Hi everyone. First time poster here. I played my first game of A&A 1914 last weekend and I thought there may be some interest in reading about it. If not feel free to ignore me
First, my whole group is relatively new to A&A. I first played '42 about 20 years when I was in college. Then I took a break and we recently started up again with '42 2e a few months ago. I’d say we’ve played 5-10 games total. So none of us are experts by any means.
There were 4 of us and we divided up the powers as indicated in the rulebook:
Austria/Hungary and Ottoman Empire - Me
Russia, Italy, USA - Player 2
Germany - Player 3
France/Britain - Player 4
I like to play a game as it was designed at least a couple of times before I start tinkering with things, so we used the OOB rules. The Russian Revolution rules were not in effect.
I don’t remember how all the buys and moves went. Our strategy as the CP was to push for Moscow with AH and Germany, while OE kept Britain busy in Asia. Germany also pushed west to put some pressure on France. Britain pretty well crushed the German navy in the first couple of turns but Germany still managed to land troops in Scotland and gave GB something to think about. By turn 4 the CP had Moscow. But things were not as bleak as they seemed for the Allies. G and AH both had lots of troops a long way from home, and now the Americans were coming. They landed in Europe and the combined force of France/GB/USA starting pushing toward Berlin. Furthermore, I had been counting on the Austro-Hungarian navy (such as it is) to keep Italy at bay and my Western front was stretched pretty thin. My faith in naval power was misplaced because Italy smashed through my blockade without my landing a single hit, and started landing troops in Trieste. Here’s where the tide turned. In Europe, Germany held strong by withdrawing from certain territories so he could hit back with combined forces from multiple territories at once. He also made excellent use of counterattacks with his tanks. Doing this he built up a near-impregnable defense in and around Berlin. Meanwhile, all the focus in Europe had allowed the Ottomans to pick up a lot of IPC in former Russian territories, and I used it to kick Britain out of the Middle East, push into Egypt to seal them off, and built up a big enough navy to clear the Mediterranean of Allied vessels. Once Italy couldn’t land any more troops on the beach it didn’t take long for the combined Austrian/Ottoman force to secure Trieste and Albania. With the Mediterranean controlled by the CP no one was coming to help Italy, and it was clear the Rome was going to fall soon. From there we were going to start landing troops in Marseille and the conquest of Paris was likely only a matter of time. By then it was 11pm and everyone had to work the next day, so we declared a Central Powers victory.
As much as I would like to claim credit, I think the victory was due in large part to some strategic blunders by the Allies. Instead of just building an army and coming through Persia, the GB player tried to transport troops from India around to Trans-Jordan. He wasn’t able to bring nearly enough of them to be a serious threat, and that allowed OE to help with the war in Russia. Also, Italy never activated Albania until Turn 5 or 6, and by then it was too late for it to do him any good. The Ottomans captured it pretty quickly. Finally they never did anything about the Germans in Africa, and Germany was able to grab quite a few free IPC from them.
I enjoyed the heck out of this game. I like the WWI setting. I love the idea of contesting territories instead of fighting to the death, and I like how you have to use different kinds of units together if you want to get anywhere. You need artillery to buff your infantry, and you need planes to buff your artillery. Lots of fighters were purchased, especially in Europe. We also found tanks quite useful if you’re on the offensive. They aren’t so great for defense but if you counterattack in the right places they can be effective. The mines provided an interesting dynamic. In '42 we largely ignore the AA guns, because losing one fighter isn’t usually a big deal. But the possibility of losing a transport with 2 fighters on it to a mine is something that has to be carefully considered. I would like to experiment with some of the various ideas for making USW more of a factor. The guy playing Germany openly scoffed at the idea of even trying it with the OOB rules. I’m looking forward to playing again this weekend.
Anyway, that’s my report on my first game of A&A 1914. Hope someone found it entertaining at least. If anybody has any thoughts on it I’d love to read them.