See Slide Show at bottom!
I have had this title for a long time. Recently I considered selling Atlantic Wall, which I bought along with Operation Typhoon. As I was checking the counters I realized they were all blended across the two boxes! needless to say sorted them and thought, “well I may as well play it sooner than later”. However before I get too far into the game and the system I thought I might check out the combat system, as it is a little different.
A full review and the history of Operation Typhoon exists over at Joe Beards great site Map and Counter blog (Link below).
When I play a larger game like this, it is important to me to have some sort of basic understanding of system so we dont blow thru 10-20-50 hours of play for naught. As I learn this game and get started I will be posting comments, thoughts and video snippets of play. wether we do that campaign remains to be seen.
As a brief experiment with how combat will, or could work I ran thru turn one one Map C. In essence 24th Corps opening turn.
Whilst SPI’s title is old (1978, in fact I was just 3 years into the hobby! Likely playing lots of TRC or similar) it has some new (to me) mechanics for the times. Firstly unknown combat strengths! You draw a chit based upon the size / morale of the unit in question and this ‘fixes’ the units combat strength until eliminated. Very nice representation of the unknown capabilities of opposing forces at the end of ’41.
Next we have Divisional Integrity and Combined arms benefits represented as +ve Column shifts on the CRT. Common enough these days but not so ‘back in the day’. These are important as the correct combination of units may bring 3-4 or more column shifts on a very unforgiving CRT.
The final idea that is new to me is a once per game per Corp – determined assault. In essence, double your fighting power for a turn. Nice.
So let us see what happened.
Initially I moved up to attack just 3 units, but then expanded that to four ( my first mistake, as this took CF away AND shifts.) One assault ended up being a 48 v 4 +shifts a runaway success. This broke the enemy down to Cadre status and forced a 2 hex retreat. There is also a concept of Retreat Path, which drives non mechanized units advance after combat.
The rest were a disaster! Looking for a quick VPs, I piled onto Tula. Only to find a tough defense backed up by air to counter my air and +4 shifts! Units with 12 defense! 18 defense! OMG. Meanwhile the Axis pulled 5’s, 4’s, and even a 1.
The end result overall was 2 steps losses per side, and an overall retreat by the Axis……Back to tactics 101. That clearly wont work long term as a game plan. Da Punkt got no Schwer!…..
I find that conducting a few smaller attacks without getting too deep into a game is a great way to assess how combat will really work. Well now we know!
Which will then help drive my tactics down to the per unit level. Clearly a spread the pain model is not compliant enough with the realities on the ground! The Axis will be required to focus, overwhelming force for its attacks, and select carefully its attacks. Interesting as I had expected a set of concentrated attacks across a broad front to be viable? But you cannot get all the right guys to the fight in turn one. Part of me feels like a good weather turn should not be wasted for combat. So I reset the table.
Second time around, new chits etc, and another ass whipping ( well ok, so it was 2 steps lost each side and one less retreat) for the Germans. Ok..Ok. I get it. Let us not rush to our deaths here.
The random strength thing is not going to let you estimate potential strengths. Too many variables! Love it. There will be no perfect turns here.
Isn’t this a surprise package.
Wow there are also some insanely strong units. 2/3rds of the Soviets are 9 or higher, and over 20 counters are over 15 factors strong . Sheesh. This is no cakewalk…. reset and re think time! I just downloaded a sheet that shows the spread of potential combat strengths. Ouch.
If you have played this game and had some ‘success’ with it. Please sound off with your opening moves and thoughts.
I am fascinated to say the least.