Undaunted: Stalingrad Board Game Review

A deck-building wonder.

Undaunted: Normandy came out of nowhere in 2019 and have become enough of a hit to spawn a sequel and an enlargement. As you may wager from the identify, it’s another sport in a very lengthy listing of video games about the battles in northern France at some point of World War II. What made Undaunted special changed into the way it represented soldiers and officers the use of a deck of playing cards that players could upload to throughout the sport to tweak their method. It become so correct we put it on our satisfactory deck-constructing games and great war board video games lists.

Undaunted: Stalingrad

Undaunted: Stalingrad

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With Undaunted: Stalingrad, the designers have moved the movement to Eastern Front, however this isn’t just a reskin. It’s a whole new game with a novel, devoted marketing campaign device.

What’s in the Box

  • Undaunted: Stalingrad is available in a large, heavy box with a large, heavy charge tag. There are two colossal stacks of cardboard tiles that are used to construct the metropolis-scapes the gamers will combat over in the course of the course of the marketing campaign.
  • In fact, in case you lay out all of the tiles in rows and wide variety order, it’ll make a hard map of the ancient metropolis. One set of tiles is for the starting state of affairs of the map. The different is a fixed of replacements for those tiles if the originals get destroyed or fortified as part of the movement.
  • It’s a comparable tale for the decks of cards that make up the the rest of the burden. There’s one lot for the German player and any other for the Soviets. The starting decks are functionally equal. But as play goes on, your deck will go through permanent casualties as well as increase with new alternatives.
  • These additions aren’t the same for both aspects however represent operational and fabric differences among them, addressing a commonplace critique of the unique game.
  • This isn’t just a reskin. It’s a whole new game with a singular, committed campaign device.“
  • Some 10-sided cube and sheets of punch-out counters representing special squads, motors and scenery as well as battlefield markers round out the contents.
  • The slightly cartoonish fashion used within the playing cards and tiles across the Undaunted games is a bit of an acquired taste given the severe concern count.
  • But for this fourth time out, artist Roland MacDonald has nailed the stability of realism and caricature required. It’s additionally good to see some practical range some of the Soviet forces, which includes ladies and various ethnic backgrounds.

Rules and How it Plays

  • Deck-constructing, wherein players begin with a middle of cards and use them to shop for extra playing cards during the sport, is a nicely-worn design concept. However, in maximum deck-constructing video games the deck-constructing is the whole point.
  • What units Undaunted aside is the manner that the designers make the deck stand in for elements of morale and unit concord with none extra rules overhead. There is, of direction, a first rate good fortune thing inside the card draw that may, or won’t, guide what you need to do at the board. But there’s plenty of strategy, too.
  • Players start every turn with four playing cards: they play one in a nerve-wracking bid to peer who will move first, and the alternative 3 on their turn. Most cards represent battlefield units and allow the player to take an motion with the corresponding counter at the board, including shifting, or shooting, that is resolved via a d10 roll.
  • On successful, a corresponding card is removed from the deck. So the more units come underneath hearth, the much less possibly they may be to act and the less dependable they emerge as, certainly due to the fact their cards are less in all likelihood to get drawn.
  • Decks also include non-commissioned officer playing cards. These don’t activate units but upload cards in your deck or draw greater cards from it. This corresponds to pep talks, courageous management and the usage of reinforcements to patch up unwell forces.
  • But try and coordinate too many extraordinary units and you will find your key playing cards gained’t turn up within the confusion. The very last form of card is Fog of War which does nothing however clog up your hand. These represent battlefield uncertainty and are won while you scout out new tiles, a prerequisite for moving.
  • Adding in your deck and taking actions at the board are your levers in trying to meet the state of affairs targets. These are a ways extra diverse than preceding Undaunted video games, which had been in the main a race to control precise victory tiles.
  • That’s nonetheless a issue right here however it’s complemented by way of frantic timed defenses and determined demolitions, helped with the aid of a much broader range of tiles with easy surroundings guidelines. There are even scenarios with secret intelligence which you don’t screen in your opponent until brought about.
  • This range approach there are multiple ways to method each warfare, with subtleties of method that you won’t tease out until it’s too past due. You’ll additionally want to alternate your plans on the fly in reaction to the dynamic scenario on the ground.
  • It’s a system that forces you into countless awkward compromises. Riflemen, for instance, are the most effective cards that can manipulate tiles. But unless you’ve got more than one matching cards you could’t each flow and take control in the same flip.
  • Instead, you have to threat them creeping ahead, final variety and making them an less difficult target even as permitting the enemy the danger to move up and contest the tile themselves. Most units have unique movements, like engineers launching smoke or machine gunners laying suppressing fireplace, that you’ll need to stability with the want to transport, shoot, and complete objectives. It’s an ongoing, fraught collection of difficult trade-offs.
  • Scenarios get teed up in line with a branching shape that relies upon on who received the preceding war. Each side has a scenario book with the setup and a short narrative creation to the next fight. Many eventualities make new cards available on your deck, from off-map assets like bombers to on-map tanks. Victory continually wins you some thing, maybe it’s control of a phase of the city or an additional advertising.
  • Depending on how things spread, the marketing campaign can come to a sudden end — or it is able to culminate in a massive warfare for very last dominance over the city. However, the loser in a state of affairs frequently receives a mild beginning benefit in the setup for the next one, assisting to keep matters even.

The campaign can come to a sudden stop — or it can culminate in a significant war for final dominance over the city“

  • As a result, Undaunted: Stalingrad encourages you to suppose lengthy-time period. At the cease of every combat, you’re taking casualties relying on how many playing cards you lost. If those turn out to be line infantrymen, they’re changed with inferior reserve cards, even as professionals like snipers or engineers are lost permanently.
  • You also sell two cards, which get swapped for advanced options. So it’s not a case of sending in the troops, gung-ho to secure targets. Every selection is a compromise where taking a danger may pay off with a win however hobble your deck for the the rest of the marketing campaign. This adds a amazing frisson of hazard to even simple choices and makes conceding a strategic choice instead of a cop-out.
  • The scheme of swapping out cards or tiles for replacements method you pay for a number of stuff in the field that you gained’t use. But it also paperwork the idea of a incredible marketing campaign system. Ongoing campaigns are intricate things because as one aspect ekes out a bonus it tends to snowball. Between the balance changes in situation setup and the ordinary, vicious grind of attrition that each sides go through, that is not likely to take place here. At the same time, the regular churn of components and the chance of a unexpected victory hold you feeling like each struggle matters.
  • And the way the metropolis and your forces collapse around you packs an increasingly more mighty emotional punch because the marketing campaign is going on. When you’re completed it’s clean to reset the game equipped to do it once more, with a high likelihood you’ll see distinct eventualities.

Where to Buy


  • Tinkering with an established system is hardly ever the stuff of board sport gold. However, Undaunted: Stalingrad bucks that trend with changes that elevate the exquisite original in every manner. The forces are more various, the situation design is a long way extra attractive and the marketing campaign policies are brilliant. Its primary problem is one among commitment: to get the most from this box you’ll must play it over the long haul, a dozen or more games to reach a end. Finding that sort of time to commit to 1 game is uncommon nowadays. But if there’s one name that ought to inspire players to paste to it and definitely eke the financial, strategic and emotional fee out of a single sport, it’s this.