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Second Kharkov: Strike & Counterstrike, May 1942
Second Kharkov: Strike & Counterstrike, May 1942
by Decision Games (I) (2011)
Player Count
  • Wargame
  • World War II
  • Designers
  • Paul Youde
  • Mechanisms
  • Hex-and-Counter
  • Artists
  • Joe Youst
  • Larry Hoffman
  • Family
  • Magazine: Strategy & Tactics
  • Decision Games WWII Operational Series
  • Rating: 6.08/10 from 20 users


    Second Kharkov: Strike & Counterstrike, May 1942 (2K for short) is a low-complexity, two-player wargame covering the second battle for that city fought during the early period of World War II’s eastern front. The game begins with the Soviets on the all-out offensive, but its second half is dominated by a German counterattack.

    There’s a historical scenario covering the battle as it was fought, plus a what-if scenario that allows players to explore the possibilities inherent in the all-out effort originally proposed to Stalin by Marshal Timoshenko. In it, the Soviet player begins the game with the historical force along with a total of 26 more rifle divisions and tank brigades: everything that was then in the Soviet strategic reserve. Of course, to win that scenario the Soviet player needs to accomplish a lot more than he does in the historical one (capture all three hexes of Kharkov).

    Each hex represents five miles (eight km) from side to opposite side. Each game turn represents two days. Each unit of maneuver represents a division or brigade of roughly 2,000 to 14,000 men and 50 to 400 armored fighting vehicles.

    Special rules cover such things as: Soviet untried units, initial German unpreparedness, air interdiction, historical and alternative set ups, multi-step German units, sudden death victories, fog of war, German inter-army cooperation, close air support, Soviet armor doctrine, Soviet panic, and much more. The turn sequence is as follows.

    I. Soviet Player Turn

    A. German Air Interdiction Placement Phase

    B. Soviet Movement Phase

    C. Soviet Combat Phase

    D. German Air Interdiction Removal Phase

    II. German Player Turn

    A. German Movement or Combat Phase

    B. German Combat or Movement Phase

    Game Scale:
    Game Turn: 2 days
    Hex: 5 miles / 8 kilometers
    Units: Regiment to Corps

    Game Inventory:
    One 22 x 34" full color mapsheet
    One dual-side printed countersheet (176 5/8" counters)
    One 16-page Second Kharkov rulebook (6-pages of marketing)
    One Player Aid Card

    Solitaire Playability: High
    Complexity Level: Low
    Players: 2 or more
    Playing Time: 4-6 Hours

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