Velikiye Luki (mini-game)

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(9 reviews)
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The Battle of Velikiye Luki, sometimes called The Stalingrad of the North, was fought during the Winter Campaign of 1942-1943. It was part of the northern pincer of the Rzhev-Sychevka Strategic Offensive (Operation Mars). The Soviet objective was to liberate the Russian city of Velikiye Luki and to cut the north-south rail line to the west of the city. /

Rather than attacking the town directly, the Soviet forces advanced into the difficult terrain to the north and south of the town. Despite heavy losses, they successfully cut the land links to the city, trapping the garrison. Hitler demanded that all the surrounded formations hold out while relief forces counterattacked to open a route to the encircled units. The garrison held out against repeated and determined Russian assaults. In the meantime, Soviet attempts to take their main objective, the rail lines at Novosokolniki, had been frustrated by the counter-attacks of the relief force. An attempt by the Germans to reach Velikiye Luki in late December ran into stubborn Soviet defense and was halted. The German garrison finally surrendered on January 16th.

Packaged in a ziplock bag

  • One 11" x 17" paper map
  • 64 each .6" die-cut counters
  • 8 page full color rule book
  • 1 ea. 8.5" x 11" player aid


  • 4
    Velikiye Luki

    Posted by Amer Mansour on Mar 14th 2024

    A great game for both experienced wargamers and those that are new to wargaming. It has a small footprint, limited number of counters, quality components and is quick playing yet still gives the satisfaction of a true hex and counter wargame. It is also extremely portable and is easily played solo. Designer Michael Taylor did a really good job of distilling the game down to its essential elements to make it easy to get to the table and quick to play (about 90 minutes). This game would make a very good introduction to hex and counter wargames for new wargamers. Its six-page easy to read rule book gives good examples and covers the concepts of hex and counter wargames such as movement, terrain, combat, supply, victory points and more. Concepts that a new wargamer will encounter in most if not all hex and counter wargames. Overall a great game on a little know battle.

  • 4
    Velikiye Luki Game

    Posted by Joseph Morgan on Feb 24th 2024

    This is a fast playing and easy to learn game that has some nice chrome but doesn't bury a player in too much detail.

  • 5
    Velikiye Mini-Game

    Posted by Derek Vincent on Jan 25th 2024

    Hello, I like the quality of the components and the game fits nicely in my collection of small games I gamed in between deciding my next large wargame to study.

  • 5

    Posted by Hamilton Alexandre Trindade Vivas on Jan 19th 2024

    What an elegant game!!

  • 5

    Posted by Hamilton Alexandre Trindade Vivas on Jan 16th 2024

    Recebi tudo certinho. Obrigado!!!!

  • 5
    Great Game!

    Posted by Steven K Dixon on Dec 20th 2023

    This is a fun game with a small footprint. With just six pages of rules, you'll be playing in no time!

  • 5
    A Brief Battle

    Posted by David White on Dec 18th 2023

    Components are excellent. Rules are easy to understand. A nice, fast chance to explore this subject.

  • 4
    Velikiye Luki

    Posted by Carl Paradis on Dec 18th 2023

    Very nice small game on a fascinating battle.

  • 5
    Velikiye Luki

    Posted by Etienne Michot on Nov 29th 2023

    Velikiye Luki: Stalingrad of the North Game Review by Etienne Michot INTRODUCTION Velikiye Luki is a pure 2-player wargame that recreates an aspect of the 1942-43 Soviet winter offensive against Army Group North. The designer is Michael Taylor of The Little Bighorn fame, and many other Legion games. The game is the first in line of a new series of mini-wargames by Legion Wargames. It is old school hex & counter. It is simple, straight-forward, and plays in an hour or two. COMPONENTS The game comes in ziplock and is currently priced at $16 plus shipping. There is an 8-page rule booklet; a 1-sheet Terrain Effects Chart/Unit Explanation/Victory Point player aid printed on cardstock; a 64-unit cardboard counter sheet at .6” counter size; and a 17”x11” map sheet also printed on cardstock. The actual playing area measures closer to 10”x10” however. Overall, this is a small footprint wargame by any standard. RULES The rule book stretches eight pages, and for the most part, is well-written and free of errors. Page 1 is the historical background. Page 7 is the Setup. Page 8 is the CRT and a historical map of the operations. The actual rules are covered in five colored & illustrated pages. There is nothing overly new or innovative. The chrome is kept to a minimum. The main focus is on ease-of-play. There are no air units and only one (German) artillery unit that has the ability to support an adjacent friendly unit in defense. Units are infantry and armored/mechanized with a few specialty units (Ski, Engineers, Mountain, SS, Luftwaffe, Russian Guard, etc.) that do not have any special capabilities. Units are Regiments, Brigades, and Divisions. All units have a combat and movement factor along with their unit designation. Some of the larger units are 2-steps (flip side), but most of the smaller units are one step away from elimination. Up to four units per side may return or be built back up to full strength through a limited replacement system. There is no weather rule in this winter wonderland. There is a simple supply rule that can halve the combat strength at the moment of combat if out-of-supply. Combat is your standard odds ratio; however, combat is not mandatory and stacked units may attack different targets. Stacking is three units with a maximum of one Division. Zones-of-Control end movement upon entering, but units may exit an enemy ZOC on a future turn and can move directly from EZOC to EZOC if there is a friendly unit in the entry hex. Advance after Combat extends to all vacated hexes that the retreating unit passed through. There are eleven terrain types. Movement restrictions between Mech/Motor/Armor and Infantry occur in only two of the features (Wooded & Prohibited). Combat effects are typically a -1 column shift to the left (-1L) on the CRT (Wooded/Hill/Town/Major River), or in one instance, a -1 drm for attacking across a Minor River. The Germans in Velikiye Luki have a -2L defensive fortification plus the -1L for the town. This fortification, however, can get whittled down to a permanent -1L from Soviet attacks before the actual defenders take a hit. Sequence and Victory Points The game lasts ten turns. It is a typical IGO-UGO mechanic. The sequence is 1) Replacements; 2) Movement of on-board units followed by movement of reinforcements; and 3) Combat. The Soviets have the initiative going first each turn, but going second is a benefit to the Germans in key counter-attacks, particularly on the last turn. The Soviets have eight 1VP hexes to capture (with the exception of Velikiye Luki, all west of the Lovat River and near the German side of the board), and one 2VP hex (Novoskolnki). The Germans have five 1VP hexes, one 3VP hex (Novoskolnki), and Velikiye Luki worth 9VP to defend. The Germans get 1VP per Soviet step loss, while the Russians receive 1VP per German unit eliminated. Remember, many of the units on both sides are only one step. Game Play and Strategy The burden of attack is on the Soviets. They enter the game in force and receive substantial reinforcements until the seventh turn. The key feature on the board, centrally located, is Velikiye Luki. Attacking Veliliye Luki frontally is ineffective. Historically and for game play purposes, the Russian player needs to cut off the line of supply to the town from the west. To effect this and to reach the all-important victory point hexes, the Soviets need to aggressively pursue a strategy of double-envelopment. They have the numbers and the movement to supply both a northern and southern flank attack. The two major obstacles to this plan are the Lovat (the single major river) and the time to get the job done (10-Turn Track); not to mention the Germans who in their own right can create some powerful 10+ strength stacks. The Germans play the role of defenders, stubbornly giving ground, and picking and choosing the appropriate time & place for counterattacks. There main concern is the defense of Velikiye Luki and maintaining a supply corridor from it back to Novoskolnki. At the start, their numbers are thin. Defending forward (east) of the Lovat River can act as a speed bump to the initial Soviet offensive, but is at risk of being overwhelmed and annihilated within a couple of turns. The main defensive line should be the Lovat where the Germans can benefit from the -1L terrain effect and be within reach of sorely needed reinforcements. The German array of forces at the battle of Velikiye Luki should closely resemble the Romans at Cannae – initially a line, then a V-shape defense. [Wait, that did not work out so well for the Latins.] The Germans need to watch for and take advantage through limited counterattacks of a weakened Soviet center. This may occur after repeated failed assaults against Velikiye Luki, eliminating some of the one-step 2-strength infantry units in the Russian stacks. In conclusion, Velikiye Luki can be the “Stalingrad of the North”, but the results are not foretold. The game is pure grognard “punch and kick” on a small scale. It is easy to get to the table and get played. In no time you can be through the rules and pushing armored units around the gameboard. Michael Taylor does a notable job with the basic mechanics allowing for smooth game play. Randy Lein adds its usual high quality touch to the overall presentation. There are a couple of other games on the subject, namely Frank Chadwick’s White Death (GDW, 1979) and Velikye Luki (Moments in History, 2000), both of which tackle the subject on a larger scale. Taylor’s design serves a purpose and scratches the itch.