Detailed analysis of game meant to discuss 1914 tactics and strategy

  • '12

    Hello all-

    In a recent game I took the trouble to write down all my thoughts (such as they are) as I played every round. The goal behind this is to inspire more discussion on 1914 strategy as this community could really use some. My notes are considered a “first draft” so are not as polished as they might be if I re-read them and did more editing, so it’s basically what I thought at the time. I have started this thread with my notes and the saved game file posted and look forward to any and all criticism regarding my moves (I would assume that a broken clock is at least correct twice a day and I did something right here or there). Hope you find it enjoyable reading.

    TGC_v_Eqqman.pdf
    uk5.tsvg


  • @Eqqman

    Looks good! Let me know if you would like me to share some grammatical errors I noticed.


  • @SuperbattleshipYamato I’d prefer to stick to discussing content of the message rather than it’s delivery. I did mention up front that I’m sure the quality of the writing itself could be improved but that isn’t my top concern ;).


  • @Eqqman

    Yeah, no worries. I’ll give you my (many) other thoughts on strategy when I’m done reading it.

    Gotta say, I feel like you think a lot compared to me when it comes to strategy. Or maybe it just feels longer written down.


  • @Eqqman

    I didn’t look at the game file, but I got the gist of it. You summarised the game well.

    Poland move was good. I’ll keep that in mind in similar situations.

    Why did you not move the Burgundy stack?

    “So what happens if for some reason TGC leaves Alsace? If I move the French stack there I’m now at risk of the German stack moving to
    Picardy or hitting the much weaker reinforcements that moved into Lorraine”

    I don’t think this should be a problem. If Alsace is completely vacated you just send 1 infantry. You get 3 IPCs so it’s guaranteed to pay for itself. If there’s a blocker there, it’s a no show but Lorraine just seems closer to the frontline to pressure the Germans. It’ll give you the option of moving into Switzerland, and there’s no real need to have the army on the Atlantic coast.

    The British mistake hurt, but I don’t think it’s catastrophic. I’ve recovered from a 1 turn delay before.

    Naval movements for the UK in the Indian Ocean were good.

    If I was the French I probably would’ve moved to sea zones 18 or 7 to transport the continental UK troops. The British transport from sea zone 2 could join in too. You’ll be threatening the German fleet at the same time. It’s not a big deal though (I wouldn’t call you moving to Canada a mistake or blunder at all), but I generally like to keep the Canadian troops for an all-out UK shuck once Africa’s cleared.

    I don’t think Italy should get the German African territories (at least, nothing special needs to be done to allow it to get them, certainly not the lengths you went to ensure Kamerurn and German East Africa), mainly because I believe that Italy’s doomed to fall anyway, so it’s better for the income to go to a power that can last longer (France or UK). It’s a nitpick though and your reasoning is quite sound, so I’ll chalk that up to personal preference more than anything.

    I disagree with buying the fighter. Partly because that’s not what The Good Captain does, but also because Italy doesn’t have enough artillery to justify it, nor can you build more, and Italy has so little income anyway. Again, it’s just 6 IPCs so it’s no big deal.

    Ah, yes. Non-Spain shuck US moves.

    For a while in solo games, I struggled to find the right balance of transports for the US outside of The Good Captain’s Spain shuck (usual targets were Picardy or Piedmont). Oftentimes I bought too few and accumulate a large chunk of either IPCs or ground units in the Americas, or buy a bunch of transports and end up having a lot of them just stand around.

    Because of that, I really liked you put a full Norway shuck plan. I’ll try it sometime.

    I’m glad that you finally found a use for Norway. Intriguing insight on US battleships. The only flaw is that the amount of battleships that can bombard is limited to the amount of units attacking. In your scenario it’s no big deal since the US needs to transport so many soldiers (and can’t build so many battleships anyway), but you can’t just go with a 4 battleship bombardment with 1 attacking land unit thing. I’m sure you know this but I think that’s a major problem hindering the plan, since the above example is how I usually think of a “large battleship bombarding force” would be used in 1914 (I agree it’s justifiable if the Central Powers had a field day at sea and the Allied navies got some bad dice).

    All your moves for Russia were good. Russia’s movements are definitely tricky and I don’t think I could’ve done better.

    I usually only bring units down from Egypt when facing the Germans in Africa, but that’s usually because I like to use the transports for other purposes (obviously the Central Powers navies weren’t as much of a threat), not because I think it’s too much. Your experience will be informative in future games.

    As for your attack on Alsace, The Good Captain mentioned something similar that I did in one of his videos to me.

    (Paraphrasing) “The Allies have such an advantage in this game that there’s no need to have a large battle on the Western Front with close odds, in case something goes wrong. It’s an unnecessary risk.”

    Keep in mind he said that when my attack was way more successful (his German counterattack failed miserably, allowing me to cut into his artillery, and I lost for other reasons).

    Your naval loss was definitely painful. I must say I never experiences such a dire situation and probably wouldn’t have done better than you.

    Not a fan of attacking Switzerland. It’s only 1 IPC and it causes too many problems (or more precisely, complicated problems that don’t have easy solutions, turning the Western front into an Eastern Front style quasi-chess game where I worry far more about making a mistake).

    Overall, you played a great game, and most of your minor mistakes were either not too severe or merely a manner of personal preference. Bad dice was the thing that broke you.

    Still, overall I would categorise this as a textbook “Allied player loses to The Good Captain knocking it out of the park as the Central Powers” game, much like the ones I played with him.

    I’m confident you’ll beat him in the future.


  • @SuperbattleshipYamato

    Why did you not move the Burgundy stack?

    The part you quote is part of my first turn discussion, and during that turn I moved Burgundy-> Picardy, so it’s not clear what the genesis of this comment is. I need more context to answer this.

    Yes if Alsace is completely empty then move a guy in. I prefer the French to initially clump in Picardy rather than Lorraine to get the Germans out of Belgium nearly immediately. A Lorraine stack doesn’t always do that since your troops are split. Even later I’d still keep going along the coast since that is the shortest route to putting direct pressure on Ruhr. If Ruhr is seriously threatened then that opens up the possibility for Alsace to be weakened and maybe I can get it without having to commit an entire stack. It’s true that this approach means I’m not moving into Switzerland. I’m not convinced as to what the ideal time is to blow this territory open is, since it’s a double-edged sword.

    I don’t think Italy should get the German African territories… I disagree with buying the fighter…

    Italy should absolutely at least try to get one of the named “East Africa” territories, or let them be the ones to take Morocco if it seems reasonable** (**note again, ALL conversations past the first turn are always context-dependent on an actual board state). Since they start with 14 IPC getting them at least 1 more nets you a 5x Infantry buy every turn. I totally get the argument saying to just stop there. For me there’s no harm in seeing what else I can do with the Somaliland guy as it’s unlikely to help me turn the tide of the war someplace else. In this particular game, I could have moved into Kamerun round 3 as UK, but TGC already has his men clumped up so I don’t want to take a chance that he’s willing to hit 2i/1a with 3i/1a to block a move into some other German territory (given how cautious he is, the answer is “no”, but it’s dangerous to assume an opponent will or won’t do something.). In that case it works out a bit that I have an Italian ready to walk over there. Of course this obviously works a lot better if the Italian Transport is still around.

    I don’t agree that the Italians and Ottomans should avoid buying a Fighter just since they’re poor. In my view every player should have at least 1, otherwise you’re throwing away an opportunity for advantage when you make an attack of opportunity, plus you’re essentially letting your opponent get an Artillery advantage on you for free. Even if you don’t have lots of Artillery, maybe the enemy does, so why just let them get a power-up for free? If somebody walks in with 2 Fighters to kill your 1, you gave up 2i in value for that battle but they gave up 4i. But as I said, with the really poor countries, just have the one, as obviously by definition you can’t afford an arms race or to constantly replace them. BTW- somebody either here or in the Board Game Geek forum claims it is “easy” to sack Constantinople on round 2 but didn’t back this up with anything. So maybe the Ottomans can wait until round 2 to buy the Fighter since the UK will likely still be busy with Persia at that time. just to make sure the capital isn’t too light on Infantry until the Bulgarians can come down (if needed).

    Part of your justification for not buying the Fighter is that Italy doesn’t have “enough” Artillery (whatever that actually means in any particular game). If Italy isn’t rounding out its leftover IPCs to buy an Artillery here or there it feels likely you’re deliberately throwing away a chance to make a good attack of opportunity someplace (same goes for Ottomans). Even if you don’t want to attack, you won’t effectively dead-zone a place with a pile of just Infantry. I know TGC likes to recommend never rounding off your spending to the last IPC (even though I’m fairly sure I’ve seen him violate this guideline on occasion) since this maximizes total unit count. Unless you’re planning on a game going over 20 rounds though I find it doubtful that the reason you lost was going to be that a particular territory someplace had 1 or 2 less units in it. I would absolutely round off the last IPC to buy Artillery until I have “enough” (again, whatever that means…) unless I have 2 left over to spend, as a 2x Artillery buy could be too much. After you’ve had your first major battle and taken a big hit in the Infantry supply, then stick more with the Infantry-only buys.

    For a while in solo games, I struggled to find the right balance of transports for the US outside of The Good Captain’s Spain shuck

    Yes it’s very easy to make a mistake here and in the WWII variants, especially when you want to bring everything you have in one big punch up-front rather than distribute them evenly over time. It should be noted that the cheapest non-Spain shuck only needs 6 Transports but you have to get a chain going with a walk up to Canada first but you can still make a delivery on round 5. Round 4, deliver 6 units to Ireland direct from USA while 6 units walk to Canada. Round 5, the Ireland troops get dropped off on the Continent and you make your first run of continuous Canada-> Ireland deliveries. Note that this method is also cheap enough to set up that the USA could buy an extra warship if desired.

    I was going to respond to the thread specifically asking about landings in Norway/Sweden but thought that post was a bit too old to bump it. As mentioned in my notes this feels more viable in a situation where RR is not going to block this move. But having the Entente hold extra income while the Germans are forced to siphon men off into a dead-end area of the board to defend Russia seems like a very workable plan. It’s mainly a question of which CP do you need to harass more, the Germans or AH/Ottomans in the Med?

    On the BB stack, yes, I’m not sure it’s worth sacrificing 4i every round to get BB bombards if you’re doing it in the face of a territory with a large Artillery stack. Feels more workable in a situation where you expect to be trading territories or if you’re opponent can’t afford to split their Artillery too much to cover multiple landing sites. Anyways I just found it interesting that this option gives the best first punch attack on Spain over all the other options involving weakening the follow-on waves to try and get as much ground attack in as possible. I don’t see it being hugely popular unless you have games like this one where the Entente is just totally thrashed at sea.

    “The Allies have such an advantage in this game that there’s no need to have a large battle on the Western Front with close odds, in case something goes wrong. It’s an unnecessary risk.”

    I totally agree with this sentiment, if your priority is the win and nothing else. I’d rather win a 10-round game and lose a 10-round game than win a 20-round game in the same time. Not taking risks lead to boring play (for me, YMMV) and just constantly moving men into a stack and watching my opponent move men into their stack is total anathema for me. Hopefully I made this fairly clear in my notes that I acknowledge some of my moves involve risk since I’m banking on at least getting average dice. As the Entente player, since that’s the only side that can really afford some light losses in the early game, why not take a few? As the CP player though I would be far more circumspect with this and you can see that TGC rarely made any moves that caught me by surprise since he basically always takes the least-risky path. Nobody needs to convince me that the less-risky path is safer (as it is by definition) but it ain’t my style and I’m happy to lose some games because of it. If nothing else if you play me, you shouldn’t be bored ;).


  • @Eqqman said in Detailed analysis of game meant to discuss 1914 tactics and strategy:

    The part you quote is part of my first turn discussion, and during that turn I moved Burgundy-> Picardy, so it’s not clear what the genesis of this comment is. I need more context to answer this.

    You mentioned you had 6 infantry and 2 artillery in Burgundy on France first turn (alongside your total stack in Picardy). Then why did you move to the Paris stack there? Unless I’m just reading it wrong?

    Yes if Alsace is completely empty then move a guy in. I prefer the French to initially clump in Picardy rather than Lorraine to get the Germans out of Belgium nearly immediately. A Lorraine stack doesn’t always do that since your troops are split. Even later I’d still keep going along the coast since that is the shortest route to putting direct pressure on Ruhr. If Ruhr is seriously threatened then that opens up the possibility for Alsace to be weakened and maybe I can get it without having to commit an entire stack. It’s true that this approach means I’m not moving into Switzerland. I’m not convinced as to what the ideal time is to blow this territory open is, since it’s a double-edged sword.

    Agreed on Switzerland. Once the French are in Belgium I also like to go Paris-Picardy-Belgium, but I don’t usually do that if the Central Powers still control Belgium. Good point on not having to split stacks when moving into Picardy.

    Italy should absolutely at least try to get one of the named “East Africa” territories, or let them be the ones to take Morocco if it seems reasonable** (**note again, ALL conversations past the first turn are always context-dependent on an actual board state). Since they start with 14 IPC getting them at least 1 more nets you a 5x Infantry buy every turn. I totally get the argument saying to just stop there. For me there’s no harm in seeing what else I can do with the Somaliland guy as it’s unlikely to help me turn the tide of the war someplace else. In this particular game, I could have moved into Kamerun round 3 as UK, but TGC already has his men clumped up so I don’t want to take a chance that he’s willing to hit 2i/1a with 3i/1a to block a move into some other German territory (given how cautious he is, the answer is “no”, but it’s dangerous to assume an opponent will or won’t do something.). In that case it works out a bit that I have an Italian ready to walk over there. Of course this obviously works a lot better if the Italian Transport is still around.

    I agree that if the British can’t spare it, Italy should take it.

    I don’t agree that the Italians and Ottomans should avoid buying a Fighter just since they’re poor. In my view every player should have at least 1, otherwise you’re throwing away an opportunity for advantage when you make an attack of opportunity, plus you’re essentially letting your opponent get an Artillery advantage on you for free. Even if you don’t have lots of Artillery, maybe the enemy does, so why just let them get a power-up for free? If somebody walks in with 2 Fighters to kill your 1, you gave up 2i in value for that battle but they gave up 4i. But as I said, with the really poor countries, just have the one, as obviously by definition you can’t afford an arms race or to constantly replace them. BTW- somebody either here or in the Board Game Geek forum claims it is “easy” to sack Constantinople on round 2 but didn’t back this up with anything. So maybe the Ottomans can wait until round 2 to buy the Fighter since the UK will likely still be busy with Persia at that time. just to make sure the capital isn’t too light on Infantry until the Bulgarians can come down (if needed).

    Part of your justification for not buying the Fighter is that Italy doesn’t have “enough” Artillery (whatever that actually means in any particular game). If Italy isn’t rounding out its leftover IPCs to buy an Artillery here or there it feels likely you’re deliberately throwing away a chance to make a good attack of opportunity someplace (same goes for Ottomans). Even if you don’t want to attack, you won’t effectively dead-zone a place with a pile of just Infantry. I know TGC likes to recommend never rounding off your spending to the last IPC (even though I’m fairly sure I’ve seen him violate this guideline on occasion) since this maximizes total unit count. Unless you’re planning on a game going over 20 rounds though I find it doubtful that the reason you lost was going to be that a particular territory someplace had 1 or 2 less units in it. I would absolutely round off the last IPC to buy Artillery until I have “enough” (again, whatever that means…) unless I have 2 left over to spend, as a 2x Artillery buy could be too much. After you’ve had your first major battle and taken a big hit in the Infantry supply, then stick more with the Infantry-only buys.

    Great points. I guess I was confusing fighters with tanks. As Italy and the Ottomans buying 1 tank a turn was way too much. I must have been confusing the utility of buying fighters with that experience.

    Yes it’s very easy to make a mistake here and in the WWII variants, especially when you want to bring everything you have in one big punch up-front rather than distribute them evenly over time. It should be noted that the cheapest non-Spain shuck only needs 6 Transports but you have to get a chain going with a walk up to Canada first but you can still make a delivery on round 5. Round 4, deliver 6 units to Ireland direct from USA while 6 units walk to Canada. Round 5, the Ireland troops get dropped off on the Continent and you make your first run of continuous Canada-> Ireland deliveries. Note that this method is also cheap enough to set up that the USA could buy an extra warship if desired.

    Gotta try this one in the future too.

    I was going to respond to the thread specifically asking about landings in Norway/Sweden

    That’s the one I made! Sorry, couldn’t help it.

    On the BB stack, yes, I’m not sure it’s worth sacrificing 4i every round to get BB bombards if you’re doing it in the face of a territory with a large Artillery stack. Feels more workable in a situation where you expect to be trading territories or if you’re opponent can’t afford to split their Artillery too much to cover multiple landing sites. Anyways I just found it interesting that this option gives the best first punch attack on Spain over all the other options involving weakening the follow-on waves to try and get as much ground attack in as possible. I don’t see it being hugely popular unless you have games like this one where the Entente is just totally thrashed at sea.

    Agreed.

    I totally agree with this sentiment, if your priority is the win and nothing else. I’d rather win a 10-round game and lose a 10-round game than win a 20-round game in the same time. Not taking risks lead to boring play (for me, YMMV) and just constantly moving men into a stack and watching my opponent move men into their stack is total anathema for me. Hopefully I made this fairly clear in my notes that I acknowledge some of my moves involve risk since I’m banking on at least getting average dice. As the Entente player, since that’s the only side that can really afford some light losses in the early game, why not take a few? As the CP player though I would be far more circumspect with this and you can see that TGC rarely made any moves that caught me by surprise since he basically always takes the least-risky path. Nobody needs to convince me that the less-risky path is safer (as it is by definition) but it ain’t my style and I’m happy to lose some games because of it. If nothing else if you play me, you shouldn’t be bored ;).

    That makes sense. In my lower stakes solo games I like to take risks I don’t usually take as the Allies (basically buying more artillery than infantry, more smaller battles, less stacks).


  • @SuperbattleshipYamato

    You mentioned you had 6 infantry and 2 artillery in Burgundy on France first turn (alongside your total stack in Picardy). Then why did you move to the Paris stack there? Unless I’m just reading it wrong?

    The only thing I see in my notes that lines up with this is discussing a line of play that I didn’t elect to do. The move I did make was to stack everything possible in Picardy.


  • @Eqqman

    Oh shoot, sorry, you’re right, I read it wrong.

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