Getting started with Kharkov 43 Gold

You can almost imagine this rail convoy rolling across the treeless  snow covered steppe at night, the glow of a Russian-held town ahead.  

I have been binge-playing John Tiller Panzer Campaigns lately as the "Gold" version upgrades of their Eastern Front titles are rolled out.  I have fought to cross the Dvina river in Smolensk 41 Gold, struggled to penetrate the Russian defenses with Kursk 43 Gold, mused over bias in unit quality and this morning I have struggled with snow and learned all about rail movement with Kharkov 43 Gold.

Break out your winter gear.
To date, I had avoided the Panzer Campaigns winter scenarios.  Even with the Stalingrad Gold title that I own, I have only played the fall scenarios detailing the 6th Army and 4th Panzer Army advance into the Don River basin. Kharkov 43 then has been a rude awakening for me to winter-fighting on the Eastern Front.

Getting Started

Having been involved some with the creation of the Panzer Battles demo, I can tell you JTS and WDS put quite a bit of thought into showcasing the capabilities of a game and the presentation of it to players for the first time.

The "Getting Started" scenarios in the various Panzer Campaigns titles then are the game designers' way of breaking you into their creations and previewing the battles to come.

In Kharkov 43 Gold, the 9-turn Getting Started scenario "Coup de main at Sinel'nikovo" previews two things that were new to me:  rail movement and snow.

First, rail movement, which is a big part of this scenario, is pretty wild.  Aside from the larger operational games like "War in the East" and "Decisive Campaigns Case Blue", I can't think of a game where rail movement is modeled and is as important as it is here.  A unit utilizing rail movement mode has an extended range and can transcend the snow, which is very likely going to make the rail roads that crisscross the snow covered terrain around Kharkov vitally important.

Get ready for one hex movement per turn.

Second, and perhaps more obvious, you cannot move in the snow.  You just can't.  If you are on a road, you can move a hex or maybe two, but you will not have the freedom of movement with your non-motorized units that you have likely grown accustomed to in the other titles.  Which brings me back to those rail roads, you are going to need them in this game.

Check out the screenshot below of Kharkov and it's place within the MASSIVE "Jump Dialog" to the right of it.  That's hundreds of square kilometers of battlefield to contest, all of it snow-covered.  Railroads crisscross the landscape and the control of them, is going to be critical I suspect.

So there you are, Kharkov 43 Gold is coming online very soon (possibly this week) and if like me you haven't played a Panzer Campaigns title with winter weather and/or utilized rail movement, don't skip the "Getting Started" scenario included within the game.  Play it!


Anonymous said…
Moscow 41 is also dependent upon rail as well. Although the roads do allow greater mobility than what you have indicated in Kharkov 43. I was considering another eastern front title, although I am not up for restricted mobility---again, even though I like the units in this campaign. Therefore, I may choose Kharkov 42 instead.

Note: I really enjoy your blog entries concerning this series. Good writing and engaging narratives.

Thank You
Chris said…
Thanks Anon! The Mius demo for Panzer Campaigns is pretty good also if you haven't played it yet. And it is free!
Ickie said…
I'm enjoying the free Mius'43 scenarios enough that it has switched me on to the Pz Campaign series(Gold)especially all the Eastern front ones that have been re-made like Mius'43.I didnt know the Maps were as big as they are in some of the games.
The deep snow seriously impacts your travel yes,but also the enemies too.

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