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Subject: EFT Box rss

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Steve Hope
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I'm a little puzzled by the EFT box. As I understand it,

1. There is no limit on the number of German troops that can be sent to the EFT box in any round, but only 5 can be returned per round.

2. Their only positive impact on the German position is through the contribution of VPs. Against this are the double drawbacks of not having the troops on the map and the risk to the troops every turn of being lost to the EF permanently.

So...am I right in saying that the purpose of the EFT from a game perspective is really to lower the threshold for a German Decisive Victory from 23 to "23 less whatever troops Germans think they can spare and still hold their VP locations if they strip down their defenses completely late in a turn to stuff the EFT box with most of their army"? There's also the benefit that if the Entente is close to a DV you could possibly also whip some troops to the EF to prevent it.

If so, I guess the philosophical underpinnings of the rule make sense to me (Germany holds the line in the West and diverts huge troop quantities to Russia for the win), but the implementation seems like it would be really gamey. The optimum German strategy regarding the EFT seems to be to monitor the VP count really closely and then try to send 30+ troops to the EFT box late in a turn to secure a DV when the Entente has few or no cards to punish them for it.

Or do I have it wrong and there's a limit for putting troops IN the EFT as well as taking them out?
 
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M Evan Brooks
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I have been looking at the victory conditions, and do not see how such a decisive victory could be achieved. The EFT box is operative only through 1917. Thus, examining each year, we are faced with the following situation:

1914 -- Germany plus Belgium = 14 VP. Since Germany begins with a total army of 38 BP, I think it a virtual impossibility to send c. 30 BP to the EFT. However, even if this was done, the Germans would still only have 20 VP. In order to secure the decisive victory, the Germans would also have to secure 3 VP in France -- presumably Artois, Mauberge and Sedan. Can this be achieved with a German Army of c. 6-10 units?

1915 -- Germany begins with 15 VP. There are already 5 BP in the EFT; however, the entire German Army in the West is now 21 BP. Even if 20 BP are sent east, this would only reach a VP level of 19 -- and this discounts the blockade effect.

1916: Germany begins with 13 VP. There is one unit in the EFT, but the German mobile BP is now 31 BP. Assuming 29 BP are sent east, this still only achieves a VP level of 19 (before considering the blockade effect).

1917: Germany begins with 12 VP. There are no BP in the EFT; the German mobile BP is 30. Again, there are simply not enough VP to achieve a decisive result even if the bulk of the Army goes east.

Theoretically, the German Empire has the best chance to achieve victory in 1914 -- and this is true whether it does it by maximizing the East Front or seizes Paris in a successful application of the Schlieffen Plan.

But again, I do not see a way to send 90% of the Army "nach Osten" and maintain sufficient control of the West to achieve a decisive victory.

In examining the map and the victory conditions, it would seem that only Paris is the key to victory. With Germany (11 VP), Belgium (3 VP), and Paris (6 VP), the Germans would have 20 VP -- within striking distance. In order to seize Paris, the Germans would most likely have taken Mauberge and Sedan as well. However, they would still need another 1-4 VP (based on the detriment of the blockade).

Finally, I would note that the 1918 German Offensives do not fit within the game's victory conditions. There is no real strategic reward for seizing Calais and cutting the British off from their lines of communication. Of course, Ludendorff himself failed to appreciate the strategic and operational aspects of where his schwerpunkt should be.
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Steve Hope
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Well, it's not entirely clear to me from the rules when/how you move units to the EFT box (only rules I can see regarding it are in the EFT section itself, but I'd love to see a clear citation about when/how), or when/how victory is determined (it's not in the sequence of play that I can see, and it simply says that VPs can be tabulated "at any time").

So IF you can move units to the EFT at any time, and IF victory can be checked at any time, then that's how the decisive victory can be achieved. Or really, if there's ever an opportunity to send your whole army to the EFT and check for victory immediately.

That's obviously abusive, but I'm having trouble seeing the rule set that prevents that AND allows for the EFT box to have meaning for victory. I guess if you only check for victory at the beginning of the production phase, and can only put troops in the EFT box during the EFT phase (before rolling for losses)?

If you read the rules diffferently, let me know what I'm missing!
 
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M Evan Brooks
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You may be correct... If we assume that Germany retains control of all German and Belgian areas (14) and has control of Mauberge, Sedan and Artois, then this would yield 17 VP plus after removing 30 BP to the east, this would in fact yield a decisive victory.

But the gamey solution is a historical non-starter. The German Empire did not have the mobility lift to move their entire Army east in a lightning movement -- much less ignoring the Allied response.

Something that concerns me more is the Allied level of victory. Given the VP, it would seem that the Allies would at best achieve a marginal victory (8-10 VP).

In historical terms, did Wilhemine Germany surrender because of the hypothetical 5-million man American Army that could be expected in 1919?
 
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Steve Hope
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I think we may be talking past each other a bit...I completely agree that the gamey strategy seems ahistorical, and I'm hoping for a rules clarification or addition that prevents it from being used and that further conforms the EFT box to what it seems like it's intended to be (a place the Germans can stow units over time, with some risk, to obtain VPs).

Right now it reads to me (again, in the rules, with no regard for the historical situation or implications) that the only real use for the EFT is as a desperation ploy to shore up VPs when the Entente is winning, or as a "massive evacuation for the win!" option. Neither is satisfying, but with some tweaking of the timing/movement restrictions I think it can work perfectly well. It's just that I'm either missing the appropriate rules sections or they're meant to be inferred or assumed.
 
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Joel K
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stephenhope wrote:
Well, it's not entirely clear to me from the rules when/how you move units to the EFT box (only rules I can see regarding it are in the EFT section itself, but I'd love to see a clear citation about when/how)

I understand it to take place in the Movement Phase of the German player turn. Thus, the number of units you can transfer to the EFT box is governed by what kind of play you chose to make--1 unit if you passed, and any/all if you played a Limited Offensive, Offensive, Gericht, or Friedensturm.

Quote:
or when/how victory is determined (it's not in the sequence of play that I can see, and it simply says that VPs can be tabulated "at any time")

In 3.2 it says the game can end at any time--but both players must agree to end it. So if I'm the Entente and see Germany shift a huge pile of units to the EFT box to boost his VP level, I simply won't agree to end the game and will hope to punish the weakened Western Front! Or am I missing something too (it's certainly possible)?
 
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Steve Hope
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3.2 says the game ends at any time a Decisive Victory is achieved (after the part about it otherwise ending on mutual agreement)--that's the key part of 3.2 that you might be missing.

I agree with you about the inference from the rules that you can move basically the entire German army to the EFT in Offensive. That's what triggered the OP. It seems like there's room to exploit the movement rules and the "instant victory!" rules to take gamey advantage of the EFT box.
 
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Joel K
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Yep, I completely missed how that links to the OP. My apologies. blush
 
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Christophe Sancy
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Hi Gentlemen,

the same questions appeared on a French forum.
We will soon upload on Nuts Publishing's website a PDF containing various errata, clarification, and one addition. I can already reveal this addition:

13.8 THE EFT BOX [ADDITION] It was not intended for the German player to send units to the EFT Box and thereby gain a Decisive Victory. The Victory Point that would cause a Decisive German Victory must come from events on the TTLM map (e.g., eliminated Entente Army, captured VP area, rebuilding a previously eliminated German Army, and so on).
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M Evan Brooks
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Zapata wrote:
13.8 THE EFT BOX [ADDITION] It was not intended for the German player to send units to the EFT Box and thereby gain a Decisive Victory. The Victory Point that would cause a Decisive German Victory must come from events on the TTLM map (e.g., eliminated Entente Army, captured VP area, rebuilding a previously eliminated German Army, and so on).


So what is the purpose of the EFT Box now? To achieve any victory other than a decisive one? It would seem to me that a more meaningful limitation would be to simply limit the EFT to a number not exceeding 20% of the West Front forces rounded up (e.g., with a West Front force of 40, this would yield a maximum of 8 units which could be transferred, rounded up to ten).

This reflects potential mobility lift coupled with likely reinforcement capabilities.
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John Graham-Leigh
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Or just restrict the transfers to one "unit" per turn - that would mean a maximum of a full-strength army with ten pieces. If the Germans could afford to do that more than once, they must be winning on the Western Front anyway.
 
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Steve Hope
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Well, with this rule you can send troops *just short* of the DV threshold then try to push for the 23rd VP in the West. I am actually worried that this doesn't go far ENOUGH, since there's still a strategy that goes, "strip down the whole line except for enough guys to take that one poorly-defended spot and attack it for the win". It's much less worrisome/more risky than before, though.

I actually think this game would be more suited to a VP structure like Carl Paradis's No Retreat! game, where there are bands of instant victory that are relatively tight that serve as signposts all the way through the game. As things stand, you either have a DV (most likely b/c the Entente line breaks down, I guess) or you go all the way through to the end of 1919. Which is fine, but it makes the EFT box pretty pointless except for the reasons I cited in the OP. Luckily, you can kind of ignore the EFT and just enjoy the game!
 
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