One of the things I like about C3i magazine is that they always include some fully ready to play games. It is even better if such small-format game allows you to test larger positions. This is exactly the situation with Unconditional Surrender: Case Blue!

The game is an extract from full title, and depicts struggle of Germans and Soviets in Ukraine / Caucasus region between summer of 1942 and early 1943 – yes, time of the struggle over Stalingrad. We have 5 turn scenario about Germans advance towards Wolga (Case Blue) as well Russian counter-offensive (Operation Uranus). Me (Soviets) and Kuba (Germans) played first one.

The initial situation in southern part of eastern front in July 1942 looked like this:

Unconditional_Surrender_turn_0
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Case Blue presents only fraction of rules from full title. The players have possibility to learn basics: movement, combat and replacements aspects of the game. The “meat”, ie. doctrines, political situation elements, R&D and others are available in full version.

Let me know describe our small encounter.

TURN 1 (JUL 1942)

Unconditional_Surrender_turn_1
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Weather: Fair (which is 100% guaranteed)

  • Germans starts with strong push towards Rostov… which is stopped
  • However, is is not so good in northern part, when many armies are being routed or destroyed
  • Fortunately – and raising Soviets morale – at the end of the turn, Russian attack annihilates completely Italian army!

TURN 2 (AUG 1942)

Unconditional_Surrender_turn_2
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Weather: Fair (which is 100% guaranteed)

  • While Germans 1st Panzer Division tries and fails to get Rostov (Russian tanks repels all attacks) two infantry divisions move to prepare assault. However, it will happen no earlier then in Turn 3
  • On the other hand, 4th Panzer Division is a real star of German attack – it had broken front in first round and now, in pretty crazy attack, takes Voronezh.
  • My forces re-position, rebuild and upgrade

TURN 3 (SEP 1942)

Unconditional_Surrender_turn_3
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Weather: Fair (which is 100% guaranteed)

  • Pretty static round – my 1st Guard Division, backed-up by Tanks event and planes stops 4th Armour division in the northern theater
  • However, combined Assault of German forces finally takes Rostov!
  • On the other side, I upgrade whatever is possible and rebuild all the armies. Seems this is key turn to final score – Soviets are so strong now that they are in no position to lose Stalingrad and eastern cities. But we shall see…

TURN 4 (OCT 1942)

Unconditional_Surrender_turn_4
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Weather: Fair (which is 16% chance… well, ok)

  • 1st German division finally shows something and crosses Don; Russians without loses
  • In the north full scale attack is maybe not fully repulsed but easily withstood by Soviet armies which retreat 1 hex each; at this moment we see that game is over for Germans so next round would be probably turn of crazy, finishing moves.

TURN 5 (NOV 1942)

Unconditional_Surrender_turn_5
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Weather: Fair (which is 16% chance… again??? dice favors Germans)

  • The weather really favors Germans. In south they perform full-scale attack, which grabs Novorossijsk and destroys one Soviet Tank group. great success but too late.
  • In the North 4th Panzer Division destroys two Soviet armies; how they did it? This is definitely best unit in the game.
  • German 17th Infantry Division is encircled and should be destroyed but due to poor rolls and forgotten modifier for Isolated it survives.

That ends game in Soviets (me) victory over Germans (Kuba). I still control 2 factories (to lose Soviets has to control 0) and 4 cities (to lose, Soviets should control less then 3).

SUMMARY

Well, the game definitely has a lot of interesting mechanics: personally, I especially like the constant need to balance production between activating and rebuilding the units. The battle resolution is straightforward, movement points and Mobile Combat key to success. I am really interesting to see diplomatic, naval, national will and R&D aspects of the game.

However, for those who play full version, how much time does the game take? We played only small, 5 turn scenario but it took us 2.5 hours… Any opinions / experiences?

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