense!!

  2. FloydWing Says:

    This game is really starting to rise to the top of my favorite wargames. Our final two turns should be pretty hectic. It’s anybody’s game right now and I’m either going to feel great despair or elation, nothing in between. I can’t wait to have a hand at the Russians.

    So what did you play of the games you had mapped out for your time off?

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