In our 1st Action Point covering the solitaire game Pavlov’s House: The Battle of Stalingrad from Dan Verssen Games, we took a look at the Volga River operational-level board to understand how those actions hinder or help the defenders in Pavlov’s House. In this Action Point, we will take a closer look at the 9 January Square portion of the board.
9 January Square
In the middle of the board is a view of the area immediately surrounding Pavlov’s House which mainly consists of the area called 9 January Square. This area shows the location of various colored tracks that are assault lanes for the German Wehrmacht counters and also provides for locations where the Soviet defender can place special Sapper units that act as a last line of defense. As German cards are drawn that show a different type of troop that is being mustered, including Scouts, Riflemen, Machine Gunners and various tanks including Panzer II’s, III’s, IV’s and even StuGIIIB’s, a die is rolled and the counters for these units are placed on one of these 6 colored tracks. As more units are placed on each track the units advance toward Pavlov’s House with the goal of overrunning and entering the building.
This area of the board represents the tactical level actions that are taken by elements of the German 6th Army that assaulted Pavlov’s House.
Wehrmacht Card Phase
Each round, after the player has completed their Soviet Card Phase by drawing 4 Soviet cards and taking actions associated with three of those cards, play will then move to the Wehrmacht Card Phase.
Here the player will draw three Wehrmacht Cards one at a time from the deck revealing each as drawn and carrying out the German actions on one card before proceeding to the next.
There are six different categories of Wehrmacht Cards, based on the cards effects including Attack Defender, Suppress Defender, Attack Building, Bomb Stalingrad, Place Wehrmacht Counter and Assault.
Attack Defender – There is one such card called Sniper. When it is revealed, you roll one die and determine what side of the building it will Attack based on color and then you will roll a die to determine which specific Defender it will Attack in this area. If there are no Soviet defenders in that color the Attack will have no effect. Once the color and unit is determined, you will roll 4 six sided dice and compare the results to the Defense Value of that section of building. If one die is equal to or greater than the defense value, a hit is scored and the counter is eliminated.
Suppress Defender – There is one such card called Mortar. When it is revealed, you roll one die and determine what side of the building it will Attack based on color and then you will roll a die to determine which specific Defender it will Attack following the same procedure as for Attack Defender. If a Defender is hit, you will place a Disrupted Token. If it already has a token and is supposed to receive another, it will be removed as a casualty.
Attack Building – There are four different types of Wehrmacht Cards with the Attack Building effect which represent artillery at different echelons including 15cm sFH 18 and 10.5cm leFH at the divisional artillery regiment level and 7.5cm leIG 18 and 15cm sIG 33 Cards at the infantry regiment artillery company level.
When these cards are drawn they function similar to the other Attack cards. You roll a die to see what side of the building you Attack and them roll the number of dice on the card. If one of die is equal to or greater than the area’s Defense Value, you then reduce the Defense Value by one. If the Defense Value is already at 3 and a hit is scored, each Defender at that color will receive a Disrupted Token.
Bomb Stalingrad – Now to my favorite one. I say favorite because you can spend your Soviet Cards in the previous round to build up a Defense to these cards. When you draw a Junkers Ju 87 Card, the Germans are attempting to bomb your assets on the Volga River operational-level map to take out your river flotilla supply chain, disrupt communications, and attempt to destroy the 62nd Army Command Post.
The Ju 87 card has the number of aircraft participating in the bombing run (2-4) and the Defense Value of the aircraft which is a 4. Before they get to bomb, the Soviet player can discard any readied anti-aircraft tokens to roll two dice per token in an attempt to shoot down incoming bombers. The dice are rolled and any roll equal to or greater than the Defense Value of 4 will mean one Ju 87 is shut down and will not be able to complete its bombing run.
Any aircraft getting through the AA fire will get to roll 3d6 and will add these numbers together (3-18) and consult the numbered circle on either of the 3 game boards. If there is a readied token in the rolled space, this token will be removed to the stock as it is destroyed. If there is no token there, a Disrupted Token will be placed and will make that site unusable until it is repaired. If a bomber site already has a Disrupted Token you simply go the next highest numbered circle and place a Disrupted Token or remove a readied token. This part of the Wehrmacht Card Phase is very tense but I really like it as there is something I can do about it.
Place Wehrmacht Counter
I already simply described this in the beginning of the post but this is the part that can bury you. As you draw these cards you will roll a die and consult the area which are numbered 1-6 and color coded. You then place that unit type on the first available spot from the outside and it is now assumed to be attacking the fortified Pavlov’s House. As new units are drawn they will be placed on tracks via the same die roll and if a track that is rolled already contains a unit you will simply advance that unit one spot closer to the house and line up the new unit right behind it. These units will keep coming and eventually can end your game in an automatic loss if they enter the last space and are then pushed into Pavlov’s House.
In the picture below, you will see that I was having trouble with the Red 4 track and when a German Machine Gunners card was drawn, the only way I could lose at that point was if I rolled a 4!
Of course I rolled a 4 and was overrun as this new unit pushed the existing Machine Gunners counter into Pavlov’s House. Tough break that I could have managed by attacking more but it is a challenge when the units keep stacking up and if your rolls are poor you won’t be able to keep.
The final card type is the Assault. This card is very bad as it gives each Infantry unit and Armor unit an Attack on the building and its defenders. Each Infantry unit facing each of the three building sides will total their dice and roll to Suppress. They will have to overcome the Defense Value of the building to effect the defenders by placing a Disrupted Token but it can be devastating as each unit on Each side will get a shot. The Armor also will Attack the building and hit if their rolls are equal to or greater than the Defense Value. The way to deal with this card is to keep the number of counters on the tracks to a minimum. Easier said than done sometimes though!
My final point in this post is the last line of defense: the Sappers! You will notice at the end of each track is a figure of a soldier with what appears to be a mine sweeper. If you have been able to ferry Sapper tokens across the Volga and then use your 8th Sapper Battalion Soviet Cards to place a Sapper Token in one of these spaces. If a Wehrmacht Counter is forced to enter this space the Soviet Defender will get to roll 3 dice to see if they destroy the counter. All they must do is roll equal to or greater than the counter’s Defense Value and it will be removed. This is a one time last ditch effort however as it will be removed once triggered and if it misses you will suffer an auto loss!
I hope you enjoyed our look at the 9 January Square portion of the game board as well as our look at the Wehrmacht Card Phase. In our next Action Point, we will look at the Pavlov’s House section of the board and talk about the Soviet Counter Phase.