Hourra! – A look at OWB: Stalingrad on Fire

WWII: Operation WhiteBox™
Stalingrad on Fire

Author: Peter C. Spahn
Artwork: Luigi Castellani, Morne Schaap, Public Domain Resources
Publisher: Small Niche Games
Page Count: 28
Available Formats: PDF
PDF (DTRPG) – $3.99

“The Germans underestimated our artillery. And they underestimated the effectiveness of our infantry against their tanks. This battle showed that tanks forced to operate in narrow quarters are of limited value; they’re just guns without mobility. In such conditions, nothing can take the place of small groups of infantry, properly armed, and fighting with utmost determination. I don’t mean barricade street fighting—there was little of that—but groups converting every building into a fortress and fighting for it floor by floor and even room by room. Such defenders cannot be driven out either by tanks or planes. The Germans dropped over a million bombs on us but they did not dislodge our infantry from its decisive positions. On the other hand, tanks can be destroyed from buildings used as fortresses.” ~ Vasily Chuikov

PREMISE:
Stalingrad on Fire is a support mission designed for WWII: Operation WhiteBox™. Russain soldiers must recover secret military documents, engage in house-to-house fighting with German soldiers, and take on a legendary Nazi sniper in the ruined city of Stalingrad!

THE BIG PICTURE:
Stalingrad on Fire is a supplement for WWII: Operation WhiteBox™ and includes two semi-interlinked scenarios which make up make the whole of the supplement. Each scenario is for a group of 3-6 characters of 1st-3rd level. The first scenario, Plans for Destroying of Tanks is set in the ruined streets of Stalingrad, places the PCs (Russians) in a harrowing position, they must locate secret Russian documents that will allow the Russians to gain the upper hand on the streets of Stalingrad. The streets of Stalingrad warranted a small section in the book unto themselves; to say they’re perilous is putting it mildly. The second scenario, Nest of Gadyuki, puts the PCs, this is where you can interlink the two scenarios, into a mission where they are house-to-house fighting in the bombed city of Stalingrad. This second scenario is less about roleplaying, though there are some opportunities for those inclined, and more about mission objectives and survival.

PRODUCTION QUALITY:
This supplement, like all the others, is very well written and the layout is smart and easy on the eyes. Where this and later supplements begins to shine is in the tactical representations included in each supplement. Morne Schaap’s maps are awesome and ooze theme! The supplement also includes player-facing “Intel” maps that can be introduced into the game. The supplement also includes a separate compressed file that includes maps and tokens suitable for printing (in segments) or using with your favorite virtual tabletop. 

WHAT IT IS AND IS NOT:
The supplement is a great low-level set of semi-interlinked missions for Russian characters that will challenge their skills and tactics. The supplement is not an in-depth selection of Stalingrad scenarios for the GM to mix and match to meet their game needs. To me, the supplement is very good, but I want more. Stalingrad has always fascinated me from a military history point of view and this supplement only whets my appetite for more. Do you hear me, Pete? I want more!

The two scenarios are loose enough that with a little tweaking they could be repurposed to any other large city within the European Theater with relative ease. Instead of player Russian characters, players could be played other Allied nationalities, at the GM’s discretion of course.

PARTING SHOTS:
If you’re into playing WWII: Operation WhiteBox™ and you like the Eastern Front, this is a supplement you should probably get. It’s cheap to buy and gives you two solid missions for your players. The addition of the printable assets and the maps and tokens for the virtual tabletops is a huge plus in my book. If you’re looking for a large Stalingrad expansion for WWII: Operation WhiteBox™, you’ll be disappointed, but I think you’ll like what you get nonetheless.

OTHER THINGS WE HAVE WRITTEN:
WWII: Operation WhiteBox™ review – WWII Operation Whitebox; Her Majesty Uncle Sam Wants You!
Video recording of a session I ran and post-game thoughts – WWII Operation Whitebox – AP Video & Post Game Thoughts
A review of the Tactical Combat Supplement – WWII Operation Whitebox: Tactical Combat – Tactical Engagements Come Alive

~ Modoc

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