Aah memories! The one that started me off in the hobby. I learned of it from my cousin on a camping holiday when I was around thirteen. His friend had ordered it and I played it a few months later. I was looking to play figures games but a crippling lack of modelling skills and patience put paid to that for a further twelve or fifteen years, so I took to the instant fix of board wargames instead. And here we are hundreds of boardgames later.
Unfortunately, to say I was imperfectly taught the rules would be a gross understatement. Imagine the game with practically no spotting rules, weapons effectiveness distinctions, few terrain effects on movement and no restrictions on targeting the same unit multiple times in a turn. Essentially it was a case of add up all the attack factors in range of a target until you achieve four to one. Oh and only ever play Prokorovka – tanks were the point of the game. And the Wespes and Hummels were terrifying – long range tank (and everything else) killers.
And once imperfectly learned, when I had my own copy and gave it dozens of solo outings, those mistakes proved spectacularly resilient, regardless of multiple rereadings of the rules (which rapidly fell apart). I can safely say I never played a single game properly, it thereby losing all subtlety. However, perhaps such subtlety would have been lost on my teenage self anyway – the game was still a lot of (spectacularly unrealistic) fun. But I still can’t play it against anyone else.
Nevertheless it was the key that unlocked the door I’d been banging my head against for years.