David Dockter
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After about 15 years, we are back at it. Life is good. A little background here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1036872/eia-sawatdee/pag...

...and our 1st session report here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1039892

And a cross post regarding the group playing:

We have HIGHLY experienced players with Britain, Prussia and Austria. The Prussian is one of the strongest wargamers I have ever had the pleasure of gaming with: he's in the "2 Corps Andy Chow/Master Pei" class. The Austrian knows the game inside out and continuously makes his presence known.

The French have played, I would guess, five games previously and is an outstanding wargaming shark. Since, he, like most have us, have not played in a LONG time, he's probably paid the biggest price (since he has the most difficult job) for re-learning EiA tactics and rules: and he is a lonely man in this game at this point. But, one of the great things about EiA is that EVERYONE usually takes a turn in the barrel.

We also have strong wargamers playing Turkey, Russia and Spain - although they are all less experienced EiAers. This is the first game for the Spanish Bull. He's doing fine (Spain is building and his time to jump in is rapidly approaching). Of course, if the Spanish player was more experienced, Britain probably would have been more constrained (either in deployment, minors or money - but, it's not like the Brits got a gift: no Portugal, no Algeria). Turkey built the Ottoman - a real decent goal for the Turk before the 2nd war and no one has jumped on him (this is good). He also now has options. And the Russian is doing great: VPs (I'd give him the edge at this point over the Prussian - since, well, Prussia is Prussia), he's built his army, has Sweden under control and was courted strongly by the Coalition and the French. He can essentially name his price. And, he'll be courted when it is time to do the Brits.

So, I'd expect this group of three will exert a strong pull on the game during the middle of the 2nd Coalition war [next session] - or right after its conclusion (since the war will produce significant opportunities to be exploited). The time of the peripheral powers is near.


JUL 1805


From left to right: Brit, Russian, Prussian, Turk and French...just after surrender of French in JUL 1805

When we left the story, France had just won the first (and only!) major battle of the war. However, it cost the French over 40SP and with a unified Coalition, the situation was likely to deteriorate quite quickly. Fearing that France would lose many minors and sensing that he could cut a deal, the Ogre struck on the diplomatic front.

Consequently, peace broke out. France surrended. Austria, Prussia and Russia all were granted unconditionals in exchange for no corps removal and the ogre getting to remain in command. The Brits grumbled, but, so what?

Austria took access, 36 months enforced peace and three minors: Lombardy, Piedmont and Holland (which he would later cede to Prussia)

Prussia took reparations

Russia took the marriage and the loaned corps (which was then invited on a nice, long walking tour of Russia...ran out food, had to eat their horses and lost about 1/2 of their comrades (damm deserters!).

Although the Brit was left out in the cold, he still broke out the bloody mary’s to cap off the success of 1st Coalition War. Glasses raised...backs patted and a commitment made to "re-engage" in 18 months (when enforced peace would expire) for some more good ole fashioned french bashing.


A lonely and dejected Napoleon after the first war ended in utter defeat

AUG/SEP 1805

The minor state land grab resumed in earnest. Brits took Mecklenburg (which was behind the line - France couldn't access) and soon added Corsica. The Turk continued his conquest of North Africa in pursuit of the Ottoman empire.

France, forgetting its siege equipment, began a LONG campaign against mighty Baden. Napoleon demanded someone's head after failing to break into Baden four straight turns. Eventually, France added Wurtemberg to its relatively short list of minors.

Prussia snagged Hesse and Austrians flooded into Italy; eventually taking Romagna, Tuscanny and Naples (minus Sicily - which the Brits snagged).

Sweden produced a few laughs and "re-learnigns" of proper EiA tactics and rules. Russia invaded Stockholm, but left the not so great Alexander in command (WTF?!). Russia also initially forgot to invade Finland, but that was soon corrected. Rusty mechanics...

Spain had won control of Sweden. Consequently, our EiA rookie - the Spanish Bull - got to fight his first EiA battle. Chits were selected:


The Spanish Bull selects his first EiA chit (well, battle card) ever

Russian attacker selected outflank...Swedish (administer by Spain) selected Escalated Counterattack. The Spanish Bull smiled. Russia ended up a in -1/+1 situation: a lack of cav in the pinning force and a force led by the chowderhead called Alexander.

Swede's broke the Russians in two rounds and even managed a 60% cav pursuit! Lucky for Russia, the Swedes only had 2 cav factors. None-the-less, Russia lost 2 cav and 3 infantry. Given the supply costs also, a $40 debacle: relearning EiA rules & tactics ain't cheap! In September, the Swedes then followed up on this stunning victory with a siege combat win. Eventually, Sweden would surrender as the snows began to fall. Same thing happened to the Swedish fleet as we would see with the fleet from Sicily; it would be forced out of Stockholm, defeated at sea and scuttled.


Kutuzov looks West after the fall of Sweden

OCT>DEC 1805

During the late fall of 1805, Brits would grab Morocco, while Spain would take Algeria. Austria completed its conquest of Naples.

Sicily produced a few laughs (and laments). France won control of Naples and failed to garrison the port containing the Sicilian fleet. The Brits promptly sailed in, took the port, and hit the Sicilian fleet with 8 ships: enough to win the battle, but not enough to kill it off. Die rolls...Brits roll a 6 and the Sicilians toss a 1. The infamous 61 split; it seems to always happen when myself and my great gaming mate Casey are involved - someone gets a 61.

Consequently, France would thus suffer an additional political point loss for scuttling the fleet. The additional political point (from defeating the minor fleet) would push Britain into the dominant zone.

The exact same thing had happened with Russia: the Brits ended up in the dominant zone due to defeating a minor fleet - and given that it was the start of a period of peace, with manipulation, the Brits would remain there for the next 18 months and counting. Had forgotten about "accidental 9 box political point push" effect.

As Austrian Bob pointed out, the game is, of course about scoring VPs and knowing how to stay in the dominant zone. The political point display chart (with the drift), the economic manipulation mechanic (a truly great game design element - with the added wrinkle that a player can't manipulate into the dominant zone) and how political points are interwoven into almost all game dynamics is what makes EiA such a masterpiece. Knowing how to play the political point game is as much a key to winning as great generalship and smooth diplomacy. And, there always seems to be a groan or two at the interphase, when economic manipulation does pan out as was planned (manipulation is set 3 months prior to its effect).

Anyways, the episode was fairly typical for us getting reacquainted with EiA rules: proper tactics (ALWAYS garrison ports containing fleets), rule booooofs, when not to shake for a minor, some minor whining and crying, etc. As long as you are playing with a good natured EiA group (as we are), no problem: just push thru it.

Turks continued their conquest of North Africa, but encountered walls that were just tooooo damm high in Tunisia. Spain received $20 from its gold run (and $25 in 1806).


Needling the perpetually insecure Brit is always a good time in EiA

Austrian Bob produced a good group laugh when the boneheaded British player stated, “It costs 2 manpower to produce a ship, correct?” and Austrian Bob said, “Only British ships costs 2; all other ships cost 1."

Prussian Bob jumped in with a pointed “How many you building?” question. Always something the Brits love to hear from their close Prussian ally; "innocently" drawing attention to British ship builds. Brits responded with “8”. Grumbling was heard in the German camp. Austrian then demanded a “British shipbuilding tax”….which was subsequently paid. Consequently, the Brits downscaled its ship building program for the turn and grumbled something about greedy Germans.

The year ended with all the minors on the board under the control of a player state: the land grab was over.

1806


JAN 1806: DA BLUKE and DA DUKE arrive; and both Britain and Prussia breathe A LOT easier having survived 1805 - their most vulnerable time

1806 was a build and snooze session: and we whipped thru it in couple hours. Peace between all players (except, of course, Brits and French). A few minor conquests that carried over from 1805 were wrapped in bow. Turks declared the Ottoman mid year. Austrian continued their economic pump up by declaring the Kingdom of Italy and setting Piedmont free. Vienna decided to order the AVEF {Austrian and Venetian Expeditionary Force} formed and pressed into action (Sardinia!)


AVEF invades Sardinia


Prussia 1806 activity was to set Hesse free, gently stir the diplomatic pot and ask the Brit for funds (which produced a good laugh when bankrolls were revealed - a rule we decided to utilize - a good one - that bankrolls are always public knowledge).

1806 produced a good laugh when France looked up and could see its loaned beautiful 1st Corps marching deep into Russia (the idea being to march it to the edge of the board...lose up to a factor less than 50%...and then let the French march it back home - foraging all the way). France asked Kutuzov, "You do realize this violates our agreement to end the first war when you agreed not to hurt my army?". Russia drolly answered, "Why yes I do". The table erupted. After the laughter died down and some hemming and hawing between the two, Russia gave orders for the 1st corps to halt its journey to the end of the game map.


Return of the loaned & abused French 1st corps; here tormented by a horde of Prussians

Serious diplomacy broke out in Oct 1806; with the apparent 2nd Coalition War only three months away. Two long sit downs occurred, plus some balcony diplomacy (our host has a great balcony - and whenever the Russian made a trip out there this section, someone was scrambling after him).


France holding court with the Turk (green shirt) and Spanish Bull at the "International Conference Regarding the Imperialist Powers of Northern and Central Europe"

France first tried to turn the Turk and Spanish Bull to the dark side.
France followed up that initiative by using his silver tongue on the wily Russian. When Russia returned to the game table, he stated, “Well, I guess I need to change my move now”, picking up his four corps from Denmark. ..a slight pause….. just long enough to get the Coalition to look a little anxious, and, then Russia laughed and said, “Nah…maybe not”.

The other long sit-down was a Coalition conference. The two main questions on the table were when the war should be initiated and how it should be prosecuted. Participants Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria left the conference apparently singing each others praise.


The situation at the end of 1806: Four member Coalition loaded for bear...but NAP standing TALL!

At that point, we decided to wrap up the session; having made it through the first two years of the great campaign game and getting to the verge of 2nd Coalition War. A fairly standard EiA game; which was a good way for all to regain our EiA sea legs. Now, we're ready to put those sea legs to a test. arrrh

The current VP situation contained below:



We've tentatively scheduled our 3rd session to occur in a couple of weeks. All reports are that we are continuing to have an absolute blast with Empires in Arms; despite an absence of play of this gem for over a decade.


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Aapo Alasuutari
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From what I gather, it seems like France is looking down a very serious gun that will likely totally break his back, am I right? The troop situation cannot have improved to his advantage during the interwar year, so unless Turkey and Spain bring their armies to bear, it looks like there's going to be hell to pay.
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Nathaniel GOUSSET
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Stupid question but... why would the coalition pick up on France while the winning ones are the Russian and Prussian ? France is neatly out of play right now and a comeback sound nearly impossible (10.3 VP a month ???).

I think than England need to switch side if he want to stay on the run for the winning. He need to play AGAINST the coalition to slow them down.
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David Dockter
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AapoAlas wrote:
From what I gather, it seems like France is looking down a very serious gun that will likely totally break his back, am I right? The troop situation cannot have improved to his advantage during the interwar year, so unless Turkey and Spain bring their armies to bear, it looks like there's going to be hell to pay.


Pretty standard situation; on the eve of the 2nd war things look bleak for France. However:

1. France didn't lose much in the first war (50 SPs maybe). Yes, they lost the juicy minors, but, nothing that impacted their ability to have a full army for the 2nd war.

2. A full french army is the most potent weapon in the game. Although the Coalition appears quite strong, that is BEFORE the 1st big battle of the 2nd war.

3. The diplomatic situation in EiA changes rapidly when dramatic military results occur.

4. Given the size of forces involved, I'd guess we will get a "dramatic military result" early in the 2nd war. If it goes the French way, that's when you may see the Turk or Spanish Bull jump in. If it goes against the French, there will be pressure on the French to cut a deal - and that's when the Coalition frequently breaks apart

So, I'd say we'll have to see what happens when the fighting actually begins - and how the diplomatic situation changes - to know whether France is facing grim times.
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Aapo Alasuutari
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IKerensky wrote:
Stupid question but... why would the coalition pick up on France while the winning ones are the Russian and Prussian ? France is neatly out of play right now and a comeback sound nearly impossible (10.3 VP a month ???).


If the Coalition starts breaking down now and beats one another to pulp, France will likely make a comeback. It'll still be hard for him to gain certain victory, but it is certain that if France is left to his own devices and for instance the Germans start fighting the Russian bear, the Germans will lose all of their minors and likely both the war against Russia as well as a war on the Western front.

So for the Germans, their victory lies in hitting on France until there is absolutely no way he will ever come back. Well, except when you know you need the French against the Russians, but that's why the Third Coalition (if the Coalition wins the first and the second war) is much smaller and less aggressive.

Similarly it is entirely possible that the Second Coalition will end with a knife being stabbed into the Russian back by, for instance, denying his corps a way back to Russia and an Eastern war starting from the peace agreement with France, in which of course Russia is denied a peace (unless he smells it coming and accepts a conditional).

A Prussia on the way to victory is never a threat, as nearly anyone can take him down even 1 on 1, and this is why Prussia only wins with someone, usually Austria, possibly in this case Russia, if they can fix a good agreement.
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Aapo Alasuutari
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Herr Dr wrote:
1. France didn't lose much in the first war (50 SPs maybe). Yes, they lost the juicy minors, but, nothing that impacted their ability to have a full army for the 2nd war.

2. A full french army is the most potent weapon in the game. Although the Coalition appears quite strong, that is BEFORE the 1st big battle of the 2nd war.


So France is still fielding a proper army? I may be somewhat out of the 1805 scenario due to mostly playing 1789 scenario with quite a bit smaller corps compositions, but still 50 SPs was more than half of the French stack in the first war, right? Losing that while the Coalition lost very little and gained strength just sounds like the situation is hopeless troops-wise.

Do you keep open troop numbers? What's the situation? (If possible, all nations' troop numbers would be awesome )

Also, where's the French #1 corps tiptoeing at the moment? Did it get all the way to France already? How about the Russian army, is there large scale movement to the West?
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David Dockter
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IKerensky wrote:
Stupid question but... why would the coalition pick up on France while the winning ones are the Russian and Prussian ? France is neatly out of play right now and a comeback sound nearly impossible (10.3 VP a month ???).

I think than England need to switch side if he want to stay on the run for the winning. He need to play AGAINST the coalition to slow them down.


Primarily, because a full French army is still in place - and french is still a strong beast. France out of play? No one is out of play yet with only 2 years completed and no power being gutted. France will shoot up the political point display when the war begins - when it wins most (or all) of the battles. Ever if France loses, they are likely to remain in the dominant zone (depending how many minors are conquered prior to a possible French loss).

Agree, that Prussia and Russia are leading (the VPs say that). However, as someone that has played Prussia a few times, I can say that doesn't until mid game: Prussia can be gutted whenever Austria or Russia or France want that to occur. Russia? Well, they also have a problem of once a couple of countries (the Germanys - or someone with the Turk) decide to "do Russia", they get done and find it VERY difficult to bounce back earning political points.

As an aside, I've always thought that France, Britain and Austria have to be the adults in the game. It's incumbent upon them to attempt to keep the game within the sidelines so to speak - to produce an interesting gaming situation (given that 7 people are committing to invest 50 to 150 hours each). For that reason, if I am playing one of those three countries I do consult with the other two regarding this - giving a combined soft nudge (sometimes a hard shove) to game balance and situation - when it is required.
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David Dockter
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AapoAlas wrote:
Herr Dr wrote:
1. France didn't lose much in the first war (50 SPs maybe). Yes, they lost the juicy minors, but, nothing that impacted their ability to have a full army for the 2nd war.

2. A full french army is the most potent weapon in the game. Although the Coalition appears quite strong, that is BEFORE the 1st big battle of the 2nd war.


So France is still fielding a proper army? I may be somewhat out of the 1805 scenario due to mostly playing 1789 scenario with quite a bit smaller corps compositions, but still 50 SPs was more than half of the French stack in the first war, right? Losing that while the Coalition lost very little and gained strength just sounds like the situation is hopeless troops-wise.

Do you keep open troop numbers? What's the situation? (If possible, all nations' troop numbers would be awesome )

Also, where's the French #1 corps tiptoeing at the moment? Did it get all the way to France already? How about the Russian army, is there large scale movement to the West?


In 1805, France begins with 162 factors. 50SPs lost in the war and about 15 since (the loaned corps - which has returned to France).

No open troop numbers - although I'll get a total SP count at beginning of the next session.

Russian army on border of Turkey and 4 corps in Prussia with the Brits & THE DUKE (deploying on the coast for the 2nd Coalition war).
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