Saturday, August 27, 2011
I've been really excited about the new GMT deluxe edition treatment of the Victory Point Games game No Retreat!: The Russian Front. What appeals to me about it is that it is an elegant, but not simplistic take on the entire East Front. It's very playable, and has really interesting "design for effect" aspects.
I was able to pick up my copy at WBC and after chomping at the bit to play it, I got the chance at SNEW, with Nick Avtges, who had played it a few times himself at WBC. He was a great teacher - even though I had read the rules a number of times, it's easy to forget minor things the first time you play a game, so it's good to have one played slightly more experienced. We ended up playing the first scenario with me as the Russians and he won via sudden death VPs - it turned out we misread the rules and he was actually short by one, but it gave me a sense of how combat worked. So, we switched sides and played again. The second time went the distance (5 turns out of the campaign games 22+ turns.) and I ended up one victory point short of victory. We then tried the second scenario which covers turns 7 through 10, and I once again lost a close one.
I taught Jerad No Retreat! yesterday afternoon. He played the Germans and I gave him a few hints on the first few turns to get him started and to help him make effective attacks. After that he did a great job on his own, and we had a great, tense game.
In No Retreat there are a number of ways to win and one of them is to control three out of five objective hexes. These hexes give an extra left column shift so are extra hard to take, and smart Russian play puts fortifiable units there, which ignore retreat results on the CRT once fortified. Unfortunately I was not able to get one of those units to Sevastopol, and he was able to send a Panzer division down there to clear it out in the Spring of 1942. In the last clear weather turn of 1942, Jerad swept a bunch of units into the Moscow area and managed to push me out in a way that led to no way to counterattack on my half of the turn. Since he had taken Leningrad in 1941, the German juggernaut got an Objective Victory on turn 9!
Apparently I'm not very good at No Retreat yet, but I'm finding it a ton of fun and highly recommend it!