From: Kinmel bay
Some final thoughts on the game in no particular order.
I am still convinced that this game is ideal for the novice player to play as the Germans. Let's face it, there is virtually no way you can win so it is a good game to try things out on. I think the dismissal rule works better in this game than in any other. It was actually a close run thing me getting dismissed as I had another minor objective that I was going to get the points for on the next turn. In a future game I would also try out the ambition card as that can lend a bit more prestige, but is a bit of a gamble. As the Germans you have to read the manual and thoroughly understand the no step back rule to manage your retreats. especially from the Caucasus. I tried to go in leaps on certain turns to give me a turn of not losing any points and allowing the minor objectives to come to fruition.
In a future game it would be interesting to play without a house rule for Stalingrad although I think for sheer bloody mindedness it is great fun to try a game with a house rule.
I would also consider playing with a house rule for the Crimea in future games. Although I think the minor allies rules are excellent and did a good job of replicating the sheer collapse of the front line units, this also led to the Romanian units in the Crimea disappearing, whereas in reality Romanians were still there in 1944. I suppose it is up to your opponent as well. if you went all out as Soviets and invaded the Crimea the German lines would rapidly become untenable and would probably lead to an early finish. I would say that the Soviets need to clear the Taman before launching their assault on the Crimea.
As German it is really interesting working out how to defend. I think I got it about right until the last Soviet offensive. Admittedly it was very strong and I did not have much leeway to retreat. But in a future game I may keep some of my panzers further back and try and attack the breakthrough units head on rather than defending the shoulders. Difficult to tell though as I didnt have much scope for tactical retreats with the no step back rule...but that was what made it so interesting and so much fun. I will definitely try something different in a future game though.
A note on Soviet tactics, I felt that Olivier got them pretty much spot on throughout the game. He was very brave with his spearhead units and they repeatedly got beaten back by my panzers. yet because of that I was always made to give up territory. I also think he did the right thing by building up for each offensive rather than continuously attacking across the line. Especially in the later offensives it meant he had cards to play and strong guards infantry units to hold against German counter-attacks. You can see how well he did by my dismissal date. Although he had not taken Kharkov he was certainly ahead of the game with his other objectives. If German units are still in Stalingrad (whether by choice or through a house rule) then Olivier played it right by concentrating heavy forces from the start for their eradication.
A note on the reinforcement rules. I know some people dont like the way they can appear on the frontlines, but it is the same for both players. if you look at the historic dates that some of the reinforcement units were actually fighting it means that with the new rules they are not ready until a lot further along than they were in reality. With the new reduced readiness and APs it will make the German's job that bit harder. Anyway, that is just my personal preference, I think it adds a nice random element to the game which will now be much reduced - I realise I'm in the minority with that view though.
The issue of the northern border of the map does come into play in the latter stages as the Soviet player could use it to trap elements of the German 2nd army.
Apart from Stalingrad the Germans never got a major objective, they were all minor ones. I'm not too sure if this is a good or bad thing. On the one hand if they were too tough it would've meant being dismissed sooner. On the other hand once I lost Stalingrad I had minimal prestige for the rest of the game. I think I'm sitting on the fence on that one, but I was surprised to never get a major objective to hold.
Going back to the Soviet player, I dont think it suits novices. Olivier had to spend a lot of time organising his forces and showed a lot of patience in when and how he launched his assaults. A novice player like me may have panicked and tried to rush things along to gain his objectives. As mentioned above, you really have to be brave and harden yourself to high losses if you want to break through the German lines. Olivier did that very well and always seemed to make the right decision to stop his offensives to build up for the next ones.
What I like about this scenario is that both players have plenty to do. The German does not just run away, he constantly snipes at the Soviet spearheads; and the Soviet player does not really have all powerful forces until the balance of power has really shifted as the German losses mount towards the end of the game.
If you like nice straight fronts and carefully managed forces then Uranus is not really the scenario to provide it. However, if you like a crazy game where each player spends much of it scratching his head, then it is definitely the scenario to play, some of the turns were just utter madness.