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How To Play Undaunted: Stalingrad

How To Play Undaunted Stalingrad

This guide explains the unique concepts and procedures utilised in the Undaunted series and in Undaunted: Stalingrad in particular rather than the individual movement and fighting actions which are straightforward enough and are adequately explained in the rules.

Clear The Decks

Undaunted: Stalingrad uses a deck of cards to represent all the soldiers in your platoon. These soldiers all have individual portraits and names. Through the campaign their abilities will upgrade with experience but if they become a casualty they are permamently lost to be replaced by a fresh recruit with reduced skills.

These soldiers are grouped by class into a combat unit that takes actions on the tiles of the playing area. Thus the 5 Riflemen are represented by the Rifleman combat counter. There are 3 soldiers in the Machine Gunners unit and the Scouts. When support units arrive such as Snipers and Engineers they will also have 3 members. These units are grouped into two identical squads: A and B. These are the same for both the Germans and the Soviets. (This  seems to be more for play balance than historical accuracy).

The 3 commanders on each side: 2 Squad Leaders and the overall Platoon Sergeant, are not physically represented on the battlefield and are immune from effects, both good and bad, except via the text in the RPG inspired scenario briefings.

Your full deck is your Supply. This is openly laid out by unit so either side can see what’s in it. With it are 10 Fog of War cards that represent lost actions. From this you build your Starting Deck. This will consist of the 3 officers and a Rifleman and Scout from both squads plus 2 Fog of War cards. You may also be allocated additional support units in the scenario set-up. This deck will show the first troops in action.

From this deck, you will draw 4 cards each turn which provide actions for the corresponding combat counters. Nearly all will have the ability to move or fire at the enemy and they will also have additional actions specific to their class. Command actions can Bolster this deck with more cards from your supply. This will increase the chance of you getting actions for the units you want. It is also the way in which units that are not initially on the board get introduced.

It is important to realise that only cards in this deck can be taken as casualties. A successful attack on the board means a corresponding card of that type is removed:  from the hand, play area, discard pile or the deck but not from the Supply. If there is no corresponding card the on board counter is routed. A routed unit can only be brought back into Action by Bolstering a card of that type into the deck. Therefore it is vital to keep at least one card of each type back in your supply. If a unit is in peril you can have it Hunker down. This takes the card back into Supply. This will then be safe from taking casualties though it can be routed. It will also not take actions.

Most of the scenarios require objectives to be controlled. This can only be done by Riflemen. You can win any scenario (unless specifically stated otherwise) by inflicting a Full Rout at any time all your opponent’s Riflemen are routed. Also if all your Riflemen become casualties you’ll be unable to control any more objectives and if you need to do this to gain victory you may as well Withdraw.

Street By Street, Block By Block

Undaunted: Stalingrad is played in a number of scenarios, 15 in the full campaign, played over a section of the 72 tile depiction of an area South of Central Stalingrad around the 9th January Square. There are many ways the campaign can go before culminating in one of 14 endings.

Each commander reads the scenario briefing from their own Scenario Book and is then guided to a particular scenario in it. The briefing and scenario numbers will be the same for each but they will have different texts, possibly different objectives and forces. The Map Book illustrates the tiles to be used in this scenario and the starting places for the original forces plus any control markers and objective points.

The scenario is then played in a number of player turns. Each turn both players draw 4 cards from their Starting Deck. They simultaneously reveal one to determine Initiative. The player with the Initiative then plays their 3 remaining actions followed by the second player. Rounds continue until one side has gained their victory conditions.

After the end of the scenario, both commanders write who won in their Scenario book. This will lead them to a Game State which they also record, the new Briefing and the next Scenario. All these numbers should be the same for each player.

The effects of the previous combat are then borne out in the Card Decks. Depending on the number of casualties just sustained a certain number of active participants are lost. These are replaced by nameless Recruits. Their names are not noted to reflect the impersonal nature of endless raw recruits being pushed into the front line.

Alternatively, two of the combatants on each side are Upgraded to give them new abilities gained through their battle experience.

Play continues, one scenario after the next, as the battle ebbs and flows, often across the same key areas until one side emerges victorious from the final confrontation.