Stalingrad-inferno on the Volga is a solitaire blocking depicting the that culminated in an historic defeat for the German army due to the tenacity of the Russian defenders. While predominantly a solitaire game, it can be played with two players and in this video we give you a replay of the game.
For me, one outstanding aspect of this design is the way its author has modeled two rather different armies fighting over a large expanse of city. This was, of course, something John Hill sought to do in his Stalingrad design from 1980 – units from two forces that have much the same sort of information on them, but behave differently once they start moving and fighting on the game map. In a very deft way, I believe Adam Niechwiej has bedded both forces into the battle environment, creating a distinct character for each of them in a relatively brief set of rules. In play, the experience of commanding either the Soviets or the Germans will feel very different, and for reasons beyond the Soviets having this or that number of units or the Germans simply (one might erroneously assume) being outnumbered.
We’ve played lots of Arnhem games over the years and this had some clever mechanisms. We liked the simplicity of terrain To Hit numbers, even if units tended to act identical. The intrusion attacks are an interesting effort to insert a version of an overrun attack into an area game. Blowing up bridges, or diffusing explosives, adds a nice tension to the pace.
This game gives and it takes away. What do I mean? Well, just by looking at the map and the full game’s very first impulse pairing, we see that the German player has a great deal he or she can feel pretty superior about…only it all comes with subtle or blatant provisos, limitations, hindrances…as well as enraged Russians or partly bewildered Russians getting in the way.
The Europa system from GDW/GRD was probably the most ambitious game system from a size perspective: If I recall rightly, 16 miles to the hex with division counters supplemented by regiments and battalions; aircraft at group level (or is it squadrons?)
Orages a L’Est actually has two games set in 1944, Turda, featuring a joint German-Hungarian counterattack against the Soviets and the Romanians near that town in Transylvania, and Tali-Ihantala in Finland. I picked Turda because it had a flat, featureless map, and, how many times can you say 1944 joint German-Hungarian counterattack?