Standard Combat Series (SCS) by MMP should probably be known as Vanilla Combat Series since in today’s wargame market its throwback simple jack of all trades system. There is no command and control system, no supply, no moral, just move and attack, and then move again if your units have wheels.
Other than being fairly simple the system has a reputation for high movement rates and a really bloody CRT, both are evident in Autumn for Barbarossa. A tank division could almost move right across the length of the half sheet map and back in turn, assuming it moved again in the exploitation phase.
In most WW2 wargames you want to outnumber the defending forces by 3:1 to get good odds on your attack role. This is apparently based on lots of research and has become ubiquitous in game CRTs. Unlike A Victory Lost, or a Kevin Zucker game Autumn for Barbarrossa’s CRT kills units on any result. For the Ruski 1:1 ratio is worth a punt given your replacement rates.
That’s the system, not much there but it knows what it is. SCS is for simple panzer pushing. Swinging your best units around the map jabbing your opponent in the ribs and pushing your luck with the CRT. Its quick playing and ultra violent, on the east front this is quite evocative.
Smolensk 41 has an argument for being the pivotal battle of WW2. The Nazi’s best change of KO’ing Russia was probably in 41 and this was when they stalled out. The two sides start off lined up Dvina Dnepr rivers with the Germans having the superior troop quality in their panzer regiments. Its quite easy to break out and run riot across central Russia, but then Hitler will withdraw 90% of their mechanised forces halfway through the game and the Russian reinforcements pour in. Clinging on to those vp towns is actually quite difficult, as is assaulting Smolensk itself.
I didn’t expect to like Autumn for Barbarossa as much as I did. I find the lack of serious command and control or supply rules a bit disappointing but this game makes up for it with a good map situation. A good road network with choke points and plenty of marshes hexes makes this a surprisingly good map to joust tanks over. Equally the steady flow of Russian reinforcements forces the German player to be sensible with their forces, if they exploit the movement and overstretch they will get caught in pockets and liquidated.
|Once the German panzers were withdrawn a Russian counter attack was easy|
On balance I slightly prefer A Victory Lost having played that title immediately before this. SCS has a better CRT and feels less gamey, but the chit pull and more restrictive terrain effects chart give AVL a little more colour. MMP released Autumn for Barbarossa as a trimmed down version of their forth coming OCS Smolensk. I'm undecided at this point as to whether I need another Smolensk game though.