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Author Topic: First Europe 1940 game  (Read 3166 times)
Herr KaLeun
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« on: October 09, 2016, 08:29:43 am »
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A few weeks back, we (Furagar, Boris_jvdh, Peter who is not on the forum, and I) tried our hand at A&A Europe, and I've been wondering whether some of you experts would be willing to answer some questions about what happened. It was a face to face game and we had a great time, but my overall impression was that there was room for improvement, to put it mildly. I never played Europe 1940 before, though I did play Global twice. Apart from tactical oversights (which happened several times), the following questions come to mind:

1. Is it customary to play Europe 1940 with a bid? We didn't, but I'm not sure how well balanced the game is.

2. Germany attacked SZ111, SZ109 and SZ106, and was highly successful. not losing any planes at all. Because they had been buying navy anyway, this definitely posed a Sea Lion threat. But Britain went for a full Taranto anyway, sending in all planes that could reach it, and bought 1 fighter 6 inf. While the Taranto raid went quite well in itself, Britain now found itself unable to defend against Sea Lion, as Germany purchased a stack of transports G2. Question: should Britain have been more cautious and kept one more fighter at home, or perhaps even have abstained from Taranto completely, given that the Luftwaffe was fully intact and Germany was buying navy?

3. With a G3 Sea Lion inevitable, Britain decided to spend its last money in South Africa and to evacuate the UK as far as possible to save its units. Alternatively, Britain could have tried to put up as much defense as possible and make it costly for the Germans. Question: is a successful Sea Lion generally a disaster for the Allies, or is Sea Lion not a very good plan for Germany in this particular game? And would it have been better to make Germany pay more for it in terms of planes and land units, or would that just have been a waste of money? I understand that the second question is hard to answer without specific details, but I started to doubt the wisdom of the British decision afterwards, because now Germany saw no need to send in all its planes, which also implied that the British AA guns were less effective.

4. Now that the Germans didn't need all their planes for Sea Lion, they sent them after the surviving British Mediterranean fleet, but that battle didn't end very well for them, and while they destroyed that fleet, they lost most of their air force. Question: even while the odds were in favor of Germany, was it a good idea to attack the British Med fleet at all and lose planes that would have been very useful against Russia? I had my doubts, because with the UK taken, that fleet would at most have been a nuisance for Italy, but not otherwise a major factor.

5. Italy took Gibraltar when it saw an opportunity to do so, but it was recaptured by the US later. Question: given the UK would fall, was it a mistake to take Gibraltar as Italy? If the sea base would still have been British, the Axis could have tried to put it out of commission by bombing it, and it could not have been repaired with London in German hands.

Well, so far for the things that I've been wondering about. Of course, anyone who says that it's impossible to answer without knowing the situation on the board is absolutely right, but I'm hoping for some general strategic tips here. We didn't have time to finish the game, so from that perspective it's hard to say who was right or wrong. It was all a bit odd.... Britain didn't fall in vain because it bought Russia time of course, and also, the remaining British and French forces kept the Italians out of Africa at least until the US arrived. It was particularly strange that the French, having nothing better to do and being the only Allied forces readily available at some point in time, had an opportunity to march each across North Africa - I would have never thought we'd need more French markers!

Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts on our attempt at this game, I'd appreciate reading them.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 08:31:35 am by Herr KaLeun » Logged
wittmann
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2016, 10:54:59 pm »
+1

Morning Herr Kaleun. Glad to hear you enjoyed your game. Has been a while since I played Europe, but will try and help.
1. Global needs  a bid for the Allies. Europe, I thought some suggested the opposite! The Axis could have one.
I would play without for a few games, just to see if the Axis always win. I thought I remembered that the US, with its At War NO, had far too much money to spend in Europe. (In Global, it would need to be shared, between the two theatres.)
2. I think one Ft and 6 Inf is the sound UK1 move. I always used  to do Taranto too, although, without the Global bid in the Med, it can be risky. Killing the Italian ground troops, might have been a better option.
3. I would always place max number of units in England, if TTs were bought as Germany on G2. Make the Germans pay for the Island. Could fail!
4. You are right to day that Germany needs its Air for Russia, so perhaps the Med fleet attack was a mistake. Can't be sure.
5. I would always take Gib, as Italy, even if it could be recaptured by the Allies.
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Herr KaLeun
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2016, 07:17:52 pm »
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Thanks, Herr Wittmann!

The reason I felt less than happy about Taranto afterwards (Boris and I played the Allies), was that in spite of it being successful in this particular game, the absence of several fighters from the UK made it impossible to defend it against the G3 Sea Lion threat. Germany had purchased CV + DD + SS round G1, and then all transports G2, which together with its entire intact air force, was just too much no matter what we would have done UK2.

So in that situation, to avoid a G3 Sea Lion, the UK would have needed to keep everything at home, purchased nothing but inf UK1, and maybe even send the Gib fighter back, foregoing Taranto entirely. But that wouldn't have been very attractive either. Now that's hindsight of course, we didn't even see it coming.

But thanks again for your insights. If G1 works out so very well for them again, I'll probably think again.... it just didn't feel very good to lose the UK so soon, though in the end, I wasn't even sure who was better when we stopped.
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wittmann
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2016, 10:24:07 pm »
+1

Taking England helps Italy get strong, but to win the game Germany needs Russia's three VPs. Russia still in the game, means the Allies still have a chance. Taking London and keeping it long term, are two different things. Once in the war, America has a lot of income (no Japan, about which to worry) amd can concentrate on Retajing London.
I think you hit the nail on the head, when you talked about Germany's Air. They need it for Russia. If list over England, things are harder.
Play the same again, buying 6 Inf and Ft. Maybe forgo, Taranto in favour of Tobruk and see what you all think.
Have fun.
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Zhukov44
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2016, 02:18:27 pm »
+2

Thanks, Herr Wittmann!

The reason I felt less than happy about Taranto afterwards (Boris and I played the Allies), was that in spite of it being successful in this particular game, the absence of several fighters from the UK made it impossible to defend it against the G3 Sea Lion threat. Germany had purchased CV + DD + SS round G1, and then all transports G2, which together with its entire intact air force, was just too much no matter what we would have done UK2.

With that G1 buy, it was definitely a mistake to go Taranto.  I would only Taranto on UK1 if you believe Axis is likely to Barbarossa.  To safely Taranto in Europe you need to bring all of the UK units in 97 in addition to 2 fig 1 bmb from UK.  That only leaves 1 fighter left to counterattack 110 and/or 111.  So on alot of occasions you have to accept that Taranto is not feasible and take comfort in the knowledge that soon enough USA will unbalance the game in favor of Allies.  There's no reason to assume that you'll be screwed long term if you don't Taranto UK1.

Europe is remarkably close to balanced but gun to my head I think Allies have the advantage.  However, Axis should be able to win consistently w/o a bid if they have the better strategies.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2016, 12:03:32 am by Zhukov44 » Logged
Charles de Gaulle
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2016, 05:49:25 pm »
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In a series of games between equally good players, I calculated that in every 20 games, the Allies will win 12 with standard dice and 9 with low luck.  Interesting right?
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Herr KaLeun
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2016, 02:44:29 pm »
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Thanks, Herr Wittmann!

The reason I felt less than happy about Taranto afterwards (Boris and I played the Allies), was that in spite of it being successful in this particular game, the absence of several fighters from the UK made it impossible to defend it against the G3 Sea Lion threat. Germany had purchased CV + DD + SS round G1, and then all transports G2, which together with its entire intact air force, was just too much no matter what we would have done UK2.

With that G1 buy, it was definitely a mistake to go Taranto.  I would only Taranto on UK1 if you believe Axis is likely to Barbarossa.  To safely Taranto in Europe you need to bring all of the UK units in 97 in addition to 2 fig 1 bmb from UK.  That only leaves 1 fighter left to counterattack 110 and/or 111.  So on alot of occasions you have to accept that Taranto is not feasible and take comfort in the knowledge that soon enough USA will unbalance the game in favor of Allies.  There's no reason to assume that you'll be screwed long term if you don't Taranto UK1.

Europe is remarkably close to balanced but gun to my head I think Allies have the advantage.  However, Axis should be able to win consistently w/o a bid if they have the better strategies.

Thanks a lot. Like I said, we've never played Europe before and went with our (also very limited) experience with Global.
As a followup question: without Taranto, what's the best option for the UK Med fleet?
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Herr KaLeun
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2016, 02:46:11 pm »
+1

In a series of games between equally good players, I calculated that in every 20 games, the Allies will win 12 with standard dice and 9 with low luck.  Interesting right?

That's interesting indeed. How did you do that calculation? And are you making assumptions about a specific optimal strategy for each side to follow?
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Zhukov44
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2016, 03:51:01 pm »
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Thanks a lot. Like I said, we've never played Europe before and went with our (also very limited) experience with Global.
As a followup question: without Taranto, what's the best option for the UK Med fleet?

Consolidate in 92 if possible.  One often needs an airbase in Gibraltar to pull this off, so it may not be an option if UK needs to spend all of its UK1 income on defense.  But consolidating in 92 can be a decent option against Sea Lion (if it's feasible), because your air/naval will be in range of London (unlike Taranto).

Failing that, you can consider running the fleet (in 97) to 76.  If you run around the Cape straight away you arrive at sz 92 on UK4.  By that time, USA should have plenty of fleet to join you, and you can begin your North Atlantic naval campaign in earnest on round 5.
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Charles de Gaulle
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2016, 06:23:20 pm »
+2

In a series of games between equally good players, I calculated that in every 20 games, the Allies will win 12 with standard dice and 9 with low luck.  Interesting right?

That's interesting indeed. How did you do that calculation? And are you making assumptions about a specific optimal strategy for each side to follow?

It was a mini tournament between 12 players most of which were around average (meaning not so good) skill.  Total of 96 games if I recall correctly.  The first rounds of the tourney were standard dice and the semi-finals and finals were low luck.  It was a very simple calculation.
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Herr KaLeun
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2016, 10:25:19 pm »
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Thanks a lot. Like I said, we've never played Europe before and went with our (also very limited) experience with Global.
As a followup question: without Taranto, what's the best option for the UK Med fleet?

Consolidate in 92 if possible.  One often needs an airbase in Gibraltar to pull this off, so it may not be an option if UK needs to spend all of its UK1 income on defense.  But consolidating in 92 can be a decent option against Sea Lion (if it's feasible), because your air/naval will be in range of London (unlike Taranto).

Failing that, you can consider running the fleet (in 97) to 76.  If you run around the Cape straight away you arrive at sz 92 on UK4.  By that time, USA should have plenty of fleet to join you, and you can begin your North Atlantic naval campaign in earnest on round 5.

Thanks again. In this particular game, we might have gone to 92 even without the Gibraltar airbase because Germany didn't take out SZ110 and those ships could also have joined in. Especially if the UK uses only planes against SZ96 (accepting the risk to lose one) to allow the SZ98 DD to stay with the other ships. The odds would then be against Italy if they would attack that fleet.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 04:42:24 am by Herr KaLeun » Logged
Herr KaLeun
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2016, 10:54:34 pm »
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In a series of games between equally good players, I calculated that in every 20 games, the Allies will win 12 with standard dice and 9 with low luck.  Interesting right?

That's interesting indeed. How did you do that calculation? And are you making assumptions about a specific optimal strategy for each side to follow?

It was a mini tournament between 12 players most of which were around average (meaning not so good) skill.  Total of 96 games if I recall correctly.  The first rounds of the tourney were standard dice and the semi-finals and finals were low luck.  It was a very simple calculation.

That's an interesting experiment indeed. Amazing that you got so many players together, and could also try both low luck an standard - I'm usually happy when I finally manage to get a single game going.
If the difference is indeed statistically significant, and given that over such a number of games there shouldn't really be an imparity in dice outcome between the sides and probably not in playing style either, it would seem to imply that the Axis would have more opportunities for battles that they are supposed to win but that are risky, and could ill afford to lose - which low luck would guarantee them.
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Charles de Gaulle
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2016, 12:08:37 pm »
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I actually didn't get to organize or play any of these games but I got most of these players in my group by offering to host the finals.  They gave me the statistics of the other games which I used to calculate the numbers.  Most of these games centered around Moscow and others told me that the Germans getting diced trying to take it unless they kept building up for awhile (both bad for Germany).  Finally in the low luck final games, Germany knew it could get Moscow even with close odds making a big difference.
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2017, 03:29:38 pm »
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Taking England helps Italy get strong, but to win the game Germany needs Russia's three VPs. Russia still in the game, means the Allies still have a chance. Taking London and keeping it long term, are two different things. Once in the war, America has a lot of income (no Japan, about which to worry) amd can concentrate on Retajing London.
I think you hit the nail on the head, when you talked about Germany's Air. They need it for Russia. If list over England, things are harder.
Play the same again, buying 6 Inf and Ft. Maybe forgo, Taranto in favour of Tobruk and see what you all think.
Have fun.


I agree, we played Europe 40 and I successfully conducted Operation Sea Lion. However keeping an occupation force in UK, and fending off a relentless US player milked my Luftwaffe forces dry.

Berlin fell to the Red Army after the official worse defending dice rolls.
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Colt45 554
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2017, 04:40:42 pm »
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Personally, i take Axis with a 3 bid otherwise il take Allies. If i capture london, i always look to bomb gibraltar and avoid capturing it but Sea Lion is a bad move in Europe IMO
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