First are you using the Russian Revolution rules (the latest on pg#14 of the FAQ thread ,not OOB), or have you just set those aside (for now).
We have played 3 games so far with 3 to 4 players (no solo games), and all w/Russian Rev (so I can only tell a story based on that). In all 3 games the CP have went hard at the Russians (and it was obvious), both CPs (G & A) had 35 units or so heading that way, and even the Turks have got 20 units on Russian soil depending on what the UK does. The CP have dug in on French/Italian soil in the first turn on the western front (they have challenged Italy somewhat, but weren’t successful). They are generally forced back on the western front at some point early on though, and start giving up land.
I ask about Russian strats because some ppl are saying the Russians might be too weak, but we are finding the Russians to be a very strong adversary when the CP come full strength, as long as they don’t get much of their Russian army killed off in Poland/Romania.
Are your Russians stacking/def Poland and/or Romania R1 (and how did that go), or are they pulling back to conserve their resources (only activating Romania if the Austrians didn’t hit it). In all 3 games we played the Russians backed off, and have stacked the Ukraine (sometimes supporting stack on Belarus). They can get about 40 units to the Ukraine on their first turn, then continue to add to it. At some point they need to decide to take the hit on Ukraine, or withdraw to Moscow. In our games they have been withdrawing to Moscow, and kinda force the Austrians to melt their army into the Russian wall.
Game #1 (remember this was like a practice game):
The Russians withdrew, and had over 60 (plus 3 ftrs for 64 I think) that fell back to Moscow. The CP stayed side by side to support each other for a counter attack if the Russians attempted to hit one or the other. The Austrians had about 35 units (+2 ftrs for 37) that ended up on the Ukraine. The Germans had somewhere around 30 units (+3 ftrs for 33?) on Belarus, and some scattered units on Livonia/Karelia (transported). On turn 4 the CP could have 3-4 territories adjacent to Moscow to force the Revolution, as long as when the Austrians attacked Moscow turn 4 they have at least one unit survive to contest it. By contesting Moscow the Russians wouldn’t be able to leave it to attack the adjacent CP controlled territories (although some were very weakly held), thus Russian Revolution happens. The battle for Moscow to force the Revolution (37 Austrians vs 64 Russians) was about 50/50 from what I could tell for an Austrian inf to be left standing when the battle was over (assuming the Russians get air support). It really doesn’t matter what the Austrians hit, just how well the Russians roll, and if they could kill all the attacking Austrians in the one round battle. As it turned out the Austrians rolled pretty good (killed over 20 Russians), but all perished so the Russians held on (no Revolution). So now it was the Russians turn and they attacked the main German stack (Belarus), and took back some adjacent territories. The Germans with stood the hit on Belarus (contested), but their army was pretty much decimated. The Germans were able retake enough adjacent Russian territories though, and mount a small attack on Moscow because it was now very weakly defended (main Russian army was in contested Belarus). Now w/Russians in only 2 contested territories (Moscow & Belarus), they couldn’t regain control of the other 3 adjacent CP controlled territories (and had no outside help), so the Revolution did happen and I think the Russians sill had like over 25 units on the board when it did on turn 5. It took its toll on the CP though with the Austrian army wiped out, and not much left to the Germans (not that they could get back home quickly now anyway). The CP western front was collapsing, and the French/English/Italians were now on CP soil heading towards the capitals. We stopped the game turn 6 (I think). All CP income was dropping fast, but it would have taken like 5-6 turns to take Berlin (but it would have eventually fell).
This game started out roughly the same way (go for Russia). I think the Austrians hit Romania, brought what they could to the border, and bought a couple frts for air support later. The Russians again backed down R1 and moved everything it could to Ukraine (that’s about 40 units BTW ). The Germans took Poland with all available units (14, don’t remember if the fighter came in). The Austrians then took a southern swing though, and left the Germans out to dry. I think the plan was to get my main Russian force to Poland (away from my capital), and try to contest Poland w/Germany so that if the Austrians captured the nearly vacated Ukraine, my Russians couldn’t hit them from a contested Poland. Well I obliged them whole heartily and crushed the German army in Poland (he roll really bad, and I over achieved), and they weren’t able to contest it in a counter attack either (yea, he got diced again, which is rare for him). So I believe the Austrians then went to Sev (I think). Any way I was able to rebuild the Russian home army through builds, and the Austrians would have to get really lucky to make a play for Moscow, and w/o the Germans up there the Revolution was even more of a long shot.
The CP also made a play for the Italians (Rome). Turn 1 Austria hit Venice w/all available units, and Germany did the same attacking Switzerland (w/reinforcements moving to Munich). France pulled everything to Burgundy, and the Italians to Tuscany to hold the line. The Austrians were halted (think they merged w/Germans in Swiss), the Germans also brought up their Munich men to Swiss. The French moved down to Piedmont (also had the Portuguese land there via transport). Now there was a stand off (don’t think they realized what the French could bring in to save the Italians). The Austrian/Germans could hit the Italians in Tuscany back to back, but the French would slaughter what was left after the Italian defensive stand. The French/English were also gaining German ground, and with the Russians tossing caution to the wind were now in Prussia (although they were kinda trapped there). This was the makings of a knockwurst sandwich (the Germans were getting knocked around, and the worst was eminent). The CP seeing both their plans shredded, got a little frustrated, and the game was called before the US even got to make an impact. It would have been really hard for the CP to make any head way though, so we all agreed to just start a new game.
Game #3 (2 players vs 2 players):
Very similar to the others as far as start (take out Russia one way or the other). My partner played both the Russians & UK (this was interesting), I was France/Italy/US (with understanding of if Russian fell, I would give him the US). The CP again came full force at Russia, who again backed off merging all units to Ukraine.
The Germans used all ships to take out the UK home fleet (wanted to knock them out in one round to save his own ships, good plan). Both Germany & Austria bought a battleship, and sub(s) in the first couple turns to challenge the allied naval supremacy. This did force the French/UK to spend heavy in navy, and both bought a couple battleships, but eventually the sea’s belonged to the allies in the late going. The French built 2 battleships in the Med (gave them 3 down there), so the Austrian fleet never ventured out. Turn 5 the French (w/UK clean-up if needed) hit the Austrian home fleet. The Germans used their fleet to threaten the allies in the North, but mainly used it to transport units into Russia. German navy was sunk (turn 6?) the round after the Austrians as the CP couldn’t spend more income on fleet late in the game. Mines really didn’t help the CP much, even though the Germans got to roll both mine sz’s against the small French lead fleet, and the massive UK fleet.
In this game the Austrians/Germans stayed side by side in their Russian offensive. The Austrians again sacrificed themselves trying to force the Revolution turn 4 by contesting Moscow (locking the Russians in their capital), but the Russians killed them off with only one hit to spare (Russia was free to kill again). The UK also had units in Russia (UK player spent entire paycheck in India twice, in between navy builds for England). It looked like the Germans were going to be able to force a turn5 Revolution, but missed blocking out the UK home fleet (they would have had to sacrificed the entire German navy, so the French northern fleet couldn’t clear the way for the Brits). The UK Liberated Karelia by sea to again foil to Revolution attempt (2nd time). At this point the UK had about 20 units in Russia coming up through India, and 8-10 more by sea from Karelia. By ignoring the Turks though, the UK was now fighting them in Russia, and lost all units from India to them. The CP was able to mount yet another attempt on a Revolution but the the Russians out rolled them by a couple hits again (3rd time, Russian player just flat out rolled awesome in all 3 of these major battles). The Revolution attempts got the CP in trouble, but I’m not sure if the CP would have ever been able to capture Moscow if the Russian/UK didn’t have to keep worrying about the Revolution and spreading themselves thin. It did some strange things over there though, like at one point the Russians left Moscow w/only a handful of units, and the CP didn’t take it (they only contested it). The Russians had plenty of units though to keep it, but they would have got locked in and game over for them, so they placed them to where they could retake Moscow, and the UK backed them up.
Around the 7th turn the Western allies finally made a move on the Austrians. The French, UK (about 10 units), Italy, and the US all gathered in Trieste to quadruple hit the Austrian capital if needed. As it turned out the French sucked in rolling (lost dogfight although I out numbered him), the UK got 7 hits out of 10 dice, and the Italians smoked the rest leaving a a good sized multi-national force in Vienna (poor US never got to fire a shot). The CP surrendered, muttering something about those damned Russians.
Now if the Austrians were able to survive the Russian wall, or the Russians put up a fight in Poland/Romania and lose a lot of units then this is a different game. Next time we will probably play w/o Russian Rev Rules, or maybe do something different like go for Paris?