The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Europe Engulfed Session Report

I played the Europe Engulfed tourney scenario last night, which is basically Operation Barbarossa (skipping the initial push). As advertised, the scenario is short and gives both sides options to attack and defend (at least, when played by new players). The Soviets worry about a breakthrough followed by a race to East, while the Germans fret over a supply cut. The initial German advantage in troops and manpower can be whittled down as the Soviet conscription allows for reduced costs (and the fact that the Soviet units appear adjacent to the front, while the Germans have to rebuild in Germany).

As the Germans, I pushed a central bulge south of Moscow on the first turn, and had a disastrous siege of Leningrad (I thought that Ground Support Units, aka Air Superiority, couldn’t be used in an assault on a fortress, which is wrong). I used some breakthrough movement to expand forward, with mixed results. One problem is that I used too much armor and not enough infantry in the initial push, which meant I didn’t have enough sacrificial units, and wound up losing my Elite infantry (and some armor) in the initial months. I did quickly take the Don River Bend, a good staging area since a Russian counterattack from the East crosses a river. During the fighting in the bulge (just south of Moscow) I managed to lose half of my air support, but both sides were losing infantry and armor at a decent clip, without much breakthrough. After massing in the Don River Bend, I pushed a few blocks into Stalingrad and took it, then used breakthrough movement to grab Baku (even though I knew I couldn’t hold it — having control of multiple VP locations at once prevents the soviets from earning a defensive VP in the scenario, and I cost the Soviets ~25% of one turns production). The Soviet southern Army, which had been besieging Sevastopol returned east and retook Baku. In the early spring the Soviet counter attacks in Tula and the Don River Bend proved costly, but drew enough reinforcing troops that the Moscow army punched through the center line and cut supply to the German Southern Army. Due to a soviet mistake it was easy to re-establish, but that did prevent another push for Baku. In a long game it would have been disastrous, but the (artificial) ending allowed me to edge out a narrow victory (1 point to 1/2, the side that gained territory getting the half point tie breaker).

As expected on the first play in ~5 years for both parties, a lot of mistakes on both sides that may have balanced out. but a reasonably tight, tense game. Some thoughts:

  • The tourney scenario finishes in 4 hours. Our game took 3.5 hours (with cleanup, although the host had set up the Russians and sorted the German pieces prior to start). If the supply cut had happened earlier the game would have been shorter.
  • The rules are manageable… a few things buried on charts or in the political rules but mostly we just resolved items as necessary. Obviously the full game adds the more complicated rules.
  • The player aids on BGG are a godsend, to cover terrain, weather, etc. The political/area special rules charts will be useful for the full game.
  • The Geek Chic tables …. well, I’m tempted. When we play a full game the ability to just leave something set up and still have a table is nice. Block games are actually a bit worse for this, I’d imagine, since if you bump the table the blocks may fall over.

Hopefully we’ll get up a longer game soon. I see the Chris Farrell recommends starting with the 1942 scenario, which seems reasonable.

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Written by taogaming

October 4, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Session Reports

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  1. Hmmm… Now I need to re-acquire a copy.

    Ben

    October 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

  2. Done! One of two domestic, new, retail copies I was able to still locate at original price. Whew. Let the stickering begin. As an added bonus I combined with Star Trek Fleet Captains to get free shipping.

    Reserve my spot around the Emmisary!

    To help offset this insanity, I think I’ll force myself to dispense with a few perennial closet queens: Unhappy King Charles, FAB: Bulge… Hmmm… probably Merchants and Marauders as well.

    Ben

    October 4, 2011 at 7:48 pm


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