Modified Tournament Rules Session Report

  • Played a 5 player game on Saturday using Larry Harris’ Tournament Rules with a few modifications:

    1. Cruisers could take part in amphibious assaults, bombarding at 3 or less.
    2. Sea units did not have to stop movement in hostile mined sea zones, but did still have to roll for mines in each zone they passed through.
    3. Krieghund’s proposed one round of aerial combat; the side with more fighters after combat has air supremacy and excess fighters get to strafe.
    4. Added German cruiser in sea zone 26.
    5. Tanks could be purchased beginning round 3.

    Four of the players were new to the game. As the only one who had played before, I took Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. This was my first time playing with the Tournament Rules and I must say that the game was much more fluid than with the OOB rules.

    The one round aerial combat did lead to heavy investment in fighters - Austria-Hungary, Germany, and France bought at least one every turn and once Britain had the seas under control, it joined the fighter race - even Russia bought a couple of fighters (although this proved not to be the best use of their resources).

    With a predominance of new players, the game started quite defensive, but heated up as all got comfortable with the mechanics.

    Round 1

    -AH got aggressive out of the gate, attempting to take Serbia with a moderate force (which failed - half of the Serbian forces survived), pushing hard on the Italian front (with the de rigueur Tuscan amphibious invasion - made even easier by the cruiser bombardment - and the standard attack on Venice), invading Poland (on the assumption that Germany would be following), and massing a formidable force in Galicia.

    -Russia countered by pouring men into Poland which wiped out the AH force, invading Mesopotamia, and activating Romania. They lost both cruisers attempting to destroy the Ottoman fleet - one to a mine and the other to the Ottoman guns.

    -Germany got spoked by the Russian onslaught in Poland and simply reinforced Prussia and Silesia. They also invaded Belgium and attempted to wipe out the Grand Fleet, only to limp back to the waters off Kiel with a cruiser and a damaged battleship, leaving the British fleet largely intact. The North Atlantic U-Boat Squadron did manage to sink the Royal Canadian Navy.

    -France countered in Belgium (but it remained contested) and reinforced Lorraine. They also tried to take out the Austrian fleet, but the mines proved treacherous, weakening the force just enough to allow the Austrians to prevail.

    -Britain got off to a timid start - finishing off the High Seas Fleet and transporting an Inf and an Art to activate Arabia.

    -With the breathing room provided by Britain, the Ottomans activated Bulgaria and shifted around troops, reinforcing the Mesopotamian, Arabian, and Trans-Jordan fronts. The Ottoman cruisers headed south an wiped out the British fleet in the eastern Mediterranean.

    -Italy succeeded in sinking the Austrian fleet and retook Tuscany, but their offensive in Venice failed to dislodge the Austrians.

    -The US bought a second battleship to deal with the remaining German submarine - a decision that the US player later admitted was a waste of funds.

    Round 2

    -Facing a massive Russian Army in Poland that Germany had done nothing about and two armies in Ukraine and Romania looking greedily at Budapest, AH had to stay aggressive. It sent more troops to Venice, finished off Serbia, moved a blocking force to Budapest, and then hurled everything it could at Poland. It was a costly offensive, but it began to drain Russian manpower.

    -Russia reinforced Poland and once again annihilated the Austrian army. It also pressed the offensive in Mesopotamia and invaded Bulgaria (Budapest was left alone since its covering force was too large and the Ukrainian army was sent to reinforce Poland). Mesopotamia and Bulgaria remained contested.

    -Germany’s resolved was stiffened by AH’s aggressiveness and it launched an all out invasion of Poland, doing considerable damage, but leaving the territory contested. On the Western Front, Belgium was reinforced, but battle was not renewed. Forces had to be kept in Kiel due to the destruction of the German fleet, although the sole surviving submarine did sink the undefended French transports in the Mediterranean. Also, having overlooked Africa on its first turn (as had all the colonial powers), Germany grabbed a couple of colonies and invaded South Africa, leaving it contested.

    -France succeeded in driving the Germans from Belgium and began marching its African troops around the Sahara to help Britain deal with the Germans.

    -Britain renewed its attack in Arabia with Amphibious Assault/Reinforcement and spent nearly all of its money on transports in order to join the Western Front. It also sent the Indian Ocean Squadron down to take out the German cruiser off Africa.

    -The Ottomans fought back in Bulgaria, but failed to dislodge the Russians. An attack in Arabia also failed and Mesopotamia was reinforced, but no offensive was launched.

    -Italy attacked again in Venice, but AH hung on.

    -The US bought more troops and some transports.

    Round 3

    -Sensing Russian weakness, AH decided on a swinging door strategy. Anchoring the door with another Polish offensive (which severely weakened the Russians, but left Poland contested), the AH forces in Serbia swung into Romania, destroying the Russian forces there, capturing the territory, and leaving the Russians in Bulgaria cut off. More troops were sent to grind down the Italians in Venice.

    -The Russians couldn’t resist purchasing a new fangled tank, but the situation was dire and Poland was reinforced, but battle was not joined. All was quiet in the Balkan and Mesopotamian Fronts as well.

    -Germany turned the tide on the Eastern Front and annihilated the Russians in Poland. The road to Moscow lay open. On the Western Front, Germany recontested Belgium. A renewed attack in South Africa failed and it remained contested. Germany grabbed a few more colonies and the lone U-boat sent the Italian transport to the bottom of the sea.

    -Desperate to help Russia, France attacked in Belgium and invaded Alsace. The war in the West was now being fought on German soil. The French colonial troops continued their southeastern march in Africa.

    -Britain landed troops in force in Belgium, driving out the Germans. Arabia was amphibiously reinforced again and Persia was finally invaded, but held. A disastrous British attack in South Africa led to the dominion falling into German hands. The lone Ottoman cruiser in the Mediterranean was dispatched by the Indian Ocean Squadron.

    -The Ottomans crushed the remaining Russians in Bulgaria and launched attacks in Arabia and Mesopotamia, but both remained contested.

    -Another Italian offensive in Venice failed to shift the Austrians and the Italian fleet’s bid to sink the last U-boat failed when the submarine submerged after surviving the Italian guns.

    -The US was poised to enter the fray just as Russia stumbled.

    Round 4

    -AH seized the Ukraine with forces from Poland, Budapest, and Romania. The Italian Front saw another Battle of the Isonzo as it became the main Austrian focus with Russia’s days numbered.

    -Russia, its strategy in shambles after losing Poland, concentrated its defense in Moscow, awaiting the CP onslaught.

    -Germany sprang forward, seizing Belarus and Livonia. Alsace was freed on French troops and Belgium was recontested. More African seizures and the U-boat was at large in the Atlantic.

    • France poured back into Alsace and captured Togoland.

    -The British, concentrating their effort on the Western Front, invaded Belgium and left the Germans barely hanging on. The Middle Eastern Front was stalled.

    -The Ottomans, taking advantage of British distraction, got aggressive, wiping out the British in Arabia and clearing the Russians out of Mesopotamia. The Ottoman troops in the Balkans were shifted to the Middle East.

    -The Italians continued to beat their head against the Austrian wall in Venice.

    -The Yanks arrived in Belgium, clearing it of Germans.

    Part II still to come…

  • Customizer

    My addition to the fighter race is that each year (round) newly built planes improve by 1 (in terms of combat value) to reflect competing aircraft technologies.

    Starting fighters have a 0 combat value but can still observe; you simply count the highest number of planes.

    Fighters built on round one are worth 1 in combat and so on up till 4 rated aircraft on round four. The cost is the same, it just represents improved construction and weapons technology.

    So, a player who builds a large air force in round 1 might gain early supremacy but his squadron will soon become obsolete if he doesn’t keep investing in new models.

    Later models will be more effective versus ground units, but the rate of attrition in air combat will be higher (assuming a limit of 1 or 2 rounds per battle.)

    To keep track just use a marker to tag the value of each fighter piece.

  • Sorry for the delay, work got in the way.

    To sum up, Russia fell on Round 5, allowing Germany and Austria-Hungary to shift forces West (so much easier under tournament rules).

    AH destroyed the Italian forces (save for one lone infantry in Africa) and pushed through Northern Italy, capturing an undefended Marseilles.

    While Germany was completing the conquest of Russia, France, the UK, and the US pushed into Germany and for a couple rounds the frontline was in Alsace and the Ruhr. With its attention on the Western Front, however, Germany obliterated the first AEF and pushed the Front line back into Lorraine and Belgium.

    With both Germany and AH in France, Britain largely abandoned the Middle East, concentrating on saving Paris. This allowed the Ottomans to clear out the British forces from Persia (paving the way to an undefended India) and the Trans-Jordan. Africa lay open before the Ottomans.

    The US had another army ready to land, but the game had gone on for 7.5 hours at this point and the Central Powers looked like a sure bet, so we called the game a CP victory.

    First of all, we had a heck of a lot of fun and are syncing schedules to do it again (although planning on starting at 10am or 11am instead of 1pm). Since we were all newbies (my one-time playing before hardly makes me a seasoned veteran), the game did start slow and clearly mistakes were made. Germany was far too timid on its first turn and the British didn’t get aggressive until too late in the game, not putting enough pressure on the Ottomans. As AH, I kept a large force in Trieste, jut waiting for the Allies to activate Albania, but they never did. The loss of the German navy early on, meant that Germany has to constantly garrison Kiel to ward off an amphibious invasion.

    The one round of aerial combat lead to a heavy investment in fighters, especially on the western front. We assumed that one round would mean a longer life for fighters and it certainly did (air supremacy was a rare thing on the Western Front in our game). It even let Russia to buy two fighters (although they were quickly swallowed up in the meat grinder that was Poland).

    Cruisers got some love due to their ability to bombard, but most naval buys were transports by the US and the UK.

    The tanks on round definitely meant that they got into the game and they did allow the Allies to push their offense into Germany and the Austrians to conquer Italy. No one balked at the cost of 6 IPCs - Italy even bought one for some insane reason (didn’t really help as it was half of their budget, but the same player was controlling France and Italy, so he probably thought they would help the Italians as much as they were helping the French).

    And the not having to stop in hostile mined sea zones definitely allowed what sea combat there was to flow much more fluidly, although the mines off Kiel were particularly effective in our game - 5 hits total, if I remember correctly.

    Once again, we had a blast, but I think my favorite moment of the game was the US buying a battleship on turn one. His idea was that it would help destroy the German navy when the US entered the war (three turns later), but the German navy was already half gone by the time he bought the battleship. By the time the US entered the war, all the Germans had left was one submarine (which had been particularly effective in destroying all of the Allies’ Mediterranean transports). Since the German sub was off the coast on Spain on turn 4, the US did get to use it’s new battleship to sink what was left of mighty German navy, but of course, it’s original battleship would have done as good a job. I love this game.  😄

  • 2020

    Interesting read!

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