Monday, February 2, 2009

Stalingrad, redux style

One of the things that Eric wants to do over the next few sessions is to go back and retry some of the games we've played over our time here. This is something I'm all for, as with a new game every week, and other gaming commitments, it's been a bit of a struggle to keep up, what with reading (sometimes almost indecipherable) rules, punching and clipping counters, etc. Fun, but a bit of work. So, when Eric suggested Storm Over Stalingrad (BGG link) I was more than happy to give it another go after our previous effort (Eric's take, my take), where we spaced a few rules.

Once again my bid was low, bidding 2 to Eric's 3, and I had the Germans, which was fine, as I was interested in trying them out again, to see if I could do any better than last time. I started with a decent hand, having 3 of the '10' value artillery cards, and with the SS troops only being around for the first three turns I wanted to use them as much as possible, so decided to start there. Once more, however, the dice refused to cooperate, as I rolled 2,3,3,4 and 6 for my first 5 attacks, averaging under 4.5 for the whole turn, while Eric responded with 7,9,9,11, and averaged around 8+ for the turn, leaving me with grabbing just the one area with the SS.

And it didn't get much better in future turns. Twice I made attacks with large groups, with strengths equal to the total defense of the area, but rolled 2 and 4. I did have a couple of good rolls, removing 2-3 units, but too often my killer stacks rolled weak, and the high rolls were on low strength attacks that consequently had little impact. All rolls are not equal.

However, I was able to drive my armor units to the river, to take one VP area, but I was totally unable to do anything else to expand that breakthrough, despite pouring all the reinforcements into that area. Time after time I saw Eric's 11 and 12 rolls force me back, and it was only in the fifth turn that I achieved parity on losses, having lost more units than he for most of the game, a situation that any German player in an East Front game cannot have happen and hope to have any chance of a win.

So it was that I came into turn 5, having gained control of only 2 of the 5 required VP areas, and after another 2 wasted artillery cards to low rolls, that 2 on the 12 strength attack, and an Overrun card that was met by Eric playing Mines to counter it, I quit banging my head on the wall, and resigned, something I was almost tempted to suggest after the first turn.

SoS is a great game, and I'm sure that it will prove to be a totally tense, nail biting affair, if we can ever get past the vagaries of the dice. And there are only 2 in the box, so it's not like I picked the 2 bad ones. We played through turn 5 in around 2 hours, so 3 hours, tops, for the whole game, a very decent length. I think this one will see a lot of table time in the future.


Ken said...


Why not incorporate a house rule into your games where you start with a token that allows you to re-roll any throw of the dice. Once used, the token then moves to the other player, who may even use it to make you re-roll the re-roll...

Several games that are dice sensitive have that kind of mechanic, and I think you deserve your own special DSDF adjustor.

Ken Crangle

Dug said...

That would be a good idea, if only Mike were able to roll well on anything. Thus, the reroll would be worse than the original roll (a three *is* lower than a four on two dice!)

At Eugene this past week, the DSDF managed to percolate all the way across the room to my table, where in my Manouevre game we had eight or nine bombardment rolls come in right on the highest number required to *not* cause damage. In a row. Freakalicious.

Ken said...

Haha, well, how about using the "Deck of Dice" then.

We've got to help that boy!

Peter said...

I am pretty certain the black counters are not SS as they didn't fight at Stalingrad. The black & whites are all Wehrmacht.

Mike said...

> I am pretty certain the black counters are not SS

What!?! Black counters that _aren't_ SS? Isn't that breaking some sort of federal ordnance?

Mike said...

> Haha, well, how about using the "Deck of Dice" then.

Tried that, didn't really help. I just drew low when I wanted high, and vice versa. It also meant that I had a vague idea of how many of a particular card had been drawn, and I could adjust my play to take account of that, which is an unfair advantage.

Mike said...

> Thus, the reroll would be worse than the original roll

Which happened in SoS. I rolled a '6' (on a big stack attack, I think), played a card to reroll, then rolled a '3'. (60% chance of getting a better result, 70% of at least getting the same or better, but I rolled the 30% chance of getting a worse result.)

Mike said...

> I think you deserve your own special DSDF adjustor

The only real solution I've found is to have Chuck roll my dice for me.