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Subject: Game 3 - game over after 20 turns of hard-fought action rss

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Vidar Ambrosiani
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I received Twilight Struggle as a Christmas present (well technically it was a gift to me and my wife...) and managed to play it twice around Christmas once against my brother (the giftee) and once against a friend. Now that I'm back at work I figured it would be a nice game to use for an evening with the wife.

I pack up the board and show the cards and is ready to start explaining, when she goes:

This looks quite a bit like Paths of Glory.

Yes, it's fairly similar, but shorter and playable in an evening.

Well I don't really want to learn new games all the times, especially if they're somewhat similar to ones I haven't fully learned yet.

OK, then what should we do tonight.

Let's play Paths of Glory.

!!!!!kiss!!!!

After briefly going through what mistakes we did last game (Combat cards didn't last, International attacks were possible where they shouldn't have been) it's time to go. To balance the game I suggest the variant that someone proposed, i.e. CP gets 1 VP each for getting to limited and total war. She readliy agrees and decides to once again play the Good Side (aka Germany and friends).

Also, since she now has a better idea of the relative strength of Germans vs Russians (+ we forgot the restrictions on attacking the Russian forts) Germany embarks on a great eastern adventure.


In the West, Guns of August blast Liege and some blood is shed but quite quickly the fronts bog down with a decent German force in a 2-deep trench in Sedan, being looked upon by British (rolling low so far) in Brussels and French everywhere else.



In the east, the Germans move forward and even the puny Austrians get ideas and beat up the Russians who soon are running away all across the front. Also, I briefly ran out of Russian corps which made the Russian third army die a gruesome death in Rovno...

Russian forts armies and corps get pummeled en masse and right now (Start of turn 5, spring 1915) the motherlands defense basically consists of a few half-strength armies in or around Zhitomir, an army in Minsk, some corps around Riga and a few stray corps (including a suicidal roadblock 0-strength corps)in Bialystok that I fear soon will go OOS).


The one success story for the allies is that the Serbs have shown promise and actually erased an Austrian army from the map, with both their armies still alive. They are too weak to push through the hole though, but if I get an early Salonika perhaps the southern front can be some trouble for AH.


Hopefully the war will continue tonight.
I will keep you posted.
 
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Steve
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Re: Game 3 - in progress
Sounds good. My experience is once you get the Russians on the run with the German armies (and very occasionally Austrians) you have to keep pushing. Sit still for even one turn on that front and suddenly the Russians can have 2-4 full/half strength armies pop out of nowhere and bolster any front that still exists.

Also, for what it's worth, my advice is that if you have a chance to take one of the two big Russian fort spaces in Odessa and Riga with small forces/corps occupying them you need to take it, even if that means abandoning some other important objectives temporarily. Destroying those forts and especially the Russian trenches is almost impossible with real Russian armies inhabiting them.
 
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Vidar Ambrosiani
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Re: Game 3 - in progress
Second part of the game - turns 5 (spring 1915) through 9 (spring 1916).

West Front:

French and Brits do more damage than they receive, but new German armies are continually fed into the fray. Right now a standstill at the Fr/Ger border (Germans have been pushed out of Sedan and been replaced by Brits). I might be strong enough to push here but it will be tough going, most of the Germans are dug in (some double), and they are also counterattacking from Mulhouse that forces me to cover here.


East Front:

The Russians have been reinforced and now holds Odessa with 2 armies + 1 corps, Riga with 2 armies + 1 corps and Minsk with 1.5 armies. German armies are outside Minsk and Riga, to tough for me to dislodge but to weak for them to push through.

The Austrians have taken Kiev and are much stronger than the Russians in their sector. A Russian counterattack retook Kiev but the Austrians gave up their attempt on Odessa and took Kiev again with fresh armies.

CP VP in Russia: 4 (Lodz, Warsaw, Vilna, Kiev).


Serbian Front:

The Austrians have finally pushed the Serbs out of Belgrade, but taken some losses there. Serbs have one full strength army at Valjevo but no corps in reserve.

3 British corps landed in Salonika but have been unable to help the Serbs due to Bulgarians. First Bulgarian blood has been drawn.

Italy is still neutral.


NE Map:

With little hope of taking many VP anywhere else I have started to work on the NE map. The Sinai pipeline has been built and the Egyptian forces have taken Gaza. The MEF landed at Cyprus (MEF box 4) and has gone to shore to the first space. I haven't had time to give them any support of corps to guard the supply lines yet so they're standing still, enjoying the Anatolian Mountain scenery.


War Status etc:

Both sides finally reached Total War after turn 8. Probably we're both playing too much Ops. Current VP hovers around 14-16, i.e. I'm losing but I think I'm in decent shape regarding armies in the field.
 
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Vidar Ambrosiani
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Re: Game 3 - in progress
Third and last part of the game - turns 10 (summer 1916) to turn 20 (winter 1919)

West Front:

For a long time nothing happens. As the end approaches the FR-BR are getting desperate and tries attacking with bad odds, hoping for luck. Of course, it doesn't happen and they open themselves up for counterattacks.


East Front:

The Austrians take Minsk and the Tsar falls, netting the CP 3 points as Romania is still neutral. Russia is now expensive to attack with. I play badly and don't attack the CP supply lines, so they can easily hold on to the 5 VP in main-map Russia.



Serbian/Italian Front:

The Austrians push the retreating Serbs all the way down to Salonika where they (the Serbs) die along their British allies. Salonika is shut down and the surviving Bulgarians can go do something else, which they don't.

Italy was neutral 1 turn too long, and when they got into action they managed to besiege and take Trieste, but failed the siege in Trent. Suddenly, a couple of German armies appeared in Trent and I saw no other solution than SR:ing in Brits to help the Italians. For many, many turns, the Germans attacked the Brits who were dug in at Verona and received new blood being SR in from London and the Austrians attacked the French who dug in at Venice. I spent so many resources to defend here, (Which also drained the west front of men and OPS).While it would be wrong to say that the front ended the game at a stalemate, she didn't take any Italian VP.


NE Map:

The British offensive continued here and I managed to push with Allenby all the way up into central Turkey. However, the turks managed to kill off the Russians in the mountains and seize Baku (and then push up to the Russian border to make sure the Russian CAU couldn't enter. With the AoI and YLD armies, a balance was struck, and also the Lybian revolt slowed down the British approach some. At the end, Turkey held Baku and Constantinople while the Brits held the rest of the VP spaces (except Medina)


War Status etc:

I played to much War status cards too early. This led to a fall of the Tsar, but more importantly, that the US couldn't enter. War status was stuck on 28 and while I could have played Greece to go to 29, I had no more war status to play after that.

Final results.

With a resounding victory in the East, a stalemate in the west and the Italians all dead and their defenders on the brink of collapse, the Central powers won the war with 16 VP:s at the end. The british successes in Turkey were to little to late, and the Italians were a major liability to the allied cause. However, where I lost the game was on the eastern front where I played a too static defense and passed up opportunities to disrupt the supply lines. THis meant that the Germans and Austrians could hold their VP:s with a comparatively low amount of forces.

Next game, I'm most likely playing with the historical variant, as I think it's a bit strange that during the last 1.5 years of the war, the major (in fact almost only) German offensive action were the downhill rush from Trent into British Verona.

Hope you all enjoyed the report.

/Vidarrr

PS: Total time for this (including set-up I think, my memory is getting hazy) was roughly 20 hours for a 20 turn game. We could definitely have played faster if we had known all the cards, but time really flies when this one is on the table. The high rating stands.
 
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