Alternative Titles/Edition History:
1st Edition, 1997; 2nd "Retro" Edition, 2012; 3rd Edition (Tractor Works), 2014
Critical Hit (1997, 2nd "Retro" Edition, 2012; 3rd Edition, 2014)
Country of Origin:
1st Edition: 4-page rulebook, 22" x 34" historical map, play aid cards, 2 campaign games, 4 scenarios.
2nd Edition (i.e., Retro Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works): 22" x 34" historical map, 8-page rulebook, 5 scenarios, 2 campaign games
3rd Edition (i.e., Tractor Works): 1 map formed from 4 12" x 18" light cardstock map panels; 6 scenariosCommentary:
The Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works is a historical module depicting the German 305th Infantry Division’s attack (with supporting elements) on the Dzerhezinsky Tractor Factory, defended by the 37th Guards Rifle Division, in October 1942. It features a large, very attractive hand-painted historical map of the Tractor Works area. Some have criticized the hexgrid because it too was hand-drawn, but this doesn’t seem to pose any real problem. A greater problem is that the hexes are small, which can lead to counter crush. Two campaign games are included, CG-TW1 (The Volga Corridor), with 6 CG dates, and CG-TW2 (Seizing the Factory), with five CG dates, as well as five scenarios. The Red Barricades module is needed to play this module as well, as its special rules and several other rules are referenced in the DTW rules.
The main attraction of this module is the chance to play on this striking historical map, although the enjoyment is lessened somewhat by the small hex sizes. This is an issue in the campaign games more than in most of the scenarios (however, some people were disappointed that only four scenarios came with the module, although a fifth, very meaty, scenario appears in Critical Hit Magazine’s special Stalingrad issue). An SASL mission appeared in Vol. 5, No.1 of the magazine.
Opinion on this game is sharply divided between detractors and fans; in the end, it may come down to subjective and individual preferences. The map was re-used three more times, once in Valor of the 37th Guards, with larger hexes but a smaller map area, once more in Stalin’s Fury, which uses just a small portion of the map with very large hex sizes, and again in Ivan’s War, which re-uses the Stalin’s Fury version of the map.
2nd Edition (i.e., Retro Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works) Commentary: In 2012, Critical Hit released a reprint of the Tractor Works module, allegedly spurred by finding more cases of the original maps in their warehouse. Consequently, this reprint includes the original map, plus new versions of the rules and scenarios (the 4 original ones plus the 5th that appeared in Critical Hit Magazine). There’s probably no reason for owners of the original version (or Valor of the 37th Guards) to purchase this, but newer ASLers who are Stalingrad fanatics might possibly be interested.
DTW Retro Action Packed Scenario Set comments: Although one might not think it possible for these incestuous relationships to grow even more intertwined, in 2012, Critical Hit reprinted six re-named scenarios “ported over to the full map from Stalin’s Fury.” These scenarios have more lives than a Hindu cat.
|DTW AP#1||Too Close for Comfort||Appeared as On Yeremenko’s Orders in Valor of the 37th Guards and as Ivan’s Way in Ivan’s War|
|DTW AP#2||Cut in Two||Appeared as Yards Measured in Blood in Valor of the 37th Guards|
|DTW AP#3||Progress Measured In…||Appeared as Back to the Front in Valor of the 37th Guards and in Ivan’s War|
|DTW AP#4||Stalingrad Street Fighters||Appeared as Burgerbraukeller Boast in Ivan’s War and as Beer Cellar Boast in Valor of the 37th Guards|
|DTW AP#5||Killing Zones||Appeared as Panzer Graveyard in Ivan’s War|
|DTW AP#6||Four Men and a Baby…MG||Appeared as Gonychar’s Stand in Ivan’s War|
Tractor Works comments: In 2014, Critical Hit released yet another product retreading various Dzerhezinsky components. This map artwork has been used not only in Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works, but in Valor of the 37th Guards, Ivan’s War, and Stalin’s Fury, almost all of which had multiple editions or variants. With the same scenarios, often with different names, appearing in multiple versions of these different products, things are so incestuous that it is really difficult now to know whether a new iteration is a descendant of one or another of them. Tractor Works (TW), the latest of this painfully endless series of re-treads, has been placed here, under Dzerhezinsky Tractor Works, rather arbitrarily, based on the name and the use of a large map area.
Tractor Works contains no words, just a few lines on one of the scenario cards giving a couple of terrain examples and explaining that Red Barricades is needed. The map, which is labeled STALL II, though it portrays a larger area than that in Stalin’s Fury II, is printed on 4 12″ x 18″ map panels made from glossy thick paper/light cardstock (about the same thickness of official overlays). The four slightly-overlapping sections must be assembled to form the full map. This can be annoying, as can the reflective glare of the glossy finish, but the colors and graphics do pop from the map. The hexes are decent-sized.
The product comes with six scenarios, four of which come from Stalin’s Fury and two of which are cannibalized from scenarios appearing in DTW and Ivan’s War.
There is no reason to get this product over any of the other endless versions. Michael Keaton proved in the movie Multiplicity what happens when you clone something too many times. And, at $39.95, it is significantly overpriced (by at least a factor of two).