Start Small: Rattenkrieg

Rattenkrieg: Game mapRattenkrieg is a postcard game published by Turning Point Simulations, the new venture by LPS Inc, publishers of Against the Odds Magazine. It has been designed by Steven Cunliffe who also made The Hell of Stalingrad. It’s a solitaire simulation of the intense fighting for the Tractor Factory in the Battle for Stalingrad. The player takes the roll of the Germans as he maneuvers panzers, infantry, and elite pioneers into the ruins to hunt down the Soviets. Ambushes, snipers, and tough decisions await the Germans as they push deeper into the city.

The longer the game lasts the more Soviet Reinforcements infiltrate through the ruins to surround and cut off the attackers. To win the player will have to master warfare in the most brutal of all WWII battlefields. Rattenkrieg is literally “War of the Rats” and is the name given to irregular and deadly city fighting.

Rattenkrieg: RulesNote that you’ll get the game for free, including die cut counters, with your next order at LPS Inc., go for it!

The system proposed here by Steven Cunliffe is lean, smart and highly scalable for any sort of area control game. It’s about a dozen blocks in 1942 Stalingrad here at a tactical level, but it could be as well about provinces in North Vietnam at an operational level, or galaxy sectors in a sci-fi strategy game.

5 dices, well balanced double sided counters to define opposing forces, a couple of resource scales, and a beautiful game board is what it will take you to create your own solitaire entertainment. This might also easily become the next viral tablet game for digital wargamers.

Initial Setup

Gameturn sample

I start the game with 4 balanced squads, each of my leader leading armor in the North and in the South. My objective is to quickly take control of well defended zones 3 and 10. I push westward and start cleaning the sewer system of the iconic soviet city …

German push on turn #1

A bit of luck on this first round:

  • Soviet roll a die and add a new counter in zone 5. But I do not change my plans, I’ll address that with Infantry on halftracks (2MP). Damn! This is one of these platoons of T34! They pin down my assault and suppress my infantry. Air support is more than welcome to balance the odds and to finally get rid of the reds.
  • North squad enters 3 and reveal an ambush by Molotov cocktails, depleting infantry.
  • Grenadiers enter zone 12 and spot a sniper who retreats, as there is no German leader in the area.
  • In the southern part of the industrial complex, grenadiers secure area #11, while my armour push forward with Colonel Baess. We meet strong opposition there and call for Stukas, but the assault fails and outcome remains uncertain.

That concludes Turn #1 and I realise a couple of mistakes: I forgot to promote Khol in the North, that’s an easy one to fix, giving me an extra iron cross for upcoming battles. As turn 2 begins and soviets are going to roll dice to infiltrate new troops, I bite my fingers and think I should have sent an infantry counter in zone#2 to cover my back. Luckily enough, the soviet rolls 5, and there’s no infiltration as the area is under control. The assault can continue. Good fun!

Situation after turn #1

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