Saturday Game Night - Review of Strategies and Battle Tactics



  • My friends and I had our standard Saturday Board Game Night last week and it was pretty awesome.
    We decided to rock the new WW1 edition, with standard out of box rules. Sam had some great strategy he wanted to work out and claimed ownership of the Central Powers.
    ALLIES -     Gord and I as the Allies decided to focus out attacks on the hardest enemy to get to, the Turks. Figuring that the US1 purchase could be activated on turn 4 just as it reaches the Turks, that was our focus. With France sending transports to Turkish Soils and the UK shunting troops to Arabia etc. the Turks were hard pressed for $ and land. We decided to create a 4 zone line from Italy, through Swizerland and up to the chanel. Our goal was to hold the line and allow our attacks on the turks to work. Italy’s Navy combined with the french and uk med. fleets destroyed a rebuffed and reinforced Ottoman navy. After the Med. was cleared the path towards Turkey was open. While Russia defended the harbour of St. Petersburg, taking with it the German Battleship, one sub and a transport (thanks in part to the mines) the germans took much of the russian northern zones. A decisive advantage in airplanes allowed heavy Russian artillery to crush divided CP forces in the russian homelands. In the West the allies held true and kept a relative 4zone line against the advancing CP forces.
    Central Powers   -    Sam was a strategist from the get go, seeming to force Russia into retreat almost the entire game. Had the revolution rules been in play, he most suredly would have triggered it. He didn’t seem to reinforce the Ottomans that much, and left the southern power to pretty much fend for itself. Sam took and kept Poland for most of the game and dominated all advancing attacks in the East. In the West however, he lost several large stacks to French counter attacks and homeland recalmation. Most of the problems for sams attacks were not the idea of them or the time they occured but rather his ability to maintain supply lines to his fronts. German stacks were eliminated one by one over the course of the game.
    CONCLUSION - In the end Sam surrendered and the Allied forces prevailed. His ending strat was to buy german subs in an attempt to slow down the Atlantic naval forces (good luck). France was rolling with big stacks in western Europe and getting ready to march on German owned zones. Even Italy was pushing the 4 zone defense line East. The Turks were getting bombarded by the US, India, French and Italian transports and was looking to be in a dismal state of affairs, preparing for a final defensive in Constantinople. German forces were able to maintain a hefty income throughout the game.

    I look forward to any replies to this article


  • 2017

    Thanks for the write up.  Did you encounter any issues with the number of playing pieces?

    Saturday Game Night.  I can only dream.  😞



  • This wasn’t the first time we played ww1. The first time setup and subsequent times we’ve noticed there are not enough pieces/chips etc.  But with a little creativity it’s no problem. Also, the new countries make it harder to amalgamate previous sets (eg. ottomans have only existed in this game, whereas the UK has a HUGE ziplock bag of old units to draw from.)
    I own several editions but not 1914. Sam knows about ordering extra tokens but will they ever be ordered ?? The question lingers like gun powder in the morning fog.
    This post is hopefully the first of many. I’ve read almost all the posts on these pages over the years and have only recently signed up an account. The guys and I have hundreds of games under the belt and I look forward to some good forum posts.

    Starlight Sniper


  • Customizer

    Extra pieces will cost you a couple of e-mails.

    The above game session illustrates why the 2-space move (or something like it) is needed - Germany simply cannot maintain a western offensive so far from Berlin without faster land unit movement.

    Other alternative/additional solutions are:

    1. move Paris east (so that it borders Picardy & Lorraine)

    2. give Germany a production centre further west (Ruhr or Munich)

    3. make German setup more historical (with the bulk of forces concentrated in the west for a drive on Paris.) The whole idea was to KO France quickly, then rail forces east to deal with Russia. OOB rules make it impossible to do this, fatally crippling the CPs.

    Personally I still see no reason to limit non-combat land movement within friendly tts, but the 2-space needs more testing.

    Also, something has to be done to beef up subs and make a CP “Atlantic” strategy worthwhile. Turkey needs protecting from the UK/India push by limiting Indian unit placement; there’s little point blockading the UK if it can place all its new units in India.



  • Nice write-up. I know it’s only one game, but the results are the same as we all have seen. The CP are crippled because of land movement OOB regardless of strats (as Flash pointed out). The allies rule the sea’s so their units get to move more freely via transport, but that is how it should be IMO because the allies had a major advantage there (although I agree that sub warfare is nearly non-existent in this game). What is lacking OOB is freedom of movement over land where your side is 100% in control of territories from their capital where units are produced to the front, or quicker movement with-in their controlled/friendly territories. I’m not in agreement of making map changes (moving Paris etc) or adding mobilization/production closer to the front, I would rather just speed up movement. I don’t think you should be able to move entire armies from one front to the other in one turn (would cause unbalance IMO), but you should be able to move them double time through territories that your side controls.

    The 2 space movement of the tourney rules makes movement better (only played that way a couple times), but this attempt to keep the one movement phase in tact kinda muddies up general movement rules IMO. I know the contested territory rules also have an impact here, but frankly the 2 space movement rules of where you can move/attack and from what kind of territory (yours, friendly, contested, if you have a unit in a contested territory etc…) get pretty confusing.

    Why not just have all ground combat moves be a 1 move max (neighboring territories only), but give a limited non combat move phase up to 2 spaces for units that didn’t participate in the combat phase(s) on land.

    Allow only ground/air units that didn’t participate/move in the combat phase(s) to move 2 spaces as long as they start in a friendly territory, and stay in only friendly territories (other wise those specific units only move 1 space in non combat). Allow units that start in a contested territory only 1 non combat move as long as they didn’t participate in the combat phase(s). Units starting in a contested territory could be split to commit some units to battle, allowing others to retreat during non combat to a neighboring friendly or contested territory (moves to contested rules in place).

    On a side note I would like to see subs get some help. Maybe allowing only cruisers (and fighters) to spot subs. Cruses being the lesser ship (vs BB) would basically be taking on the additional roll of what a destroyer would do (destroyer seems to be missing). This would make cruisers more valuable, and might encourage the CP to flood the Atlantic with subs if the allies couldn’t kill them off with only their battleships. Lets face it with battleships being so cheap, the allies have no reason to build cruisers (need a change). It would be cool if land based fighters could also be used to detect subs (can’t attack a sub, only detect it for the navy). This would be limited to a sz adjacent to a territory that the fighter is in. A fighter fly’s out to sea 1 space, auto detects sub for navy, then lands in the non combat phase (1 space). If the sub has other ships to protect it then the fighter could be taken as a casualty (still doesn’t fight in the navy battle), but can’t detect the sub if killed. If the sub submerges (doesn’t fire) and isn’t taken as a casualty then it can’t be part of ensuing rounds of that battle (it survives to fight another day). So basically you might only get 1 round to kill a sub depending on what the defender does (same as OOB). The difference being that you have to detect the sub first with cruiser (or fighter) to get a shot at it. No detection and the sub can submerge w/o taking enemy fire.


  • Customizer

    Why exactly is unlimited non-combat land movement so unbalancing?

    The entire German plan depended on quickly moving entire armies to the east after France was defeated.

    Always remember that, since it is non-combat, the enemy always has the opportunity to counter-move to rebalance the front before the switched armies can be brought into action.

    When each round represents 6 months or more it just seems silly to limit infantry to walking pace.



  • @Flashman:

    Why exactly is unlimited non-combat land movement so unbalancing?

    The entire German plan depended on quickly moving entire armies to the east after France was defeated.

    Always remember that, since it is non-combat, the enemy always has the opportunity to counter-move to rebalance the front before the switched armies can be brought into action.

    When each round represents 6 months or more it just seems silly to limit infantry to walking pace.

    At the moment I am testing some new Rules for moving capabilities:

    Only Germany has 3tt-movement (formidable railsystem)

    Britain,France,Italy,USA,AH 2tt-movement

    Russia, OE 1 tt-movement

    Also I would like to test a two round combat system for German Stormtroopers (allowed after USA declares war).
    Otherwise GE has no chance against three allied attacks in a row at western front.

    What I don´t like with the Tournement Rules are the additional 6 Inf Units Russia gets in Livonia and Sewastopol. They become too strong.
    I like to see AH giving 2 Art and 3 Inf of their troops in Tyrol to Hannover and Kiel. So it cannot invade Italy R1 and Germany has to reinforce Tirol like they did in the actual war with the Gebirgsjäger.

    Also France needs to lose another transport in the med.

    Nevertheless
    Second edition needs Switzerland 2 or 3 IPCs worth or impassable.
    More (historical) zones for USW. And giving USW itsself more impact! (all results of the dice count)
    A german cruiser at East Africa, an additional british crusier in the med.
    Bigger Map (that would still fit in the box!)


  • Customizer

    How do you feel about historical setup in regard to units placement; i.e. with most of German forces concentrated on the Belgian and French borders?

    I’ve considered giving the 4 main continental powers a “mobilization” round before the war starts in which they can, in turn order, redeploy their units anywhere in home tt.

    But then, the mob plans were dependent on railway timetables so were rather inflexible at this stage.



  • @Flashman:

    How do you feel about historical setup in regard to units placement; i.e. with most of German forces concentrated on the Belgian and French borders?

    I’ve considered giving the 4 main continental powers a “mobilization” round before the war starts in which they can, in turn order, redeploy their units anywhere in home tt.

    But then, the mob plans were dependent on railway timetables so were rather inflexible at this stage.Â

    Mobilization Rounds Sound interesting - would they be wrote down secretly on a paper?

    I think I´d like the rule that newly built units can be placed anywhere in uncontested homeland tts.



  • Another idea is to give each of the eight powers national (dis)advantages:

    Germany: 3 tt movement

    Britain: Is allowed to produce land units in Bombay

    USA: Infantry costs 2 IPC

    France: Is allowed to mobilize 1 Inf per turn in one of its original uncontested Colonies

    Italy: Because of its membership in the Dreibund its not attackable in Round 1

    Ottoman Empire: Dschihad allows them to mobilize 1 Inf in Arabia/Persia/Afghanistan or Egypt if theyre controlled by OE

    Austria Hungary: If attacked by Russian units they lose automatically one Inf because of Slavic Desertion

    Russia: Infantry is not pimped by Artillery (Inf was actually weaker than others in ww1 because of lack of riffles/Obedience )


  • '14

    I’ve noticed that quite a few WW I games allocate a certain amount of strategic movement points to each nation, based mainly on their historic rail capacity and effeicency. For some nations, this declines with time due to wear and tear on the rail infrastructure. But it’s not my point to complicate the game with all of these factors.

    Just so happens I got quite a few of these cool, plastic choo-choo trains from www.spielmaterial.de, and am dying to work them into the game some way.

    What if, every turn, you earned so many trains representing a capacity for long-range strategic movement? I.e., lets say each train could carry two infantry (change this as you would like). The number of trains in play would be limited and could diminish due to territorial loss. Replacing the trains could also be based on a factor of territories controlled. Instead of trains based on countries, you could have a certain color represent CP trains, AP trains, and Russian trains (due to the track) gague. In this way, your allies could ride them.  I’m just not sure how you would go about “destroying” them other than territorial loss.

    In short, I’ve been thinking of the movement situation incorrectly. Think of naval transports, only with rails! In this way, significant troop movements over distance can be represented, but without getting too carried away.

    Criticism solicited!


  • '14

    @Chacmool:

    Another idea is to give each of the eight powers national (dis)advantages:

    Russia: Infantry is not pimped by Artillery (Inf was actually weaker than others in ww1 because of lack of riffles/Obedience )

    This is an excellent idea, and very historical.



  • @Chacmool:

    Another idea is to give each of the eight powers national (dis)advantages:

    Germany: 3 tt movement

    Britain: Is allowed to produce land units in Bombay

    USA: Infantry costs 2 IPC

    France: Is allowed to mobilize 1 Inf per turn in one of its original uncontested Colonies

    Italy: Because of its membership in the Dreibund its not attackable in Round 1

    Ottoman Empire: Dschihad allows them to mobilize 1 Inf in Arabia/Persia/Afghanistan or Egypt if theyre controlled by OE

    Austria Hungary: If attacked by Russian units they lose automatically one Inf because of Slavic Desertion

    Russia: Infantry is not pimped by Artillery (Inf was actually weaker than others in ww1 because of lack of riffles/Obedience )

    I’m liking some of these ideas.
    I’m concerned that if Germany can move 3, is everyone else still at 1 or 2 movements/territories ?
    USA - This would make a big difference, allowing an actually effective battle force.
    France - I think this is too weak to help the French, only 1 extra unit? How about this idea …. 
    DEFENSE  -  If the French are under attack and all units are in original French territories all land/air units cost 1 less IPC,
                                                        A N D
    ATTACK  -  If the French have any units outside original French zones (attacking/supporting land/air forces of any kind) all                units cost 1 IPC more.
                                                        A N D
    STAGNANT  -  If France keeps all units in French Zones but is not under Attack, all land air units cost the normal ammount.

    This would alter the French battle tactics a little and possibly give them a long term advantage. I know it seems like a big house rule but I think only one of these three situations could exist at once.

    Autria - That’s tough, one guy per round every defense! You’d have to send them West and let the other two take down the big Bear.

    Italy - Phew !! At least one turn to breathe. Question - Are they allowed to attack on the first round?

    Ottomans - is it one total or one per zone ?

    Russia - Without the hustle and muscle of a pimped artillery russia has no attack options. This one seems to unfriendly to the unit values. It would seem they only defend,buy guys and wait for turn 4. I don’t have a good suggestion for a Russian rule though.

    One of the best sets of custom gamerules I’ve seen yet. My buds and I are still adjusting to the style of 1914 but really enjoy it.



  • Yesterday I had 3 rounds of solitaire play with my national (dis)advantages and was very happy with them.
    To clear some things up:

    Germany: 3 tts for Land units (still not sure what to do with fighters yesterday they remained with 2tt) all other Nations have the tournement 2tt movement.

    USA: Infantry costs 2 IPC but after war entry (enthusiasm)

    France: gets no extra unit, it has just the right to put one of its purchased Inf into one of its original uncontested colonies. (In my eyes French don´t have to be much stronger, since their primar goal is to hold back the Germans and I never saw them fail in all games I played OOB) Â

    Italy: has the right of the first strike. (for example they can move and activate albania R1) and smash AH in Round 2 from Venice and Montenegro.
            had graet fun with the Isonzo- and Southtyrol front yesterday.

    OE: means only one per zone and per turn (like France no extra unit, it has to be purchased regulary)

    AH: loses max. 1 Inf per Round and only automatically (this Inf doesn´t defend) if attacked by russians.

    Russia: Yesterday I launched some attacks (Mesopotamia, Romania, Ukraine) that have been victorious for the Tsar. Don´t forget that Art still hits at 3/ 4 with Airsuperority)

    I will continue the battle tonight although it seems its still hard for the CPs to get more than a remis out of this game…


  • Customizer

    Russia had opening stocks of armaments, but couldn’t keep up with demand from their relatively undeveloped industrial base.

    Maybe restrict the number of art/tank/air units Russia can produce to a maximum 3 per turn?

    But then again, Turkey shouldn’t be able to produce any mechanical units…

    Does German 3 tt movement include moving through captured or Austrian tt? Perhaps exclude Russian tts as the gauge had to be changed.

    A few random ideas:

    British infantry initially costs 4 IPCs. This reflects the fact that unlike Continental powers the UK had no conscription or military service, so could not call up trained men.
    At some point the UK can announce compulsory conscription reducing the cost to 3, but at cost to national morale.

    Still prefer Italy not having a turn until round 2, unless attacked.

    Slav rules seems harsh on A-H; there were plenty of non-Russians in the Tzar’s army who were less than enthusiastic for the war. Maybe the desertions don’t happen if the Austrian army being attacked has been given a German “backbone”.



  • Chacmool,
    Thanks for clarification, they make more sense now. I may use some of them (or variations) when we make our house rules.



  • @Starlight:

    Chacmool,
    Thanks for clarification, they make more sense now. I may use some of them (or variations) when we make our house rules.

    You´re welcome!

    I finished my solitaire game last night. As usual it was going to be an Allied victory.

    AH took Serbia R2 contested Romania and attacked Poland R1.
    Russia attacked in Mesopotamia and Romania and ganged up in Ukraine.
    Germany (with 3tt movement) let the forces in Ruhr and Alsace go for Belgium. Munich and Kiel to Alsace.
    All the rest went eastwards.
    Britain concentrated on India and slowly gained space against the turks. France activated Albania with Italian units from Africa and bought lots Infantry.

    After a few Rounds Germany had overrun Russia but however the Russians still had lots of troops when they collapsed economically.
    AH had some bad luck in dices against the Italians that pushed hard at Isonzo and the dolomites.

    German troops were traped in Russia and could not force the political collapse of Russia, which costed much time.
    Meanwhile Fr and Br cleared up Africa. and ganged up in Belgium and Alsace. German casualties were higher than the reinforcements, also Americans showed up in France… USW was called out R4 for 2 Rounds with not much impact.
    GB lost 6 IPC and US 3.

    By the way the 3tt movement of GE was great to reinforce the troops just in time, before the next hammer of the French/British Artillery bombardement fell down on the trenches… I surely will keep this national advantage!

    After Moscow was captured GE had much money it spend in Fighters Tanks and Art for the Michael offensive.

    Meanwhile the turks collapsed because of Italians that came via Serbia and Bulgaria to Constantinopel and Anzacs that pushed forward from South and East.

    The Germans crushed the British in Belgium and the French in Alsace. But it costed many casualties for them also.
    The US troops counter attacked from Lorraine and from that point on morale was down.

    AH collapsed and I quit the game because the allies were about attacking Ruhr and Munich without much resistance.

    Sorry for my bad english. I was in a hurry � 😉

    Fazit:
    I see no problem in giving Germany a 3 tt movement advantage. (Flash, in this game it did count everywhere for German troops except Africa) Most of this Houserules didn´t have that much impact to me. But it was surprising how the game mirrored the real war actions.

    I still believe that taking away 2 Inf and 1 Art from Burgundy and giving GE 3 Art in Hannover and 3 Inf in Kiel would balance the game (I am always playing with unattackable Switzerland.) Switzerland should be worth minimum 2 IPC.

    Maybe the game is more balanced with the third front Swiss-Burgundy-Piedmont but I dont want to play such an unhistorical scenario 😛

    �


  • Customizer

    I would make Switzerland a 4 IPC tt (considering Swiss army and bank deposits!)

    Such a strategically vital area should cost a high price to take over.

    If you make it impassable, add Pripet marsh to eastern front for the same effect (prevents direct movement Poland-Ukraine).

    Incidentally, should there be a port on the White Sea (SZ6)? Doesn’t seem realistic to repair battleships here.



  • @Flashman:

    I would make Switzerland a 4 IPC tt (considering Swiss army and bank deposits!)

    Such a strategically vital area should cost a high price to take over.

    Not to forget the difficult alpine terrain and the 4 IPC (!) Tyrol

    Flash, somewhere else you mentioned you use only Infantry and different coloured chips for other branch of service.
    Where do you get plastic-chips that fit to those of A&A1914?


  • Customizer

    I have to mix chips from all my games and of course the two different types don’t stack too well.

    Hopefully my extras from WOTC will help this.

    I currently use:

    white, light blue and grey for infantry (though the light blue is a little too similar to the dark shade)

    red for artillery

    brown for tanks

    blue for fighters

    and find that I have just enough for 1914.

    green is reserved for bombers when I can get them organized.

    Even then, tts like Rome and Switzerland can get seriously crowded with 3 or 4 armies in there, and stacks on the western front get dangerously close to toppling.

    Practically speaking this is the obvious way to go, but for some the minis are a large part of the games appeal, and with this system many are obsolete.

    Adding extra colours would make it practical for WWII versions, so Wizards could make a mint by packaging sets of the new chips in new colours, or even with unit outlines embossed in the centre. Interesting to see if the rule requiring an infantry to be the last casualty is used in future WWII editions.

    You could devise a system where white = 1 inf, grey = 5 etc but this slows things down once more into a chip switching fest, which another reason I abandoned the minis in the first place.

    For ships I prefer not to use chips, so I’ve imported US & UK transports from WWII editions until my extra pieces arrive.



  • @Flashman:

    Practically speaking this is the obvious way to go, but for some the minis are a large part of the games appeal, and with this system many are obsolete.

    With this system you could use different minis of Infantry for each nation:

    Germany:
    Strong Steelhelmet Stormtroopers (attack with 3),
    Early war Infantry with Pickelhaube (attack with 2),
    Weaker Landwehr units (attack with 1) for quiete parts of the front.

    (Maybe a 12-sided dice would be better, by the way I am looking for tiny 12-sided dice that fit on the battle board)

    Same with Austria loyal german speaking Kaiserjäger and unfaithful Czech units etc.

    French Colonial troops, British ANZACS, Indian units, Russian cossacks and so one…

    Do you have chips for cavalry?


  • Customizer

    Yellow reserved for cavalry


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