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AARs, German Campaign, Lock & Load Stalingrad

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  • AARs, German Campaign, Lock & Load Stalingrad

    Time for another ARR. This time Iím playing Matrix Gameís Lock & Load: Stalingrad. Iím not familiar with the board game, but judging from the computer sim its Advanced Squad Leader reborn.

    http://matrixgames.com/products/349/....of.Stalingrad



    First, a brief review of the game. I bought the download, which is about 660mb. It is pretty, with maps and counters that strongly resemble ASLís, which for me is a good thing. The board game feel is enhanced by a wood Ďtabletopí border to the map, and graphics of dice being rolled. You can go into Options and adjust it to minimize the dice graphics and cut out the lists of modifiers to each roll.

    Make sure your Java is at the most current update.

    While the game comes with two campaigns and a 15 scenarios, be warned that roughly half the scenarios are not set up for play against the AI. The game also comes with a scenario editor which includes a wide variety of counters for the Germans (Heer, SS, guns and vehicles including Tiger Is and Panther Gs), Soviets (Partisans, Red Army, Guards), Romanians, and Civilians. There are already four or five player-created scenarios available on the Matrix site and its forum.

    Gameplay starts with an initiative roll. The winning side starts. Turns are conducted in alternating Ďimpulsesí, in which one stack of units takes action (or passes, which means they retain the ability to overwatch).

    Counters are leaders, heroes, squads, teams, specialists (such as a medic), single vehicles or guns, and support weapons. There is a very large variety. Captured weapons and equipment can be employed, but not captured vehicles.

    Combat effects vary from Shaken (pinned), Wounded, Casualties, and Eliminated. Rallying by leaders can be set to computer controlled or done on manual.

    Fog of War is a critical and well-handled part of the game. Night combat is covered, complete with flares, as is tactical smoke.

    Cover is essential; infantry in the open donít stand a chance.

    Air support and off-board indirect fire is included.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

  • #2
    I am playing the German campaign. Scenario One is The Kalach Crossing, where we must force a river crossing. Note that you do not get the Campaign Interface allowing me to make strategic decisions until further into the campaign. I had to go to the forums to establish that fact.


    Victory Conditions: Lt. Wurtz survives, rescue & escort civilian, destroy 4 Soviet units, secure C2, D7, D6, D2, E8.

    Turn One
    Forces: KG Wurtz: Lt. Wurtz, with three rifles squads and one MG-34
    KG Koch Lt. Koch, with three rifles squads and one MG-34

    KG Koch Spotted for enemy, spotted a Soviet half-squad in J7, and suppressed it.
    KG Wutz stormed the hut in J7, and eliminated the Soviets.
    A half-squad was spotted in a cottage in J5, and a full squad across the river.

    Turn Two
    KG Wurtz rushed a farmhouse at I8.
    KG Koch suppressed the Soviets in J5.

    Turn Three
    KG Koch moves to J7, taking fire from a newly-spotted half-squad in D4.
    KG Wurtz eliminates the Soviet half-squad in D4.

    Turn Four
    KG Wurtz rushes to E8 through light enemy small-arms fire, and secured a civilian.
    KG Koch rushes to D9, ending in the open but with cover behind a building from the Soviets across the river.

    Turn Five
    KG Wurtz catches a Soviet squad crossing the bridge, and eliminates it.
    KG Koch advances to D4

    Turn Six
    KG Koch secures a Soviet DP LMG.
    Both KG remain on overwatch.

    Turn Seven
    KG Wurtz suppresses a Soviet squad at G4.
    KG Koch rushes G4 and clears it.

    Turn Eight
    KG Koch secures a DP LMG. Rushes a building complex, securing the remaining victory locations.

    German Victory!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Arnold J Rimmer; 15 Feb 14, 13:35.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

    Comment


    • #3
      Scenario Two is Open The Door, where we must drive beyond the river crossing into the urban area beyond, which is essentially two small villages. The Germans will have to clear the southern village first.

      Victory Conditions: Lt. Wurtz survives, Pz IVF1 must survive, eliminate Soviet Force.

      Turn One (Screenshot 2A)
      Forces: KG Wurtz, Lt. Wurtz, two rifle squads, one MG 34
      KG 1: Rifle squad, MG-42 on tripod.
      PvIVF1
      StuG III
      KG Bauman: Feldwebel Bauman, one rifle squad, one MG-34
      KG 2: Rifle squad with satchel charge, medic, mounted in a SdKfz 251
      KG Eisenbach: Unteroffizer Eisenbach, one rifle squad, mounted in an Opel truck.

      Sent the StuG to the edge of town.
      KG Baumann moved up to a cottage at G16, drawing small arms fire from Soviet infantry in a church (stone) at I14. Bauman is pinned.
      PvIVF1 advances to Baumanís building, fires on Soviet infantry at I14, no visible effect. Soviet infantry in a cottage in F13 fire on Baumanís position. No effect
      KG Wurtz flanks to the west, using trees as cover. Soviet infantry in a wood building at J11 fire on KG Bauman, no effect.
      KG 2 speeds to a covered position at the south end of the church at I14/15
      KG Eisenbach follows suit.
      KG 1 suppresses the Soviets in F13.

      Turn Two
      KG Wurtz advances north to a wooden building at D15. KG2 fires at Soviet infantry closing on the church, no visible effect. KG 1 dismounts their MG-42 for re-deployment, then fires on the same infantry, suppressing them.
      StuG fires on the same infantry, inflicting losses.
      KG Eisenbach dismounts and enters the unoccupied southern end of the church. KG 2 takes fire from the Soviets in the north end of the build, and the APC crew is pinned.
      KG Baumann rallies, spots Soviets withdrawing from J11, and takes them under fire, inflicting losses.
      PvIVF1 fires upon the same infantry, pinning them.

      Turn Three (Scen 2 Turn 3 screenshot)
      KG 2 unloads; the squad and medic merge with KG Eisenbach. The Soviets abandon the church.
      StuG fires on the same infantry as before, inflicting serious losses.
      KG Wurtz advances to a cottage at D11.
      KG 1 moves forward and merges with KG Baumann.
      PvIVF1 advances alongside the church.
      The Opel truck is withdrawn south of the river.

      Turn Four
      StuG moves up on east flank, taking small arms fire from J13, to no effect.
      Sdkz returns fire, no visible effect.
      KG Eisenbach advances to the north end of the church.
      KG Wurtz rushes a cottage at E12, overrunning pinned Soviet infantry.
      KG Baumann advances to the cottage at F13.
      PvIVF1 advances to the street in front of the north end of the church and fires on the Soviets in J13, pinning them. StuG fires on Soviet infantry crossing the street north of the tankís position and inflicts losses.

      Turn Five
      KG Eisenbach storms J13 and eliminates the Soviets.
      KG Bauman advances to a cottage overlooking the north edge of the village, and takes small arms fire from Soviet infantry advancing from the north village.
      KG Wurtz secures a Soviet satchel charge, and advances to a cottage at G10, north of KG Baumanís position, taking light mortar fire (later learned in was actually an anti-tank gun firing HE) along the way, to no effect. They take sniper fire from an unknown location, no effect.
      PvIVF1 advances one hex.
      StuG moves past the church.
      Sdkz moves to a flanking position on the west.

      Turn Six (Scen 2 Turn 6 screenshot)
      Lt. Wurtz called in artillery on the suspected sniperís position.
      KG Bauman fires on the Soviet infantry in the open, killing some and pinning the rest.
      KG Wurtz finishes the squad Bauman was firing at, and takes fire from a sniper, no effect.
      Sdkz moves towards the probable sniper position.
      KG Eisenbach storms I11 and eliminates the Soviets. KG Wurtz comes under fire from an anti-tank gun, location probably G2. No losses.

      Turn Seven

      KG Wurtz spots the AT gunís position and fires on it to no visible effect. Sniper fires at Wurtz to no effect.
      Sdkz moves towards the probable sniper position, spots the sniper, and fires for no visible effect.
      KG Eisenbach secures Molotov cocktails from dead enemy, advances into north village.
      KG Bauman advances into north village.
      StuG begins working its way around to the east.
      PvIVF1 holds position.

      Turn Eight
      KG Wurtz spots a Soviet rifle squad helping the crew manhandle the AT gun to a new position and fires on it, pinning all.
      KG Eisenbach advances to the next cottage north and comes under fire from Soviet infantry in a stone factory building at H3. One squad is pinned.
      Sdkz moves towards the probable sniper position, spots the sniper, and fires for no visible effect.
      KG Bauman advances to a cottage at F4, taking ineffective small arms fire along the way.
      StuG advances into the north village using buildings for cover, ending up behind buildings just vacated by KGs Bauman and Eisenbach.
      PvIVF1 moves up to StuGís position.

      Turn Nine (Scen 2 Turn 9 screenshot)
      KG Wurtz spots the AT gun and rifle squad in a new position, decimates the rifle squad and eliminates the AT gun crew with small arms fire.
      Sdkz spots the sniper, and suppresses him.
      KG Eisenbach attempts to rush the factory but is pinned down in the street.
      KG Bauman storms the factory, wiping out two squads of Soviet infantry in close combat.
      StuG moves forward to support the attack on the sniper, wounding him.
      PvIVF1 moves up to support the attack on the factory.

      Turn Ten
      KG Bauman storms the cemetery. Fire from an unspotted Soviet squad in K2 pins one rifle squad, but the rest of the KG clears the cemetery in close combat. Sniper fire decimates a squad in KG Eisenbach.
      PvIVF1 fires on the Soviet squad in K2, pinning it.
      Sdkz spots the sniper, and suppresses him.
      KG Eisenbach, less one pinned half-squad, rushes the Soviets in K2, eliminating them in close combat.
      KG Wurtz fires on the sniper with no effect.
      StuG eliminates the sniper.

      German Victory!
      Attached Files
      Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

      Comment


      • #4
        Assuming you only play vs. AI- how'd you say the cost-benefit of the game is?

        How steep is the learning curve?
        If one never played boardgames (but did play video wargames) would one need to read 34298089 pages of manual or just jump in and learn on the move?

        Comment


        • #5
          I just picked it up.
          I played without reading the rules and had no issues. Very much enjoyed it. However, I will read the manual tonight as the game will make more sense. The counter information is not intuitive. My usual issue is that Matrix Games tends to be overpriced. However, this game has much better than their usual poor graphics. If you are looking for a computer game that plays like a boardgame you might also want to look at Conflict of Heroes.
          AHIKS - Play by (E)mail board wargaming since 1965.
          The Blitz - Play by Email computer wargaming.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Golani View Post
            Assuming you only play vs. AI- how'd you say the cost-benefit of the game is?

            How steep is the learning curve?
            If one never played boardgames (but did play video wargames) would one need to read 34298089 pages of manual or just jump in and learn on the move?
            Good cost benefit. It cost me $40 for the download version, and from what I've seen just playing the included material will run 60+ hours. Plus I've already downloaded three fan-built scenarios off the game forums.

            For someone who understands the basics of military operations, the learning curve is not too bad. The interface is simplicity itself. It is a serious war game, and you will have to patiently apply the proper usage of cover, suppressive fire, and flanking to get the job done.

            You can just jump in, but looking over the manual will pay off a great deal. Its only 100 pages with about a fifth of that illustrations. Key information are, as Duncan has noted, interpreting the counters. For example, vehicles have one of P,PP,PO,and PPO stamped upon them. P or PP reflect how many people the vehicle can transport; an 'O' means they ride outside (vulnerable to small arms fire), and absence of 'O' means they ride inside. Tanks, for example, are PO or PPO.

            The manual also explains the principles behind the game, which helps translate RL concepts into rules.

            I played a scenario, then looked over the manual, made a quick cheat sheet (the P,PP etc codes, and a few other specialty counter notes. I returned to the manual to learn how to assign captured weapons (turned out you have to assign them during the Rally phase), and dismount MGs off tripods for movement (Rally phase again), but that was about it.

            Go to Matrix's forums and look over the L&L section. There's a growing community helping each other.
            Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

            Comment


            • #7
              I should insert a comment about Heroes (I can't edit the OP).

              A squad under heavy fire or attack may generate a Hero, who is basically a free Leader. Heroes have Skill Cards, one per, which gives them a unique ability. Unlike Leaders, Heroes also have an intrinsic fire capability (although a Leader equipped with a LMG can fire, and if not equipped adds a positive modifier to units stacked with him).

              There are a wide variety of skill cards, which adds a degree of unpredictability to the game.

              There is a cap to the number of Heroes one side can have.
              Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like a cool game.
                "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence".

                Homer


                BoRG

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Captain General View Post
                  Sounds like a cool game.
                  Its very good if you're interested in small unit tactics.
                  Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                    Its very good if you're interested in small unit tactics.
                    You're edging me to buy it...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                      Its very good if you're interested in small unit tactics.
                      You're edging me to buy it...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                        Its very good if you're interested in small unit tactics.
                        You're edging me to buy it...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I finished the next scenario, which is a defensive action, but haven't finished writing it up. Usually defensive battles against an AI are dull, but this was a nail-biter.

                          The game shows a rifle squad armed with rifles & SMGs to have little inherent firepower-not low enough to completely disregard, though. The real killers are the MGs, which are represented by counters.

                          The Germans are heavily outnumbered, but their ratio of LMGs to squads is nearly 1:1, and they have a high ratio of effective leaders to squads. This gives them great firepower and the ability to shake off suppression, whereas the hordes of Russians are generally out of action once Shaken.

                          So you end up with what feels pretty spot on for the East Front: a smaller, better equipped and led force contending with a much larger but tactically more clumsy and less-well-equipped enemy.
                          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Good stuff... thanks AR.
                            SPORTS FREAK/ PANZERBLITZ COMMANDER/ CC2 COMMANDER

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Scenario Three is Human Wave, a defensive battle. The Russians have ovberwhelming numbers, but very few support weapons and leaders. They must advance over fairly open terrain. The Germans are deployed in a skirmish line, with a line of foxholes behind them.


                              Victory Conditions: Lt. Wurtz survives, hold 3 of 5 victory hexes: E10, G16, H14, I14, L10.

                              Turn One
                              Forces: KG Wurtz: Lt. Wurtz, two rifle squads, one MG-34
                              KG 1: One rifle squad, one MG-34
                              WT 1: one weapon team, one tripod-mounted MG-42.
                              KG Plasmann: Lt. Plasmann, one rifle squad, one MG-34.
                              Frei, a hero.

                              WT1 decimates an advancing Soviet squad.
                              Frei withdraws to the foxhole line.
                              KG Wurtz falls back to the foxhole line. Under fire from a DshK after it arrives, a Hero emerges.
                              KG1 withdrew to the foxhole line and merges with Frei, creating KG Frei..
                              KG Plasmann withdraws to the foxhole line.

                              Turn Two
                              KG Wutrz, rallies, employs small arms fire, decimating and pinning two Russian squads and eliminating one.
                              KG Frei wipes out three Soviet squads.
                              KG Plausman fired on three Soviet rifle squads, pinning all and decimating two.
                              WT 1 fired on three Soviet rifle squads, pinning all, eliminating one, and decimating two.
                              The Soviets advance under heavy cover fire; both KG Wurtz squads are suppressed.

                              Turn Three (screenshot)
                              KG Frei wounds a Hero and eliminates two half-squads.
                              KG Plausman pins a Soviet squad.
                              Soviet fire suppresses the squad in KG Frei.
                              WT decimates and pins two Soviet squads.
                              KG Wurtz rallies one squad, and pins a squad with small arms fire, then calls in a mortar barrage that decimates one squad, eliminates two half-squads, and pins four squads..
                              The Soviets forgo advancing to direct small arms fire against all German units. Frei is wounded, and the squad pinned.

                              Turn Four

                              With a shortage of leaders/Heros, the pinned/suppressed Soviet units fall back. The Soviets still advancing are much more spread out.
                              WT 1 fires on three Soviet squads, pinning two.
                              KG Wurtz rallies, decimates & pins a Soviet squad, and eliminates a half squad.
                              KG Frei wounds a Soviet Hero.
                              KG Plausmann eliminates one Soviet half- squad.

                              Turn Five
                              The shortage of leaders means that suppressed/pinned Soviet units withdraw. However, as the screenshot shows, one Soviet Hero has entered the foxhole line, and the Soviets are pressing close.
                              KG Frei decimates and pins a squad.
                              KG Wurtz rallies, eliminates one squad.
                              WT 1 decimates & pins three squads that was flanking the foxhole line.
                              KG Pausmann eliminates the Hero trying to break through the line.
                              Both mortasr barrages are called in, interdicting most of the front, eliminateing a half-squad, and pinning five rifle squads and both DshK HMGs.
                              A heated fire-fight ensues; the Russians storm the line and wipe of KG Frei,, leaving a Leader, Hero, and one squad in the line.

                              Turn Six (Screenshot)
                              The Soviets are pressing hard on the foxhole line, but other than one leader and a Dshk crew, no units rally.
                              KG Pausmann suppresses the breakthrough, and a detachment from KG Wutz wipes out the Soviets.
                              KG Wurtz decimates & pins a Soviet squad.
                              WT 1 Decimates one squad, pins it and another.
                              A DshK decimates KG Pausmannís rifle squad, but a heroic soldier helps even the odds (Hero created).

                              Turn Seven
                              KG Pausmann decimates a squad and pins it.
                              WT 1 decimates & pins a squad.
                              The Hero secures KG Freiís MG-34, and links up with a pinned rifle squad, forming KG Anikan.
                              Soviet fire kills the half-squad and LT. Pausmann of KG Pausamnn.
                              KG Wurtz eliminates a half squad, and pins & decimates a rifle squad.
                              In heavy fighting, KG Pausmann is eliminated, and KG Anikan reduced to a single shaken half-squad. One Russian rifle squad penetrated to the edge of the victory hexes, but otherwise the foxhole line holds.

                              Turn Eight
                              WT 1 decimated & pinning the breakthrough squad.
                              KG Wurtz eliminated a half-squad, then repulsed a Soviet attempt to break the line by wiping out a squad and a half-squad in close combat. Lt. Wurtz is wounded.

                              KG Anikan wiped out in close combat.
                              The Soviets have over-run the center of the foxhole line, but time has run out and they are dangerously low on forces.

                              Defensive actions against an AI are usually dull affairs, but this was an extremely intense scenario. Proper target selection and use of the mortar barrages was key.
                              Attached Files
                              Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                              Comment

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