The battle for Stalingrad saw terrible fighting that went street by street, building by building, and room by room. Every rooftop was a firing position. Every sewer was an attack route. The Germans would call it the "Rat War." Both sides pumped artillery, bombs, rockets, and men into the city, and the burning rubble could be seen from 30 miles (50km) away by air, like something out of Dante's Inferno. It became a "test of wills," between Stalin and Hitler... and the troops paid a terrible price, as Stalingrad was the bloodiest campaign in World War 2.
With so much drama involved, the Stalingrad campaign has prompted many boardgame designs.
But none like this.
The first thing you notice is the map.
Our artists started with actual Luftwaffe recon photos, taken of the city and surrounding area, just before the battle began. Things are as "real" and historically accurate as they can get.
But black and white photos from 1942 can only show so much. Back then staff officers used magnifiers and lots of experience to "interpret" what the photos could tell them. We used artists, computers, and a meticulous attention to detail to connect, colorize, and enhance the maps, so that they "speak" to gamers with a clear voice. It's the most authentic, precise map of Stalingrad ever presented. Some tell us, "It's beautiful."
There is more information about the map (actually, "maps") down below.
Oh yeah-- the map includes a game! In fact, you might say it includes several levels of game.
Many games start with a two-player version, add extra players, and tack on a solitaire version as an after-thought. Stalingrad: Inferno on the Volga began life as a solo game, then added modules for live play. Our Soviet Artificial Intelligence (AI) will give you challenges from turn to turn. This is not an easy game, and, since much depends on what cards are drawn and when, no two games will ever be the same.
And, since you can finish a Solo game in 40-60 minutes, you'll be able to "try again" and see how the story unfolds the next time.
"Inferno" also lets you play a "cooperative" game, with two live players against the Soviet AI, if you'd like to bring a friend along. Or, when face to face competition suits you, "Inferno" lets one or TWO Germans face a Soviet player. Four modes of play-- each one challenging and exciting. Plus, three different levels of complexity, so you can start fast with the Basic game, and add more historical details and commander challenges as you wish.
Here is a look at a pre-production version of the rules for the Basic, Solo game.
One of the well-proven game mechanics uses colorful, precision cut wooden blocks and PVC stickers to represent the units in the battle. Keeping the blocks standing hides the unit identity and strength from the opposing player. The number and color of dots tells how strong the unit is (how many dice it throws and what numbers cause a hit). When the block is damaged by enemy fire, players rotate the block per each "hit," with the new, weaker strength shown at the top of the block. (Certain events can allow a block to regain strength by rotating in the other direction.)
Our kickstarter will allow us to offer Stalingrad: Inferno on the Volga with as much detail and options as possible. Most of the early Stretch Goals are "upgrades," to make the game even better. We feel we are making a future "classic" and our historical information will provide insight to both wargamer newcomers and Stalingrad devotees.
We realize this can be confusing. It is our way of trying to give gamers and history buffs the things they love to get. The game map itself is all you need to play and includes plenty of space to maneuver and try new things. It is included in the game. We offer the same map in a "without hexes or game graphics" version (which we call "Naked") as well as a huge "Collector" version that provides an extraordinary level of detail. Here is a link to see the 3 different maps with a detailed explanation of what they are doing. Link to "Why 3 maps?" chart. But a word up front about the Collector map, because it may be the single most remarkable thing involved in the campaign.
We expect there will be history buffs who don't even play games that will want to join the kickstarter at the "supporter" level, just to get the Collector map. And that's okay, although we point out that our "Everything" bundle packs a tremendous value. (It's smart to get the Collector map now because an item like this makes "inventory" a challenge. We will not be printing many more copies than the kickstarter orders call for.)
Here is a glimpse of the project scope. You can see how the original recon photos have to be tiled together, blended, then colorized and made sharper. The Collector's Edition Map will include the area inside the purple lines below, and it will ALL be colorized and enhanced, exactly as the much larger game map area, but in a higher scale (1:10.000 versus 1:33.000).
Why another Stalingrad game?
If you will excuse the vanity, one reason our designer created another Stalingrad game is that he could not find one that was accurate in depicting the battle, nor gives the players genuinely interesting choices. Game after game would show the same flawed Order of Battle, copying the mistakes of previous versions. Recently released "Soviet" documents have allowed VentoNuovo to deliver the most accurate order of battle--on both sides-- ever put into game form. But beyond this, the weak maps and game timing were part of his decision. We've talked a lot about maps in detail, but the key point here is the scope of the playing area and the schedule are also important. Other Stalingrad games limit players to the purely "urban" part of the area and begin in mid September, when the difficult building-to-building fighting was about to begin. Stalingrad Inferno widens the field, and starts a month earlier. So the German player has to finish the "blitzkrieg" that encircled the city as soon as he can, and then can set up where and how he wants to approach the mission. Yes, there is a lot to gain from another Stalingrad game! Here is an interview with the designer who discusses some of these things.
"Me in the Game?"
The game calls for the overall commanders to be "physically" on the board, at some point during the game, and each will have a block of his own. We anticipate making those "Uber" sized blocks, because they are not part of the normal "fog of war" that makes it smart for blocks to be the same size.
One of our (limited) options is adding YOUR photo to the "Uber Blocks" that are used for the overall commanders. (You will still receive the historical commanders too! And with blocks of their own. Your choice which you want to put into the game.) See the FAQ for details.
Stalingrad: Inferno on the Volga. A new look at the classic situation.
Ventonuovo Games and Draco Ideas sign an international agreement for distribution!
Draco Ideas shall be Ventonuovo Games partner at Stalingrad, Inferno on the Volga. They are going to cooperate in the Spanish translation and they are going to distribute the game in Spain after Kickstarter campaign. Backers distribution shall be performed by Ventonuovo Games. The Spanish version shall include translated into Spanish rules, but cards, backcover or any other game component or addon shall not be translated and it shall be included in English language. Store and distributor pledge levels shall not be available for Spanish backers.
Ventonuovo Games se ha asociado con Draco Ideas, para la publicación de Stalingrad, Inferno on the Volga. Draco Ideas cooperará en la traducción y en la distribución del juego en España después de la campaña de Kickstarter. La distribución a mecenas correrá a cargo de Ventonuovo Games. La versión en castellano incluirá el reglamento traducido, pero el resto de componentes como cartas, trasera de la caja, u otros componentes adicionales no serán traducidos y se incluirán en inglés. Los niveles de mecenazgo de Tienda y Distribuidor no estarán disponibles para mecenas españoles.
1. WHY THREE STICKER VERSIONS?
The basic game includes the Standard Stickers, which have very limited historical/order of battle information so that they can make the unit type "NATO" symbol as large as possible. They are intended to be the easiest to play with. The Designer's Edition Stickers reduce the size of the NATO symbols but provide more historical information. (These are given for free for the first 42 hours.) The "Icon" stickers show symbols like tanks and groups of infantry, because some players prefer this to NATO stickers. We have a detailed explanation about these differences that you can find by clicking here.
2. WHY 3 MAPS?
The game includes the Game Map, that features the highly detailed map of the area with a hexagon grid superimposed as needed to play the game, plus other game graphics. The "Naked Map" is the same size as the Game Map but minus the hexagons and game graphics, showing a bit more landscape. The Collector Edition Map map is a huge rendition, without hexes and with ALL the historically significant buildings identified. (Find out more here).
3. What comes in the Historical Bundle?
There is a good history of the campaign, which provides details and insights without having to work through hundreds of pages. There is also a Designer's Guide which is very detailed, explaining the process by which Emanuele worked to get as much historical detail into the game in a seamless way, that does not require the players to spend a lot of time on rules details or charts. We also include the Naked Map, so people can study the battlefield without hexes or game graphics getting into the way.
You can add the Collector Map to any pledge for an additional 150 euros. It will be printed on high quality PolyPropylene format /waterproof and fireproof) and shipped in a separate mailing tube, but we do not increase your basic postage fee. Remember, if your total order reaches 300 euros or higher (not including postage), your shipping is free!
4. Why are the shipping charges the same, whether I buy one game or several?
This is something we do to make things simpler for us and encourage our supporters to select more games. Of course, it costs us a lot more to send you three or four games compared to one, but we have seen other kickstarters charge a pretty significant amount on shipping one game and then add more for everything extra that you buy. That seems complicated and discouraging to us, so we opt to make it simple for you and deal with the added shipping charges ourselves.
5. How can I find out more about how the game works?
There is a very detailed After Action Report on BoardGameGeek.com, which shows a gamer working through his first solo game and taking lots of photos along the way. You can find that here.
And more FAQs under the FAQs Section.
Risks and challenges
We have simplified shipping and are bearing much of the cost, depending on what you buy. Orders of 300,00€ or more get Free Shipping Anywhere. Under that amount, you pay a single price for shipping, regardless of how much you want to buy — more than one game, add-ons, etc. — just one shipping price. But again, if your add-ons take you to 300,00€, you get Free Shipping! Here are the shipping charges (to a single address):
US, Canada: €18
Rest of World: €32
* Any combination over €300,00 gets FREE SHIPPING!
* We cannot ship to areas in a "state of conflict"
Risks and challenges
This will be VentoNuovo's 9th game, and 4th kickstarter. All our previous games have been shipped successfully three months before our promise. While there are always unexpected things in game production, we are veteran makers and very careful with our promises. The game will be produced in the EU so we will not have any tales of "waiting for ships to sail" or "can't get past customs" like some other kickstarter backers have endured. We are confident that our August commitment is a "no later than," and not an "if everything goes perfectly."
- (25 days)