Domination 1914



  • The time has come–for domination. Domination 1914, that is. This is an exceptionally well thought-out map, and does a surprisingly good job of recreating the feel of WWI. Below is part 1 of my review.

    The existence of the TripleA game engine makes it possible for users to create their own maps. Domination 1914 is among the very best of these user-created maps.

    Domination 1914 uses the same rules set as Global. Transports do not fire and cannot be used as cannon fodder. Strategic bombing does damage to the factory itself, not to any nation’s cash reserve. Once you buy a certain number of tech tokens, you will keep rolling those tokens every turn, until you get a technological advance. Once you achieve a technological advancement, all your tech tokens go away.

    Domination 1914 is normally played with low luck, and low luck for technology. Low luck means that if you have six units attacking on a one, you are guaranteed one hit. Low luck for technology means that once you have six tech tokens, you are guaranteed a technological advance.

    Below is a list of the nations in Domination 1914. The numbers in parentheses indicate a typical income for that nation.

    Central Powers:
    Germany (140)
    Austria (100)
    Ottoman Empire (50)
    Communists (40)

    Entente:
    France (80)
    Serbia (15)
    Arabia ( 8 )
    Italy (25)
    Britain (80)
    Russia (80)
    U.S. (90)



  • Part 2 of the review

    Much like one would expect from WWI, this game features mostly slow, plodding units. Factories can be far from the front, which can make it difficult to advance. Or, you might have a portion of your unit placement capacity close to the relevant front, and another portion well to the rear. Berlin is five spaces away from Paris; a fact which will slow Germany’s anti-French offensive.

    This rules set contains infantry and artillery (renamed field artillery), with identical stats to those you know and love. It also contains a new unit type called heavy artillery. Heavy artillery costs 5, attacks on a 2, and provides artillery support. It defends on a 4, which means that it provides more defensive firepower for the money than any other unit, including infantry.  It contains another new unit as well: the trench. A trench has a cost of 3, a movement of 0, and defensive firepower of 0. It takes 2 hits to kill a trench, which means they provide twice as much cannon fodder value for the money as infantry. You can place trenches in any territory you owned since the start of your turn. You are allowed to place up to three trenches per territory per turn. If there is a factory present, trench placement does not count against the factory’s unit placement limit.

    A typical defense will have three layers. Layer one (the meat shield) will consist of trenches. Layer two will consist of infantry. Infantry give you the second-best cannon fodder value for the money after trenches, and the second-best source of defensive firepower for the money after heavy artillery. Layer three will consist of heavy artillery. A defense such as this is stronger than pure infantry.

    The best available unit for offense is field artillery. Another option is cavalry, which costs 4, attacks and defends on a 1, and has a movement of 2. It can receive artillery support. Cavalry doesn’t provide good value on offense or defense, but its movement gives you a little flexibility. The only other land unit with a movement of two or better is poison gas. Poison gas cannot be used on defense. It costs 4, attacks on a 4, and suicides after its attack. Trenches cannot be used as casualties from poison gas attacks. Units killed by gas do not get casualty shots. Poison gas has a movement of 3, making it useful if you need an immediate boost from distant factories in an effort to overcome your enemy’s defenses.

    There are two available air units: the fighter and the zeppelin. Fighters cost 9, attack on a 2, defend on a 3, and have a range of 3. They provide artillery support. Zeppelins cost 16, attack on a 1, defend on a 2, have a range of 5, and also provide artillery support. They can engage in strategic bombing raids. At the beginning of the game no one owns any antiaircraft guns.



  • Part 3

    Technology is an integral part of this map. There are three technological categories, with six techs in each category. The three categories are industrial, naval, and land. Below are two examples of each category:

    Industrial

    • Propaganda: causes three infantry to appear on your capital at the end of each of your turns.
    • Late fighter: allows you to build the late fighter unit.

    Naval

    • Merchant marine: gives your transports, destroyers, and cruisers a movement of 4.
    • Carrier: allows you to build aircraft carriers.

    Land

    • Railway guns. Gives your heavy artillery a defensive firepower of 5. (Heavy artillery already give you the most defensive firepower for the money even without this technology.)
    • Tanks: allows you to build tanks. Tanks cost 6, attack on a 4, defend on a 1, and have a movement of 2. They provide artillery support.
      Neutrals

    There are no diplomatic penalties whatever for attacking neutral territories. In addition, most neutral territories provide income. Most neutral territories are defended, and you must defeat the local defenses to take control of the territory.



  • Part 4

    Germany

    In addition to its European factories, Germany has a factory in east Africa, and another on a Pacific island. It also has the option of quickly capturing a factory in central Mexico. Some German players prefer a global strategy in which Germany exerts influence over widely separated territories on the map. Others prefer a laser-like focus on goals within Europe, while spending little or nothing in Africa or the Pacific. I have seen both approaches yield good results.

    In Europe, Germany has the option of making a heavy push against France, or a heavy push against Russia, or a mixed approach. If Germany and Austria exert pressure on Russia from the west, and the communists exert pressure from the east, it is very difficult for Russia to avoid collapse. If Germany dominates the English Channel, it can prevent Britain from engaging in coastal harassment or reinforcing France.

    Austria

    From the very beginning, Austria faces a three front war: against Italy, Serbia, and Russia. Normally Austria conquers Serbia after several turns. It has the option of gaining ground on its other two fronts as well. Italy is much weaker than Austria, and cannot hold out forever against a determined Austrian effort. Austria will also be an important part in any general offensive against Russia. Even if the Centrals temporarily adopt a defensive posture toward Russia, in an effort to focus on other targets instead, Austria will still need to invest in its eastern front.

    Ottoman Empire

    The initial target of Ottoman aggression is typically Arabia. After Arabia falls, the Ottomans’ options will largely depend on the stance Britain has taken. If Britain has chosen to invest most of its money in the struggle for the English channel, the Ottoman Empire should adopt an expansionist posture. The Ottomans will find opportunities for expansion in southwest Russia, north Africa, and (if it conquers the Suez), territories bordering the Indian Ocean.

    Communists

    The communist capital is in eastern Russia. With a value of 20, that territory is by far the most important and valuable anywhere in that vicinity. With the benefit of a strong local presence, the communists can begin by claiming a modest sphere of influence around their home territory. Russia has some factories in that eastern region, and those factories’ unit placement capacity provides a counterweight to Soviet influence. But typically, local Russian unit placements will be less numerous than local Soviet unit placements. Unless Russia sends reinforcements from its western (and more industrialized) areas, communist influence will typically grow. If the other Axis nations launch a major offensive against Russia, Russia will be unable to send many reinforcements east to deal with communists. This will result in the communists conquering almost all of eastern Russia except Russia’s factories. These will be defended by strong Russian forces, including trenches. Eventually the factories will start falling as well.



  • Part 5

    France

    The main French priority is to defend Paris from German aggression. Secondary priorities include reinforcing Italy against Austrian aggression, building units for its North African factories, and (sometimes) participating in the struggle for control over the Mediterranean. This last will only be an option if Paris is not Germany’s primary target.

    Serbia

    The goal of Serbia is to hold out as long as possible, while making a nuisance of itself in the meantime.

    Arabia

    See Serbia

    Italy

    Italy starts with three factories. But it will lose one of them before its first turn. Its strategy will mostly revolve around defending its two remaining factories against Austrian aggression.

    The problem it faces is that Austria can use a strong force to pin a large Italian force in northern Italy to defend its factory there. Then, Austria can move south toward Rome, while leaving the northern Italian force behind. On the other hand, if Italy surrenders its factory in northern Italy, Austria might then be able to take the factory in southern France. Italy does not have very many good long-term options. There is a strong chance that that entire front will collapse.

    On this map, it is somewhat normal for a front to collapse, only to be replaced with a different front somewhere else. The fronts which existed in round 10 will often seem irrelevant in round 20.

    Britain

    There are three possible objectives for Britain: helping France, going after the Ottoman Empire, or containing the Axis to Europe. To the extent that Britain chooses to pursue this last objective, it will achieve dominance of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It will also achieve parity with German land forces in Africa, and will quarantine those forces to the area near Germany’s factory. It will ensure that Germany does not own Pacific islands–a good source of income–except for the island containing Germany’s factory itself.

    Helping France means spending a large portion of its money on navy. This will force Germany to either counter with naval spending of its own, or else yield control over the English Channel and Baltic to Britain. If Germany opts for the latter, the Allies will gain control over Scandinavia (an important source of income).

    It is very rare that Britain will have the money to both go after the Ottoman Empire and to engage Germany in a serious contest for control over the ocean. The British player must normally choose one objective while sacrificing the other.

    Russia

    If the Centrals launch an early offensive against Russia, its strategic options will be very limited. But if they choose to exert their early offensives elsewhere, Russia should embark on an offensive of its own. Launching an offensive against the communists can be difficult, because most of its unit placement capacity is far from the nexus of communist power. That problem can be solved by researching tanks.

    Russia also has the option of pushing southward against the Ottomans, or westward against Germany and Austria. Even the threat of a Russian offensive can force the Centrals to spend money on that front, taking some of the pressure off other fronts.

    United States

    The United States begins the game with no navy, no air force, and an army a fraction the size of Serbia’s. On this map the United States is chopped into pieces, and it can take a while to get from one part of the United States to another. However, the value of the territories under its control is reasonably high, giving it the chance to build up over time.

    The American player must decide how much of his income to allocate to providing immediate relief to the Entente, and how much to spend going after neutrals. By conquering a large number of neutral nations, the United States can become much more powerful. Personally, I prefer an early focus on building the U.S. up, with a gradual transition toward helping the other Entente. Building up the United States means both the conquest of neutral nations and substantial investment in new technology. That investment will pay off in the long run.

    Once the American war effort gets going, there are several ways it can help the Allies. One option is to conquer neutral Japan; build factories there, and use those factories as a base from which to send troops to Russia. The object is to take away the communists’ capital, which is in eastern Russia.

    Another possible American goal is to use a strong navy to destroy the German fleet in the English Channel, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, or wherever else Central Power ships might exist. The American player also has the option of conquering Spain or Scandinavia, building factories there, and using those factories as a base for further operations in Europe. The American player will not necessarily have the income with which to achieve every objective on this list.


  • 2019 '15 '14

    I find it deeply gratifying to see this map put to good use.  😄
    Glad Imbaked could carry the map into Great War territory.

    I see it’s still fairly anachronous, with an early Russian revolution, but the concept seems cool. I remember thinking that trick for a great war game on the Dom Map would be the lack of a strong central power in the Pacific, just a few German colonies. I wonder, why no Japan or Portugal for Allies? Given all the others involved, I’d think they could probably sneak in there as well hehe.

    Nice work though, cool review too.

    -TriplElk



  • @Black_Elk:

    I find it deeply gratifying to see this map put to good use.  😄
    Glad Imbaked could carry the map into Great War territory.

    I see it’s still fairly anachronous, with an early Russian revolution, but the concept seems cool. I remember thinking that trick for a great war game on the Dom Map would be the lack of a strong central power in the Pacific, just a few German colonies. I wonder, why no Japan or Portugal for Allies? Given all the others involved, I’d think they could probably sneak in there as well hehe.

    Nice work though, cool review too.

    -TriplElk

    Good post.

    I see it’s still fairly anachronous, with an early Russian revolution

    True. I just did a little reading; and in 1914 Lenin had very few followers.

    I think that Imbaked did the best he could within the limitations of the game engine. In the actual WWI, the Russian government faced two struggles. There was the war waged against the Central Powers. There was also the internal struggle: the struggle to maintain power in the face of rising peasant and worker discontentment. That discontentment preceded the war, and was augmented by some of the wartime measures the Russian government employed. There is no way to directly translate “worker discontentment” into game turns. So instead, Imbaked created a territory worth 20 in the eastern part of Russia, put an IC there, slapped a sickle and hammer label on it, and labeled it “Soviet Revolution.” The more attention Russia devotes to fighting Germany, Austria, and the Ottomans, the less attention it will have for dealing with its internal, Soviet problem.

    I remember thinking that trick for a great war game on the Dom Map would be
    the lack of a strong central power in the Pacific, just a few German colonies.

    That’s what this map is like. Germany has the early advantage in the Pacific, due to its local naval superiority. But if Britain is determined, it can take control of the Pacific away from Germany. At that point, Germany could use trenches and heavy artillery to hold out in its New Guinea factory, while waiting until later to resume its Pacific efforts. The industry tech adds +3 to the unit placement capacity on all factories in territories worth 2 or more. This tech can make that New Guinea factory much more powerful late game than it is early on. Also, once Germany conquers either Paris or St. Petersburg, it may have some extra cash it wants to spend in the Pacific.

    I wonder, why no Japan or Portugal for Allies?

    1. In a map like this, you don’t want to have too many nations. Serbia’s turn or Arabia’s turn are more like “afterthought turns” than like “real nation” turns. If you’re controlling a major power like Britain or Germany, you need to make broad strategic decisions about technology, how to allocate spending among your multiple fronts, and so forth. None of that applies to a small nation. (As an aside, the Entente player can take comfort in the fact that he’ll lose most of his small nations as the game progresses. So he won’t have as many “afterthought turns” late game as he does early on.)

    2. If you added Japan, you’d strengthen the Entente in two important theaters: the Pacific, and in eastern Russia against the communist threat. In order to balance that out, you’d have to strengthen the Centrals, or weaken the Entente on some other front. That’s something which could certainly be done. But the game is so well-balanced already that I’d hate the thought of rebalancing it! 🙂


  • 2017 '16 '15

    Thanks for making me look up “anachronous”

    🙂


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