Pavlov’s House – First Look!

Pavlov 1st SPLASH
frontier wars 728x90 KS

Cracking open DVG’s new Stalingrad game ~

Michael Eckenfels, 11 July 2018

The Battle of Stalingrad is a good time for wargamers – at least, for me it is. I do enjoy some Eastern Front WWII battlin’, but the campaign in 1942 is of special interest to me, considering its scope and objectives. Stalingrad isn’t just a well-represented source for games, but could fill a library with all the books written just on that battle itself, let alone all of Case Blue.

ed note: we also had pre-release proof copies of this one on the table at Origins.  See what you miss when you’re not there!?

Pavlov’s House from DVG isn’t a grand-scale representation of Case Blue, though; it’s more of a microscopic view of one slice of that campaign, which makes it extremely intriguing. All I know is it not only represents the tactical battles over the apartment complex that was famously known as “Pavlov’s House,” but also the general area of that battle, as well as the Soviet Army sector in which it took place.

For reference purposes, I found a good map on the Trip Wire Interactive forums

From what I’ve seen online, it looks like a lot of folks mistake the Steam Mill (#6 in the pic above) as Pavlov’s House.

Anyway, you’re not here to read history…you want to make it, through this game. Let’s take a look at what Pavlov’s House has under the hood.

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Just look at the cover of this game. It just reeks of Soviet strength and determination.

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The back of the game box shows a lot more info than I already knew about the game; for example, I thought it was solely a solitaire game, but it looks like there’s solitaire, cooperative, and competitive sides to it.


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Opening the box, you get some serious deja vu.


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Usually the rule book is right there on the top, so I grab it and go right to the back page to see how many total pages there are. Surprise! Blank pages. Very unusual for a DVG game.


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That’s more like it. Though this looks different than most DVG game manuals.


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Thirty-one pages…fairly deep but not overwhelmingly so.


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Now we’re talking…full-color illustrations and gameplay examples highlighting the rules. I like to see this kind of thing right out of the gate.


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Flipping to the front, we can see more of the same…and what looks like a totally different departure from the usual DVG game formatting. I say that, though I suppose that’s more from being used to their Leader series of games. That’s not to say the Leader series is the only way they do things, because the rules to their 1500: The New World game is even more different than this, from that Leader norm.


What’s that you say? You want to see more about 1500: The New World? I hope you’re saying that, anyway, because you’ll get some coverage of that soon, too.


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Here’s the game board in all its glory, divided into three sections.


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At far left is Pavlov’s House.


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In the middle is the immediate area around Pavlov’s House, as well as movement circles that govern German advances. The area is the responsibility of the 13th Guards Rifle Division.


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At far right is the operating area for the 62nd Army, which the 13th Guards is a part of. It’s very interesting to see a game attempt to simulate all these levels at once.



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  And we have counters! They look pretty clean and simple/easy to read.


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And here’s more counters…it looks like these have regular Joe-type peeps on them, which I can see as a reward for Kickstarter backing, maybe? Though…to be honest, these mugs don’t exactly look very Communist, nor Soviet Army. I could buy in to these more if they Photoshopped Red Army helmets onto them, or something, to make them look more…Mother Russian?


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Especially this guy. I mean, come on. Nobody in Mother Russia smiles, though that mustache and chin strap combo DO look rather Trotsky-ish.


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Looks like three player aids, each covering a different part of the game.


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Dice! Cards! Little wooden blocks to slaughter in the streets like Fascist pig-dogs! Can’t wait to give this a try and make the German invaders sorry…or most likely, just be barely a speed bump on their conquest of Stalingrad. It will be interesting to see how the game plays, most definitely.


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