First game recap - a Central Powers victory



  • Just got done with playing my first game yesterday.  It’s a wonderful game and was a blast to play.  The Central Powers won the game in the 17th turn, after conquering Paris and Rome, and forcing the Russian Revolution.  Ottoman was within one infantry of losing Constantinople, but hung on.  Here are some lessons learned, and then a summary of how it happened:

    • First of all, tanks are tremendous weapons in this game, particularly for the Central Powers.  More than any one thing, the Germans purchasing tanks beginning in turn 4 turned the tide of the war.  Combined with artillery and infantry, they were simply devastating against the French.  The Germans eventually got around 9 tanks, then never really had to purchase anymore.  It was just wave after wave of infranty coming from Berlin towards Paris.

    • The Allies have a huge naval advantage in this game.  The Axis navy was completely destroyed by the end of the 2nd turn, and they were never able to build a big enough navy to challenge the Allied navy until very late in the game.

    • Along with that, mines were devastating against the Axis, especially in the London and Wales sea zones.  Once it was obvious that the Germans were going to take Paris, they spent several turn’s worth of income to build up their navy and try to challenge the Allied armada in the London sea zone.  (In this game the Allies put all their warships in the London sea zone from Italy, France, and Britain, so it was quite formidable.)  At any rate, the mines would always seem to take out one or two German ships to the point that even after building up the German navy over a couple turns before moving it over, and clearing that sea zone was quite an arduous task.  They eventually did.  (In case you’re wondering why Germany bothered to do so, it was twofold: 1. With the goal of destroying/blocking the American fleet and keeping them from continuing to reinforce Italy.  2. To put more pressure on Britain.)

    • The Russian Revolution happened at the end of Russia’s 6th turn, and despite popular opinion, it was a great thing for the Central Powers.  Yes, they lost the potential 6 IPCs for taking Moscow, but it closed down the eastern front, and Germany and Austria-Hungary could send everyone they had after Paris and Rome, respectively.  And they didn’t have to worry about the Allies trying to liberate a capital that they just captured (and would have been very difficult to reinforce from Berlin or Vienna).  For Germany, this was huge.  (The Russian Revolution allowed them to spend nearly all of several turn’s worth of income on building up their navy, all while still sending troops from the Russian front to the west.)

    • This game is much more balanced than Axis & Allies WWII 1942.  One of the criticisms of that game is that with any Allied player worth a damn, the Axis are practically doomed from the start.  Not so with this game.  Germany is very strong from the start, can easily pick up additional IPC’s in Africa, and not only is the U.S. not nearly the economic juggernaut it is in WWII, it’s not even involved until the 4th turn.  (In this game, the Central Powers smartly were happy to keep the U.S. neutral until then.)  Russia is also fairly weak, and Italy is almost worthless - they are just trying to survive.  Still think the Allies will win more often than not, but the Central Powers player at least has a fighting chance.

    • Key neutrals mobilized: Switzerland (for Austria-Hungary, in turn 2); Holland (for Germany, in turn 2); Serbia (for Russia, of course in turn 1); Romania (for Russia, in turn 1); Bulgaria (for Ottoman, in turn 1); Albania (for Italy, in turn 4); and Portugal (for France, in turn 1).  Neutrals actually played a huge role in this game, which I thought was really neat.  Being able to mobilize troops far from your capital in a friendly neutral was a huge plus.  France tried to take over Spain (to give a staging ground for landing U.S. troops, plus the 4 IPCs), but it almost backfired.  All they could do was contest Spain, which gave Germany troops to the west of France all while Germany was pushing west.  It took the U.S. cleaning it up to take over Spain and make this plan succeed.  (Or not, since the Allies lost, but at least it was a viable landing spot only two turns from Washington, D.C.)

    On to the strategies and recap:

    Germany: Two front war with France and Russia.  The Germans developed a pretty nice supply line along the coast from Poland all the way to Belgium.  Although Berlin is far from both capitals, it was a formidable line for much of the game.  Once Russia revolted (with a big assist from Austria-Hungary and a small one from Ottoman as well), it was on to Paris.  The Germans managed to contest Paris in Turn 6, but soon their supply line was interrupted as Britain successfully contested Belgium and eventually took it over.  The guys in Paris and Picardy behind enemy lines were done for.  It looked like Britain, France, and the U.S. might be able to start pushing east from Belgium, but soon the tanks arrived and the tide of the war changed.  The bloodiest battles of the war were fought in Belgium, for all sides, although the Germans began to make progress once the tanks showed up.  (Germany lost Belgium in the 5th turn, and it did not become theirs again for good until the 9th.)  After finally taking Belgium, Germany continued west and finally took Paris in the 13th, which they would hold for the rest of the game.  The game almost ended after the 13th turn, but America was able to liberate Rome during their turn, prolonging the game for a few more turns.  As mentioned earlier, Germany left the U.S. alone so that they wouldn’t have to deal with them until the 4th turn, and unrestricted submarine warfare was never declared at any point in the game (because Germany never got subs to sea zones 2, 7, or 8 after they were destroyed in the 2nd turn!).

    Russia: They were on the defensive from the start, and the Central Powers managed to contest both Poland and the Ukraine during the first turn.  Mobilizing Romania helped, and although they were able to get Poland, Ukraine, and Romania back or at least contest it a few times throughout the game, they could never really get on the offensive, having to ward off not only Germany, but Austria-Hungary and Ottoman as well.  The goal was just to survive until the Brits and French (because by the time the Americans joined the war, it was frankly a little too late for Russia - they were already down to 17 IPCs by that time) could put pressure on the Germans and Austria-Hungary.  Unfortunately for Russia, that didn’t happen in time, and by turn 4, they were in full retreat mode.  The Russian Revolution occurred at the end of turn 6.

    Austria-Hungary: Their number one task was to kill Italy, although they sent troops to Russia as well.  They were able take Tuscany in their first turn via a transport from Trieste, immediately dividing the Italian forces and putting pressure on Italy from the start.  They took Venice and Switzerland in the 2nd turn (Switzerland would prove VERY useful when the war turned towards Paris), and Piedmont and Romania in the 3rd.  Italy managed to stay alive for a few more turns, but Rome fell in turn 9.  Austria-Hungary left a nominal force behind in Italy (2 infantry) and turned all their attention towards the west.  Germany was still bogged down in Belgium at this time, so Austria-Hungary putting some pressure on France, particularly southern France, was a godsend.  Between turns 10 and 14, they picked up additional income and put further pressure on France by taking Marseilles, Lorraine, Burgundy, and Bordeaux.  In turn 13, the U.S. managed to liberate Rome, staving off execution for the Allies for a few more turns.  But America’s distance from Italy and divided forces (i.e. reinforcing Italy, attacking Germany, trying to liberate Paris by landing troops in Spain, etc.) combined with Italy’s weak IPC production (only 6 at that point) and Austria-Hungary’s strength ensured this would only be temporary.  Austria-Hungary took back Rome in the 17th turn and held it, ending the game.  Incidentally, although required to attack Serbia, Austria-Hungary made only a nominal attack there, enough to contest it but no more.  (Attacking Serbia is as stupid and pointless a move in this game as it was in real life.)  Serbia was contested between Russia and Austria-Hungary for the first two turns (which was really fine by Austria-Hungary, as they wanted to devote more resources towards, Italy, Russia, and later, France) until Ottoman came in the 3rd turn and settled things.

    France: In a bad position from the start, France very rarely had the chance to make an offensive towards Germany or Austria-Hungary.  Germany took over Belgium during their first turn, immediately bringing troops to France’s doorstep.  They got a little bit of a breather beginning in turn 5, when Britain managed to contest Belgium for the first time and continued landing around 8 troops every turn, but this was to be short-lived.  By that time, they had already lost income in Lorraine, Burgundy, Picardy, and Marseille, and were just trying to hang on to Paris.  Meanwhile, it still took a couple turns to eliminate all the German troops behind enemy lines, even with American help.  Although the French were able to take back Picardy, Burgundy, and Lorraine, the German tanks soon arrived (as well as the reinforcements from the east) and it was all downhill beginning in turn 10.  The Germans (with an assist from Austria-Hungary) would march into Paris on turn 13, knocking France from the game.

    British Empire: Britain’s main strategy early on was to try to knock out the Ottoman Empire from the game.  Being able to mobilize troops in India was a huge aid in accomplishing this objective.  By turn 2, Britain had taken over Persia and mobilized Saudi Arabia.  Mesopotamia fell in turn 4, and by then Ottoman was on the run.  They took Trans-Jordan and Syrian Desert in turn 6, Smyrna in turn 7, and Ankara in turn 8.  Beginning in turn 9, they would contest Constantinople.  Unfortunately for the British, by then Ottoman troops who had been fighting in the east as far as Ukraine had returned to reinforce Constantinople.  Undeterred, the British kept building infantry, artillery, and occasional planes in India and sending them towards Istanbul, although as time went on the Western Front demanded more and more of their attention.  The distance from India to Constantinople (4 turns) was another obstacle.  Still, the Ottomans were holed up in Constantinople, and came very close to elimination.  In turn 16, the Brits got the Ottoman down to one lone infantry that survived the battle.  However, in turn 17, Austria-Hungary managed to land reinforcements (they had since built up their navy and cleared the Mediterranean) in Constantinople, ending the British threat once and for all.  Still, it was a close one for the Ottoman Empire.  Meanwhile, British did not ignore the western front.  In early turns they landed troops in mainland Europe to reinforce Picardy, and later, Paris, but with only mixed results in the face of German aggression.  Beginning in turn 5, they landed troops in Belgium and managed to constest it.  Typically 8 men per turn landed in Belgium to fight the Germans, but they were eventually overwhelmed by the German tanks.

    Ottoman Empire: They activated Bulgaria in the first turn and made some early offensives into Russian territory by taking Sevestapool and Serbia by the 3rd turn, and sending troops to support Austria-Hungary in Romania and the Ukraine, but it wasn’t long before they were on the defensive against the British Empire.  By turn 9, they were holed up in contested Constantinople and only producing two infantry a turn.  They were happy to just survive (barely, as detailed above) and luck out by being on the winning side, with really minimal thanks to them.

    Italy: They were hurting all game, and with the lowest starting IPCs (14), they didn’t have a lot of buying power to do much.  Austria-Hungary took over both Tuscany and Venice the first turn.  Activating Albania and taking Ethiopia the first turn gave them a few more IPCs, which helped.  But mostly it was all about survival.  Tuscany would be contested a few more times during the game (mostly due to its distance of 3 turns from Vienna and Austria-Hungary simultaneously fighting the Russians), but Rome would eventually fall in turn 9.  The Americans would succeed in liberating Rome in turn 13, once Austria-Hungary had turned their full attention towards France, giving Italy a little life.  But only being able to produce 2 infantry a turn, it wasn’t long before Austria-Hungary threatened again.  Rome would be contested again in turn 15, and ultimately fall in turn 17, ending the game.

    U.S.: The U.S. is an interesting power.  Their limited economic might (only 20 IPCs) took some getting used to in this game.  Also the fact that while they are building up their military while neutral, they can’t attack anyone or even load units onto a transport until the end of turn 4.  Also, recall that in A&A 1942 they are only 2 spaces from the London sea zone, allowing them to drop troops off in western France in one turn.  Not so in this game.  The best they can do is Spain, so that became their primary staging ground for the western front for most of the game.  So they are limited in what they can do.  They did send quite a few troops to the front (typically 8 infantry a turn, with occasional artillery and planes mixed in).  This helped reinforce Paris after the first German scare (see above), but they would ultimately be overwhelmed by German tanks in Belgium, Picardy, and even Paris.  Saving Italy for a few turns (see above) helped things, but it was too little, too late.  Note that by the time the U.S. entered the war, the allies were already in bad shape.  In the east, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, and Livonia were either taken over or contested by the Central Powers, and in Italy, Venice and Piedmont had been taken over with Tuscany heavily contested.  The Central Powers had also already taken over Belgium, Holland, Lorraine, and Switzerland, and were already only two steps away from Paris.  Unless the German player is stupid and goes after the U.S. prior to turn 4, they can’t do much but sit on the sidelines and watch.  Given their distance, they really can’t help western Europe until turn 5 or even turn 6 at the earliest provided their neutrality is not violated first.

    Well, there you have it.  It is a great game, and I’m looking forward to many others in the future.  Any questions or comments, feel free to hit me up.  But I think this game should answer three important questions (it does for me at least):

    • Can the Central Powers win this game?  Yes.
    • Is there any benefit to buying tanks?  Absolutely, especially for Germany.
    • Is the Russian Revolution worth the risk for the Central Powers?  Yes!  It eliminates one of the Allied Powers from the game and allows the Central Powers to redirect all their attention to the western front.

    Happy playing,

    kraftwrk_5


  • Customizer

    Interesting report, with very different conclusions from my own.

    Why didn’t the UK build a tank army? In my game the British tank corps of 8 units was equally devastating as your Germans, winning big battles without suffering casualties. Germany by that time could not afford to counter-build, and the distance from Berlin was again crippling.

    USA invading Spain seems insane; why add another 8 units to the CP army? Use the fleet to attack in Italy or the Balkans.

    The UK is the powerhouse of the Allies, really the only one that can dictate strategy. Italy is just hanging on to survive; France needs every man it can find to push the Germans back into Alsace; Russia is just delaying the inevitable; America is a firefighter, going where it must to save its friends.

    But the UK can fight almost anywhere; a fleet of 4 transports can shuck into Karelia and Belgium alternately, tanks if you can afford them (you should). Persia and Mesopotamia can be a staging post to support Russia through Sevastopol; Egypt can threaten the Balkans.

    The key to Allied victory is the ability of the navies to send troops to any front, much more difficult for the CPs. A big army in Karelia (and another in Sevastopol) not only delays the fall of Russia, but immediately threatens to recapture CP conquests there, especially powerful now that the rules no longer force them to liberate these tts to Russia. The Allies shouldn’t allow the CP armies to just march back west once Russia falls.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Thank you Kraftwrk. Enjoyed the read and gives me hope for my favoured side(the Germans).
    I see, like me, you lost the German fleet early, but, unlike me, that was not the end for you.
    I need to win my second game or be forever the loser!
    Unlikely to play again for a while though.
    Thanks again.



  • For all the reasons you mentioned for the UK is why the Germans must build a navy.



  • Why wasn’t Albania activated until turn 4.  Did Italy just forget about it?  Also, if Italy moved its fleet out, what kept Austria from venturing out.



  • Question,

    Since you used the optional Russian Revolution rules, did youuse the rules from the game, or the new revisions from Krieg?

    Thanks, looks like you had a great game!

    Kim



  • Thanks for your feedback and comments, Flashman.  I think Britain was in a tough position stategically in this game.  Although they were never really under threat of attack and enjoyed naval superiority, from the beginning of the game they were saddled with two very weak allies (Russia and Italy), a third that was on the defensive from the start (France) and a fourth (U.S.) that would be useless until really about turn 6.  They also had to split up their forces between reinforcing France and threatening the Ottoman.  They had planned on a fairly quick knockout of Ottoman (hopefully by turn 6), but unfortunately that never materialized.  Russia was not able to hang on long enough to destroy the Ottoman’s invading forces or at least keep them occupied, and by the time Britain made it to Ankara (which was contested in turn 5 and ultimately taken over by Britain in turn 8 ), the Ottoman troops who had been supporting Austria-Hungary in Russia were able to make it back to Constantinople, requiring Britain to spend additional turns building new forces in India and diverting some of their resources from Europe.  Also, the naval superiority Britain enjoys is kind of overrated IMHO.  Once the Axis fleet was destroyed, there was really no use for the warships other than to discourage the Axis from even bothering to build a navy.  (In retrospect, that strangely turned out to be a bad thing for the Allies, as Germany kept spending their entire income on infantry, artillery, planes, and eventually tanks instead of wasting any income on ships until very late in the game when a CP victory was almost imminent.)  The merits of this strategy can certainly be debated, in hindsight.  But it was the first game, so the first crack at trying different strategies.  I will say this for Britain, that this strategy was thisclose to working.  By turn 5, Ottoman was on the run with British forces having taken over as far as Ankara and Syrian Desert, and they managed to capture Belgium, interrupting the German supply line and dividing the German forces.  Soon the German forces behind enemy lines were destroyed, and an Allied push east seemed inevitable.  I think if Germany hadn’t built tanks starting in turn 4, this strategy actually would have worked and the Allies would have won the war.  It was really that close, and at 17 turns a good long game.  It wasn’t until turn 8 that the German tanks finally arrived in Belgium and the tide turned towards the Central Powers.  So I still think it can be a viable British strategy depending on what the German player does (and it would be immensely helpful if Russia could manage to survive for even a little bit longer).

    On tanks, the problem the Brits faced was that Germany constantly had a front loaded with artillery, and tanks are not immune to artillery fire during amphibeous assaults.  (Germany consistently built an approximately even distribution of artillery and infantry.)  Most countries along Germany’s coastal supply line consistently had five or six artillery along with at least a few infantry.  The Brits did not want to lose their expensive tanks and then wind up with no realistic chance of taking over one of these countries after their remaining force was reduced by artillery fire.  So early in the game Britain opted to land troops in Picardy to reinforce the French.  They made their assault on Belgium in turn 4 (which was the easiest target for Britain at that point in the game, with only a couple artillery and a few infantry), and took it over in turn 5.  But even then, Germany was able to contest Belgium again beginning in turn 6, and the Brits never really had enough of a foothold there to where tanks wouldn’t be vulnerable to a German counterattack.  There was a ray of light when American and French troops showed up in Belgium, but by then the German tanks had arrived.  In hindsight, the British player could have built a lot of tanks in this game, but I think it would have been very costly and probably a waste as several of them got destroyed by artillery fire and German counterattacks.  I really think tanks are set up for the CP, and especially Germany, more so than the allies.  Tanks in India might have been useful against Ottoman, but in view of their cost and the two-front war, Britain opted to focus on buying less expensive infantry and artillery units for the most part.

    On Spain, it was costly, but I think it worked out ok and was ultimately a good decision.  France mobilized Portugal and attacked Spain with a decent force.  Basically, they got bad dice and could only contest Spain.  Those German troops weren’t truly a threat due to the rules about troops in contested territory.  Once the U.S. entered the war, they readily took over Spain and cleaned it up.  The extra 4 IPC in income helped America too.  The big problem for the U.S. is their distance from Europe.  The closest they can get in one turn from Washington is Spain.  American transports occasionally dropped troops off in Picardy or Belgium, but that required two turns.  America tried to time these landings to coincide with troops arriving overland from Spain through Paris or Burgundy, and it was effective in helping to keep France alive and destroy the German troops who were caught behind enemy lines when Britain invaded Belgium.  America is just really far away, and it takes them a long time to do anything.  At only 20 IPC a turn with not much chance to move up (24 in my game, with Spain), and not even entering the war until turn 4, they’re just really limited in what they can do in this game.

    On the UK transports, I think you make a good point on Karelia - that looks like a missed opportunity in retrospect.  But Britain’s western front and UK transports were focused solely on reinforcing France.  I’d have to try this next time and see if it can be done without dividing their forces too much.  In this game, UK opted to help Russia by occupying the Ottoman and drawing their forces away from Russia, but obviously that wasn’t enough.  Britain considered Sevestapool as you suggest, but Ottoman took it over in the 1st turn and kept a decent amount of troops there (at least 4 or 5 infantry, as I recall) specifically to prevent Britain from using it as a bridge to help Russia.  By the time Ottoman units moved out of there to get back to Constantinople, the Russian Revolution (or even a CP takeover of Moscow) was inevitable and it was too late for Britain to try to take it over.  I suppose Britain could have taken over Afghanistan and tried to help in Russia via Kazakhstan, but that would have required them to divert serious forces away from their push towards Constantinople.  The troops in Egypt were used to take Trans-Jordan in round 1 and later walk towards Constantinople, so they couldn’t be used against Austria-Hungary.  I still think this was the better strategy.  Other than possibly reinforcing Albania, Britain can’t seriously threaten Austria-Hungary, with Trieste only one step from Vienna.  The inability to build ships in India is a huge impediment in that regard (although I realize it’s necessary for the sake of game balance).

    I appreciate hearing your thoughts, and you make some very good points.  Of course, every game is different, and if Russia/France/Italy could hang on a little longer and get maybe some more favorable dice rolls than they did in my first game, I’m definitely going to try some of those strategies the next time.  Cheers.

    @Flashman:

    Interesting report, with very different conclusions from my own.

    Why didn’t the UK build a tank army? In my game the British tank corps of 8 units was equally devastating as your Germans, winning big battles without suffering casualties. Germany by that time could not afford to counter-build, and the distance from Berlin was again crippling.

    USA invading Spain seems insane; why add another 8 units to the CP army? Use the fleet to attack in Italy or the Balkans.

    The UK is the powerhouse of the Allies, really the only one that can dictate strategy. Italy is just hanging on to survive; France needs every man it can find to push the Germans back into Alsace; Russia is just delaying the inevitable; America is a firefighter, going where it must to save its friends.

    But the UK can fight almost anywhere; a fleet of 4 transports can shuck into Karelia and Belgium alternately, tanks if you can afford them (you should). Persia and Mesopotamia can be a staging post to support Russia through Sevastopol; Egypt can threaten the Balkans.

    The key to Allied victory is the ability of the navies to send troops to any front, much more difficult for the CPs. A big army in Karelia (and another in Sevastopol) not only delays the fall of Russia, but immediately threatens to recapture CP conquests there, especially powerful now that the rules no longer force them to liberate these tts to Russia. The Allies shouldn’t allow the CP armies to just march back west once Russia falls.



  • @wittmann:

    Thank you Kraftwrk. Enjoyed the read and gives me hope for my favoured side(the Germans).
    I see, like me, you lost the German fleet early, but, unlike me, that was not the end for you.
    I need to win my second game or be forever the loser!
    Unlikely to play again for a while though.
    Thanks again.

    You’re welcome.  Let me know if you want any more specific advice on Germany.  8-)



  • @Texas:

    For all the reasons you mentioned for the UK is why the Germans must build a navy.

    I disagree.  As my game proved, if Germany can keep up a solid supply line along the coast with plenty of artillery, the Allied navy isn’t a dealbreaker.  It’s a waste of money for Germany to buy a navy IMHO.  They need to keep building land units to force their way into Moscow and Paris.  Not to mention that it will require a tremendous navy to even challenge the allies.  In my game, the Allies (Italy, France, Britain, and even the U.S.) eventually consolidated their navies in the London sea zone only one step away from Kiel.  It took several turns worth of German income spent almost solely on navy to finally clear that sea zone out towards the very end of the game.  And don’t buy subs - unrestricted submarine warfare is useless until very late in the game and will majorly backfire if used early in the game, as it will bring the U.S. into the war immediately on turn 1 or 2 for the sake of only 1 or 2 IPC’s!



  • @Texas:

    Why wasn’t Albania activated until turn 4.  Did Italy just forget about it?  Also, if Italy moved its fleet out, what kept Austria from venturing out.

    I misspoke - Italy actually activated Albania in turn 1, sorry.  Italy destroyed Austria-Hungary’s fleet in turn 1.  Unfortunately, Italy lost their transport to a mine in Constantinople while trying to help the Brits in Ankara (can’t remember which turn), and at that point there was nothing left for their fleet to do in the Mediterranean with Italy under heavy land assault from Austria-Hungary, so they moved the remainder of their fleet to the UK.



  • @KimRYoung:

    Question,

    Since you used the optional Russian Revolution rules, did youuse the rules from the game, or the new revisions from Krieg?

    Thanks, looks like you had a great game!

    Kim

    Thanks, Kim.  I used the Russian Revolution rules from Krieg, which is great because that is how I was planning on playing anyway.  Make no mistake, RR is a GREAT thing for the Central Powers.  (Frankly, I think I even prefer it over capturing Moscow in retrospect.)


Log in to reply
 

Suggested Topics

  • 46
  • 7
  • 3
  • 11
  • 14
  • 5
  • 3
  • 33
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys

52
Online

13.9k
Users

34.2k
Topics

1.3m
Posts