Whilst I have played a number of East Front games that are theater wide this is my first or one of the first games I have played at this scale that I recall in any case, that is Operation specific or dealing with a segment of a front other than GD ’42 which was company/platoon level anyway.
Games that evoke the “right feelings”, for a given situation are my favorites. Here we are dealing with an obviously well documented piece of history. The ebb and flow of this war overall and the command decisions that lead to this Pocket around Stalingrad are sweeping and epic in nature. Games which provoke some thinking about how to best manage the situation are favorites too. Games which create the desire to explore “what if ” are favorites.
SPII does a nice job of capturing the events that lead up to the choking off of supply, the wholesale destruction of Corps, and the desperate defense and counter attacks that represent Operation Uranus.
In my game having that birds eye view and looking at the situation I chose to retreat early, and try to keep the Soviets moving thus avoiding as many breakthrus and reserve movements as possible. This worked very well for the Axis. The Soviets were unable to bring the right forces to bear at the right time in and around Stalingrad. The forces attempting to cross or already across the 2 pontoon bridge heads were blown away, and the Axis did a good job of keeping capable fighting units DG’ed most of the game.
The Soviets tried to stretch the Axis line, which worked but could not followed up upon in any depth. The entire South Eastern sector really milled about aimlessly. The real battle ended up being fought out around the junction of Chir and Don Rivers near Nizhne. Attack after attack went both ways, with forces crossing the rivers, then re taking territory. Epic stuff.
It is my understanding that I did not do a credible enough job as the Soviets. I dont think I got the most out of the units as possible. I am seeing some nifty and aggressive Soviet attacks in my PBeM game , and I hope to learn a little more when we play a Side by Side session with the Austin war gamers in a few weeks. I’ll check in then with more details.
There is as with most SCS titles lots of action. Each side can be on the offensive and there are lots of choices to be made along the way. The Soviets must husband what they have, and the Axis must hang on for reinforcements mid game.
I can see a lot of replay value here. Crazy considering the game can be had for $10 2nd hand.
Post Script June 18th/2012 After now playing this for a fourth time (once face to face) the game is excellent. There are some minor issues with the Germans amazing exploit capabilities. It come to bear if HQ’s are not protected and the Soviets fail to use Reserve movement well enough. We will post a Side by Side Play soon of 2 games run side by side between four players.