Battle for Stalingrad: Being Offensive

One of the key dynamics that the German player in Battle for Stalingrad needs to master is the relationship between the game’s turn structure and his offensive operations. Because the Germans have complete initiative throughout the game, it’s tempting — especially in the early going when the Russians are weakly spread around the map — to send attacking battlegroups into the city in serial, using each one in turn to drill deeper into the defenses.

Looks good, at first blush. “Battlegroups” in this definition typically comprise one unit each of infantry, armor and engineers. The infantry packs a good punch, and allows the armor to use its higher (“6″) fire strength. The engineers let the attackers ignore any die roll modifiers for terrain when they fire. The armor carries the bonus of halving the strength of any Soviet artillery fire directed into the hex. Continue reading

Battle for Stalingrad: Getting Started

Despite the phalanx of new wargame titles marching around, some of the old classics still capture my imagination from time to time. Flashbacks of great gaming moments can cause me to drag out a game produced in times long past. I’m also prone to dig into the game closet when a particular subject gets stuck in my head — and that subject is served to one degree or another by a game published in decades past.

Such is the case with John Hill’s “Battle for Stalingrad” (BfS). I first purchased the game soon after its publication in the early 1980s. I passed on a contemporary game release, “Streets of Stalingrad” from Phoenix Games, mainly because I’ve never been much of a monster gamer. As a one-mapper, BfS suited me perfectly. The game system itself was out of the ordinary for the time. Coupled with the concept of treating one of the Eastern Front’s pivotal battles at the battalion level, the innovative approach made the game irresistibly attractive for me. Continue reading