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Subject: 4 Games in a Row, Axis goes 3-1! rss

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Peter Bakija
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So we have played Quarter Master General a *lot* around here--it is a great game for playing with a chunk of people, and playing multiple games in one sitting, where we swap sides each side. Generally speaking, we are still on the side of the fence where the Allies win most of the time (well, probably 2 out of 3 games), and most folks seem to think that the Allies have an edge, balance wise. But then we played 4 games last night, with mostly experience players, and the Axis went 3-1, which kind of baffled us all.

Game 1: 2 players. Pretty straight forward, with the Axis pulling ahead by 30+ points at the end of Turn 7. USA was particularly feeble this game, only seeing a single Build Army before the game ended, even after playing Rosie the Riveter on the first turn and going through 3 cards a turn. As a result, the US didn't get an army into even the West Coast till the last turn, and was behind a lot of points as a result.

Game 2: 5 players, with a brand new guy as the Soviets (we gave him that as they are kind of the easiest to play) and one guy (me) as both Germany and Italy. The UK sort of focused on the East and Japan (moving into India early), leaving Europe to the Soviets with some late game US support. The Allies did well for a long time, but eventually the Germans (with both Bias for Action and Blitzkrieg in play, and Enigma nowhere to be found) conquered Moscow, knocking the Soviets out of the game, and it ended around T14 with a 30+ point victory.

Game 3: The same 5 players. We all switched spots, and we said "New guy! Pick a different country to try out that will probably be more fun!", but he wanted to try the Soviets again, and it went badly for a second time for him--this time, the UK attacked Western Europe a lot while the US kind of helped, but again, the Germans had some serious mojo and the Japanese were generating a significant number of VPs, hitting a 30+ point win around T13 or so.

Game 4: The new guy wasn't super impressed (being the Soviets in two games where the Axis were doing well will do that, I imagine), and was done for the evening (we'll try and get him back in a couple weeks and have him play US or something), so the remaining 4 of us played another game--one guy was Germany/Italy and one guy was UK/USSR. This time, the Germans got out Bias for Action early, but the UK player aggressively ditched to find Enigma and immediately blew it up. The Germans also didn't have Atlantic Wall (usually not that great of a card, but in this game, probably would have saved us), and the UK/US just relentlessly attacked Western Europe, and the US had Amphibious Landing in play (so every time they attacked Western Europe, they instantly dropped an Army there), which really tied up Germany and Italy. Meanwhile, the Soviets got to go berserk, and took the entire East (scoring India and China most of the game, in addition to Moscow and Ukraine). The Japanese were doing pretty well, and the Soviets were completely incapable of harming them (as the single Soviet Sea Battle was discarded way early in the game), but not well enough to compete with the crazy Soviet position. On the last turn, the Soviets scored 11 points in a single turn (Moscow, Ukraine, India, China, Italy, and half of Germany). Axis were crushed on about T15.

Looking forward to the expansion showing up in the mail!
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Brandon Holmes
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I have to say in my limited plays Russia is easily the least fun for me. It's not that it's weak. Italy afterall is probably just as easily taken over as Russia (if not more so), but often I find Russia is forced in to an uninteresting defensive/passive role. Italy on the other hand is probably my favourite country to play as you usually get to make some interesting decisions before it falls apart on you.

I hope the new expansion gives Russia some new options that make for a more interesting experience. As it stands Russia is my last choice for a new player with just the base game though.
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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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I think Russia is a tough one for a newb.
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Peter Bakija
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I think Russia is an important, but not really exciting position in the game (when we have a weird number of players, we put Russia and UK together). The hope was that given that odds were the Allies were going to win, giving the new guy (who had just learned the rules in 5 minutes) Russia for the first game (and, really, not have much of an impact on the Allies chance of winning--Soviet play is generally dictated by what the Axis are doing, and it is virtually impossible for them to not have a vital Build Army at any given time), he would have less to figure out while seeing all the cards in action. And then we'd finish that game, switch sides, and he'd take a more entertaining country for the second game. But he was tenacious, and said "I wanna try the Soviets again in game 2." We tried to talk him out of it, but, well, he was set on it :-)

If the Axis are doing well, the Soviets are basically "build an army, lose an army, build an army, lose an army..." for the whole game. If they are lucky. If the Allies are doing well, however, the Russians can go kinda nuts (see: game 4).
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Ian Brody
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Giving the newbie the Soviet Union is not the call I would make.

I generally try to give the USA to a first time player. That person may end up costing the Allies the game, but they aren't likely to feel like they have "nothing" to play, and the status cards are so powerful that even a new player will generally understand the benefit of playing them before bringing their forces in contact with the Axis. The Newbie USA player might lose the game for the Allies, but not on turn 7.

If I have advice for a newbie American player, it is to hold onto Murmansk convoy until the Soviet player tells you to play it. You might not have it, but if you do, the Soviet will know when the right time to play it is, not you.

Russia is both very complicated to play well and when done so, isn't likely to be the player having the most fun. Having said that, I have had some of my memorable games as the Soviets. One of my more epic games was winning by a point or two on round 20, although Moscow had been occupied for seven consecutive turns during mid-game. I was playing a two person game; Blitzkrieg and Bias for Action were on the table, and Enigma discarded due to Economic Warfare. For six turns I played Status and Response cards. On turn the 7th, General Winter struck, clearing Russia and Moscow, followed by the Murmansk Convoy with an extra Army appearing in Eastern Europe due to Defense of the Motherland. The German/Italian counterattack was stymied due to Response cards, and Russia's Frontal Assault combined with an Allied invasion of Western Europe proved too much.

Favorite new Soviet card from Air Marshal - Fortress Rebuilt.



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Peter Bakija
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IanBrody wrote:
Giving the newbie the Soviet Union is not the call I would make.


Well, yeah, we know that *now*...
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