Can you save the Bismarck



  • Just a fun little survey on the likelihood that A German player can keep his starting battleship for G2 movement while still destroying the UK ships in 110 and 111 on G1.



  • I’ve held the Bismarck back in a game and built a carrier, sub and destroyer G1, while attacking the British Navy with everything I had. I knew I would lose all my starting subs and some planes but I was feeling ballsy with the dice. Once I coordinated that navy with my starting cruiser I was able to threaten the sea zone off Gibralter with added bombers. The Allies were never able to get anything going in the Atlantic and this actually helped Italy become much stronger than I’ve ever seen them. Even though my drive on Moscow was stalled, Italian can-openers helped when needed. From my experience in this game the Bismarck can be left out of the initial battle completely as long as you replenish any planes lost. We also did a J2 and left the British cruiser in Gibralter alone and left the destroyers/transport groups off of Wales and Nova Scotia alone. I like to use the Luftwaffe early and often all over Europe and Africa. I’m never afraid to lose a couple of planes early if I can fake a Sealion and just buy a few planes G2 and G3 instead.



  • So what do you take into 110 while leaving back the Battleship, and what are your odds against a 3 plane scramble?



  • In Low Luck 100% of the time,
    In normal games i could be unlucky and hit 4 times in 111 without scramble or 5 times with a scramble and lose it there.

    I normaly  1 BB 1 sub 1 bomber 1 fighter 1 tactical vs 111
    2 subs 3 fighters 3 tacticals 1 bomber vs 110

    If UK scrambles i would lose on average 3 air vs his 3 air ( and france fighter is gone so no more can opening )
    If UK does not scramble in 110 i only lose the subs.

    111 normaly 3 hits for germany so he keeps his 1 damaged BB which can try to run from my subs.



  • I agree w/Shadow that using the Bismark in a hit and run on sz111 seems to be the most effective if you intend on keeping it around. For this reason I went with 80% in the poll because there is a chance that you roll better then expected in sz111 and kill the Brit fleet in one round (maybe they didn’t scramble). So your damaged BB can’t retreat to the air cover of sz112 and gets caught for an easy kill UK1. Even if that happens though you probably take a DD or plane down with you. I also like to add a carrier to sz112 G1 to give the English something to think about, and to cause the allies to over build in the Atlantic.



  • @WILD:

    I agree w/Shadow that using the Bismark in a hit and run on sz111 seems to be the most effective if you intend on keeping it around. For this reason I went with 80% in the poll because there is a chance that you roll better then expected in sz111 and kill the Brit fleet in one round (maybe they didn’t scramble). So your damaged BB can’t retreat to the air cover of sz112 and gets caught for an easy kill UK1. Even if that happens though you probably take a DD or plane down with you. I also like to add a carrier to sz112 G1 to give the English something to think about, and to cause the allies to over build in the Atlantic.

    I don’t quite understand everything about this… if the UK doesn’t scramble into 111, there is literally no chance of retreating the German battleship without leaving at least a damaged UK battleship… Right?



  • @Young:

    So what do you take into 110 while leaving back the Battleship, and what are your odds against a 3 plane scramble?

    I don’t have the map in front of me but I remember killing the boats in sea zones 110 and 111 and trading planes with the UK. The Luftwaffe was banged up but I replaced a few planes next turn and that Navy was all I needed to hold the allies off in the Atlantic because they had an absolute Juggernaut Japan to deal with on the other side of the board. Japan won that game.

    Also, UK did Taranto which made it easy for the Italian and German planes to one two punch back and completely clear the med. Once Italy was threarening Egypt and the Middle East and securring NOs they were in position to help Germany drive on Caucuses since my Navy and Air buys on G1 and G2 set me back on land units to send to Russia. UK could never get a factory down in Egypt or the Middle East so they were no threat to Rome. In fairness the allies were slightly less experienced, but I wouldn’t say they made any crucial mistakes.

    And full disclosure…I’ve only done this once because it seems insane - I always bring the Bismarck in turn 1 - but let’s say you wipe out almost every UK boat and plane off the map in the first 2 turns…is that worth a healthy chunk of the Euro-Axis airforce? I think so. If the Allies just have a few US/Russian planes, and a few scattered boats early on…up against a healthy German navy within reach of every beach…they will never even threaten a landing in Europe…unless they want Japan to just waltz into Calcutta and Sydney…before they can even put a boot on the ground in Europe.



  • @Young:

    @WILD:

    I agree w/Shadow that using the Bismark in a hit and run on sz111 seems to be the most effective if you intend on keeping it around. For this reason I went with 80% in the poll because there is a chance that you roll better then expected in sz111 and kill the Brit fleet in one round (maybe they didn’t scramble). So your damaged BB can’t retreat to the air cover of sz112 and gets caught for an easy kill UK1. Even if that happens though you probably take a DD or plane down with you. I also like to add a carrier to sz112 G1 to give the English something to think about, and to cause the allies to over build in the Atlantic.

    I don’t quite understand everything about this… if the UK doesn’t scramble into 111, there is literally no chance of retreating the German battleship without leaving at least a damaged UK battleship… Right?

    I realize now that this hit and run w/Bismark on sz111 is a bit off topic. After re-reading you were looking for a way to kill off the UK ships in both sz110 and 111 w/o using the German BB so you would have it G2.

    With that said, I think it is fitting to mention a hit and run on sz111 using the Bismark. The goal that Shadow brought up and I agreed with is to use the high power Bismark and its ability to soak a hit by doing a one round attack on sz111, and retreating back to sz112. Yes you are looking to leave the Brits with a damaged BB in sz111. The thought is you can kill the damaged Brit BB on G2 because the UK doesn’t have a naval base for sz111, meaning they can’t repair the BB on their turn, and they can’t run too far (only 2 spaces).

    So in a best case scenario you are looking for 3 hits (4 if they scramble) in a 1 round battle. Depending on the dice sometimes they get to keep more then the damaged BB, and sometimes you kill them in the one round battle and trap the Bismark in sz111 (which sucks).

    If things go according to plan they really only have a couple options. To use the damaged BB to attack you in sz112 (depends on if you built any ships). Or to run by moving to sz109 or sz123 (Iceland) where they could bring in other ships available and get air cover. Depending on your G1 builds (carrier?) you could hit the Iceland sz on G2 with carrier planes, bmrs and any subs/ships that you have. Sz109 can be hit with your entire air force.

    Like I said it is a bit off the original topic, but it does allow you to hit both sz’s using the Bismark with a good chance of saving it. The down side is that the Brits will probably be keeping 1 BB alive but you have a chance to kill it G2.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    The Bismarck was not in service until August 1940. Following it’s launch, it went for sea trials and did not enter the Atlantic until May 1941. If you assume that each turn in Global is three months, that would be G4.

    The Bismarck has been saved.

    The only German battleship in service before August 1940 (ostensibly what would be G1) was the Scharnhorst.

    Marsh



  • @Young:

    @WILD:

    I agree w/Shadow that using the Bismark in a hit and run on sz111 seems to be the most effective if you intend on keeping it around. For this reason I went with 80% in the poll because there is a chance that you roll better then expected in sz111 and kill the Brit fleet in one round (maybe they didn’t scramble). So your damaged BB can’t retreat to the air cover of sz112 and gets caught for an easy kill UK1. Even if that happens though you probably take a DD or plane down with you. I also like to add a carrier to sz112 G1 to give the English something to think about, and to cause the allies to over build in the Atlantic.

    I don’t quite understand everything about this… if the UK doesn’t scramble into 111, there is literally no chance of retreating the German battleship without leaving at least a damaged UK battleship… Right?

    True you leave a damaged BB that is next to your fleet and has 2 movements vs your fleet movement of 3.
    The UK cannot save that BB unless they forgo taranto and did not scramble in 110 and buy a destroyer round 1. And even then only if your attack on SZ109 didnt go wel.

    And even in those conditions you still have a 50/50 chance of killing the BB. And it will be out of the way untill UK 3 at least.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    I also strafe sz111, although my focus is on minimising air losses albeit that the Bismark survives too.

    The UK ships in sz111 then get sunk G2. Or UK1 if that playerdecides to be aggressive with ships that are doomed in any case.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Lately i attack 110 sz only, w. 4Ftrs 3TacBs 1Bmbr and 1SS.
    Most of the time the UK flea out of range.
    This gives me time to focus on only Land units build.
    The initial Buy goes for a Bmbr and DD and whatever i may need.
    By the time the UK comes back by following the US Navy, i should be in the Position to Buy any Naval and AF builds needed.
    Having a BB in Stock makes it easier i Think to hold Off any Ally landing near Germany.


  • 2017 2016

    @Marshmallow:

    The only German battleship in service before August 1940 (ostensibly what would be G1) was the Scharnhorst.

    What’s with all the Gneisenau hate?


  • 2018 2017

    Wolf: “Gesundheit”.

    None of them were real battleships anyways, that was just sort of propaganda.  Real battleships would have been too slow to do the crazy raids I suppose.

    As to the AxA question, you reduce the risk of the UK fleet wipeout considerably when you bring the BB.  You can also overcome any bid short of 20 that is being used to protect/increase risk, by bringing the battleship.

    You don’t have to lose it if you bring it, it runs back to SZ 112, where it joins all the other stuff you built.  If things went wrong during the battles, it was a sitting duck anyways, so there is some risk of fleet/buy splitting.

    There is no reason you can’t destroy all those british ships, with modest risk, everytime.  Just focus on only conducting 4 battles (110, 111, Paris, Yugo).  If Paris ever seems in doubt, it is because you failed to bring the 3 extra armor in GSG and the 2 planes that can only go there.

    If you don’t kill most or all of those UK ships, it is like a whole free turn (or turn and a half) of free positioning/advantage for them if they do a naval build because starting from scratch is way harder than building from a nucleus of survivors.



  • @taamvan:

    Wolf: “Gesundheit”.

    There is no reason you can’t destroy all those british ships, with modest risk, everytime.  Just focus on only conducting 4 battles (110, 111, Paris, Yugo).   If Paris ever seems in doubt, it is because you failed to bring the 3 extra armor in GSG and the 2 planes that can only go there.

    You cant kill them all if you want to use your BB and save it, So normaly UK has 1 damage BB and germany has 1 damaged BB left.
    But well where is he running to and hell your subs need to have something to do round 2 not like they got other jobs.



  • @taamvan:

    There is no reason you can’t destroy all those british ships, with modest risk, everytime.  Just focus on only conducting 4 battles (110, 111, Paris, Yugo).   If Paris ever seems in doubt, it is because you failed to bring the 3 extra armor in GSG and the 2 planes that can only go there.

    I agree with almost everything you said, you don’t need 2 planes in Paris when you bring the 3 tanks from GSG, those planes can help in Yugo and be landed on important territories for added defence. Why give the Paris AAA something to shot down?


  • 2018 2017

    I agree none of that stuff has to come to Paris, I was addressing the older question of “what happens when you undercommit/roll badly on Paris”;

    You have 5 pieces that could come, but don’t have to.  If they do come, it make Germany less flexible, but it reduces the chance of failure from like 2% to 1% (estimates, of course).

    You can and should still blow up all 6 British ships, the planes only have a limited number of other more dangerous and less useful tasks they can do on G1 (such as support paris, bomb London,  attack Russia early, etc.)

    And per our older discussion, the BB is what seals the deal;  if you risk it, then a scramble by UK is probably not efficient and can be warded off.  If you don’t add those 2 valuable hits to 111 or 110, then there is a fair chance that UK scrambles against the optimal commit, and then it goes to the dice.



  • @taamvan:

    If you don’t kill most or all of those UK ships, it is like a whole free turn (or turn and a half) of free positioning/advantage for them if they do a naval build because starting from scratch is way harder than building from a nucleus of survivors.

    I agree 100%, that is why I generally over load sz110 to kill those ships quickly, and strafe 111 using the German BB so I have a chance to take out the DD and Cruiser in sz111, leaving just the damaged BB, then retreat back to sz112. Doing this I would look to take out the limped UK BB on G2. I will say though that if there is a J1 attack that the allies have a good chance of saving the UK damaged BB by moving it to Iceland. W/US able to move in the Atlantic they can put a rainbow fleet and air force up there to make it really costly for the Germans to hit it (even if they built a carrier G1).

    YG back to the original topic……If you use the German BB in either sz110 or sz111 in a fight to the finish you would most likely not have the “Bismark” on G2. You would either be using it to soak 2 hits on G1 (sink it), or leave it exposed for an easy UK1 kill (you have no air cover).

    I think that if you choose to leave the “Bismark” out of the G1 battles and attack both 110 and 111 you are inviting the UK to scramble both battles. This is a dicey situation IMO, with a huge risk/reward factor. You are exposing the Luftwaffe to the possibility of heavy losses against a scramble, but also get the chance to take out most of the RAF. This first battle could determine the game IMO.

    Things to consider if you intend to hit and destroy all UK ships in both sz110 and 111 (w/o using the German BB). You have 4 subs that can hit (2 subs each battle because of placement and range), and 8 planes at you disposal. You will want to keep your firts and tacs paired for maximum attack power (in the first round anyway).

    So say you go into sz110 with 2 ss, 2 ftrs, 2 tacs, 2 bmrs you have an 75% chance of winning the battle if they scramble their 3 ftrs (they would have 2 cruisers, 1 bb, 3 ftrs). This isn’t too good, because if you win the battle on average you would have 3 units survive (out of the 8’).

    This would leave the sz111 battle with 2 ss, 2 ftrs, 2 tacs vs 1dd, 1 cruiser, 1 bb, 1 ftr (scrambled). You would have an 80% chance of winning, but again on average it leaves you with only 3 units surviving out of 6.

    Now you could make the sz110 battle a little stronger swapping some planes around, but that makes sz111 weaker (and would probably expose you bmrs more). So if you do make these attacks I think there is a very good chance that you pull out before the job is done in one of the battles, which would leave the Brits with a damaged BB anyway. So in light of that wouldn’t it make more sense to hit sz 110 hard (so they don’t scramble), and strafe sz111 w/Bismark. Would be less risk to the Luftwaffe IMO. Maybe your intention is to take out the RAF, and you set up some dicey battles to entice the UK to scramble?

    YG, generally you put things like this out there because you are trying to develop some sort of strategy, so what gives…

    I did have another thought about using the German BB in the sz 110 attack, and building an AB for Holland G1 so you could scramble when the UK attacks your damaged BB UK1, but that is an expense way to try to hold on to it. However if they do attack it, the Italians will probably be pretty happy lol.



  • @WILD:

    YG, generally you put things like this out there because you are trying to develop some sort of strategy, so what gives……

    Had a 2 hour conversation on the phone last week with a “newish” player asking how one can possibly keep the German starting battleship for G2 while also killing the Royal navy G1. After the discussion had circled around many times, I became convinced that the Bismarck must be sacrificed to ensure favorable results heading into G2… although I’m not sure if I convinced him.

    … therefore, I wanted the forum’s opinion.


  • 2018 2017

    Agree, it has to be lost in order to ensure the best, least risky outcome.  that’s often what we are debating;  what play represents the greatest risk (spreading thin, more battles, need to get lucky more times more consistently) and what play represents the most conservative moves that minimize the role luck will play.

    I usually preach that you cannot design an opener, gambit, stratagem etc. that takes exceptional risks early in the game, or requires a series of wins/strafes/blocks all to succeed one after the other.  This is partly because of regression to the mean;  if you are rolling a ton of dice then you are more likely to have an “average” result, which in this case is to say, you will not get lucky multiple times in a row, or cannot expect your opponent to be unlucky over and over again, but that rather your general luck will be unspectacular (or spectacularly bad at least once!) when you are trying to do 11 combats involving 38 pieces in one turn.

    One example of this is the “Rivera” bonus where Italy has to capture all the countries in north Africa.  If there is no Taranto (and have 3 TTs somehow), Italy could conceivably gain this bonus on the first turn, but they have to win so many battles in a row, and spread out so much, that $5 couldn’t be worth it, and even if you pull all that off at once, you lose the bonus by Turn 4.

    This game is not really won on general luck.  Single consistent Infantry retals turn after turn can matter, but they aren’t game changing in the same way as getting great luck in a monumental battle, which can basically win or lose the game.

    The game is won by ensuring that luck matters as little as possible to your outcomes.

    So, to apply this again to the situation at hand, you might really like that BB later in the game, but since you don’t need it (you can have a fleet in being with 1 cruiser 1 carrier and 1 airbase), it is smarter to use it to reduce the role of luck, make the opener a blowout, and keep them rolling fewer dice (3 vs 6) because they don’t even have the opportunity to scramble against you.

    If the first Germany turn ends up being this giant furball where the UK is reducing your airforce without risking a homeland invasion, that’s not favorable for Germany.    And if you blow even a single first round of germany rolling against the scrambled planes and ships, you get demolished.  If the UK has crap luck or great luck when it doesn’t scramble, its pretty much the same result either way (Germany loses or keeps a few subs, and all the planes survive…not really game changing…things usually go this way).

    Same Paris, same all your early moves really.  Certain things cannot be left up to luck and dice.  You just have to win.

    A good example of this is when the germans have, 2 infantry blockers,  that if Russia fails to kill and block that territory, that 10-12 german tanks can pour through that square on the next turn.  You might commit only 3 infantry, 1 artillery to attack 2 infantry under another circumstance where it doesn’t really matter whether you hold the target territory so much, but if you have to ensure victory with at least 1 survivor, then you might need 4 infantry, 1 artillery, and 1 tank or plane because you absolutely must take that square, you cannot allow luck to stymy the block since losing that small battle could cost you your capital.  So this principle also works in reverse;  if you force Russia to do several do or die blocking battles, they will have to sacrifice more men and spread mobile units out so thinly, they can’t do any other attacks.    There are plenty of times where Russia has just about run out of steam and cannot take or retake key income or blocking squares simply because they have had to make so many spoiling attacks over the course of the whole game.

    Dark skies also kind of relies on this principle.  If your opponent gets really lucky, he can knock down a few bombers but that doesn’t stop you.    Even if you are sort of unlucky with your damage rolls, you can bring so much to bear that eventually, you are doing a game changing amount of damage to Moscow.  So, no matter how the luck goes for you (unless it is abysmal and you are losing bombers every round to do 4 damage total), the strategy still works.



  • I think I lost something like 5 planes when I left the BB out and was never able to get to Moscow, hence I would likely never try it again but Japan was able to win on the Pacific side so it didn’t matter. Lucky me  😄


  • 2019 2017 2016

    @taamvan:

    And per our older discussion, the BB is what seals the deal;  if you risk it, then a scramble by UK is probably not efficient and can be warded off.   If you don’t add those 2 valuable hits to 111 or 110, then there is a fair chance that UK scrambles against the optimal commit, and then it goes to the dice.

    What are you hitting SZ110 + 111 with that a scramble in SZ111 wouldn’t be optimal?

    I normally hit 110 with 2subs, 3ftr 3tac 1SB, 111 with 1sub 1BB 1ftr 1tac 1SB. I expect a scramble in SZ111 only.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @taamvan:

    I usually preach that you cannot design an opener, gambit, stratagem etc. that takes exceptional risks early in the game, or requires a series of wins/strafes/blocks all to succeed one after the other.   This is partly because of regression to the mean;  if you are rolling a ton of dice then you are more likely to have an “average” result, which in this case is to say, you will not get lucky multiple times in a row, or cannot expect your opponent to be unlucky over and over again, but that rather your general luck will be unspectacular (or spectacularly bad at least once!) when you are trying to do 11 combats involving 38 pieces in one turn.

    Or, rather, you can rely on luck, but if you do then you’re implicitly admitting that your opponent is a stronger player than you are, and if you rely too much on luck in the opening, then it’s probably poor sportsmanship. If you’re willing to accept a situation where you have a 30% chance to get a major advantage in the opening, a 40% chance to reach a balanced opening, and a 30% to lose the game in the opening, why not just play Yahtzee? That’s not meant as sarcasm…it’s an honest question. Why go through the motions of setting up hundreds of pieces if you are eager to let the game be settled by the luck of the dice?

    There are times when we wind up in a bad position, where conservative play is extremely likely to lead to certain but slow defeat, and so the only plausible alternative is to “bet it all” on a 10% or 30% or 50% chance. That’s fine; that’s part of the game. But if you start the game with those kinds of wild risks, then why bother with such an intricate strategic ruleset at all?



  • @NotEvenJail:

    I think I lost something like 5 planes when I left the BB out and was never able to get to Moscow, hence I would likely never try it again but Japan was able to win on the Pacific side so it didn’t matter. Lucky me  😄

    Big D, is that you?… sounds a lot like our game when I was Japan and you were Germany  😄


  • 2019 2017 2016

    Following from wild bill, a 75% battle plus an 80% one are 60% to win both. Too tight with the consequences.


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