- Jim MarshallUnited Kingdom
Charlie, Mike and I played our second game of T&T at York's Beyond Monopoly! game club (York's friendliest game club, plug, plug....) It turned out to be quite a ride.
Early in the game Charlie's Soviets and Mike's Axis put a lot of effort into diplomacy - the Axis turned Latin America and Spain into Satellites, while the Soviets spread influence in the Balkans albeit with a lot of tit-for-tat with the Axis in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Rumania and Hungary. Fearing the Wehrmacht, I as the West largely ignored diplomacy (the USA apart, albeit later on I turned Persia into a Satellite) and instead focussed on building industry and units (and crucially, air defence radar).
When the Axis violated the neutrality of the Low Countries I gambled and moved a lot of British units (largely Spitfires) into Paris - I figured they could always rebase back to London if required, and I had a four-pip fleet in the North Sea that could at least delay the Axis for a turn if Mike tried to launch Sealion from the Ruhr and / or Low Countries.
Sure enough on the next turn the Axis fell upon Paris, but the West was able to hold off the Germans thanks in large part to the brave pilots, air defence radar and excellent dice-rolling skills of the RAF. That the Luftwaffe had apparently loaded the guns of their Messerschmitts with smoke rounds didn't help Mike much either!
Mike then turned his attention to the economic war, with his Brazilian submarine(!) unit causing issues in the south Atlantic, and the Italian navy the same in the Med.
All this time (and despite my pleas for help) Charlie just built his influence, took Finland, strengthened the Red Army and smiled inscrutably - very Josef Stalin!
One of the most curious operations was the battle for Iberia. Focussing on strangling my economy (which was larger than his by this time ), Mike used his Spanish Axis army to move into (and take) Gibraltar - it was held only by a one-pip fort. However, I built a couple of French tank units the following year, and Mike kept his Spanish in Gibraltar (half of my resources and population were now inaccessible) so I was able to motor into Madrid and Lisbon.
We encountered a curious edge case in the rules. The French tank unit attacking Lisbon only had single pip, but it was strongly supported by heavy bombers from Paris. The Portuguese fort killed the tank, the heavy bombers then killed the fort. (The Soviet influence chit denoting Portugal being a Soviet associate was removed as soon as the French moved in and the Portuguese fort was set up). This left armed neutral Portugal with no army, out of the diplomatic war and eligible for anyone to march into.
In the following season the French tank in Madrid motored into a now-defenceless Lisbon to capture it, and the heavy bombers paid a visit to Gibraltar and destroyed the Axis / Spanish army. (I think we played that wrong, as we assumed the unoccupied colony of Gibraltar returned to Western hands. Upon reading the rules later, the elimination of the Axis / Spanish army in Gibraltar in itself wasn't enough to remove the Axis control marker, the West would have to move in a unit to remove the Axis control marker, albeit the French tank unit cruising around Spain and Portugal could have done that with a single move).
I'd had to build a couple of carriers up to two pips which along with an arriving American carrier (we were approaching the end of the war) set sail for the southern seas and finally dealt with the Brazilian sub, at last freeing up my trans-African resources at least.
The game was approaching its climax.
Charlie as Uncle Joe finally got his game out of bottom gear and declared war on the West and violated Poland's neutrality. He took Persia from me easily but the Poles put up a stout defence and held him at bay.
Discovering a love of tanks, the French then captured Rome assisted again by the heavy bomber fleet. This knocked Italy (and in particular its navy) out of the war, which opened up my Mediterranean trade routes. The writing was on the wall for Mike's Axis, who were by now looking very beleaguered and surrounded.
At the same time, Charlie moved against and (after a couple of season's combat) captured Delhi, meaning we held one enemy sub-capital each. We both had strong economies, but it didn't look like the game would run to 1945.
The end game was a race to see whether Charlie's Soviets could take a second capital/sub-capital before the West took the Ruhr. There were a number of massive air battles over the Ruhr in which the Luftwaffe made up for its poor showing over France earlier in the war, while the Soviets overcame the Poles and massed near Berlin.
The move on Berlin was a bluff, as the real target was lightly-defended Rome (held by two one-pip French units). The final season of the game opened with a last, massive battle in the Ruhr, with the Germans just hanging on (three one-pip units remained) but the game was won by the Soviets who used armour and their own heavy bombers to brush aside the French defence of Rome. I can't remember whether it was 1943 or 1944 when the war was won, but it was a terrific game.
We're all experienced wargamers, and while it was only our second game we all played better than in the first (which I won as the Axis by focussing on building Stukas and going for a quick fall of France and Sealion).
Looking back I focussed very much on taking the Ruhr for the win at the end, ignoring other priorities as I felt that Charlie would have won an economic game. The Eastern med was his for the taking, and my economy was probably maxed-out - other than possibly Denmark and Norway the Germans stood between me and additional population and resources, so if I was going to have to fight through them anyway I figured I may as well fight them in the Ruhr.
I wonder what would have happened had I built up my units in India and Persia more and made a better defence of Italy (less effective assaults on the Ruhr for one thing), but hindsight is a wonderful thing and at game end I had a large Western army in the Ruhr facing only the three one-pip Germans - it had gone down to the wire!
It was a great game we all very much enjoyed and I take my hat off to Craig and his team for designing the best new block wargame I have played in years - salutations Craig!
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- Craig BesinqueCanada
Very glad of course you enjoyed it.
And thanks for the report. Wild ride indeed!
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- juerg haeberli
Thanks for your report Jim.
Very interesting game indeed.
You cant put a control marker into Gibraltar because its a colony and does not have a capital.
So you played it right.
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- charles gronauUnited Kingdom
I thought i would post some comments from the russian perspective.
Having previously played as the west, sitting in this new board position gave me fears of an early barbarossa,but also an understanding of how weak the west is initially.
As such i planned an inital defensive build but with the intention of rolling west by 41 so a line of fortresses were placed along my border.
The first year passed with my secretly developing air defence , and as i later discovered, the axis developed precision bombsights. Diplomatically 36 was mainly tit for tat with a lot of axis associates but i managed to gain a presence in yugoslavia and rumania.i also out built the axis by one pip. My builds were mainly bumping up aircraft.sometime around this point i violated and secured finland.
38 was more of the same but by now the axis were out producing and i struggled to add factories (1 and 2 value cards).
39 was the year mike went for it , however i don't recall diplomatically any satallites being secured other than latin america by the axis,but the west had 2 influence in usa.
The declaration of war brought a small smile to my face and a lot of relief as i hadn't been ready yet to repel an assault. Mike took the low countries with ease but bounced in Paris by just a small margin . In fall jim took a risk and boosted paris with the entire raf and this was enough to save france.
This was the high water mark for germany but he sortied his subs and put an extremely effective blockade of the west.
In 1940 sealion direct was still an outside possibility and both the west and axis majored on unit builds.
As such i went heavily for diplomacy securing yugoslavia as a satallite, and austria and rumania as protectorates.
During the seasons i shifted units towards the polish border and violated both poland and czechoslovakia ,taking czech and Poland . Mike decided to VON austria to secure supply to italy and then realised he had to declare war in me todo so.
In 41 i forgot to keep action cards so couldn't assault berlin!!! However feeling threatened mike decided to evacuate italy .
In 42 realising that jim was in a position to take rome and threaten the ruhr i decided to go for delhi and using spring shifted what turned out to be an over commitment of tanks and air east. Two seasons later i took persia and the delhi as only a 3 pip tank a 1 pip fleet amd i think a 1 or 2 pip inf had been in the way.during this time i watched mike repulse multiple assaults and raids which devestated the raf.
43 turned out to be the final year jim very nearly pulled it off with a sold invasion by sea and the low countries but mike held. However there were units now in the ruhr and i couldn't wait a moment longer and went for rome .i commited a 3 step infantry and tank and aircraft as there were two blocks present ,to my relief they were 1 pip each and i secured rome and the win.
If jim had had 1 more season then i believe the ruhr would have fallen.
I tried early on to go nuclear and got tech 1 and had cards for 2 and three but ended up building factories when they didn't appear.
TANKS: i know there have been concerns with these, but i used them a lot as the speed three and strat move 6 enabled me to shift from the european border to persia with speed, and enable me to reach rome
Other techs i got : heavy bombers -move 3 combined with tanks was a god send.
defence of india thoughts. Whilst you can't build new units i believe fortress can be built and probably need to be if the resources are spare.
Overall a fantastic game craig . I am looking forward to playing the axis now
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- Craig BesinqueCanada
Thank you too Charles.
Hopefully more Wild Rides to come!
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- Roger Hobden(Mallet)Canada
Very cool AAR !
I need to try this game !
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