• War in the North

    This post is basically going to be an amalgam of all the possible moves you can make, in order to secure Norway and Sweden; I keep trying to downplay the importance of this theatre, but my mind keeps wanting to hammer out the execution of such moves, so here we go.

    As said before, this theatre should be a priority if the enemy begins committing forces to it. The other reason to attack Sweden is to close off the strait; you might want to do this if NATO liberates West Germany, and your “Baltic Wall” is in some way deficient (or insufficient to repel invasions.)

    So what should we be looking for? As I’ve said before, the UK probably wants any transports it is using in the Atlantic to convene in the Irish SZ. This is because it’s the SZ from which the US can shuck-shuck into France, and so it just makes sense for NATO to concentrate their naval forces in one zone, instead of two (the 2nd being either the North Sea, or the Komi SZ.) Generally if Norway ends up being reinforced, it’s done by WE placing new infantry there, or the UK landing paratroopers.

    Keep an eye out for:

    • UK bombers rallying in the home island, for further paradrops
    • UK (and potentially WE) transports in the North Sea
    • US transports in the Komi SZ (to pick up infantry from Iceland)

    Any of these are signs that the Allies want to try and open a new front in the North. Luckily, we can afford to be reactive in this theatre; gauge your opponents actions, and then decide if you should commit forces.

    Reserve Group A (armor): Starting in Turkey, I’ve mentioned that you can kind of hedge your bets, and move to Ukraine on round 2 (allowing redeployment to either Karelia or Yugoslavia on round 3, depending on where you want to exert force.) You can also potentially move only as far as Georgia, if you’re sure you want to commit to the north, but also want the tanks in range to counter-attack Turkey if needed; this of course will work best if you committed your “flex” infantry on round 1 to placing in Georgia.

    Armor Group B (Balkans): You can use these forces to pacify any landings in Yugoslavia or Greece on round 2, likely rallying in Yugoslavia on non-combat, with infantry coming down from Poland. What you can then do, is split off the heavy armor from this group, reassigning them to Karelia on round 3, while keeping your regular tanks in Yugoslavia (or West Germany.)

    “Baltic Wall”: So with infantry moving from Karelia down the Baltic coast, your wall should be set up at the end of the Soviet non-combat movement phase, in round 3. This means that infantry placed in Karelia on or after round 3 can be committed to attacks in Scandinavia, without compromising the wall – so long as we continue to feed our frontline with reinforcements from other territories, such as Poland or Romania. As mentioned before, we’ll want to be maxing out our infantry placement on West Germany, Yugoslavia, and Greece, on any rounds which we control them at the start of our turn.

    As you can see, this is all lining up for an assault on Norway in round 4. However, if we want to supplement our northern offensive with new heavy tanks placed in Karelia, we will want to have extra infantry to cover the territory defensively. What this effectively means is that whatever turn we plan to place armor in Karelia, we need to place infantry in Orel, 2 turns prior to that. If we start placing infantry in Orel on round 2, they will reach Karelia (via Komi) on round 4.

    Note: By taking Norway, NATO bombers based in France or the UK no longer have a safe landing space, if they were wanting to drop paratroopers into Orel. Therefore, once we take Norway, we no longer need infantry in this territory for deterrence.

    If we are planning to place heavy armor in East Siberia on round 3 (to take out South Korea) then the earliest we would want to place in Karelia would be round 4. Like I said, we can speed this up to react to our opponent (potentially ignoring South Korea to do so.) On the other hand…

    Reserve Group C (cavalry): If we use this heavy armor to attack India on both rounds 2 and 3, we can reposition it to Karelia on round 4. We might want to consider having our placement of new tanks in Karelia line up with this. By doing so, we have 3 heavy tanks that can potentially move through Norway to attack Sweden (on round 5) in addition to whatever forces we want to reuse from our Norway attack.

    Overall, I think the best option is to wait until round 5 to attack Norway (with the earliest we could attack probably being in round 4.) This allows us an extra round to have Armor Group B able to mop up any shenanigans in the Balkans, as well as an extra round for Reserve Group A to be able to counter-attack Turkey, and still reposition. This also allows us to delay placing new tanks in Karelia until round 5 (to be used on Sweden in round 6) giving us a “breather” in round 4, with which to make sure we place enough infantry on all of our borders (after having deployed new armor in East Siberia, on round 3.) We can speed up the deployment by starting to place in Orel as early as round 2, but if we’re attacking on round 5, it can wait a bit. We can also beef up the attack by committing one of our air groups to the front, once India falls (taking it away from either the India theatre or East Siberia.)

  • War in the North
    Part 2: Speeding up the Timeline

    Operation Underbelly - Europe.png

    This depiction assumes your 3 “flex” infantry were placed in Georgia.

    I’ve been giving some more thought to the proposed attack on Norway (and into Sweden) and here’s what I’ve figured out:

    1. This move likely won’t work if you have to counter-attack Greece on round 2
    2. You need to place some “flex” infantry in Orel, on round 1
    3. You need to be able to place 3 infantry in Poland on round 2 (thus speeding up the “Baltic Wall” tactic)

    If you’re unable to do these things, then I would avoid this “accelerated” attack in the north. As you can see on the map, the proposed moves on round 1 leave you with 2 heavy tanks in Romania. These will be used as the main offensive units for this action, which is why the situation of a strong NATO landing into Greece on round 1 has the ability to derail this maneuver, as these tanks will be needed for that counter-attack instead.

    On round 2, whatever infantry you gathered in Komi must move to Karelia to support the attack on Norway. This is why we need infantry in Orel on round 1, so that we can move them to Komi on round 2 (replacing those units moved up, for the attack.) Also on round 2, we’ll want to move our heavy tanks from Romania to Karelia; this culminates in an attack on Norway in round 3.

    Technically, you can still counter-attack Greece, and then non-combat move to Poland, keeping your heavy tanks in range of Norway, but leaving them stranded there when they do attack. We want to set them up such that they can withdraw back to Karelia after taking Norway. On the other hand, if they can be provided with enough covering infantry in Norway, then they can attack Sweden on the following turn(s), and be repositioned to Karelia after, which would also be ideal.

    The reason we want to complete the Baltic Wall early, is so that the Norway attack can coincide with our move out of West Germany and into Switzerland. This might not be a necessary move, so I’ll explain the thinking behind it. Essentially what we want to do is bait NATO into moving their navy into the Baltic Sea, as well as to land their bombers in Norway, so that we can trap the former and destroy the latter.

    On round 2, we should be able to place 31 infantry; here’s how I would suggest spreading those around:

    West Germany: 4 inf
    Poland: 3 inf
    [Balkans]: 4 inf
    Karelia: 4 inf
    Georgia: 3 inf
    Kazakhstan: 2 inf
    Turkmenistan: 2 inf
    [Pakistan if controlled, otherwise Mongolia]: 1 inf
    East Siberia: 4 inf
    Kamchatka: 2 inf
    North Korea: 2 inf

    If we do this, and we move our infantry out of Orel on the same round, this leaves that territory undefended. Orel is in range of paratroopers from both France and the UK (where NATO bombers could reasonably expect to be stationed) but only if those bombers fly over the AA gun in Karelia, to land in Norway. This is an excellent situation for us, if we are in a position to attack Norway on round 3. If we keep our reserves nearby on round 2, then we are also well-positioned to counter-attack Orel, with infantry drawn from surrounding territories (primarily Georgia) and without needing to pull tanks away from our main frontline in Europe. Our heavy tanks in Romania (if not used against Greece or Yugoslavia) can also hit Orel on round 2, and end their movement in Karelia.

    Now, if we abandon West Germany on round 3, that means NATO can capture the territory (thus re-opening the strait to them) on the same round. If this is done on the WE or UK turn, then potentially UK and US ships can move into the Baltic on the same round. If we retake West Germany in force on round 4, we can trap these ships in the Baltic Sea. As such, we want to be in a position to take Sweden, closing the trap for good, and allowing us to permanently withdraw from West Germany. To facilitate this, we’ll want to place heavy tanks in Karelia on round 3. The placement of these units will be covered by infantry placed in Orel on round 1, moving to Komi on round 2, and then Karelia on round 3. Our combined heavy tank force (potentially including Reserve Group C) can simply move through Norway, to attack Sweden as early as round 4; they can either stay put, or move to Norway on non-combat (if we can get enough infantry fodder to Norway at the same time.)

    This means that deployment of heavy armor to East Siberia will be delayed until round 4 or (I would recommend) round 5. Ultimately, South Korea is not much of a prize; we mainly want to concern ourselves with keeping North Korea under Soviet control. We also have to decide early on whether to commit our reserves to this northern initiative, so pay attention to the result of other battles, and be mindful of the global situation at all times; whichever reserves we commit to this plan will miss out on one (or both) of our attacks against India.

    Reserve Group A can be moved to Kazakhstan or Ukraine, and still effectively counter-attack Orel; it just depends if we want them to commit them long-term to Europe or to Asia. If they attack Orel from Ukraine, they can be moved to Karelia for a follow-up attack on Norway, if needed. Likewise, Reserve Group C can strafe India on round 2 (ending in Sinkiang) and still hit Orel on round 3, but with no movement left to reposition. Ultimately, it’s a matter of balancing out the amount of force to apply to each theatre, and where you want to commit your units long-term.

  • @the-janus

    Is this game still around? I haven’t seen it or The Great War in over a decade. I thought the Imp killed off his site.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @jwlbigdog They did, but some people still play them.

  • @imperious-leader I’m guessing in person? The Mapview apps for them hasn’t been compatible on any platform I own in a while.

  • @jwlbigdog
    Sorry for the late reply – I got distracted by something shiny 😉
    Hopefully you see this, and shoot me a reply.

    Are you still playing the game locally or anything? Got any war stories to share? I sent you a direct chat as well, we can talk in there if you’d prefer.

  • @the-janus
    I haven’t, but I still have the map sans pieces. I really wish Imp had made a TGW map. Apparently one of the A&A offshoots made a WW1 game, but it is already out of print and several hundred dollars now. Maybe someone can get Imp out of retirement long enough to put his stuff on a Steam platform. He could bundle EW/TGW/ Crucible all together and make a killing these days.

  • @jwlbigdog I tried to get him “out of retirement” so to speak; around the time I started this thread, I actually got ahold of one of the guys mentioned in the instruction book, who passed along an email to Imp – but I never got a response back 😞

    I’ve got a version of MapView working on my Windows 10 rig right now, so I can look at the starting setup. But without a registration key, I can’t save games.

  • @the-janus If you were to get permission from Imp, I could remove the registration check from MapView for that module.

  • @motdc Against my typical M.O. I’ve fired off another email to Imp and Co. I’ll post here as soon as I hear anything back.

  • @the-janus sorry to require that, but the copyright laws are pretty strict in this scenario. I could be sued if I were enabled that work to be distributed without consent given the original agreement Imp and I had.

    Game rules concepts and mechanics, on the other hand, are not covered so if someone got desperate they could whip up an alternate artwork map and be able to play using that.

  • @jwlbigdog

    On the topic of house rules:

    As of late, I’ve been reflecting on how essential it is for the USSR to be able to move through China’s territories – to the point where I think that they need a separate rule from the other neutral alliances/major neutrals. (China seems to always get special treatment in A&A games, once you get beyond ‘Classic’.)

    Any opinions or suggestions on that?

    I’m thinking it might be useful to crib from A&A 1914 (activating minor countries) or A&A Europe’s oil territories; let the USSR freely non-combat move units through China, but only give them income for Chinese territories that have Soviet troops. It would also sort of help reflect the idea (expressed in the rulebook) that the communists hadn’t completely taken control of China in 1948, though it may have been a foregone conclusion at that point; the presence of Soviet troops would have definitely tipped the balance.

  • @the-janus it’s been a long time since I played…
    I do remember at one point contemplating a variant that allowed for full activation of a major neutral if it gets influenced past 100% contribution. In other words, Chinese units join USSR. I don’t remember, but I was under the impression that if favoring a faction, that faction had right of passage through the neutral’s territory anyway.

  • @jwlbigdog said in "East & West" by Imp Games - Discussion:

    @the-janus it’s been a long time since I played…
    I don’t remember, but I was under the impression that if favoring a faction, that faction had right of passage through the neutral’s territory anyway.

    This is correct; my point was more that the USSR can’t do without the ability to move through China – so perhaps the rules could be amended to make that easier. In my games, NATO tends to invest quite a bit into spies, just to sway China away from the USSR; it almost feels like a tax they have to pay, that’s preventing them from using their spies for anything more fun.

  • @the-janus said in "East & West" by Imp Games - Discussion:

    @motdc Against my typical M.O. I’ve fired off another email to Imp and Co. I’ll post here as soon as I hear anything back.

    Imp Games has allowed for the removal of the registration requirements for all three of their games. Changes have been made today, now just need to work out updates to the installer and a download site.

  • I think I have made all the technical changes needed, but feel free to let me know if you hit a glitch: http://www.motcreations.com

  • @imperious-leader
    By the way, did you get a physical copy of The Great War’s map?
    I seem to recall that there was only one player who ever got their hands on it, and I swore that was you – but maybe I’m misremembering.

    I wonder how much of a challenge that getting the custom pieces for it would be, in this age of 3D printing being so much more ubiquitous. IIRC that was the big economic stumbling block, for Imp Games.

  • @the-janus said in "East & West" by Imp Games - Discussion:

    Balance Fix: reduced starting forces for NATO

    With the game now being available to everyone via MapView, I’ve been able to play and tinker a bit, and I’m coming back to this idea again. The overall intention being to adjust the balance of the two opposing forces, without it being noticeable enough to impact the game’s overall presentation.

    One thing I should touch on right away from the previous post, is that I was using the totals for NATO infantry from the “total” column in the rulebook… which has some addition errors; specifically, the total UK infantry is actually 31, not 33. (Their starting income is 33 …coincidence?)

    Anyway, here’s my revised idea (after much back-and-forth) that I’d be willing to test out if anyone wants to have a game:

    • [unchanged] territories with more than 1 WE infantry start with 1 less WE infantry (France, Italy, Norway, West Germany, Greece, Turkey, Indochina)
    • UK and US territories with more than 1 UK infantry start with half as many UK infantry (UK, Iceland, India, New South Wales, South Africa)
    • US territories with more than 1 US infantry start with 1 less US infantry (East US, West US, Iceland, South Korea, Japan, Philippines)
    • remove any NATO fighters from territories with an IPC value of 2, which do not also contain an armor unit (Iceland, Indochina, New South Wales)
    • remove any NATO submarines based off the coasts of territories with an IPC value of 2 (Iceland, New South Wales)

    The Soviets also receive the following boosts; these would be in lieu of the 20 IPC “rapid mobilization” bonus:

    • Soviet territories with an IPC value of 2 or more, and with at least 1 starting infantry, each gain one additional infantry (East Germany, Yugoslavia, Poland, Romania, Karelia, Belarus, Ukraine, Orel, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, East Siberia, Kamchatka, North Korea)
    • Soviet territories with an IPC value of 2, which contain an industrial complex, each gain 1 fighter and 1 cruiser (Karelia, East Siberia)
    • other Soviet territories which contain an industrial complex each gain 1 heavy armor (Ukraine, Russia)

    Final tally:

    USSR (+15) / Total: 75
    WE (-7) / Total: 21
    UK (-8) / Total: 23
    US (-6) / Total: 27
    [NATO total: 71]

    USSR (+2) / Total: 9
    WE (-1) / Total: 3
    UK (-1) / Total: 3
    US (-1) / Total: 6
    [NATO total: 12]

    USSR [unchanged] Total: 6
    WE [unchanged] Total: 1
    UK (-1) / Total: 3
    US (-1) / Total: 3
    [NATO Total: 7]

    USSR (+2) / Total: 6
    NATO [unchanged] Total: 7

    – Any comments/questions, just shoot me a reply below 😉

  • Basic Mechanics: The India Stack


    Pictured above is the starting setup, highlighting the Indian Ocean and surrounding areas.

    Just by placing on land, the UK can add 5 infantry to this theatre every round; 1 in Pakistan, 3 in India, and 1 in Burma. Western Europe (WE) can also add 2 infantry in Indochina every round, but likely won’t have the economy to be able to afford it, after round 1.

    However, there are 3 transports that the UK can use to further reinforce India: the one at India itself, another at Italy, and a third by Australia. Since the UK can place 7 infantry per round in Africa, they can easily keep these transports full every round, shucking either from the Red Sea or Mozambique SZ to unload into Pakistan. By linking up the various UK navies in the Persian Gulf SZ, this creates a strong pipeline into central Asia.

    2 - South Africa
    1 - Rhodesia
    1 - Tanganyika
    1 - Sudan
    1 - Nigeria
    2 - Singapore

    Now, the UK’s starting income being 33 means that placing 5 infantry on land and 6 more to be moved via transport, would require spending their entire income on infantry, each round. Doing so would necessarily mean not adding any units in Europe.

    An alternative is for the UK to place an industrial complex in India, thereby increasing the amount of infantry that they can place by 3, up to a total of 8. It also speeds up how quickly these additional units can reach the front line. The other reason to do this, is to get armor or other units built in-theatre. In either case, this leaves very little income remaining for the UK to do anything else, while also leaving them few options for utilizing their transports.

    Now, for the opposite perspective…

    To match the 5 infantry that the UK can place on land, the USSR needs to place 2 in Kazakhstan, 2 in Turkmenistan, and 1 in Mongolia – each of these territories being within one space of Sinkiang. The problem they face is that the fighters from Indochina and Australia make for a formidable defense of India; by contrast, the USSR has no offensive units in the immediate area to counter this.

    The other areas that the USSR needs to defend in this part of the world, are their coastal territories in Asia: Kamchatka, Eastern Siberia, and North Korea. Since these areas are under threat by the US immediately at the start of the game it makes sense for the USSR to be placing defensive infantry there every round. If the USSR places the maximum amount of infantry on both Eastern Siberia and North Korea every round, this adds up to 6 in total – effectively matching the 6 infantry that the UK can transport to India. This is why I’ve advocated for the “Operation: Underbelly” tactic of always placing these infantry, but always moving them through China towards southeast Asia.

    (This is to say nothing of the US setting up their navy off the coast of Indochina, shuttling 2 infantry from the Philippines every round, as well as transporting infantry from Japan every other round. In short, the Soviets need to fight a quick, decisive war in this theatre – the long-term prospects are not in their favour.)

    All of which dovetails into topics I’ve covered previously in this discussion thread:

    • Reduced starting forces for NATO:
      • cutting down the numbers of units in India, Indochina, and New South Wales gives the Soviets a more reasonable opportunity at success in this theatre, without having to commit so many of their limited resources.
    • The proposed overhaul to the rules regarding China:
      • the USSR would always be allowed to move units through Chinese territories
      • the USSR would gain income from China based on the value of Chinese territories which contain Soviet units, at the end of each Soviet turn
      • the influence scale would only serve to determine whether Chinese troops will defend North Korea
      • If contributing 12 or more IPCs to the USSR or giving full support to the USSR on the influence scale, NATO can declare war on China, and attack Chinese territories

  • @the-janus said in "East & West" by Imp Games - Discussion:

    Operation Underbelly - Europe.png
    (Reusing this image for visual aid purposes)

    Basic Mechanics: Paratroopers

    Just due to the number of bomber aircraft that NATO has, this mechanic is particularly slanted against the USSR (who start with only one bomber.)

    Paratroopers based in the UK can reach the following Soviet territories, with the bomber returning to the UK:
    -> East Germany, Yugoslavia, Baltic States, Poland, Karelia, Komi

    Paratroopers based in France can reach the following Soviet territories, with the bomber returning to France:
    -> East Germany, Yugoslavia, Baltic States, Poland, Karelia, Komi, Romania, Belarus, Ukraine

    Paratroopers based in Italy can reach the following Soviet territories, with the bomber returning to Italy:
    -> East Germany, Yugoslavia, Baltic States, Poland, Romania, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia

    Now, this is not including things like dropping a paratrooper off and landing in a territory other than where the bomber started its turn; Norway for example helps put Belarus and Orel more easily into paratrooper range.

    But if we look at the list of territories mentioned above, the problem starts to become pretty obvious:
    Paratroopers subvert the protection that the “straits rule” can provide to the Soviets. This forces the USSR to backtrack and fix their supply lines, which causes big disruptions if you’re trying to keep as many offensive units as possible at the front lines. It also requires you to keep your infantry spread out across more territory.

    By contrast, the USSR can only really hope to make distractions, through the use of paratroopers. From Turkey or Pakistan (assuming your bomber is protected enough, in those territories) you can cause mischief in Africa; likewise, you can spring surprises from Chinese territory, if your opponent isn’t mindful. It just doesn’t have the disruptive effect (particularly relative to the opportunity costs) that NATO paratroopers are able to create.

    It is for these reasons that I recommend the paratrooper rule be amended; here are some possible ideas for how:

    • No paratroopers – neither side can use paratroopers
    • Bombers can only transport infantry on non-combat movement
    • Paratroopers can only be used in combat as an addition to other land units attacking the territory – the attack cannot consist only of aircraft, but it can be an amphibious assault

    There is a somewhat historical precedent for the 3rd option, with the 2nd option (I feel) being more in line with the game’s setting, of the “Berlin Airlift” – whereby bombers were used as transport planes for supplies.

  • Variant Rule: Round Zero Breakthroughs

    A while back, I had posted a topic on the idea of an “impulse turn” for the USSR, as sort of an expanded “round zero.” Admittedly, the implementation is a bit clunky (mostly for balance reasons) so I’m still trying to workshop it a bit. However, there is one aspect from those rules that I’d like to pluck out, since I think it could be applied independently from the impulse turn.

    This is the idea of “round zero breakthroughs” – the Soviets being able to gain additional techs, and readjust the diplomatic situation – for some different options at the start of the game.

    1. Diplomacy: The USSR can move China up one space on the influence chart, or they can move the other two neutral alliances a total of two spaces on the influence chart.

    This allows for some interesting options:

    • The Soviets can move China to +8, giving them some more income and making Chinese support in North Korea a little bit more secure against NATO spies.
    • The Soviets could move the Arab League to +0, meaning that the Suez Canal would be closed to NATO at the start of the game – potentially providing for some alternate strategies using the Soviet fleet in the Black Sea, but also preventing NATO from combining their ships from the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean.
    • The Soviets could move the Arab league to +3, giving them almost the same amount of income as if they had increased Chinese support instead, but also allowing Soviet troops to move into Arab territories, providing a gateway to attack Africa.
    • Moving the OAS would mean that an errant complication roll for a Soviet nuclear attack won’t immediately lead to more income for the USA.

    The 2nd part of these added breakthroughs would be granting additional tech to the USSR:

    1. Technology: The USSR gains two full-steps at submarine technology, or two half-steps towards any other tech trees.

    What this does, in practical terms:

    • The USSR can move their subs through hostile sea zones, bypassing enemy ships and potentially setting up offensive moves deeper into NATO supply lines.
    • With the “straits rule” in place, the USSR can use the Black Sea or the Baltic Sea almost like sub pens, to protect these units from NATO naval units.
    • Soviet subs can potentially link up, by crossing underneath the ice sheet at the top of the board – to project greater force into one theatre.
    • This gives the USSR the option to develop Fission Weapons, as a counter to NATO naval power, or to progress further along the armor tech tree with the goal of eventually gaining total superiority on land.

    Since I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that nukes are the best counter to NATO’s navy, I’d probably want to revise this rule a bit, to reflect that; submarine tech should be treated as a fun option, rather than a viable balancing / war-winning feature. I haven’t really nailed down what that implementation should look like, just yet.

  • @the-janus A fourth option would include making the use of paratroopers without other land units present a researchable technology.

  • @jwlbigdog said in "East & West" by Imp Games - Discussion:

    @the-janus A fourth option would include making the use of paratroopers without other land units present a researchable technology.

    At that point, I would just staple it onto the Helicopter tech.
    My own personal inclination is to just not allow paratroopers at all, but there might be other satisfactory solutions that I don’t want to shut the door on.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @the-janus I hope you could do a write up on Great War by Imp games? Im not versed in this game, but i do have it somewhere

  • @imperious-leader
    I unfortunately am one of the few Imp gamers who never once played a game of The Great War. I think I had a copy of the rules, at one point, but as far as I can tell, I’ve lost them to the sands of time.

    Not sure if @jwlbigdog @tacojohn or anyone else might have a copy buried somewhere…?

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