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Subject: Spain & Norway rss

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Joakim Löf
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I'm still waiting for my Europe Engulfed game, but want to see responses to two ideas. Maybe we'll playtest them later on.

Rick Young answered a post earlier on Spanish reluctance to join the Axis side. Maybe a German Med strategy could have changed the situation, apparently Franco was tipped off by the German chief of intelligence Canaris (acc. to Guido Knopp's book Hitler's generals) of the German plan to attack the Soviets and made the correct assumption that he would expose Spain to Allied attacks if joining the war. I've gathered the impression that an invasion of Spain by Germany is an option for an anti-UK strategy, but this is more unhistorical in my view.

Suggestion: Spain may join Axis as per 13.43 rule of "Greece enters the war", if Axis controls Malta and Alexandria at the start of any Axis game turn. Spanish units may only enter Portugal, Gibraltar and Africa, with the exception of two units that may be sent to fight in Russian home areas. Spain gives no WERPs to Germany and may only build one step per turn which must be payed for by Germany. At any time Allies control a Spanish home area w. a non-airborne unit, Spain surrenders and returns all remaining areas to Germany. This simulates the exhaustion of Spain after the civil war and Franco's cautious attitude.

Norway is trickier: now weather makes the historical April -40 invasion impossible. To allow for this, invasions vs. beaches defended by only one unit must be allowed even in Mud or Snow. Additionally, Naval combat when attacking a neutral Minor should take place after the invasion as an addition to the Surprise rule. Mud and Winter adverse effects on combat should be ignored for the Surprise attack on neutral Minors (not Major powers). In this way the historical gamble to invade northern Norway could be chosen, even with the historical risk of losing substantial naval forces and fighting with only a few divisions with the risk of an Allied response.

The game would be changed since UK could invade France in Winter, but keeping two units/beach to block this risk completely shouldn't be too different from common strategies now used (?).

/Joakim Löf
 
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Philip Thomas
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From what I gathered from the biography of Franco by Paul Preston (I think), Franco wasn't that interested in joining the Axis. He played along with Hitler for a while, but the devastation caused by the Civil War meant Spain was ill-prepared for another military campaign.

On a seperate note, Civ II came with a WWII scenario in which you could play all the countries (with a judicial use of the 'Cheat' mode'. I had the Spanish airforce destroy the Luftwaffe over Marseilles once. And in that too invading Spain was a useful Axis tactic.
 
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marc lecours
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Please forgive the following rant:

Interesting rules suggestions Joakim, but they are not clean rules. They are kind of specific to Spain or to winter invasions. The basic game of Europe Engulfed has the cleanest, most elegant rules of any strategic WWII game I know. But at the cost of realism and detail. Every player I know has their favourite part of WWII that they would like modelled. But each rule that is added clutters the rule book. It is a slipery slope. There are at least two dozen rules as interesting as the ones you propose. The many additional rules would give each power more special units, or more accurate political "what ifs". World in flames went down this path, and went from being a playable monster game to being a monstrously monstrous barely playable game after adding ships, planes, leader, divisions, maps, special rules, a hundred options, and more politics.

Rick Young probably knows if there exists a bank of EE optional house rules on the net that players could choose from. You could add your proposed rules there. If no such bank exists, it might be an interesting idea. Each optional house rule should be accompanied by an estimate of how much it favours one side or the other.

Overall I admire how the EE rules were kept clean and elegant. THe temptation to add rules is HUGE. ALready many people complain that there are too many rules (the country specific rules in section 9). I disagree. I think those rules are really few and easy to learn.

I especially like the incredible cleaness of the naval rules. You can't get much simpler than that. ANd yet they feel roughly right. Amazing. If I had designed the naval rules there would have been 40 naval unit counters and 2 or 3 pages of rules. Not nearly so clean and elegant. (On the other hand some people like moving ships around). EE was designed with a goal of being a fairly fast,fun, playable land game of WWII with abstract naval, politics, air, production, etc.

My pet peeve with Spain is that there is not the historical restraint for Germany attacking Spain. I am not sure what kept Hitler from doing it. It certainly would have been bad politically to attack a fellow fascist country (though I am not sure if either was really fascist). I can imagine a rule that if Hitler attacks Spain then Italy drops out of the war. I can't imagine that Spain or Italy would have been happy with an omnipotent Germany. Smaller countries tend to join the winning side but don't want the winning side to win by too much otherwise their future independence is in question. This is hard to model in a game. Politics is probably the part of games that is hardest to model. How can you be sure if your "what ifs" are realistic?

Another political pet peeve I have with most WWII games is that historically the western allies were under a lot of political pressure in the winter of 1940 to come to the aid of Finland and fight against Russia. Can you imagine how that would change the game. France and England versus Germany and Russia. Weird. Yet that was what a lot of people thought in that winter. Now that is a "what if". France and England vs RUssia , maybe a peace treaty between Germany and the western allies. Maybe Germany joins the western allies vs Russia. So many possibilities, but are they realistic. Political rules are very much subject to opinion. And they tend to change the game so much that you can't recognize it. The political decisions are more important than any military decision made by any general. So political decisions tend to swamp the military decisions into almost insignificance.

Another pet peeve is that you can string a 2000 mile overland supply line from Morocco around the med to TUrkey and into Europe and supply a 20 block USA/british army when there are not even any railways for half that distance. But to fix such rare unhistorical cases would require some unelegant, fiddly supply rule overhead that is not really required in this game most of the time. Keep the game rules clean ! I know that if I was the game designer, I would not be able to resist adding more and more rules. I admire EE for not being the kind of game I would design ! Bravo !
 
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Kevin Nesbitt
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Quote:
My pet peeve with Spain is that there is not the historical restraint for Germany attacking Spain. I am not sure what kept Hitler from doing it.


Ah, but there is the historical restraint in the game itself.

The only reason to attack Spain is to get at Gibralter. This is true in both the real war and the game. The trade-off to this is that Germany must now defend a much larger coastline from potential Allied invasions. And believe me, it's a much larger coastline. All those extra troops just sitting there on Spanish beaches are troops that could have been used in Russia, meaning that Barbarossa has a higher chance of failing (again, an issue in the real war too).

I think that the Spanish and Norway rules do not need changing. I've never had any problem attacking Norway on schedule, and Spain usually poses to much downside risk to want to invade it (simulates the real life risk perfectly).



 
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marc lecours
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i agree that there is no need to change the game. The spanish campaign is generally costly (The cost is 25 to 50 werps to take spain and gibraltar. You get back 2 werps per production (12 werps a year for Madrid) but all those Werps you spend in Spain will not be around in time for a 1941 Barbarossa.

Also it is true that you have to defend many beaches in Spain. Luckily you can use mostly Italian units. Italian units will not be needed so much elsewhere since taking Gibraltar shifts the balance of power in the med heavily in favour of the Italians.

I tend to take Spain when:
1. I am planning to take England.
2. I am not planning to go too deeply into Russia.
3. WHen I intend to do Barbarossa in the summer of 1942.

If I want to do a knock out blow of russia in 1941 then I forgo Spain, greece and North Africa. I also don't spend quite as much on subs. Everything becomes geared to an over powering Barbarossa.
 
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Joakim Löf
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Well, I agree on the Norway rule, it's too much clutter without that much bang for the buck. Perhaps my Scandinavian heritage prevented me from seeing the obvious...

Spain is another matter perhaps. Maybe the invasion fills exactly the same function, a high WERP cost for the advantage of controlling Gibraltar. Will start playing the game this week-end, maybe I'll see how this invasion works!
 
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Steve Sallot
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I too find it unrealistic that Spain is an easy victim to the Germans. However, I agree EE is very good, simplistic, realistic portrayal of WWII from a Strategic Level. In fact EE is the only game I have ever owned that I do not wish to make "house rules" to fix a particular aspect.

I hear the arguements for not attacking Spain, but in the end in totally opens the Med. for the Axis. Ultimately, either write Spain out of the rules as a strict neutral or make the penalty stiffer for Germany for attacking. Don't forget Spain may have not been an active belligerent but she was definitely helping the German war effort: U-boat resupply, intelligence, importing oil from the US.
 
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marc lecours
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I think the rules about Spain are fine as they are. If the German in your game always attacks Spain then so be it, it is his/her choice. Spain and Gibraltar are not push overs, The spanish-Gibraltar campaign can cost the Germans 30 or 40 Werps (mostly in WERP spending on special action)

The allies cannot prevent Hitler from taking Spain and Gibraltar, no matter what he/she does, is a frequent complaint.Yet no one complains much when France falls in 1940. In the real world of 1939, many generals and politians seriously thought that France could hold out to German attacks and that the war would a replay of WW1. After all France had the maginot line and more tanks than the Germans. (How many WWII games give the French more tanks than the Germans.)

I think that it is plausible that Germany would have conquered Spain easily (though the political repercussions would have been big). I don't think that Gibraltar could have held out for more than a few months against an overland German attack. So I think the game is reasonable.

In our games the Germans do not always attack Spain since it makes a 1941 Barbarossa more difficult to carry out. Attacking Spain is a choice. It does not lead automatically to a better chance of winning for the Germans. It is true that a German Gibraltar makes the mediteranean an axis lake. But the med is not an important front in Europe Engulfed so it is not so bad for the allies.

Besides the allies can now invade Spain instead of or in addition to France.

Or the allies can invade Morocco and march along the north african coast , up to syria, then through Turkey, the balkans and on to Germany with all the supply coming through Morocco! No need for any fleets in the Med (ignore the Italian navy).

Really the only (big) problem for the allies when losing Spain is that a German invasion of England becomes a immediate danger. If England survives then there is no real problem. Other than that, losing Spain is not as bad as people think.

 
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