Adventures in Arizona – Thursday

So, back to Ukraine ’43. When we resumed the game, the German side were back at the Dnieper river, pursued by the Soviets. There were not enough units for a complete defense, but gradually – thanks to replacements and reinforcements – a defensive line was constructed.

Unfortunately, it was weak in places. And the Soviet side eventually broke through. From that point on, as much as matters before had been desperate for the Germans, they were even more so.

Each turn, the Soviets drove forward, picking up VP here and there. Each turn the Germans tried to do some damage with their panzer forces, and to stall what seemed like the inevitable.

With a couple of turns to go, the Soviets launched an offensive on Kiev that would have won the game, had it been successful. The Germans held out.

Kiev holds out

Kiev holds out

Then, out of nothing, Nicholas cobbled together a strike force that smashed into two of the big Soviet stacks and sent them reeling. That bought the Germans precious time.

The Soviets needed 30 VP to win. With two turns left, they had 28 VP. With one turn left, they had 28 VP. That meant, in the final turn, it all came down to the minor city of Nikopol. Surrounded by the Soviets, would they hold out?

Nikopol at the center of the storm

Nikopol at the center of the storm

Yes. Incredibly, at the end of the campaign game, victory could have gone either way, depending on the fates in that last turn.

It had been a hard fought victory for the German side. Nicholas must take much credit for this, as he was much more thoughtful in the positioning of the defenders than I was. His sense of the danger was better developed than mine. (Though I could claim something for having suggested the garrisoning of Nikopol.)

Marc and Daaniel had been unlucky at times during the game. With them having to do most of the attacking, they had suffered from too many low die rolls. Had these gone differently… On the other hand, the weather was way too kind to the Soviets.

A great gaming experience, played with terrific gamers, in a wonderful atmosphere – just like I expect at Consimworld Expo. Simply wonderful.