Got a chance to sink some serious time into 1914 over the weekend. Loved every second of it!
I was able to play as France/UK (like I was hoping to), my teammate was Russia/Italy/America, and my two opponents were AH/Ottoman and Germany.
Just to hit the highlights, the CP hit Russia extremely hard. We didn’t have any issues with the Revolution rules, and Russia was out of the game by turn 4. Because of their hard push, their western front was near collapse; Italy was pushing its way into Munich, Britain was pouring a steady stream of infantry into Belgium, and France had been holding its own against Germany, defending its border. France built a steady stream of aircraft, ensuring air supremacy in most of the battles. Many times France would let Britain’s units soak up hits while it preserved its own (sorry, Canada!) while its artillery/aircraft/1 infantry would continue to hold the line.
By the time the CP swung their attention to the west, Germany’s income had been up to 45-50 due to its Russian expansion. This allowed them to quickly build up their western front and push Italy back down to its border. UK’s forays into Afganistan/Persia went extremely badly, eventually allowing all UK land units to be pretty much wiped out.
By turn six, battle lines had been drawn on the western front. 25+ UK troops stood in Belgium. France had massed its armies and substantial air force on Lorraine. American soldiers were positioned to invade Switzerland. Without the Russian threat to the East, Austria-Hungary had stockpiled units into Tyrolia and Triest, and Germany had fortified Ruhr and Alsace. About this time we had passed the 6 hour mark.
However, before the utter bloodbath could commence, we shook hands and signed an armistice.
I think the CP had the slight advantage in actual units, but America had yet to make its presence felt.
Russian Revolution went off without a hitch. I think I would prefer if triggering the RR gave the CP one of their two capitals.
Each country felt balanced in relation to the others (America excluded). The Ottomans and British India fought back and forth, as did France & Germany and Italy & AH. Russia fought the CPs until turn 4–when the Americans entered the war. As far as America, they had yet to participate in a battle in order to gauge what their actual impact would be; their income felt a little light. Starting turn 4 with 60 IPCs spent was awesome, but 20 a turn after that wasn’t exactly intimidating.
France’s navy felt inordinately strong, allowing the Allies to establish naval dominance no later than turn 2. They had the option of destroying German subs in SZ 2, or parking a cruiser/battleship in SZ 8 so Britain could drop a fleet UK1. I chose the SZ 2 route, followed by SZ 8 on F2, with an otherwise invincible Allied fleet on UK2. At that point, Britain began shuttling troops across (8 inf a turn after UK 3) and French transports carried the Canadians to battle.
Air support was absolutely crucial in our game. A BIG part of Russia falling was the fact that it lost air superiority every battle; there were SEVERAL big battles that were swayed directly by who won air superiority. We even had one large-scale battle in Belgium in which fighters wiped each other out, ensuring a more even battle. I loved this aspect of the game.
Multi-National forces–while the CPs tended to use them (particularly to destroy Russia), I tended to keep them separate toward the end. I was more than happy to let Britain keep 25+ infantry on Belgium alone, ready to reinforce the French attack on Alsace.
Switzerland - I would have preferred Switzerland to be impassable to maintain to completely separate fronts-- Germany/France and Italy/AH; when Germany DID subjugate the Swiss on G2, things felt a lot messier.
Big Battles - a LOT of our battles were calculated in order to try to wipe the other side out in 1 round of combat, which led to a LOT of bloodshed. This was cool.
France dropping an infantry in Albania F1 - this was AWESOME. AH hadn’t taken or contested Venice turn 1, France activated 4 Italian troops, and everything from Venice and Albania piled into Trieste I1. Not sure how many times this will happen if people expect it, though.
This was the most fun I’ve had playing Axis and Allies in a long time. I think the game will move a lot faster next time we play, which I am very much looking forward to!