Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I got this game for my birthday/Christmas present from the in-laws. We played it two times over Christmas and a third time over new years. In terms of game play each game seems to run about 30-40 min a turn with a full game on average lasting 14 turns.
"On Average" is easily calculated thanks to the type of game that this is. You see unlike every other war game I've played with Wulfa's dad this one has a variable number of turns. To the right bottom you see a small box with numbers and a marker. This represents Stalin's patience. Each game turn the Russian player rolls 1d6 and on a 3 or lower Stalin loses one point of patience. At zero patience the game is over and you count victory points(The red hexes).
Without that randomness this game is a walk for the Russian player... you just meander forwards slowly and your troops out number and overwhelm the Finnish(who the entire game will have meager resources and be running around sniping at the Russians).
But with the patience system the intensity is kicked up. You know you have to move your troops quickly, you know that each delay, each failed battle is you losing the war significantly....each successful boss roll is a reprieve, each failure devastating.
There are four ways to get more boss points(you start at 3). Two consist of getting rid of troops, and two consist of capturing the first two finish defensive lines.
Since you start at 3 points then by about turn 6 if you haven't captured the first line it is game over. If you did capture it then by turn 8 if you haven't captured the 2nd line the game is over.
And those two lines together only count up to 10 points... of the 20 you need.
The one game we completed, I was playing Russian and on turn ~18(we weren't counting) I had 94% of the map and just barely had 21 points. And it wasn't a guaranteed victory...I still had two boss points but he still had reinforcements and might have taken some of the VP's back.
Absolutely love this game and recommend it to anyone at all who plays war games.
As a note it can easily be played as a 3 player game if you split the Russian army into two players who are playing as a team vs the Finns. The game mechanics which limit interaction between the armies make this a simple adjustment.