I just got the Europe game today. I have the Pacific game also but only set up the Europe side of the game. Here are some of my first impressions of the game, in no particular order:
1. First of all, I think with the map being so big, with the neutrality rules, and with the optional tech rules, this game has so many options. So many spaces being between Germany and Russia allows the other Allied players time to really get units into the game before they have to worry about Russia falling. With Germany and Japan having so many units to start off the game with, I think tech rolls will benefit them the most, at least early in the game. Perhaps buying a couple of tech dice a turn with Germany and Japan is a good option. I think that violating strict neutral territories is actually more of an option for the Axis, especially if Germany does it in the first few turns. The opposing team doesn’t automatically get the remainder of the neutral infantry… they still have to activate the territories, and may not have the transports to actually get the infantry anywhere fast enough to count. Other strict neutrals, such as Sweden, are going to be really hard for the Allies to get to as long as the Axis control the surrounding territories…
2. Speaking of strict neutrals, I’m wondering if the Axis taking out Turkey is a good option. Actually, I found the rules about the Turkish strait confusing, so I’m not sure after reading the rules if land units are capable of moving from Greece to Turkey. If it is possible, then perhaps Germany can build a bunch of infantry to hold off Russia while German tanks go into the Middle East/Africa/India to help out Italy and/or Japan. It could be enough to swing the game in the Axis’ favor.
3. Germany is going to have to put as much pressure as possible on the UK for the first two turns if Italy is to have any chance of securing the Med and taking out Egypt. The UK fleet off of Gibraltar and north of Egypt can take out the Italian battleship, cruiser, and transport, especially if the carrier joins the fight, allowing another UK fighter to join in the fight. The threat of a sealion will probably at least force the destroyer off of Gibraltar to block Germany’s Baltic fleet on G2. But it may not be enough to stop UK from destroying the Italian navy anyway. If Italy retaliates with the rest of his fleet and airforce, then the French navy can attempt to finish off the remainder of the Italian navy. The UK can use the transport off of Egypt to either activate units in Persia or Greece, causing even more problems for Italy. If Germany builds up enough surface ships/transports, then UK may be forced to send their entire Gibraltar fleet to UK, thus saving the Italian fleet.
4. Even if UK loses a few African territories, these territories aren’t worth that much and UK is still going to have a large enough economy to really help out. Italy won’t be able to keep Africa without Germany and/or Japan reinforcing it. So it seems to me that Africa will really matter in this game.
5. I suppose Germany and Italy could give up on Africa altogether and go all out against Russia, but then UK will quickly secure all of Africa/Middle East and then be able to just transport infantry into Russia. So it doesn’t seem to me that it would work, especially with Italy not gaining any national objectives.
6. I think that which way the game goes will often depend on which country, Japan or USA, can get enough units to reinforce their respective allies. So the other countries need to hold out while Japan or USA comes in to save the day.
Well, those are just a few thoughts that I’ve had about the game so far. I like playing with tech since I think it can really change a game and make each game different. It really seems like there are going to be many different strategies to try out with this game, making it worth the cost.