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Subject: Post-first game strategy questions from a noob rss

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bob lawblaw
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Just finished my first game of PoG. Really enjoyed it, but have some strategy questions for more experienced players. Context: I played solo, both sides myself, so some of the "fog of war" nuance is a bit harder to capture (hopefully will find an opponent out of my crew to play with soon).

1) Peace Terms: how often is this typically used in the game? Seems fairly risky - you have to be ahead, and taking a tie instead of victory seems mood-ruining. It seems like it would be the best when you're right around 9 or 11, but even then you're giving up an AR for a 50% or worse chance at a VP. My guess is this is not used a lot, but it was especially hard to simulate by myself.

2) SR points: I never SR'd the whole game I played. I assume there is some effective use for this once or twice a game that becomes more apparent with more plays (e.g. analogous to realignment rolls in Twilight Struggle that opened up strategically after a handful of games). It seems way too expensive to move armies like this. And taking corps from the reserve box puts your armies on the board at risk of permanent removal more quickly. Any tips for effective SR usage?

3) This one is more of a rules question: the corps for the British Commonwealth / Portuguese corp: the reinforcement cards for these don't give any special instructions. My understanding is that these corps would go to the reserve box like normal, but would only ever come to the board by SR then because they have no armies they would replace. If so, this seems... underwhelming. Am I understanding the rules for these special pieces correctly, and if so, does anybody ever bother to get these units to the board?

4) Trench question 1: do you want to be the player to play the entrench event? You get a free trench, but you help both players. Do most players consider the free trench a good trade off opening that up to both players?

5) Trench question 2: how much time/ops should I spend trying to build trenches? I did almost none of it in my game, but given how many trench counters there are included in the game, I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that was wrong.

6) Sort of a corollary to trench question 2: in my game it seemed like there were painfully few control markers. I started only marking spots that were on the "front" implying control for any spots that are trapped behind the line. Again, since trench markers double as control markers as you move forward, I'm guessing this might be solved by trenching more.

7) Near East Map: how much time/ops do people usually spend fighting down there? There's some objective spaces to take, but it seemed much less critical than the main board fronts. The only reason I started getting movement on it in my game was because I misplayed Allenby early before the Sinai pipeline so the Allies had a major CF advantage there for a few turns.

Thanks for any answers you guys can provide.
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Eric Brosius
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bob654 wrote:
1) Peace Terms: how often is this typically used in the game?

In tournaments, I don't know that I've ever seen it used.

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2) SR points: I never SR'd the whole game I played.

It can be very useful to SR corps either from the RB to the map or to different places on the map. This is probably most true for GE, which has a lot of corps with relatively powerful factors, especially in connection with Sud Army, pairing an AU army with 1 or 2 GE corps. In some cases of emergency, you just need to SR an army to a key spot, though you'd like to avoid having to do that.

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3) This one is more of a rules question: the corps for the British Commonwealth / Portuguese corp: the reinforcement cards for these don't give any special instructions. My understanding is that these corps would go to the reserve box like normal, but would only ever come to the board by SR then because they have no armies they would replace.

This is correct. But the Australian and Canadian corps are powerful (and the Australian corps especially is Near East capable, so it's often used.)

Quote:
4) Trench question 1: do you want to be the player to play the entrench event?

In the long term, the CP needs trenches more than the AP, but in the short term, the AP might really need them. So it can be a bit of a game of chicken. Note that being sure to get one Trench in a key spot can be critical sometimes.

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5) Trench question 2: how much time/ops should I spend trying to build trenches?

The Germans really need them in the late game on the Western Front, because otherwise the BR and FR will bleed them dry. Other armies can use them as well, for example Venice to help defend Italy and some spots in Russia to defend against the mid to late game CP attack.

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in my game it seemed like there were painfully few control markers. I started only marking spots that were on the "front" implying control for any spots that are trapped behind the line.

You are right.

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7) Near East Map: how much time/ops do people usually spend fighting down there? There's some objective spaces to take, but it seemed much less critical than the main board fronts.

There are a lot of VP down there, and it's possible for the AP to capture all of Turkey if everything goes right. The amount of activity varies, but it can be significant.
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John David Galt
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All good questions.

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1) Peace Terms: how often is this typically used in the game? Seems fairly risky - you have to be ahead, and taking a tie instead of victory seems mood-ruining. It seems like it would be the best when you're right around 9 or 11, but even then you're giving up an AR for a 50% or worse chance at a VP. My guess is this is not used a lot, but it was especially hard to simulate by myself.

As Eric says, this is never done in tournaments, since it counts as a loss for both players [5.6.4].

In regular games, it's still pretty rare. Generally, you offer Peace Terms only if you have the required VP but think you are losing anyway. (This can happen, for instance, if the CP has taken a space in Russia to be able to play Tsar Takes Command, but it will easily be taken back or is out of supply.)

Quote:
2) SR points: I never SR'd the whole game I played. I assume there is some effective use for this once or twice a game that becomes more apparent with more plays (e.g. analogous to realignment rolls in Twilight Struggle that opened up strategically after a handful of games). It seems way too expensive to move armies like this. And taking corps from the reserve box puts your armies on the board at risk of permanent removal more quickly. Any tips for effective SR usage?

SR is a tool I use fairly often, though not as often as Ops. Here are several common reasons I do it:

* To take excess corps out of the Reserve Box and use them. Germany, in particular, should never need to keep more than 4 corps in reserve, so I often SR 3 of them to Breslau in August or September 1914 and use them to reinforce Austrian armies. "Sud Army" can then be used to attack with these stacks throughout the game.

* To add corps back into reserve when it runs short, thus preventing the permanent loss of armies where you are weak.

* To move a German army or three from the western to the eastern front in mid-game, so you can wipe out Russia.

* To sneak a few Italian corps into the Balkans, where they can perform Mandated Offensives without weakening Italy, and often help you hold Serbia after Salonika is played.

* To defend Turkey when attacked. It has too few corps and huge distances to move them.

Quote:
3) This one is more of a rules question: the corps for the British Commonwealth / Portuguese corp: the reinforcement cards for these don't give any special instructions. My understanding is that these corps would go to the reserve box like normal, but would only ever come to the board by SR then because they have no armies they would replace. If so, this seems... underwhelming. Am I understanding the rules for these special pieces correctly, and if so, does anybody ever bother to get these units to the board?

Yes, you're reading it correctly. The AUS corps, at least, is allowed in the Near East (and on the MEF beachhead), but the CND and PT are not very useful. What makes this all the more annoying is that in the real war, the CND and PT did get substituted into British armies.

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4) Trench question 1: do you want to be the player to play the entrench event? You get a free trench, but you help both players. Do most players consider the free trench a good trade off opening that up to both players?

Yes! I generally play this as early as possible. Not only is it a guaranteed-successful trench (very important to nations whose armies have an LF of 2), it also means your opponent, rather than you, is stuck with an unplayable 3/4 event for the whole game.

In the regular game, I usually place it in Belgrade (AP) or Strasbourg (CP). In the historical variant (which takes away the starting trench in Brussels and adds one in Strasbourg), Brussels (AP) and Tarnow (CP) are my most common choices.

Quote:
5) Trench question 2: how much time/ops should I spend trying to build trenches? I did almost none of it in my game, but given how many trench counters there are included in the game, I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that was wrong.

It's very important to entrench the entire French front line, whichever side of it you are on. In the east as the CP, I try to also entrench the long-term AH front line (Tarnow, Uzhgorod, and especially Munkacs).

The trick is to avoid spending Ops just to entrench. All of the spaces where you need to entrench are also spaces where units move around frequently to replace army losses. If (for example) the Germans just knocked Chateau Thierry down to one reduced army and a corps, you are going to want to move two more armies in anyway (if you have them), so activate C-T for movement, move that corps out to make room, and since you activated it anyway, have the remaining army dig.

One caution: never entrench to level 2, except maybe with the Germans if their line is otherwise unbreakable. If you let the other guy take your Trench 2 and turn it into his Trench 1, you'll regret it.

Quote:
6) Sort of a corollary to trench question 2: in my game it seemed like there were painfully few control markers. I started only marking spots that were on the "front" implying control for any spots that are trapped behind the line. Again, since trench markers double as control markers as you move forward, I'm guessing this might be solved by trenching more.

Running out of control markers should never be an issue. When playing with Cyberboard they are unlimited, and with a physical set you simply don't bother to mark spaces behind the front line.

Quote:
7) Near East Map: how much time/ops do people usually spend fighting down there? There's some objective spaces to take, but it seemed much less critical than the main board fronts. The only reason I started getting movement on it in my game was because I misplayed Allenby early before the Sinai pipeline so the Allies had a major CF advantage there for a few turns.

Taking out the Turks is great if you can manage it. I usually don't bother playing the MEF unless I get the CAU at about the same time, but Allenby is always worth playing. The ANA is iffy, and never bother with the Sinai Revolt (it's a non-replaceable 1-1-1 corps).

Whichever NE armies you play, always stack corps with them to absorb losses whenever possible, because the armies are non-replaceable. (MEF and CAU suffer Loss Priority when attacking, but Allenby and Orient do not.)

You must get to Constantinople before the Turks build their armies (which are both Total War cards -- one reason you want to get to TW first), or it won't happen.

If you're the CP, defend the one bottleneck space, Aleppo, with everything you can before Allenby can move there.
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bob lawblaw
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Thanks for the answers guys.

A couple more questions I thought of:

1) Armistice at combined war status of 40: maybe I missed a rule somewhere, but if I'm playing correctly, war status is only increased by playing events that it's marked for. Given that there are only 22 war status points in each deck, am I right in assuming that an 40 war combined status armistice end of the game would be fairly uncommon?

2) Optional rules: the rulebook lists a couple of optional rules; the 2 extra corps on the eastern front, and playing with 8 card hand instead of 7 come to mind. What are the "standard" optional rules that typically get used?
 
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Marshall Dragoo

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1) Armistice at combined war status of 40: maybe I missed a rule somewhere, but if I'm playing correctly, war status is only increased by playing events that it's marked for. Given that there are only 22 war status points in each deck, am I right in assuming that an 40 war combined status armistice end of the game would be fairly uncommon?

2) Optional rules: the rulebook lists a couple of optional rules; the 2 extra corps on the eastern front, and playing with 8 card hand instead of 7 come to mind. What are the "standard" optional rules that typically get used?

1. 40 is the combined war status that triggers armistice.

2. I have played with the 8 card hand quite a few times. I like it.

3. Bob, VASSAL is a good way to learn the game if you lack an opponent.

4. The 'optional corps', Stanislas/Lutsk are to prevent the 'Dance of Death' which means your armies can be cut off and lost due to OOS(out of supply.) It's pretty much a given this set up will be used.

The optional cards from the player's guide get used(on VASSAL) in games I've played quite often.

Cheers.
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John David Galt
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Quote:
2) Optional rules: the rulebook lists a couple of optional rules; the 2 extra corps on the eastern front, and playing with 8 card hand instead of 7 come to mind. What are the "standard" optional rules that typically get used?

There are other optional rules. The modifier for repeated attempts to entrench [11.2.10] sees a lot of use. The historical scenario [5.7] is usually modified in other ways when used; WBC has its own version, and there are others here on BGG.
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