After last-week unboxing of the No Reatreat – The Russian Front wargame, time has come to play first scenarios in that position. As a preparation I read through the rulebook and scenariobook but also enhanced my readinss by using fantastic series of baordgames “how-to-plays” – No Retreat X-plained. The main person running the channel, Bridger, is as always fantastic in his systematic approach to the rules presentation and should you have problems with any game and need some assistance you will for sure find it there!
Having been familiarized with the rules – the same true for my co-gamer, Konrad – we decided to play scenario “A. Barbarossa”. It will last 5 turns, where initiative will always be with Germany, and the extent of their success will tell us if thy won or whether Red Army managed to limit Wehrmacht progress to extent which will allow them in the future to win that front. The initial set-up of the both side – the disproportion is easily seen:
I will go now through four turns we managed to play. Below you will find a short session report based on status-maps after each turn as well as close-up on the most important areas of action.
TURN 1 (Jun 1941), dry weather
As already mentioned, the turn is pretty much scripted, but of course the results can be different from game to game:
- In North, Germans are able to destroy Russian Front and occupy Riga; that is a great success.
- The center attacks observe significant gains, however the strongest Russian army (5 strength) manages to escape and will contest Kiev for 2 turns.
- South cannot expect much as there is limited amount f forces there and moves are forbidden.
- The USSR mainly rebuilds its forces and… makes a mistake placing one unit only two hexes from two German Panzer Armies.
Konrad uses even which allows him to move his units, then invests in counterblow. In the end my unit is destroyed and large hole in the center of the front is created. That can have long lasting consequences…
TURN 2 (Jul-Aug 1941), dry weather
- News of the day – after crushing and destroying the army defending the Smolensk – possible thanks to counter-blow at the end of Turn 1 – German forces were on 41 km to Moscow! All Russian units were mobilized and counterattacked:
- The Kiev army is being surrounded and killed despite desperate fight to break-out; Dnepropetrovsk also falls:
A dreadful day for Soviet troops which did not have enough time to build-up defenses; the good thing is that Leningrad direction was completely abandoned by German forces.
TURN 3 (Sep-Oct 1941), mud weather
- The battle for Moscow rages on – it sometimes up to a single roll but soviet forces are gaining significant replacements, out of which only small portion can go to south. The interesting thing is a lot of Counterblows which resulted by German attacks and which i will have to conduct in my turn… That will cost me for example un-supplied 5 strength army and victory point
- South more or less holds – I managed to build strong presence on Crimea, there are some units around Rostov (which itself was burnt to the ground)
TURN 4 (Nov-Dec 1941), snow weather
- It seems fair to announce that Battle for Moscow is over. The soviet capital garrison has been upgraded and is strong as ever. Still, Tula fell as well as one Soviet army surrendered. Also, Russian units executed counter-offensive (!) – first during the war – toward Riga.
- In the south the attempt to cut supply lines failed, but one Romanian army has been destroyed.
- Also one German unit moved toward Stalingrad (!) but was cut off and forced to endure very harsh battle.
And at this point we had to stop due to very late hour. The game was fun, I had a lot of pleasure in playing the USSR. It is really fast-paced position, with cards give some additional flavor. We will have for sure read more about Counter-blows and Counter-attacks but all in all I feel No retreat has a very significant potential to land on my table pretty often.