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Subject: ETO Games rss

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Paul Glenn
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One of the things that I have been pondering lately is the role of the Soviet Union in WWII ETO games. Historically, the Soviets entered the war when they were attacked. But what would have happened if the Germans hadn't attacked? The way that games deal with the question--at least the ones I've seen--is that after a certain date (usually '42 or early '43, I think), if the Germans haven't attacked then the Soviets can attack.

I have no idea how realistic this is, but the question I have is: what's the best way to deal with this? What consequences flow from the Axis failing to attack the USSR (e.g. the U.S. is less likely to enter the war)? How do various ETO games deal with it? In a multiplayer game, a rule like this is necessary or else the Soviet player will have nothing to do, but are there other options for dealing with this?
 
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Geoffrey Engelstein
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Every ETO game that I am aware of has some mechanism for the Soviets eventually entering the war, although personally I do not think it is particularly historical. It is strictly in the game for balance purposes. It's a very different game (and much less interesting, probably) if the Soviets never enter the war.

Most have the 'time clock' method you mentioned, where if the Germans do not attack by a certain date the Soviets can declare war. Sometimes this is based on a garrison that the Germans need to maintain on the border, possibly coupled with events -- for example, I know games that make it more likely the Soviets will enter if Britain is invaded. This is, once again, a game-balancing effect rather than a historical one, in my opinion.

US Entry is a similar issue. However more of an historical case can be made for US entry regardless. I believe that World In Flames was the first to tie US entry to Axis and Allied activity, which is a nice balancing feature that has some historical basis (for example, if the Allies invade a neutral country, US entry is pushed back).

I've kicked around some ideas for a simple ETO game, and have thought about how to handle this exact issue. I've been experimenting with changing the victory conditions depending on whether German player attacks the Soviets or not, perhaps coupled with hidden objectives. But it would take alot of work to balance all the options and make sure it doesn't degenerate into a single 'optimum' line of play.

Interesting question!

Geoff
 
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Harald Torvatn
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USA and USSR is a huge problem for designers designing games about WW2. They both turned out to be very strong, but germany declared war on both. The problem is: Any german player who knows his history (and most who are so interested in WW2 that they are going to play a game about it does) will not fight those behemots if they are at all able to avoid it. Therefore the game designers generally makes them unable to avoid it. And lets face it: As germany did decare war on them, any game in which the german player may avoid it be wieved as unrealistic (or not about ww2 at all).

Krieg! (and its descendants)does this by giving the germans a limited hand of black cards, and a lot of red cards. Any red card counts as a declaration of war against Soviet union. They have to play one card each season. They may delay that red card some time, to beat up britain some more (but must face a better soviet army when they finally turns east.) Anyway they generally want to start their war against the soviets by playing that wonderfull "Barbarossa" card, during a summer.

A world at war does this by tracking "tension" between germany and soviet (and between germany and USA). Germany may declare war at any time, but the other side may only declare war when tension reaches a critical value. As war preparedness is tied to tension, germany wants to attack soviet union before tension gets to high. Tension typically increases when germany invades or conquers something.
 
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Paul Glenn
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I'd love to hear about your ideas for the simple ETO game. I have yet to find an ETO game that quite hits the spot for me. Third Reich is too finicky and produces weird results; TK! seems good, but a bit more complicated than I would prefer. I haven't played Europe Engulfed, but have read the rules and it seems to lack flavor and options (e.g. if I remember correctly, naval strengths never change). I've got the new EuroFront on order, and that might work--I don't mind taking time if the game is good.

It does seem like the USSR was hoping that Germany and the West would slug it out for a long time, and exhaust each other, so that he could take advantage. The fact that Stalin repeatedly ignored warnings (from many sources) that the Germans were about to attack shows, I think, that he didn't war, at least not for quite some time.
 
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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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Harald wrote:
And lets face it: As germany did decare war on them, any game in which the german player may avoid it be wieved as unrealistic (or not about ww2 at all).

I don't buy that argument: That is akin to saying that as Germany and Japan lost the war, any game that has even a ghost of a chance of an Axis victory is not about WW2 either.

A wargame represents a "what if" opportunity; If it was just reenactment of what actually happened there would be little point in it.
 
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Harald Torvatn
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JadedGamer wrote:
Harald wrote:
And lets face it: As germany did decare war on them, any game in which the german player may avoid it be wieved as unrealistic (or not about ww2 at all).

I don't buy that argument: That is akin to saying that as Germany and Japan lost the war, any game that has even a ghost of a chance of an Axis victory is not about WW2 either.

A wargame represents a "what if" opportunity; If it was just reenactment of what actually happened there would be little point in it.


That is why I added the "or not about ww2 at all" part.
 
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Aaron Silverman
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You might check out Neppagames: ETO. I've only read the rules (which can be downloaded), but it seems more wide-open than Europe Engulfed and probably a little simpler too.
 
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Paul Glenn
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Thanks for the recommendation on Neppagames ETO; I've heard of it, but know very little about it. Sounds like it could be a good choice.
 
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