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Victory in Europe» Forums » Rules

Subject: The condition of Poland Summer 39 to Winter 40 rss

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juerg haeberli
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Playing the Allies in my next game of ViE and intending to ally the Soviets with the Poles in Winter 40 if the Axis opens with a campaign in the West I have here some questions.

When the game starts Germany is at war with Poland, France and Britain.
The Soviets are neutral but may ocupy Eastern Poland. ( The whole Polish army seems to be in the West. What happens if a Polish unit is set up in Brest or Lvov ?)

Tecnically they are not at war with Poland.

If Danzig and Krakov are under German control and the Soviets occupy Brest- Listovsk and Lvov the Polish forces im Warsaw suffer attrition although Poland is not at war with the Soviets the occupied territorry counts as enemy territory.

So lets assume the Soviets occupy Eastern Poland with the exception of Brest and Winter 40 comes around.

The Soviets intend to ally with the Poles ( this happens at the beginning of the Winter 40 diplo phase )

It seems they cannot enter an empty or Polish occupied Krakov since Poland is still "neutral" ? towards the Soviets.

If Krakov is German controlled the Sovjets can DoW Germany and attack Krakov and still form the free alliance with the Poles at the beginning of the Winter 40 diplo phase.

Would this be the correct interpretation of the rules ?

Many thanks in advance and with best regards.

Jürg
 
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Ron Draker
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This hasn't come up before because as the Allied player it makes no sense to setup Polish units outside Warsaw or Krakow. The goal is to make Germany pay as much as possible for taking Poland.

Your convoluted example is correct that during the movement/combat phases the Soviets cannot enter western Polish areas but could declare war on Germany and attack areas the Germans occupy.

I don't imagine the situation coming up very often. The Polish rules were written to preclude a gamey German tactic of leaving Poland unconquered as a buffer between the Soviet Union and Germany.

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juerg haeberli
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There might be a reason to place a Polish unit in Brest to stop a turn 1 attack against Soviets by Germany.
This was proposed in this forum but I dont know if it is feasible. ( Maybe in a 3 player game ? )

I understand the in this case somewhat abstract rules are because of playability.
The thing that irritates me is the ambivalent role of the Soviets which are not at war with Poland but count as enemy territory for supply attrition.

It seems to me that with the alliance at the beginning of the diplo phase the Soviets have difficulties defending Poland during Spring 40 after alliing with them in Winter 40.
You might consider a mechanism in which Poland automatically allies with the Soviets if the Soviets declare war on Germany.
 
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Ron Draker
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There are play balance issues at work. Germany is vulnerable early in the game to a two front war, especially if it gets bogged down in the west. I think the delay works and as to a German turn 1 attack into Russia, it might work once against an unsuspecting opponent, but not twice.

Germany is too weak to take Moscow in '39 (second turn of the year is winter in Soviet Union), and if Germany hasn't taken Poland, then the Allies can threaten supply lines. Sea invade Denmark, transfer medium bomber for air support, etc.

I have tried a number of times to go east rather west after Poland falls, and it's really tough.
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Willem Boersma
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Ron D wrote:
This hasn't come up before because as the Allied player it makes no sense to setup Polish units outside Warsaw or Krakow. The goal is to make Germany pay as much as possible for taking Poland.

Your convoluted example is correct that during the movement/combat phases the Soviets cannot enter western Polish areas but could declare war on Germany and attack areas the Germans occupy.

I don't imagine the situation coming up very often. The Polish rules were written to preclude a gamey German tactic of leaving Poland unconquered as a buffer between the Soviet Union and Germany.



I'm not so sure that would be a gamey tactic. It makes complete strategic sense (in the game as well as historically). Had the Germans, for whatever reason, decided to go West rather than to take on Poland, this is exactly what would have happened. Moreover:

* as recently as 1920 the Poles and Soviets had been at war. An alliance between the two was therefore highly unlikely. The Poles feared and mistrusted the Russians as much as they did the Germans (for good reason, as it would turn out in 1939 and again in 1944)

*there was actually a non-aggression pact between the Poles and the Germans which was supposed to last until 1943 or so, which, however, Hitler broke, as he would the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (source: To Hell and Back; Ian Kershaw. I believe, but I may be mistaken here, that this pact was intended to not end up in a two front war should the West decide to act against Germany -reoccupation of the Rhineland, Anschluss with Austria, Invasion of Czechoslovakia etc.)

* there were certainly armed confrontations between the Soviets and Poles after the Soviets entered the country several weeks after the German invasion. Admittedly, generally on a smaller scale than the battles against the Germans, also because the Polish army was already practically defeated by this time.

* didn't you yourself say that your German OOB leaves open the possibility to go East as well as West? With the curent above rule in play, the Germans seem almost forced to go East...

* If the Germans do not attack Poland right away, they will still have to do so later if they want to go after the Soviet Union...
 
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Ron Draker
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Quote:
* didn't you yourself say that your German OOB leaves open the possibility to go East as well as West? With the curent above rule in play, the Germans seem almost forced to go East...

* If the Germans do not attack Poland right away, they will still have to do so later if they want to go after the Soviet Union...


I do think the game gives the Germans the flexibility to try different strategies and not necessarily follow the historical path. It still behooves Germany to take Poland out. Germany gains more defensive depth against the Soviets if Britain is the main target and improves attack options against the Soviets if Moscow is the aim.

I do not disagree with your points, but a British allied Poland was creating a game problem when Germany ignored them and simply defended in the east while focusing on conquering the West, because once the Soviets entered the war they could not enter western Poland. This made Germany's eastern front defense too easy.
 
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Willem Boersma
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Ron D wrote:
Quote:
* didn't you yourself say that your German OOB leaves open the possibility to go East as well as West? With the curent above rule in play, the Germans seem almost forced to go East...

* If the Germans do not attack Poland right away, they will still have to do so later if they want to go after the Soviet Union...


I do think the game gives the Germans the flexibility to try different strategies and not necessarily follow the historical path. It still behooves Germany to take Poland out. Germany gains more defensive depth against the Soviets if Britain is the main target and improves attack options against the Soviets if Moscow is the aim.

I do not disagree with your points, but a British allied Poland was creating a game problem when Germany ignored them and simply defended in the east while focusing on conquering the West, because once the Soviets entered the war they could not enter western Poland. This made Germany's eastern front defense too easy.


By "they could not enter Western Poland" you mean the German defense had grown too strong for that by that time?

You obviously have much more experience playing this game than I have, so I'll take your word for it that it creates a problem. On the other hand, many players seem to believe it is (too) hard for the Germans to win the game. Perhaps this sound strategy both from a game and a historical point of view, would change that...After all, many German generals opposed the launch of Operation Barbarossa as Germany clearly had unfinished business left in the West, for instance and urged for the defeat of Britain first.

At the very least, as I posted in another post, you may consider adding that the USSR may not have previously attacked or "occupied" Polish territory for the Alliance to go into effect. That makes it at least somewhat believeable that Poland and Russia might turn to each other for mutual protection against Germany (after a successful German campaign in the West).

Rules question: As the Poles start allied to Britain and are controlled by Britain, couldn't the British player just have the Polish units attack Germany if Germany foregoes attacking it? Wouldn't be a very potent attack, I presume, but if the Germans got carried away leaving the entire Eastern borders almost empty...

BTW, as I also posted in the other thread, even though I agree such instances would be rare, as neutrals are allowed to set up freely while abiding by the stacking limits within their territories, I do think the rules should say what happens if a Russian unit moving in to "occupy" the zone East of the demarcation line were to encounter a Polish unit there (that is, when Germany did in fact attack Poland but perhaps failed to take Warsaw or the Germans, being player 1, simply required the Russians to carry out their "attack/ occupation" first.
 
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Paul H
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boersma8 wrote:
By "they could not enter Western Poland" you mean the German defense had grown too strong for that by that time?


I think Ron is saying that due to rules prohibitions Soviet units may not enter Allied areas and vice versa. This means that a British ally in Poland prevents the USSR from attacking Germany through Poland.
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Ron Draker
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muaddib1 wrote:
boersma8 wrote:
By "they could not enter Western Poland" you mean the German defense had grown too strong for that by that time?


I think Ron is saying that due to rules prohibitions Soviet units may not enter Allied areas and vice versa. This means that a British ally in Poland prevents the USSR from attacking Germany through Poland.


Correct, and Germany can hold off the Polish army with limited defense of infantry armies while air and armor forces focus on Britain. Even if the Poles get their armies eliminated and Warsaw and Krakow are empty, the Soviets under the original rules could note enter the areas because they were British ally territory.

The 1.1 rules address this issue by allowing the Soviets to gain access, which is not a stretch. If you like, you can think of it more as a Soviet occupation of the rest of Poland if Germany does not conquer western Poland. The Soviets install a communist regime and new leaders over the armed forces.
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Willem Boersma
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Ron D wrote:
muaddib1 wrote:
boersma8 wrote:
By "they could not enter Western Poland" you mean the German defense had grown too strong for that by that time?


I think Ron is saying that due to rules prohibitions Soviet units may not enter Allied areas and vice versa. This means that a British ally in Poland prevents the USSR from attacking Germany through Poland.


Correct, and Germany can hold off the Polish army with limited defense of infantry armies while air and armor forces focus on Britain. Even if the Poles get their armies eliminated and Warsaw and Krakow are empty, the Soviets under the original rules could note enter the areas because they were British ally territory.

The 1.1 rules address this issue by allowing the Soviets to gain access, which is not a stretch. If you like, you can think of it more as a Soviet occupation of the rest of Poland if Germany does not conquer western Poland. The Soviets install a communist regime and new leaders over the armed forces.


Ok, i get it now and see how that could indeed cause problems; you would want Russia to be able to attack through Poland. As the rules don't allow that, this indeed solves it.

The explanation also makes some sense!
 
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Matthew Taylor
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I would like to see some thought given to a variant then that allows for alternate starts to WWII, ideally with some theoretical improved French and Italian blocks, maybe also an early war scenario with Czechoslovakia still extant. The system is fun, but I don't like the straight jacket assumptions of forced entry into the war.
 
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Ron Draker
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taylorsmatthew wrote:
I would like to see some thought given to a variant then that allows for alternate starts to WWII, ideally with some theoretical improved French and Italian blocks, maybe also an early war scenario with Czechoslovakia still extant. The system is fun, but I don't like the straight jacket assumptions of forced entry into the war.


We entertained the idea of starting before the war began, but it quickly became apparent that there would be problems with balance and victory conditions and require lots of extra rules to govern Allied behavior before Germany starts the war. Germany could sit back simply build up until it had a sizeable force and then start the war late, making setting realistic victory conditions difficult.

So we decided to start the game with a historical premise and let players decide how to prosecute the war. Contrary to some uninformed posts, we did playtest extensively with much of the effort focused on balance and identifying gamey tactics that could break the game. I think we got it right.

If you want a more open sandbox, I highly recommend "Triumph and Tragedy." A great game, but not necessarily a game about WW II. I've seen T&T games where the Fascists and Capitalists are at war with the Soviets or, more commonly, all three sides are at war with each other.
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Matthew Taylor
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Thing is I like your system and block games in general, but I really, really like what if scenarios, especially ones that explore real inflection points such as the Allies declaring war in support of the Czechs, or not declaring in support of Poland.
 
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