Had Mark over yesterday for some gaming. First, he showed me game I hadn’t heard of, Cowboys, and we did a really fast two gunmen shootout (maybe 45 minutes including absorbing the really short rulebook?). Anyway, it seems to have a lot of potential as a really light game, and Mark may bring it over for one of the ‘bigger’ meetings at some point. (Ur, yes, I did win, with the side that was distinctly easier to play.)

After that, we setup and started a game of A Victory Lost, which I’ve been meaning to introduce him to for ages. As the Soviets are a little more obvious as to how to play, he took them, giving me my third game as the Germans (I’ve got to get in a game as the Soviets…). We got through the end of turn four, and will be finishing it off on Vassal.

Overall, I’d say I’m in a pretty good position. Mark’s been a little conservative movement-wise, and maybe a little too willing to make 1:2 attacks. My main problem is that he’s starting to move into a gap in my line near Voroshilovgrad, and I’m not sure what to do to plug it. Otherwise, I’ve got the usual raft of problems at this stage.

The opening demolished the Italian 8th Army as usual, and later attrition has meant that the Julia division are now the only survivors. I actually managed to get the 3rd Romanian Army early this time (usually I don’t get to try to save the units in that area until after STAVKA has already been drawn. So, I had some luck with the initial withdrawl, and the fighting around Millerovo has been pretty intense for the entire game. My usual luck at this stage intervened and a couple of attacks on exposed Soviet units failed, and he managed to rescue two tank Corps that should have at least been reduced.

I started pulling the Hungarian 3rd Army back last turn. Thankfully the Soviets got stalled for a couple turns with 2:1s that reduced his units on the flank of my line. It seems like I’ll get most of the units out, but there’s no real natural line available until I get back to the river near Valuyki, and it could get bad pretty fast.

Hollidt also started pulling back to the Donets River last turn. I think I left it longer than I should have, and things haven’t gone too well, and I lost the 7th Luftwaffe Division. Further south, things are potentially worse, as I’ve lost most of the Romanian units down there, one of the Panzer divisions took a step loss early (as was then reassigned to Hollidt). So the remaining two are slowly backing down the length of the Don River, and there’s not really anything I could call a ‘line’ down there. There is a mass of Russians though.

The good news is that he’s just getting units across the Maynch River at all, and he’s still trying to dislodge an infantry division that’s holding Proletarskaia. This is by far the best shape I’ve been in down there at the end of Turn 4, and with a little luck the 1st Panzer Army will save the day nicely.

It’s still tough, I feel like I’ve lost more units than normal, and certainly my line is a lot more tenuous than I’d like. We’ll see if I can hold it together. Mark is definitely enjoying the game, which is great.