Howdy Grogs of War,
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to play Red Winter’s full 32 Turn (Dec 8-12: We played 14/15 turns and had to leave due to scheduling) Campaign.
This was the first time I had the chance to play the campaign which went rather well for the both of us.
Red winter is published by GMT games and covers the Soviet-Finnish Conflict of 1939 in the area of Tolvajarvi, Finland.
Things I love:
- Rules are great for beginner to grog level.
- Adding the optional rules make the game more fun, I use about 4 to 5 of the options, and I recommend you find your favorites too. It adds to the game.
- The map is easy to navigate.
- The Soviets. Maintaining control of the roads is imperative – and armor/arty rocks – Mass waves of Soviets. Bonfires…
- The Finns. Hit and Run tactics, the satisfaction one would get from sacrificing to the war gods a company of Finns to destroy an artillery park.
Things I dislike:
- There are little things you need to be sure of, assaults – they are not as great as one would think…
- Dug-In Finns
- Soviet Artillery is a multiplier…at times could make it a quick win under the right circumstances, and coordination with armor and infantry, it can be devastating.
- Terrain visibility: You can see the edges of some hexes – sometimes trying to explain this to a new player can be difficult for them to fathom…I am glad I highlighted it.
Summary: Buy the game if you can, when you can or pre-order it as a p500 asap.
Fox’s Gap (South Mountain) Vassal Play through + On table to discuss the mechanics of the GBACW series game – TWIN PEAKS (GMT)
If you want to play a fun magazine game, check out an oldie but goodie from Command Magazine Issue No. 31. Budapest 45′.
Super short Intro to Budapest 45′:
The situation in Budapest in January 1945 deteriorated for both sides – The Nazi’s taking the brunt from all Theatre’s, and the Soviet’s high command hesitant of funneling a massive amount of resources into a large city, by-way West through dense forest, wet ground-near-freezing, narrow roadways with minor rivers and the Danube (major) crossings that branch out across > than 150km+ distance W-to-E of Buda.
Hitler ordered Budapest a ‘Fortress’, and with the onslaught of overwhelming forces in the north, and the south of Hungary crumbling, supplies were becoming scarce. Especially fuel*. Units were being moved from sector to sector to help support the recovery of Budapest in this fourth period of the siege.
** Wiki overview: Link** “The Fourth Period (1 January 1945 – 26 January 1945) was marked by a series of strong counter-offensives launched by German reinforcements in an attempt to relieve the siege of Budapest. Some German units managed to penetrate deep into the outskirts of the city, with the most successful ones only 25 km away from the Hungarian capital. However, the Soviets managed to withstand all the German attacks and maintain their encirclement.”
Command Magazine’s Issue Nr. 31 Budapest 45′ covers this period of the battle, which gives you command and perspective on the seesaw battle for Budapest, and coordinated Panzer Drives to relieve the fortress of Buda and Pest (Castle Hill too) as well as the Soviet elastic-defense to bleed the Nazi’s drive for Budapest.
Pro’s and Cons on the game…
- The Rules/Errata are clear and easy to pick up on. Turn sequences are somewhat asymmetrical.
- Special Rules for the Nazi’s such as Heavy Support and Surprise Attacks & for the Soviets, Artillery Bombardments makes the game pace better than I expected.
- Panzer Division Detachments are very valuable to cover ground quickly. Their significance is important in feint attacks which can throw off the Soviet Player.
- Balance: It is somewhat even keeled in terms of unit count and att/def ratios…The map terrain is the true differentiator.
- Bridges! I love destroying bridges…
- The map and counters are clear enough to enjoy the game
- Concentric attacks can be good…however, they are trite. Since this is operational, it feels like two Goliath’s are smashing each other…You’re smashing defensive lines > than 4:1 odds and with these DRMs, it is almost excessive. There is definite positives to this to..
- The Map – For the time, it is great! Today, meh, somewhat lacking in details.
- Artillery bombardments are not as effective as I expected them to be.
Overall, a fun game. Once you get through a couple turns you’re spending more time book keeping step losses than re-reading rules for clarification. It is definitely a fun game and there are assault tactics that need to be employed at the start for the Nazis, and defensive flexibility/terrain reading/planning for the Soviets. Last words: Keep moving, and you may win…Get stuck, you’re dead.
Setup – Jan 6-7.
First/Second Turn Phase. The Germans are taking risks in not probing, which pays off with their surprise attack.
Second Turn Phase (into 3~) The Surprise Attack paid off. Armor penetration in the center as the right flank is attempting to mop up Soviet Hedgehogs. This slowed down the Germans a bit. In retrospect the Soviets should have consolidated toward the mechanized reserves to slow down the advance. That would have enabled the Soviets to withstand the onslaught a lot longer, deteriorating the German advance in the center.
Turns 4-5~: The Soviet right flank holds fast agains the German infantry attacks. Infantry and Armor in-kind are slowed heavily on the German left flank. Center, Soviet infantry and armor are barely hanging on. Soon enough reinforcements will arrive to plug the gap…The mechanized thrusts from the German side are causing more disorder than expected.
Turns 5 (part of 6) – Losses are spread out wide at this point for the Germans. Supplies are not cut off and they are able to proceed. The left flank reinforcement arrives but is moving slowly due to terrain constraints. The biggest concern being the furthest armored thrusts on the left that are reaching the relief of Buda. Mop up operations are succeeding and the Soviets are losing cohesion and morale quickly.
Turn 7~: Results of a failed defensive strategy. Learning lessons: Armor needs to be stopped – focus on their main points of German effort (Schwerepunkt), and retaliate with force. As the Soviets defend, prepare a fallback strategy to maneuver and reinforce against armor. As the Germans, continued probes would have made the battle more ‘real’ in terms of probing before a concentric effort was attempted. Overall – it was a fun battle…If I replay it again I’ll be focusing more on a defensive strategy than the attack. I did have some bias here since I love armor…Also, knowing the history of why defense lines focused more on the Soviet left near lake Balaton originally, made me favor a heavier armored thrust on the German center/left to see the outcomes. Surprise Attacks also gave the Germans the edge on the opening part of the battle – mixing that and a centered thrust, I was able to collapse defenses. The fortress (Budapest) itself was barely holding on, due to the powerful DRMs and focusing my powerful SS units in Buda and on FHH on the hill made Buda nearly impenetrable. In Pest, Hungarian and Miscellaneous units were able to slow down advances, I expected them to be completely destroyed. The good news from Pest – it was still contested with the remaining units of 13Panzer on one side of the Bridge, and with good dice rolls, blowing 3 of the 6 bridges made the attack even slower/impossible for the Soviets. All in all, a fun magazine game.
So other than playing the crap out of Budapest 45′ (1-2 turns a day between work ;) ) – I recently picked up a copy of C3i Magazine Nr. 30 – I highly recommend picking it up. Mark Herman’s South Pacific mag-game gives you a good big picture issues of island hopping in WW2.
Currently Clipping GMT Barbarossa Kiev to Rostov! (And reading the rules)