Pavlov's House: a solo board game AAR

…and here is my hand:

I feel like I need to use that 62nd Army HQ card, because that is the only way I can load supplies onto the staging area for transport to the house. What should I load, though? The action allows for five tokens. I feel like ammo is going to be important, since I used a third of what I have already just in one action. So I load two: that will become ten. Also, food. Probably need one of those. And sapper. Probably could use a sapper at some point. Finally, first aid. That’s five.

I still have two actions left. I could ready some artillery, but I don’t have any way to actually use it yet, since I have no soldiers in the house with the “F” (Forward Observer) ability. I’m also unhappy with the disruption on the 267th AA Battalion, because any rolls on those will cascade up to the signal comm spaces. So while I have the cards, I might as well clear them.

Done with the Soviet card actions. On to the Wehrmacht deck.

First card is …

… another 15cm (150mm) artillery strike.

Note that there is a new tactics card this time, which I remind you: we are not using. But this would enhance any scouts placed during this turn.

The artillery location roll is a “3,” which targets the red side of the building. (Although I think the whole building is Red, in a sense.) This time I am not so lucky, and I roll at least one “6” on the five dice. That reduces the defense of that side by one, and it is now only “5.”

Note that this makes it more vulnerable to further attacks. The soldiers on that side are, however, unhurt for now. They would become casualties only if the defense were at “3” and had to be reduced further. Since it cannot go lower than 3, it would then cause casualties to the units on the affected side.

Next Wehrmacht card…

… a Stuka.

This is only two “aircraft,” but I have no ready AA, so I’m just going to have to take it.

The die rolls are “12” and “16.” The first one undoes part of the disruption clearing I did on my card phase, and the second adds yet another Fog of War card to my deck.

Last card of the turn…

… is another Stuka.

Results later this afternoon!

Yeah, I winced at that, too. Joking around ain’t what it used to be. :(

I’m liking this card system!

So far this tactics systems seems kind of dumb. It’s just arbitrarily strengthening something that might not even happen? It sounded like it was going to be a modifier to the cards somehow, but it seems more like a totally random event that’s so random it might not even happen. And furthermore it seems like such a peripheral part of the design that the developer just shrugged and decided you can skip it if you want to play baby mode. Boo! Seems like a bit of pointess cruft?

So when does the actual shooting start? When do the Nazi zombies arrive?


Once again, I have no AAA, so I have to take the dice hits.

The rolls are 10, 17, and 7.

So the Stukas take out my last artillery position, meaning I will have to clear a Disrupt, then place an artillery, then get a forward observer, all to get a working artillery barrage. The roll of 17 places another Disrupt on my communications, and I shuffle yet another Fog of War card into my deck. I started with three, and now have six! It also means that until I clear it any roll of 17 will place a disruption on 62nd Army HQ.

But the worst thing, I think, is the 7. This disrupts a space of the Volga flotilla, meaning I have one fewer space to use to transport supplies. The key is that each space can only transport one cube. Thus, I just had my transport capacity reduced by a third, plus I have to use a Volga card to clear it. You know what I shoulda done? I shoulda counted how many cards of each type are in the deck!

[*edit: I noticed a little after I posted the above pic that I had drawn an arrow to area 12, not area 10. It has no bearing on the game but it might have made the presentation slightly confusing.]

So now we move to the moves/counter actions. My move will be to simply bring three soldiers out of reserve, so that I can lay down some suppression along other approaches.

Masijashvili moves to the red/purple corner (5-6), Aleksandrov moves to the center of the purple wall (position 3), and Glushenko moves to the middle of the green wall (position 4). One of the things about soldier selection (when the building gets attacked) is that while the sides all have 1-6 selection positions, if there is no one in the selected space, you choose the position that is numbered higher. Thus, having anyone along the purple wall protects Pavlov from being selected unless a 1 is rolled, since a “2” would be pushed up to “3” (or up to the “5-6” if Aleksandrov were not there). This is a neat way of showing that the enemy won’t fire on the back of the building if there are are guys up front.

Now for three counter actions. Glushenko and Aleksandrov both put suppression into their respective areas and are exhausted as a result. Both of these soldiers have a 1/1 rating, meaning 1 attack/1 suppression. I take 2 grey suppression cubes out of the supply box in the house and put one in the green suppression box and one in the purple suppression box.

My last action is with Pavlov. He has the “C” (Command" ability, which means he can issue three “free” Recover actions to others. However, he cannot issue them to counters with action markers on them, so he could not flip Glushenko or Aleksandrov, just as he could not flip Chait or Bondarenko last turn. But he can flip Chait and Bondarenko THIS turn, and he does. That’s two free recover actions. The third is lost as there is nowhere to use it.

The result is that Pavlov himself is exhausted.

On to Turn 3.

Looks like we have reader mail…

Yeah, I’m not a big fan either. It seems like a bit of “extra difficulty” which – as you pointed out – might not even make the game more difficult in the end. I would rather put extra text on the card itself, and have rules for how it gets used.

My guess is that it will be … soon! Maybe Turn 3!

Just wait until that 41st year, you reckless Thomas! Anyway, drinks, anyone? I’ve put a selection of beer, wine, soda, sacrificial goat’s blood, hard liquor, motor oil, shampoo, and diluted yogurt in tall, easily tipped cups on the board game table.

Turn 3 brings me a new hand, and a fresh set of problems.

TWO Fog of War cards. As you can imagine, these are useless, and basically just “command friction” the game introduces. So even though I have three available actions, I can only use two.

I have another chance to load up the staging area with supplies, as I have another 62nd Army command post card available. However, I already have five cubes ready to load, and it will take me one card to load them and another to unload. Furthermore, since each position can only transport one cube, and one of the three Volga flotilla positions is currently disrupted, I can only transport two cubes at a time. I will probably have more time to bring additional supplies to the staging area, so I’m going to use the first card to clear one of the disruptions on the 32nd Guard Artillery Regiment. Let’s clear position 10.

The other card has Volga flotilla on it. I could load a couple of cubes this turn, and hope to get them unloaded next turn without having them bombed by the Luftwaffe. But I’m not short of supplies (yet), and I want to be able to load as many cubes as possible (3) per turn. So I’m going to use the second card (and action) to clear the disruption on position 7.

Lastly, I do have one signal communications token on the board. I could use it before it gets bombed, and remove it in order to remove one of the Fog of War cards and place it back in the stock. But right now it is keeping that space protected, so that if it gets bombed, it will only remove the token, not place another disruption and cause me to place a seventh (and final) Fog of War card in the deck. So in that way, it serves the same purpose. I keep it on the board.

And our first Wehrmacht card of turn 3 is …


Note that for the first time, the tactics card would alter this result. This is a 10cm (100mm) barrage, and thus only rolls four dice. With the tactics card it would roll five. Hit/miss is still determined by the defense value of the building on the side that is targeted.

The selection roll is a 5, which corresponds to the purple side (on the right).

Only four dice this time.

My rolls are 4, 4, 5, 6. That would have been a good roll for a Ranger if I had been playing Titan. In Pavlov’s House, it knocks the defense of the purple zone down from 6 to 5.

Next Wehrmacht card.


Ok, Tom was asking above when the zombies would start coming out, and it turns out that is now. First, we have to find out where they appear. I roll a “3,” so that means they appear on the first red track.

However–not so fast, riflezombies. I placed suppression on the red track earlier specifically for this purpose, and I’m going to use it to try and keep the riflemen from appearing. I can take off as many cubes as I have available for that line-of-sight color, and roll a die for each one. If any of them are equal to or greater than the defense of the target unit (in this case, “4”) then the unit is placed back in the stock and does not appear.

I use two suppression cubes. That means I can roll two dice.

I roll 3, 4.

The “4” is exactly equal to the riflemen’s defense, so they are successfully dispatched to the stock.

Next card for this turn. Last card for this turn!

Got interrupted as I was on 24/7 last week. Back to the game:

Wehrmacht card #3 of Turn 2…

Scouts are nasty because they have a defense of 5. No matter where they go, I only have one suppression available per area, so the best I could do would be to roll one die and hope to get a 5-6.

Die roll is “1.”

Scouts are placed on the green track.

Next is the counter action phase.

I played the ASL scenario, it was a good one.

This looks like fun. @Brooski, I’m interested to see where this goes.

Sorry for the delays – this one is going to be at a slow pace.

We are on the counter action phase of Turn 3. Now that we have actual enemies on the board, my machinegunners have a target. Note that Chait and Bondarenko are in the corner of the house, allowing them to fire at either the red or the green sector. Their MG has an attack rating of 2 and a suppression rating of 3. That means that they can roll two dice in an attack action, and have to roll >= the defense value of their target, which in this case is the Scouts counter, with a “5.”

As Artemis would say in Hades, “All right, I’m taking the shot!”

Ka-boom. Scouts eliminated with style!

The machinegunners become exhausted.

Note that this counts as TWO actions, so I only have one left. I will Recover Pavlov, so that he can flip the machinegunners next turn for free.

On to Turn 4.

Btw, this designer’s third game in this solo series, Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms, is now live on Kickstarter.

I apologize for the interruption in this, which I ascribe to “8,000 projects” syndrome, but want to point out that this is getting a digital version:

…which is now out. Has anyone checked it out?

I can’t say, but I’m tempted to grab it.

This episode of the solo-focused board game podcast Solosaurus is a great interview with the designer, David Thompson, and he recounts how he came to become a history buff and a maker of games:

There’s also a Steam version of Castle Itter out today.

This is great news. I liked Pavlov’s House. Can we expect this next?

8 posts were split to a new topic: Lanzerath Ridge: latest boardgame in the Pavlov’s House series