One of the most brutal events of the Second World War, the Battle of Stalingrad has long been regarded as a turning point in the fight against Hitler's forces. The Fuhrer had ordered that Stalingrad be taken in a bid to crush the morale of the Soviet Union by giving the Germans a springboard to potentially seize control of the East. Supported by Luftwaffe bombing, the city was quickly reduced to rubble and hundreds of thousands were killed in the later months of 1942. Yet, despite staring into the face of defeat, the Red Army dug in and pushed back, eventually cracking the Nazi forces amidst the one of the bleakest winters on record.
Now noted wargame designer Dan Verssen has created a way that you can experience it for yourself: Battle for Stalingrad. Two players face off against each other, one taking control of the German Army, the other commanding the Russian forces, in a bid to either maintain or rewrite this momentous period of history. Using an intuitive card-driven game system that is quick to pick up yet offers an incredible depth of play, Battle for Stalingrad sees you and your opponent fight block by block through the rubble-strewn streets, struggling to keep your troops going as morale and supplies grow ever more scarce... As the battle draws to a close, you'll be running low on everything - especially willing soldiers - leaving you to consider whether victory is worth such a high price...
The goal of the game is simple: gain control of five locations within the city of Stalingrad. At the start of each game these locations are randomly selected from a set of nine, adding variety every time you play. Locations contain a Control area and a Perimeter area for each player; if you have forces in your Control area when the enemy does not, the location is yours.
Commanders must balance their plays carefully by gaining control of locations while preserving their forces, managing their cards and spending ration counters - possibly one of the most vital aspects of the game. Rations are gained by controlling locations. They are necessary if you wish to move and attack, and are also used by forces to absorb battle damage. Players must decide when to spend cards, when to discard rations, and when to let a force get destroyed. There are always casualties in war.
The game is built around combat, with every action card having a Firefight value in the top-right corner ranging from -3 to +3. Cards can be played from your hand to build up your attack or decrease the enemy's strength, and players draw Firefight cards back and forth. Once both players pass in succession, they each flip one last card from their decks as a randomizer, finally allocating damage to each other's forces.
You can read more about Battle For Stalingrad on Boardgame Geek.