Game Report #2!
As you may or may not recall, the CP suffered a quick and crushing defeat in our very first game of A&A 1914. Luckily, they were able to press the â€œresetâ€ button and try again! Once again, RR rules were NOT in effect.
The overall strategy of game on could be summed up as â€œRussia Firstâ€. Given how terribly the game went for the CP, you might have expected wholesale changes. Strangely, however, the CP proved mostly stubborn, and only made one significant alteration to their strategy. In the 2nd Game, rather than having AH focus on Russia, AH sent a token distraction force East, and instead spent most (70%+, more as the game went on) trying to take Italy.
Turn 1 â€“
AH â€“ Once again, attacked both Serbia (curse that rule!) and Venice, leaving Romania alone. Serbia falls, Venice hangs on. Decides against the Tuscany AA this time.
R â€“ Russians fall back, activate Romania, and reinforce Ukraine. Sends the southern destroyers against the Ottomans, with the end result being everyone is wiped out.
G â€“ The German navy took out the SZ2 fleet without casualties, but managed to take out SZ 9 at a high cost â€“ only a (damaged) German BB survived. Because buying navy on G1 is dicey (risks getting hit by the Russian BB, assuming you attack SZ9), the German fleet was crippled by the end of its first turn. German armies attacked West, taking Belgium, ignoring both Switzerland and Holland.
F â€“ Activates Portugal, attacks and digs in Belgium.
UK â€“ Plays more aggressive in the Mideast, attacking Trans-Jordan and Afghanistan (if only conquering Afghanistan was that easy in real life) to open up a relief convoy for Russia. Activates Arabia. Rebuilds its fleet.
O â€“ Activates Bulgaria, pushes troops in Arabia and Trans-Jordan, both remain contested.
I â€“ Does what it does, turtles and prays for help.
US â€“ Thereâ€s a war?
Turns 2 â€“ 4 â€“
AH â€“ Begins to make progress in Italy. Contests and then takes Tuscany. Trades Piedmont back and forth with both the Italians and later the French. (Switzerland remains neutral almost the entire game as neither side wants to activate it against them.) Picks up the random undefended territory in Russia here and there. Income begins to grow.
R â€“ Dances back and forth with Germany. Loses some territory in the South to AH/O in order to conserve forces.
G â€“ Continues to send â€œjust enoughâ€ troops to the West. Majority of fighting takes places in Belgium, with some lighter fighting Lorraine and Picardy.
F â€“ Slogs it out with Germany along the border. Occasionally fights in Piedmont to contain the Austrians.
UK â€“ Reinforces both the Russians and the French. Plays hit and run against the Ottomans.
O â€“ Constantly pressed for troops, can never seem to break out, always seems just a couple turns away from doing so.
I â€“ Gets pushed farther and farther back. A single hold-out in Tuscany remains at the end of I4.
US - ??
Turns 5 â€“ 7
AH â€“ Reinforces its fleet and begins making tanks. The allies have an assortment of ships in the Med, but because of the attack alone/defend together rule, and effective stalemate ensues. The starting transport is used to ferry 2 troops a turn from Trieste to Tuscany, getting them a turn earlier. AH makes an initial attack on Rome on turn 6, and comes agonizingly close to taking it on turn 7.
R â€“ Germany wandered too close, and gets hit hard in Belarus, nearly wiping out the German forward army. Luckily the Germans (barely) survived, and were able to thus delay Russia a turn. Two stacks in Poland (plus a few stragglers and token AH support) deterred Russia from pressing further, but Russia remains secure.
G â€“ The Western â€œLesserâ€ front goes better than expected, as the Germans outmaneuvered the British, and destroyed a trapped BEF in Belgium. The French remain strong. The Eastern â€œPrimaryâ€ front goes poorly, as the main force gets slaughtered in Belarus, and the Germans must fall back.
F â€“ The fighting with Germany is going well, but most divert some of its forces to help prop up the Italians, both in Piedmont as well as Rome (via the French navy, stationed in the Med).
O - Constantly pressed for troops, can never seem to break out, always seems just a couple turns away from doing so.
I â€“ Clinging to life in Rome.
US â€“ On turn 5, the US decided to attack Spain. Why? It seemed like a good â€œshuck-shuckâ€ location, and the additional 4 IPCs would allow the US to add/upgrade fighters and armor to its usual 4 inf/2 art buy. Bu the downside was the US didnâ€t take Spain on US5, which mean the US couldnâ€t reinforce Rome on US6. The AH7 attack on Rome left 1 Italian troop standing. The US quickly disembark reinforcements into Rome on US7.
Turns 8 and beyond â€“
A lot of things going on here, but most of it is the status quo. With British help, the Russians managed to regain control of most of their territory, but could never really push West. The Germans fought both the Russians/British in the East and the French/British in the West to a more-or-less stalemate. The Ottomans made slight inroads into Africa, but never seriously threatened India.
Where the game turned was in Italy. The Austrians had strengthened their fleet to the point where any attack by the Allies would have been suicide absent major additional naval investment, which the Allies could not afford. The attacks on Rome began drifting away from the Austrians until two things happened: (1) some bad â€œdefenseâ€ dice by the Allies and (2) Austrian tanks started showing up. The Allies never counterattacked (being from multiple countries would not have worked out well), and the Austrians began taking less and less casualties on their assaults. This was helped out by some bad Allied â€œdefenseâ€ dice, but IMO that just sped things along. Eventually the Allies could not hold out, and Rome fell.
After Rome fell, and was sufficiently secured, the Austrians began redirecting West. Austria was now badly out producing everyone else (including Germany) and the Allies couldnâ€t keep up. The allies sued for peace before Paris fell, on turn 17(!)
Some thoughts â€“
The Germans, British, and Austrians all purchased large numbers of tanks, but only the Austrians benefited from them. (On the other hand, the tanks basically won the Austrians the game.) Tanks seem most useful to overcome the â€œattack alone, defend togetherâ€ problem (for the attacker obviously).
The Germans basically lost their fleet by the end of their first turn. Because I donâ€t buy fleet with Germany on G1 (as anything less than a BB+Sub buy is asking for the Russian BB to attack), I never spent any money on German fleet. On the other hand, Germany was able to (just) keep both the Eastern and Western fronts alive with a steady trickle of reinforcements, so perhaps not buying any fleet at all was a good thing.
Iâ€ve only played two games, but the Allied victory was fast, and the CP victory dragged on and on. Sure, we were still learning rules, and things should go faster in the future, but this is a rough game to play in one setting. I already find myself looking forward to some sort of Triple A/online version.
I was constantly running out of German Infantry and Tanks sculpts, as well as chips generally. Thankfully, I had other versions of A&A to raid.
The Western front (and Italy) is way too crowded and the board seems seem to be strategically placed for maximum frustration.
Overall, I like the game a lot. I think it needs some tweaks, but this is the best Iâ€ve felt about a new A&A game since Revised came out.