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Subject: Fighting Western Front myopia rss

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Michael Hopcroft
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In the early game, it seems natural for the CP to concentrate on the Western Front, as an early KO of France seems an obvious way to win the game. But I'm wondering if entire turns (especially the first turn) go by with Austria and Russia doing nothing at all while the Allies plug every hole they can to protect Paris. I can easily see entire games going by with the Eastern Front especially ignored.

That's one of the weaknesses of CDGs -- you can't go both East and West on the same impulse, can you? Or, if you can, it usually might not be a very good idea -- especially since the CPs can still lose the game even if they succeed in knocking Russia out of the war...
 
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Dan Freedman
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OPs can be split between different fronts in a single card play.

True, if CP is pressing hard early on for Paris...most AP Ops are going to have to go towards defending the west front. But usually a few attacks can be made in the East. And sometimes the mandated offensive roll can pressure you to make an attack you wouldn't otherwise want to.

I think most agree PoG is a game of initiative. The CP starts with it. But there are a lot of ways to break that initiative and shift the focus elsewhere.
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William Jason Raynovich
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Also, one should not think of actions in this game as only simulating explicit action. There is action going on the east even when no ops are being spent there. There just is no changes in lines of defense.
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M@tthijs
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I think the Allied player MUST minimize his actions on the West front. Dig in, do as little as possible. That's one of the " arts" of PoG: learning to to multiple things (or so it seems) with just one action point.

The more APs the Allies can spare for the East front, the more the Russians can attack. Which forces the CP to react, most often turning the tables and forcing the Russians to defend too. But at least it gets the pressure of the West front.

(disclaimer: written with the experience of some 10-15 games, most PbeM)
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Loris Pagnotta
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The initial CP offensive on western front is easily blocked by a competent allied Player. On the eastern front the Allied better choice is do nothing with russians but entrench in Grodno and some other key points.
When CP start the offensive in the east, allied attacks on western front keep high the CP attrition.
For the CP, the more promising front is the Italian front. Too many Italian mandatory offensives, too few and too weak Italian units and a lot of victory points.
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Michael Hopcroft
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_Kael_ wrote:
I think the Allied player MUST minimize his actions on the West front. Dig in, do as little as possible. That's one of the " arts" of PoG: learning to to multiple things (or so it seems) with just one action point.

The more APs the Allies can spare for the East front, the more the Russians can attack. Which forces the CP to react, most often turning the tables and forcing the Russians to defend too. But at least it gets the pressure of the West front.

(disclaimer: written with the experience of some 10-15 games, most PbeM)


IIRC, the Russian army is miserably inefficient. How they can be successful offensively I'm not quite sure. They might be able to threaten Konigsberg oor Lemberg in the early game, but they probably can't take either or hold them if they could.
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M@tthijs
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
I think the Allied player MUST minimize his actions on the West front. Dig in, do as little as possible. That's one of the " arts" of PoG: learning to to multiple things (or so it seems) with just one action point.

The more APs the Allies can spare for the East front, the more the Russians can attack. Which forces the CP to react, most often turning the tables and forcing the Russians to defend too. But at least it gets the pressure of the West front.

(disclaimer: written with the experience of some 10-15 games, most PbeM)


IIRC, the Russian army is miserably inefficient. How they can be successful offensively I'm not quite sure. They might be able to threaten Konigsberg oor Lemberg in the early game, but they probably can't take either or hold them if they could.
I agree.

However, if the CP does NOTHING he will loose in the East. So he MUST divert resources (action points and probably an extra army at least) to counter and drive away the Russians. ANYTHING he spends there, is stuff he doesn't spend on the West Front. And the Russians can trade space for time. The French cannot.
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Loris Pagnotta
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Difficult task for the CP, to do something more than attack Belgrade in the early stage of the war, also because you must play a lot of cards as event to reach Limited then Total war level.
The western front require eight or nine German armies and to put pressure on Russians, you necessitate five German armies that lie on the Total war deck.
At start the Russians can reach many objectives but they are swiftly lost after the play of the German 2 Armies card and in the meanwhile you lost the opportunity to entrench.
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Riku Riekkinen
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I completely agree with _Kael_. Western offensive is quite popular among those who play much and very effective. AP should get Russia to help, attacking germans. Usually I try to win those games with russians taking Berlin. It isn't very easy to stop them when they got momentum.
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Loris Pagnotta
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Someone want to prove his gaming theory with ACTS?
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M@tthijs
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Some day, but not now. Currently in two PbeM games, A Distant Plain and Squad Leader. No time for a 3rd.
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Dan Freedman
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Riku, Are the experienced players using Western offensive with vanilla rules? It seems once the Brits get into play and mix in with the French they should be able to eventually out-RP the Germans.

I do agree though if the dice go bad for AP and if GoA is not played as an event, it can be tougher rowing for AP in the Western Front. Also the historical variant that awards RPs for holding Sedan (I think it was) makes the Western offensive easier.

I don't think the OP is talking about historical variants though.
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Riku Riekkinen
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Double Dan wrote:
Riku, Are the experienced players using Western offensive with vanilla rules?


Western offensive has always been a factor in tourneys. Stefan Mecay was dropped the first year I entered WBC by west offensive (not by me ; vanilla rules still used). So the threat is there for everyone. For me west offensive was the initial threat in order to make AP make mixed stacks & trenches in place where they are not needed later, when GE retreat to their defensive line. meaning initial west offensive can be part of any strategy.
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John David Galt
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If anything happens on the western front it tends to happen early, usually because one player has luckily drawn most of his reinforcements first.

The typical pattern I see is that France (and Britain after Total War) need every army they have just to hold the front line, while the Germans need about two armies per space. So by the time all the armies in the game are built, the west is stalemated while the Germans have 4 or 5 armies on the eastern front, which will easily blow away all of Russia and can't possibly be stopped.

I'm working on a variant that I think will be better balanced. For now I'm staying away from the "Historical" Variant, which makes this worse.
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Michael Hopcroft
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This has been a very interesting discussion.

I've seen discussion on other threads of foregoing the "Guns of August" card as the CP in the belief that the short-term benefit of removing Liege is not worth the problems that ensue. The question I have about this is that Liege must be dealt with somehow. For any sort of attack on France to be successful the German Army has to get through Belgium, and a fortress like Liege is a significant speed bump the gives the Allies a valuable extra impulse to prepare their defense.

I'm also thinking it might be very beneficial to the CP for the Austrians to knock Serbia out of the war as close to immediately as possible -- but OPs seem to be precious in 1914 -- and meanwhile the CP must deal with any Russian adventures (however ill-advised).

So given that the West usually stalemates, what else can the CP do to win the game (assuming the Allied player is, unlike his historical counterparts, at all competent?)
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M@tthijs
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Not answering your question, but most of the times I've played this game, Guns of August were not used and the Germans attacked on the Western Front anyway. However, without GoA CP also spend OPS on the East Front or Serbian Front in the very first phase.
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Michael Hopcroft
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_Kael_ wrote:
Not answering your question, but most of the times I've played this game, Guns of August were not used and the Germans attacked on the Western Front anyway. However, without GoA CP also spend OPS on the East Front or Serbian Front in the very first phase.


It seems to me you have to attack on the Western Front regardless, if only to "defend by attacking" and prevent any Allied adventures there. Although Paris is usually a pipe dream, you can, IIRC, still gain precious VP by destroying as much of the French Army as you can -- and the game is yours if you can somehow force France to surrender.

Liege remains problematic, though, unless you are ignoring Belgium -- which is still your best path if you want to drive deep into France,
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
Not answering your question, but most of the times I've played this game, Guns of August were not used and the Germans attacked on the Western Front anyway. However, without GoA CP also spend OPS on the East Front or Serbian Front in the very first phase.


It seems to me you have to attack on the Western Front regardless, if only to "defend by attacking" and prevent any Allied adventures there. Although Paris is usually a pipe dream, you can, IIRC, still gain precious VP by destroying as much of the French Army as you can -- and the game is yours if you can somehow force France to surrender.

Liege remains problematic, though, unless you are ignoring Belgium -- which is still your best path if you want to drive deep into France,
I agree.

I've played against a hard opponent who nearly took Paris. But he did not open with GoA, arguing there were too many downsides to using it.
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Michael Hopcroft
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Makes it sound like the Germans almost never reach Paris.

Which makes sense -- a game in which they do would be a very short game. a competent Allied player can stem the assault with difficulty.

My thought experiments on what to do about Liege still come up blank, though. Sounds like the CP will have to use valuable time taking it if they don't get rid of the fortress.

Can the CP will win the game if they don't score a knockout blow in 1914?
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Dan Freedman
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
Makes it sound like the Germans almost never reach Paris.

Which makes sense -- a game in which they do would be a very short game. a competent Allied player can stem the assault with difficulty.

My thought experiments on what to do about Liege still come up blank, though. Sounds like the CP will have to use valuable time taking it if they don't get rid of the fortress.

Can the CP will win the game if they don't score a knockout blow in 1914?


Not playing GoA is a viable western front offensive strategy by keeping the Limited War deck away from the AP for another turn. In terms of Liege, usually CP just takes GoA in hand and plays it for Ops on the first Action. Take out Liege with one German army. It only fails on a 1.
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Jason Cawley
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Michael - the Russians are deceptive. Their power comes from the fact that every high value Allied replacement card gives them 3 RPs, and even lowly 3 ops cards spent that way give them 2 RPs. Their reinforcement cards frequently give them 2 full armies, 4 RPs worth of expansion.

They can afford to take a ton of punishment, in other words, when played properly. A good Allied turn will see them and the western Allies earn something like 10 to 15 army flips from 2-3 cards.

Next point about the Russian is to beat up the Austrians. They can't take it. Their armies are much, much easier to hurt seriously than the German are. You want to force the Germans to defend much of the Austrian part of the front, not concentrate 10, 12, or 15 combat power in one spot up north, for example.

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John David Galt
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Yes and no. The Russians do get plenty of RP, but their armies have the same numbers as the Austrians, so once the CP can spare the force to start attacking them, they will die in droves and have to be rebuilt often -- and move up from their supply sources to the front. (And once the Germans have built all their armies and can afford to move 4 or 5 of them to the eastern front, Russia *will* be overrun. I don't see any way to stop it.)

But yes, do attack the Austrians. There are barely enough AH armies in the game to hold all of their borders when they first go to Limited War, and the Austrians always get fewer RP than the Germans (so the CP will often have GE RP going to waste while Austrians remain unbuilt). You can make this worse by getting more active on the Serb and Italian fronts (especially in the historical variant when Germans aren't allowed on the Italian border).

As the CP, you want to counter this by SR-ing 4 GE reserve corps onto the board early in the game, then later sending them to threatened parts of the AH-RU front. An AH army with a GE corps sitting on it is slightly better than a GE army, not least because it gives you a choice of which country takes the hits when that stack is attacked (and of course these stacks can take turns being the "Sud Army").
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juerg haeberli
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Defending the West with only 2 armies a space works only with the defend the rhine strategy.
If you defend 4 spaces in the west 2 armies in a space is not enough.
You seem to be a tad optimistic about the numbers of armies Germany can spare for the East front.
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Robert Woodham
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The Russians are excellent until the Germans can spare enough armies to play offensively. Your goal as the Russians should be to economize by never moving anything less than a 3-stack at a time when bringing them to the front, and smack the Austrians early and frequently until you've captured the mountains. If you can hurt the austrians badly enough, then Serbia and Italy should be able to permanently squeeze them for a KO.

Even if you don't KO Austria, taking the Galician mountains is good enough to buy you some time when the Germans come a knocking.
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Apan Arne
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The best reason to SR GE corps the first turn to AH units is to set up possible scenarios for "Wireless" CC*. Even if the AP is aware of this, he has to move his units carefully. If you can cull this card turn 1 or turn 2, you will get much better draw deck and it will reward you long-term.
 
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