Weekend game report that resulted in a major Central Powers victory:
First, after much discussion we agreed not to use the optional Russian revolution rules. More about that later.
We did use Kriegs new rule proposal for requiring a unit of your power to be in a territory for you to move to from a contested area.
The game began with Austria attacking Serbia as required and sending a massive attack on Romania, which she won, also pushed into Russia and set up a defensive front against Italy. Austria’s boldest move was an attack on the Italian fleet; surviving the mines she sunk the Italian navy without suffering a single hit! This would have a major impact on the rest of the game.
Russia massed on the eastern front against this. Germany pushed a large force to the East while following the Schlieffen Plan by attacking through Holland and Belgium with success. She also sunk the British cruiser and transport of Canada with her subs without losing any.
France moved troops to the front and also activated Portugal with troops from Africa prepared to move home.
Britain bolstered her fleet with another battleship and added transports. Troops in Africa moved to consolidate. Not much was done to pressure the Turks at this point and that would cause problems later.
Turkey helped out the Austrian effort against Russia and seized Sevastopol. She cleaned up the conflict in Serbia and activated Bulgaria.
Italy moved to the front to match Austria, and the US began building transports.
Turn 2 saw the Central Powers hit Russia hard again. Austria once again with a bold naval attack moved in and sunk the Russian cruisers, again surviving the mines and taking no hits! France and Britain began to build up quick on the western front. Seeing the situation in the Balkans looking grim, France moved with 3 transports and troops from Portugal to land in Albania and activate it for Italy. Turkey moved to counter and consolidate gains in Russia.
Italy made a disastrous attack on Austria, the US continued to build.
Turn 3, Austria slowed the attack in Russia to counter the French in Albania, but counter attacked the Italians with good success. Russia made some bold counter attacks regaining some territory, but was being overmatched by German pressure.
Germany now mad a calculated attack on the Grand Fleet. Taking only a single hit from mines on her battleship, the High Seas fleet destroyed the British navy and sunk 5 transports slowing her troop reinforcements. France now made a major push in the west and drove out the Germans who were concentrating more troops to the east. France withdrew from Albania to help defend the Italian frontier.
Britain rebuilt her fleet and tied to make a push on the Turks, but suffered several setbacks that Turkey exploited. Italy made one more attack on the Austrians and again another disaster occurred, leaving her weak. The US was prepared to declared war and move to the aid of the Allies.
Turn 4 and the Austrians and Germans had Russia pushed back to Moscow (note, had the Revolution rules been used it would have occurred this turn). Austria bought the first tank units and had built a large fighter corp. She now began to concentrate more strength against Italy and consolidated with the Germans on the gates of Moscow. Russia was hanging on by a tread and the Germans begin to surround Moscow while she now started trying to stabilize the western front.
France and Britain now held a strong edge, had fighter superiority and pushed the Germans out of Asace, Munich, the Ruhr and Belgium! (15 IPCs). Britain had all but run the Germans out of Africa, but now had the Turks move in to contest Egypt and close the Suez Canal. Turkey was doing well holding several Russian territories, built tanks and fighters. Italy now could only try to build up her defense. The US moved her fleet and troops to Portugal to stage her entry into the war.
Turn 5 was the end for Russia as Austria captured Moscow knocking Russia out of the war. Austria hammered Italy hard taking Venice. Germany now went full bore on the western front, getting troops back in the line and starting to drive back the Allies. France and Britain countered with some fierce battles. France also went after Austria in Italy, Turkey was winning in Egypt and Britain couldn’t get enough troops to stop them from taking it. The US sensing an Austrian breakthrough against the Italians land her 12 units in Piedmont. Germany began capturing northern Russian territories.
From turn 6 on, there were lots of back and forth battles on the western front, but eventually the Central Powers began to wear down the Allies with their greater IPCs. Turkey now was moving to clear out and capture Africa, Austria was on the gates of Rome, Germany came back with large stacks of artilly and tanks. Britain and the US just kept sending troops into the meat grinder alongside France.
Austria would soon capture Rome and was making big money! Turkey had knocked out all British troops in Africa and the Middle East by capturing Bombay. The Central powers now had all built massive navies (this was quite the arms race too) with all 3 powers having no less the 4 battleships each! Every neutral country except Norway and Spain was conquered by the Central Powers. The Allied fleets were hunkered down in two sea zones waiting to be hit at any moment by vast enemy armadas.
With the IPC count at 150 for the Central Powers to 62 for the Allies, Austrian and Turkish transports landing troops in southern France, Germany with a huge advancing army, and the fleets now sitting ducks, the Allies sued for peace and capitulated.
Not using the Russian revolution rules benefits the Central Powers since if a revolution would have occurred it not only would have denied them a victory capital (didn’t matter with Rome falling), but more importantly it gave them the Russian IPCs and the ability to capture 12 more IPCs of territories. If I’m playing the Central Powers, there is no way I would agree to play with this optional rule ever.
Krieghunds new rule for moving from contested territories worked great. We will keep using it.
Tanks are DEFINITELY worthwhile! Especially in territories held by small numbers. The Central Powers captured Greece, Sweden and Denmark using them adding to their IPC total as well as in large battles.
Cruisers also worth it. Germany bought several more, moved them out into the shipping lanes and with their 3 area range forced the Allies to protect the transports moving troops from the US and Canada.
The killer combination was artillery and fighters. So much so that large stacks of guns was common even with minimal infantry support. Losses of artillery because of not having enough infantry was not of much concern since if you had air superiority you had large stacks of units that attacked and defended at a 4 for only 4 points each. At that value, you could afford to not worry about infantry.
Subs also were purchased, mostly to ensure more soak off for fleets in large battles.
Mines were no big deal at all. In the entire game only a single ship was lost to a mine, and there were multiple attacks on fleets in mined sea zones. Of course the luck could have gone the other way too.
Strategy matters. The Allied decision to put less effort in the east and put pressure on the Germans worked short term as they came close to breaking them early, but Russia went down quick allowing the Turks to move on Africa and Bombay and gave the Central Powers plenty of IPCs to eventually stop the drive on Berlin. The bold risk move by the Austrian navy paid off big in contesting the Mediterranean.
There are certainly less scripted moves and purchases in the opening turns of this game then the 1940 games; the key is balancing out your strategy for both the short term and long term.
Finally, with only a single round of land combat, luck tended to not be such a killer, if things went bad for the defender, as long as you held on you have a chance to reinforce your forces unlike AA WWII where you will be wiped out.
This could well become my new favorite version from the Axis and Allies franchise of games.
Thanks Larry and Krieg!