Timo Kellomäki
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As I posted a bit earlier in the strategy forum, I wanted to try two interesting Axis strategies: declare war on the Soviets already in July 40 to make the game end early; and try to ally with Poland to get a big pile of armies. I wasn't sure how well they combine, but here's a solo campaign to find out.

This is just the beginning, but I'll try to post more when it progresses. Please let me know if any rules mistakes can be inferred from the text, it's so easy to forget things when playing alone. I'd of course also like to hear if you'd do something differently.

So, in short, the German plan: To get allies, conquer as much as possible before attacking France (for example, Denmark, Norway, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Holland, Belgium, France = 9). Ally priority is Poland > Turkey/Italy > Romania (should Romania actually be preferred to the big two?).

Then, attack Soviets in July 40 to make the game end in 1944. Hope that the extra units from allies help survival and the game ends before a collapse, because the Russians don't get most of their good units in time. The Americans will come in early, which should pretty much mean the Western front is about a year early. Though when setting up I noticed that at least they don't get their mulberry in time.

1939:

Sep: Germany declares war on west. Hungary and Denmark are easily conquered, leaving both panzers on the border of Yugoslavia. Pro-Axis put on Poland. Diplomacy results in Eastern Poland being ceded (Chance of Axis getting Poland this turn about 43 %).

Oct: Good weather in all zones. Yugoslavia is easily taken, though tanks are left far from Bulgarian and Greek borders. Italy becomes pro-Axis. Russian units move into Eastern Poland. Diplomacy is a total Axis success, since Germany pulls a pro-Axis marker to activate Poland (off-map setup to avoid East invaded), and West pulls diplomatic failure. Germany ponders but decides to take the risk of activating Italy way too early. (Change of Poland was about 55 %)

Nov: Still good weather everywhere. The dice seem to favor Germany this time. Axis strat moves an Italian garrison into Egypt to buy time. Bulgaria is conquered, making Turkey pro-Axis. The French and British start attacking the Italian positions in Africa from both directions, but there is little progress.

Dec: The weather is poor everywhere, which helps Italy supply Africa. Germany decides to leave Greece alone and starts to build forces on the French border. WDF destroys the Italian garrison and advances next to Tobruk, while BEF arrives in Tunisia. The French advance toward Tripoli. An area seized is drawn. Soviet plan is to avoid giving Germany any extra allies with the cedes, so they annex Estonia first.

1940:

Jan: The poor weather, ready troops, and surprise attack would now allow Germany to invade Norway, but the airborne troops are still in training until March, so the operation is delayed. In Africa, the French advance together with BEF against an Italian army. Tripoli is only two hexes away. The Italian air from Sicily is now in range, but the French army and BEF will get 5 attacks per turn against Tripoli. A German army is also in position to be sent over to help, but will it be able to cross the sea?

In the diplomacy phase Germany has a 40 % chance of allying with Turkey, but manages to draw the failure. Here I mistakenly think any pro-enemy counter can be removed and apply it to Turkey, but it doesn't have an active German land neighbor. This probably won't be a big deal this time, though. Right after that Soviets get a success and make Turkey pro-Soviet.

Feb: Bad weather makes it possible for the Italian fleet to transport a German army to Tripoli. The reinforcements arrive just in time, as the British now advance right next to the port. Looking at the 5th Luftwaffe unit currently in Sicily, the struggle for Libya might not be over quite yet. The diplomacy cup is laden with goodies, and Germany manages to draw a success. Seeing that the only neutral neighbors of active Axis allies are Greece, Netherlands and Belgium, they decide to convert Turkey back to neutral. Both allies draw an area seized. Soviets thus annex Latvia and Lithuania.

March: The weather roll is a great gift for Axis: The weather is fair in Norway, but severe in the Mediterranean. Moreover, the airdrop becomes available on this very turn. Norway is thus easily conquered, making Finland pro-Axis. In Africa, the Germans fight for Tripoli with the French and the British. The German army is stronger and supported by rotating Luftwaffe units that end the operational phase in Sicily to be supplied, but the two tank markers the Western allies share between them against 0 Germans make the front quite stable. So far supply hasn't been a problem due to the bad weather and the two Axis air units present, but both advantages will soon be lost.

In the diplomacy phase, Axis gets lucky again and activates Finland. This makes Soviets kind of regret not choosing Karelia last turn, but that choice would have meant that the pro-Axis counter from Norway would have gone to Sweden.

The diplomacy is now in a weirdish state, where Germans have no really useful neighbors to activate unless the allies either aggravate Romania with a cede or draw a political failure, but the allies also probably cannot activate anything due to some pro-Axis markers still remaining in the cup and more about to enter it from the Benelux. Activating Finland at least added Sweden to the list of potential Axis allies, but is preventing it joining worth the risk of losing Turkey or Spain? Another complicating factor is that UK needs all its production in the Mediterranean, which makes the diplomacy hard to find resources for. But the Germans know that there are not many turns of diplomacy left anyway.

April: Germany buys back the suprise attack counter, so nothing much happens. Despite the aggressive conquests and heavy support of Italy, its troops are still almost ready for the French campaign. In Africa, nothing decisive happens yet. UK abandons the chance of conquering Tobruk by combat and gets ready to send one of their armies back to help France. I think the UK unit is very useful in France because it allows RAF to help from England.

In May, the weather is fair everywhere, and Germany declares war on the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Russia will be attacked in two months.
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simon thornton
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Good luck ! I dont see how you can knock France out in 2 months and switch enough forces back to make a decent fist of it against the soviets but Ill be interested to follow your progress.
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Timo Kellomäki
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bluekingzog wrote:
Good luck ! I dont see how you can knock France out in 2 months and switch enough forces back to make a decent fist of it against the soviets but Ill be interested to follow your progress.


Well, the plan is not to knock out France quickly or switch that much forces back before the job is finished.

The Soviets are quite weak in 1940, so already the three proper armies and two air units from home defence should go a long way towards defending against them without losing any units from France. I additionally have garrisons from the conquests and some Italians and Poles (once I've had time to build them, I'll only start that in June to delay East invaded). I expect the actual advance into Russia to begin only in 1941 after France has hopefully fallen. It doesn't have to go nearly as far as usual since the Soviets will have much less time and elite units for their comeback.

I'm sure it won't be easy for the Germans while the two-front war rages, but we'll see if it makes the end game any easier.
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Robert Crawford
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Interesting! Ending the war in 44 increases the chances of German victory, but triggering East Invaded while attacking in the West is a gamble.

USSR may be relatively weak in 1940 compared to what it will become, but the East Invaded conditional event triggers some nice increases to the Soviet force pool. USSR starts with 1 Air and 9 INF. When the East Invaded event is triggered, the USSR immediately gets 1 Air and 5 INF mobilized for free; and 1 Partisan, tank marker and 4 INF are placed 6 months ahead on the Turn Track (if you attack in Jun 40 that will be DEC 40). When you plan on attacking for real, in summer 1941, you will be facing a USSR force twice as large as you would normally face if you waited and triggered the East Invaded event in 1941. I doubt you can collapse the Soviets under those circumstances, so you will be facing an East Front meat grinder in 43 and 44 in terrain much closer to the German fatherland.

Also, can 3-5 German armies, two air units, and a collection of Axis Allied units hold the Red Army at bay until France falls?

Very curious to see how it turns out.
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Mark Dey
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One more consideration with East Invaded during the French campaign is that when Germany declares war on Russia, France gets a significant boost to National Will. Take too long, and advance French units will become available. It's a workable plan, but far from a perfect one for Germany.
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Timo Kellomäki
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rcrawford wrote:
triggering East Invaded while attacking in the West is a gamble.


That's a good point that I didn't think about enough before starting. I guess in a normal version of this "Fast Fuse" strategy East Invaded can be delayed until January 1941 when USA enters (due to both appeasement and pact ending in July 40). However, because Poland is an Axis ally in my case, I'll have to either freely let Soviets conquer it and advance to the German border, or trigger East Invaded in July 1940.

That probably means Poland is not worth it at all in this strategy, which makes calling this experiment a "gamble" a huge understatement. But we'll see how it goes.

Quote:
I doubt you can collapse the Soviets under those circumstances


A collapse is definitely not in the plan, not even nearly. Just trying to grab enough land to survive.

The French will also survive a lot longer with some German units away and the extra will, but I hope to conquer them before summer weather starts in 1941. On the other hand, I've usually had some German armies be quite underutilized in France, and the southern front from Italy may also affect things.
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Timo Kellomäki
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Daemou wrote:
I guess in a normal version of this "Fast Fuse" strategy East Invaded can be delayed until January 1941 when USA enters (due to both appeasement and pact ending in July 40). However, because Poland is an Axis ally in my case, I'll have to either freely let Soviets conquer it and advance to the German border, or trigger East Invaded in July 1940.


Continuing the discussion with myself. I just realized that in the Fast Fuse without Poland, Soviets are also free to declare war on Poland in July 1940 (unless I'm mistaken). Axis will then have to face the same choice of an off-map setup and losing the whole Poland or triggering East invaded already in July 1940.

The difference is that my Axis had to use diplomacy to get Poland and build their units slowly (esp. with the new x2 errata). In my case that means they gave up Romania. But that also makes me think about a Fast Fuse Axis strategy where Poland is left neutral, trusting that the Soviets want the fast East invaded and have to declare war on Poland themselves.
 
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