Sixth Fleet (2019) AAR: Turn 3 and Final Thoughts

Welcome back to the third (and final!) turn for my solo play of Sixth Fleet. In turn 2, the Soviet navy got popped pretty good. In fact there’s really only one helicopter carrier in the Black Sea, and a grouping of diesel subs and missile boats floating around off the coast of Libya. The writing was on the wall, but I wanted to see if there was any way the Russians could come back from this shellacking.

Soviet Turn #3

Things started out pretty good! Got a free action and I was able to place a MiG-29 unit in the Balkans. The random event table really adds a lot of fun for me. I’m coming from the tabletop RPG world, and I’ve always loved rolling on random events tables in my games. I was a little bummed that I never got one of the Neutral’s to get involved in this scenario. The rules do offer a variant where you roll for all the Neutral fores at the start of the game.

WE’RE NUMBER 1!

The first action was for the Soviets to try and roll on the naval units that had been removed from play in the hopes of recovering some sort of task force. I really like the way this part of the game works. Your “dead” units aren’t really “dead” until you roll on the refit table. That’s when they either come back on the board, go into the reinforcements pool or leave the game for good. Since there are no step losses for this game, I feel like this makes sense as a way to show units that were disrupted or out of command for a period of time before regrouping. You can see the results below.

Exactly 1/4 of my destroyed/disrupted units ended up coming back to the Black Sea.

Not bad right? I used my second action to move the refit units with the solo carrier. Instant task force, just add water!

With my final action I re-based a group of air units to the Balkans. If the Soviets survive this turn, I will need them for another push into Istanbul.

Getting ready for a counter attack that’s not even going to happen…

NATO Turn #3

In the interest of saving time…I’m going to speed things up for this turn. NATO obliterated the task force in the Black Sea, and landed airborne troops in Istanbul. The combination of NATO controlling their required objectives and the lack of any Russian CV/CVH/SSN/TARKR units on the board gave the blue team a sudden death win. Even if the Soviets had survived this turn for the “free” reinforcements they get during turn 4, it wasn’t going to change the outcome.

Final Thoughts

  • I’ve honestly enjoyed every minute I spent playing this game. It moves fast but has plenty of tough decisions to agonize over. It really is a must own and as I’ve mentioned earlier it just looks great on the table.
  • The game does a great job at showing just how much NATO “hulked up” in the 80’s. In my 1970’s solo game I had much better luck with the Soviet turns, and even established a few bases on NATO islands. Better aircraft, more carriers and access to cruise missiles in the 80’s give the NATO player a definite leg up compared to the earlier scenario.
  • There’s been discussion on gaming forums about “super stacks” of naval units being a potential game breaker, or at least something that needs to be looked at. After two plays of this game solo, I just didn’t have it come up. If you were playing this two player and your opponent tried using this strategy, I’m not sure it would do them much good. The Soviets need to move part of their navy West to knock down the NATO OP’s points, but they can’t just leave an unopposed path to the Black Sea. And if the NATO player tries a multi-national super stack the Soviets can focus on invading Naples, which eliminates multi-national operations.
  • One house rule I would recommend for a two player game is the creation of about a dozen task force markers, including some “dummy” ones. Although the game rules prevent you from digging through your opponents unit stacks unless you spend OP’s points on recon, it’s still obvious where their units are concentrated. This also fixes a slight issue I had with the submarine units. I feel that if you have an all sub force on the board it’s just way too easy for it to be wiped out by an ASW air unit. The dummy task force units, or the potential of a P-3 being shot down by a surface naval unit It didn’t know was there, would make these ASW missions a lot more tense.

So that’s it! Thanks to anyone who followed along with this AAR. I would love to hear about your experience with this game in the comments section. Go ahead, write something!

3 thoughts on “Sixth Fleet (2019) AAR: Turn 3 and Final Thoughts

  1. Phil, I’ve don’t have the current or original game, but I think in these 1970s & 80’s scenarios that you have to take into account for the treachery of the Walker-Whitworth spy ring, which gave the Soviets the cryptologic keys to the kingdom for the Sixth Fleet and US military comms nets more generally. Just read the article below and you get the idea that the Soviets would have known almost everything the US military was doing. That would have to have an noticeable impact in these retro Cold War-era games. https://news.usni.org/2014/09/02/john-walker-spy-ring-u-s-navys-biggest-betrayal

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking at the rules on-line, I would suggest that Rule 18.0 Fog of War does not apply to the Soviets on turn 1 and that they can look into any U.S. stack they wish. After turn one, the U.S. changes its crypto keys due to the outbreak of war and the Soviets lose the advantage.

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