Nord Kapp: Setup & Game Turn 1

From Strategy & Tactic’s 1983 issue, Nord Kapp is a game set in Scandinavia that features a World War III scenario between the Soviets and NATO. There seems to be a lot of curiosity about this game. Before we dive in, I should state that yes, I know the counter clipping showcased herein is a crime against humanity. I can only say in my defense that these are finnicky bastards that sat in a ziplock bag for almost 35 years.

Seasonal Determination:

The first thing we do is roll for season determination. Three six-sided dice are rolled to see what time of year the game takes place. We get a 4 for the first roll, which puts the game in Spring. The second roll is a 5, which means we have a June invasion. The final roll is for weather type. We roll a 1 and the result is “-“, which means we have full range of movement through all terrain types. A roll 4 – 6 would have kept our mechanized and armor units tied to road-only movement.

This is probably one of the most significant series of die rolls in the game. Having a winter or spring invasion introduces a huge variability in the terrain effects chart and movement point cost for each unit. For example, a mechanized infantry unit pays 4 MP for moving through a clear hex in spring or fall. The same unit pays 2 MP for moving in the summer. Likewise, units are going to scoot over frozen lake or water hexes in the winter at no additional MPs but get hit with a +3 MP penalty for trying to traverse over them in the spring as the frozen waters melt and you get flooding that goes everywhere, not to mention the mucky mess you get everywhere else.

This time, it seems we have good tanking weather for the Russians.

Norwegian Setup & Reinforcements:

We start off with a handful of Norwegian units mobilized. These are mostly oversnow (I’m calling them overland units here since we’re in June right now) infantry units. The bulk of the army is near Tromso with some mechanized infantry, and helicopters. Five air units are available off-map.

Norweigan army near Tromso and Narvik

Since I’m playing solitaire, I’m going to roll randomly for these units. Normally, the NATO player secretly selects the airbases where CHOD, 1/13, 2/13, and 3/13 will appear. CHOD appears on turn 1 and the rest of the units are supposed to appear on turn 2. I’ll roll an 8-sided die during the reinforcement segment and if the die correlates to a base that’s occupied by the Soviets then it’s not coming into play.

Soviet Setup

Soviet 54 MRD on the border with Norway

The 54th Motorized Rifle Division sets up anywhere in the USSR. Two regiments start off right near the border with Norway while the other one sets up closer to Finland. The plan is to try and get transit rights through Finland on Game Turn 1 and then move the armor as far as it can go.

The 76th Guards Airborne Division is deployed off map and can enter by paradrop on Turn 1. During the paradrop phase, the Soviet player has to choose how he will allocate his air capacity. You consult a table and choose from a menu that ranges from dropping a few heavy equipped units to dropping 10 lightly equipped ones.

The Northern Fleet Naval Infantry Regiment’s 3 units begin at sea and will conduct amphibious invasions on Game Turn 1.

The Leningrad Air Assault Brigade (LEMD) can be deployed anywhere in the USSR or off-map and ready for paradrop activities. I’d rather have them for helicopter assault so I’m keeping them at the bases in Kilpyavr and Murmansk. [ed note: later Mulligan’ed this after the game started]

North Western Border District is deployed in the USSR. These guys are mostly weak leg units that I’ve just used to beef up my attacks with the 54th MRD.

Soviet Army Aviation. 5 helicopters are available for free deployment in the USSR. I put 2 each in Murmansk and Kilpyavr ready to transport the LEMD brigades. One is based further east ready to be used for reserve transport to anywhere that needs it.[ed note: later Mulligan’ed this after the game started]

The rest of the units arrive later as reinforcements.

The three Soviet air squadrons (104, 36, and 122) are ready off map. 104 and 122 Squadrons are a light mixture of attack aircraft and interceptors. The 36th squadron is the real workhorse here with a ton of Su15, Su17, MiG-21 and -27 aircraft.

Soviet Army Aviation based at airfields in Murmansk and Kilpyavr

NATO Reinforcement Schedule:

Rolled for prior to the start of the game.

British 3rd Commando Brigade: DR”1″ – All four units available. (Game Turn 3)

Canadian 5e Groupe-Brigade du Canada – DR”6″ – Not available

Allied Mobile Force – DR”3″ – Available. (Game Turn 2)

US 2nd Marine Amphib Brigade: DR”3″ – Available (Game Turn 4)

We also get reinforcements on the first turn automatically from a variety of sources including:

  • Air Unit 41 RAF
  • Allied Mobile Force air units 1 RAD and 314 Klu
  • US air units 53 TFS, 10 TFS
Game Turn 1
Soviet Player Turn:

A. Weather Determination Phase:
We roll a “4” and Avionics for this turn are rated at “4”. Only aircraft with an Avionics rating of 4 or more can fly this turn. For the Soviets, that means all four squadrons of MiG-21s (avionics of “2) are grounded for the turn. For the Norwegians, a squadron of F-5s are grounded.

B. Air Interdiction Phase:

Normally, the western player would place air units to interdict supply here and the Soviets would place interceptors to keep them at bay. However, since this is the first turn, we’ll go with no interdiction. All Soviet units are in their home country for now.
C. Supply Determination Phase:
For the Soviets, supply in Nord Kapp is handled by determining two factors: First, the unit in question has to be within half its MP to a supply line (road or rail movement) and then the supply line itself must be connected to a supply source (i.e. a road or railroad line going off the map on the Soviet side). Each road can only supply one MRD at a time so you have to make sure one division isn’t hogging all the supply routes. 
D. Airborne/Airmobile Phase:
I have decided to target six airbases in Norway on the first turn. For that reason, I am going with Option C on the airborne drop options, three heavy units and four light ones. The three heavy ones land at:
Bodo, Evenes, and Bardufoss.
The four light ones land at:
Banak, Alta, Tromso, Narvik (this last one is not an airbase but rather a supply hex for NATO)
I allocate what little escorts I have to them.

The airmobile LEMD are transported from right across the border (I actually Mulligan’ed my setup here and moved them right up to the border after a second reading of the rules).

I don’t want to move them too far inside Norweigan airspace. If you use only half the helo’s MPs, they can’t be intercepted (assumed to be flying Nap of Earth). I drop one LEMD unit off in Vomso and the other near a Mobilization Hex. This should cut off from supply the Norwegian unit near the border with the USSR.

Airmobile landings behind enemy lines. That should be a light unit in 1209.

Now the Norwegian player allocates interceptors. Since the Soviets are supposed to have hidden sides up for their air units, I’ve just rolled randomly for the Norwegian fighters.

The Norwegians send F-16s to intercept the planes at Evenes, Narvik, Bardufoss, and Banak.

F-16 Air Interceptions near Evenes, Narvik, and Bardufoss.

Air to Air Combat:

This is very quick and smooth. Both players reveal their air units by turning them from hidden sides up. Then you just roll a six-sided die and add it to the AtA combat rating. Player with the highest total wins.

The Norwegian fighters get pretty poor rolls on the first time round and lose all of the air combats. They abort and are placed aside.

Now we roll again for actual losses. For the losers, a “2” or “12” will do it. For the winners, a “12” will incur a loss. We roll and neither side takes losses.

E. Amphibious Movement Phase:

So now we can go ahead and land our Soviet naval infantry. We have three naval infantry units, which is exactly our amphibious transport capability per turn. I want to land one naval infantry at Tromso,  the other at the airfield in Andoya and the other one in Hammerest.

First, I roll for Sea Transport Attrition. Depending on whether you’re east or west of the Norwegian Coastal Defense Line, the odds change as to whether your unit will be at the bottom of the ocean before it even starts its assault. I roll for all three units and they all make it safe.

The Naval Infantry takes over Tromso airfield (I can use these to base Soviet aircraft if I want) and move six hexes south to the crossroads east of Bardufoss.

My naval infantry at Hammerest moves south and is near Alta airfield. The entire country is getting overrun quickly by Soviets in various forms – marines, Spetsnaz, tanks – you name it.

F. Ground Movement Phase:

I would love to move elements of the 54th MRD up through Finland. I test its Neutrality with a die roll and get a “1”. Finland has granted Soviets the transit rights to move through their country and all Finnish units are now removed from play. My armor is sent far west into Finland. I want it to get as far as it can to Sweden and either move through it if I can get the transit rights or run straight up the road into Norway if I can’t.

Two battalions (Mechanized and Overland) are sent directly across the border to face off with the SVG infantry unit. Looking over the movement rules I had to mulligan this one too. There is exactly one road over the border and the rest of the hexes appear to be forest hexes which are prohibited movement. I decide to stack six units together (3 heavy mech. and 3 light infantry) with an AT

G. Air Unit Movement

I have five aircraft here to help out with ground attacks. Since Norway has used its F-16s in the airmobile phase, I don’t need to worry about them. Su17s and T28s are sent out to support the amphibious invasion at Andoya. Two Su17s attack the airfield at Bardufoss and the remaining plane is used against the SVG infantry on the border (probably overkill but what the heck). Air units simply add their combat rating to the ground attack rating of the units attacking or defending.

H. Combat Supply Determination Phase:

Airmobile, airborne, and naval infantry are considered in supply for the first turn they land so no need to check those. The other units are all in supply. No problem here.

I. Ground Combat Phase:

Ground combat is just a matter of adding up unit totals for attacker and defender, checking for modifiers to combat strength, and converting the result to a ratio. Once the ratio is determined on the CRT, terrain effects are checked again for column shifts left or right.

A d6 roll yields the final result. The result indicates how many “loss points” the defender must take. If attacked by more than one ground unit, the first of the Defender’s Loss Points must be satisfied by eliminating a unit. Defender Loss Points can be satisfied by retreating or eliminating units or any combination of both. Defending units can only retreat as much as their MPs allow. The Attacker’s Loss Points must be taken as elimination of units. However, if the defender chooses to retreat, the number of LPs the defender soaks up through retreat is deducted from the loss points suffered by the attacker.

Combat 1:

54th MRD vs. SVG Norwegians in Kerkennes (Norway-USSR border)

Attacker Strength: 34
Defender Strength: 2

Combat Strength Modifiers:
Attacking over Water Barrier (halves attacker’s strength) 34/2 = 17

Odds: 17:2
Ratio: 8:1
CRT Column: 7:1

Terrain Effects Column Shifts: 
Attacking into a Town – Shift One Column Left

Final CRT Column Used: 6-1

Roll: 2

Result: 3/2

The Norway SVG unit is attacked by more than one ground attack unit. It must be eliminated in order to satisfy the LPs. The first LP is satisfied but the second LP is unfulfilled.

The CRT result calls for the attacker to take 3 LPs. 2 of the LPs are fulfilled by eliminated two units. The third LP is deducted because the defender has one LP left unfulfilled. The Soviets eliminate two Overland units. Due to the unfulfilled combat loss by the defender, the attacker may also advance into Kerkennes after combat.

Combat 2:

Soviet Airborne landing at Bardufoss
Soviet 76 Airborne (Heavy) vs. Norwegian Garrison unit

Attacker Strength: 4 (airborne unit) + 8 (air support)
Defender Strength: 3

Combat Strength Modifiers:
x2 for attacking ground unit due to surprise attack with airborne heavy infantry: 4 x 2 = 8

Odds: 16:3
Ratio: 5:1

Terrain Effects Column Shifts:
Attacking into Rough – Shift One Column Left

Final CRT Column Used: 4:1

Roll: 4

Result: 1/2

Well, this is a tough one for the Norwegians. They certainly don’t want to lose Bardufoss. It’s worth the maximum 6 VP, making it one of the three most valuable airbases in the game.

They could satisfy the loss by retreating everyone two hexes and losing the airbase, hopefully to regroup later and regain it. On the other hand, we could eliminate both Norwegian units, forcing the Soviets to eliminate their airborne attacker and thereby keep hold of the base. Seems like a short term solution though – especially considering that the Soviets have plenty more airborne units to drop in future turns. The Norwegians can’t afford to lose too many units right now.

Looking at my supply situation, Bardufoss is the only supply source that hasn’t yet been captured in this region of Norway. I decide to keep it at all costs. a hard decision, to be sure. Both Norwegian units are eliminated to satisfy their LPs. The Soviet player must eliminate the airborne. Bardufoss holds on – barely.

Norway holds Bardufoss by a fingernail.

Combat 3:

Amphibious landing at Andoya.
Soviet Naval Infantry vs. Norwegian Garrison.

Attacker Strength: 4 (naval unit) + 6 (air support)
Defender Strength: 2

Combat Strength Modifiers:

Odds: 10:2
Ratio: 5:1

Terrain Effects Column Shifts:

Final CRT Column Used: 5:1

Roll: 4
Result: 2/3

Eliminating the Norwegian unit would satisfy one LP but leave the other 2 LPs unfulfilled, thus allowing the Soviet unit to survive the attack.  Far better to just retreat the Norwegian unit three hexes. Andoya is now captured by the Soviets and the Naval Infantry pursues them south.

Soviet Naval Infantry capture Bodo airfield and pursue south.

Combat 4:

Amphibious landing at Bodo.
Soviet Naval Infantry vs. Norwegian Garrison.

Attacker Strength: 4 (naval unit) + 2 (air support)
Defender Strength: 2

Combat Strength Modifiers:

Odds: 6:2
Ratio: 3:1

Terrain Effects Column Shifts:

Final CRT Column Used: 3:1

Roll: 6
Result: 1/3

Another situation where we should definitely retreat. The Norwegian garrison pulls back three hexes south down the road.

Time to roll for air losses for the Soviet air support units:

Bodo (6 VP) Andoya (6 VP), Kirkenes (3 VP), Tromso  (4 VP), and Alta (3 VP) are all in the hands of the Soviets by the time this half of the game turn ends.

End of the Soviet Turn

Well, that is an extremely interesting first half of the first turn. I am just amazed at how much this little game seems to accomplish. Rules for all sorts of units with different capabilities. There are varying rules for movement, combat, and air according to weather. What’s more, I find it quite fun. It is great to pick and choose over a menu of airborne options like some grizzled Soviet general in a command bunker.

It feels amazing to watch your paratroopers drop from the skies on an airbase and surprise the hell out of the Norwegians. It is great to push your luck with the neutrals and see if they will allow you to move through their country or if they will fight back. So much happening in just one half of the first turn.

There are two words I would use to sum up my impression of this game so far: “replayability” and “player choice”. There is enough randomness at the setup (season, weather, reinforcements, transit rights, airborne and amphibious options) to provide you with lots of ability to play this a ton of times and never have the same game twice. So far, great stuff!


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