The game flow is as follows: first, the player (me) draws four cards from the Soviet deck. Each card has two possible options on it, OR it could be a deadweight Fog of War card. The player gets to take three actions, no more than one from each card.
Then, the German deck goes to work. You draw three cards (one at a time, resolve, then the next, etc.) which will place various obstacles and such onto the board. You can interact with these using your board assets (i.e. defend yourself).
Lastly, you move three counters in the house, and then perform three counter actions. Movement and Actions are separate.
Note: there are a couple situations that increase the number of card actions or counter moves you can make. I will point them out as we go.
The game ends when the German deck is exhausted, or when a zombie gets in the house.
The game starts with the four initial counters (soldiers) in the reserve box in Pavlov’s House. I will get to move these in a bit. First, though, I draw four Soviet cards. This deck has three Fog of War cards in it, but otherwise is not “seeded” in any way.
I can use three of these actions, only one per card. There is an entire player aid that outlines the Soviet card actions, a player aid that outlines the Wehrmacht (German Army) card effects, and a third one that enumerates the counter actions. If you look in a previous post, you can see I have arranged these cards left-to-right closest to me, The Player. Handy!
The point of the right-hand operational display is to build up assets that will defend you or resupply you or otherwise be beneficial. One of the “extra ability” conditions is that if I ever have all four Signal Communication tokens (guy on a telephone pole, numbered 14-17) placed at the beginning of my turn, I can take FOUR actions. I like that, so let’s place a token on 14.
Looks like a genius move already. But even though I have three of these signal cards available, I have multiple issues that need addressing. Something that I know is going to happen to me (because I read the rules) is that I am going to get hit by airstrikes. I can mitigate this somewhat by preparing anti-aircraft defenses. So I use another card to place an AA token on space 9.
Lastly, I have a 13th Guards Infantry Division action available. My feeling is that if you can take this, you should, because this is how you get reinforcements. I can choose six “points” (those little yellow dots in the lower right corner of each counter) worth of help.
I want to get some heavy weapons in the house before the board starts filling up, so I choose a machine gun as well as two men to crew it. So Bondarenko and Jonathan Chait grab their DP28 LMG and head over to Pavlov’s House, along with Majishashvili. The game has hard distinctions between counters – partly for gameplay reasons, I’m sure – that prevent soldiers from being too multifunctional: to crew a machine gun, you must have the “G” ability. Note that neither Bondy nor Chait has any numbers next to his portrait like Masijashvili has, so neither of them can ever attack, nor can they ever suppress. Conversely, Masi can never crew a weapon.
They get placed in the Reserves box of the house map, and will still need to be deployed by a move.
Now for the Wehrmacht deck (three cards)…