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Subject: There seems to be something wrong with our bl**dy plans today rss

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Tim P.
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This is the second game of LAMPS with my local regular wargaming lads. Our first game was last weekend where we learnt the mechanics, which meant we could now start to learn the strategy and tactics of the game.

Although this is a grand strategic level game, with nation level production and armies as manoevre units, the strategy of the game is where to move, where to attack, and where to spend the valuable and limited Production Points (PP). The tactics are how to conduct the actual attacks, how to best utilize the artillery, armies, better quality troops, and technologies to attack and defend successfully.

Karl once again took on the role of the Germans, Dennis lead the Eastern Allies after playing the Eastern Central Powers last week. New to the game, Luis took the Eastern Central Powers. This time I got to play the Western Allies after experiencing the Eastern Allies last time. The Germans and Western Allies are the bigger factions and have more to do, so myself and Karl took them allowing the less experienced to run the secondary powers in each faction.

No 'von Schlieffen' plan ever survives contact with the enemy. Karl learnt from his experience last week by reinforcing the armies in Hanover for the attack on Belgium, one of his two moves moved an army from Rhine to Hanover. Well, let's just say that he did better last time with less. Expecting to lose Belgium I put the Belgian army in the firing line; 4 German armies attacked and one by one the Germans were held back by the plucky Belgians despite the dice re-rolls offered by the German Pre-war planning.

There seems be something wrong with out bl**dy dice today
Apologies to Admiral Beatty


Those plucky Belgians

Holding Belgium was important, the British sent one PP to allow the Belgians to be rebuilt, which meant another fresh army was available for the Western Allies. Perhaps, it was fate to even out the German failure but I drew the Pantalons Rouge event card on the first turn. The poor French would have to take their lumps this turn with an additional costly attack. As expected the French will need to shoulder the burden of responsibility until the British could build new armies and ship them to France.

The Western Front soon descended into a stalemate, we both slowly acquired artillery, we both dug in and built Trenches, and we both kept on plugging away to wear down the enemy to use up their valuable PPs. These attritional attacks are very tense, will you get a lucky break and have a successful Big Push. You can taste the anticipation, will there be a breakthrough.. When did I commit the artillery ? Ebb and flow in France and Belgium would continue for the rest of the game as the other fronts opened and expanded.

The two Central Powers looked instead towards the Eastern Front where Russia looked ripe for the picking, Dennis drew the Scorched Earth option which allowed him to trade some space while keeping his armies together. Compared to the last game we saw that better co-operation between the German and Austro-Hungarian forces are a powerful one-two tactic which kept the Russians on the continuous defensive, these tag team tactic was something the Western Allies would soon experience on the Italian front.

Dennis was too aggressive with the Serbs, he attacked when he should have stayed still and made the Austro-Hungarians (A-H) accept the stand-off or force the A-H to attack. Dennis ignored the advice of the more senior faction partner (me) and left both the Serb armies spent; Luis was the least experienced with the game and sent the A-H forces off to face the Russians. Dennis had made his own situation worse as more forces were arrayed against his Russians. A-H armies advanced into the Ukraine and there was little the Western Allies could do to immediately help his Eastern Allies.

The sideshow theaters in Africa and the Near East are another opportunity for success, or a distraction that burns PP, that's your choice. This time I saved my PP and only pushed hard from Suez as I needed the PP to be spent elsewhere. You cannot forget the other fronts, because you will regret it if you do and you forget to refresh the armies in Africa or the Near East.

Playing the long game, the British Suez MEF and Russian Caucaus armies kept the pressure on Turkey, slowly grinding them down. Von-Lettow was still a annoyance in Africa... especially so after I swatted him and then he was soon refreshed by Event card. Arrggh.

The U-boat war continued to drain my PP with Karl moving back and forth between restricted and unrestricted attacks, even after the Lusitania was sunk. It worked well for him as despite his early aggressive use of u-boats by the end of 1916 the US track was at 6 of 8, the US would probably come in around the historical date.

Salonika was opened, and Bulgaria joined the war, another front to deal with and spend our precious PP. After an initial British attack from Salonika, we ignored the front as things were heating up elsewhere.

Italy joining the war early in 1915 and this proved to be the turning point, and it could have gone either way. The border had been stripped of Austrian troops, allowing a newly arrived French army to grab the Austria area and deny a valuable 1PP from the A-H. The Central Powers were forced to take armies from both the west and east to reinforce this new front, first to just stop the advance and then in the intent to retake the Production area. The repeated one-two punch was difficult to resist, and the Austria area was almost retaken a few times. More Western Allied armies and expensive fortifications were needed to have enough defense in depth. More artillery helped too, as the Western Allies gained a small advantage in heavy artillery with A2 technology. Eventually 8 fresh allied armies, with two artillery, were ready in the Austria area for the big push on Vienna. Russia went on the attack and retook lost territory and was putting pressure on Prussia.

The one-two Central Powers tag team attacks from Bavaria and Vienna meant they had two areas against my one strongly held Austria area. Luis had 3 fresh armies and an unspent artillery to defend Vienna. Despite the 8-3 ratio it took 7 of my 8 armies and both of the two heavy artillery to defeat the A-H defenders. The A-H invoked 'They Shall Not Pass!' and held Vienna, with two armies left I attacked again and luck was with me as the second 'they shall not pass' die roll failed.
Austro-Hungary had been conquered, but it was a close run thing.


Vienna falls.


We finished off the turn, and called the game. The ending was very tense and could have ended very differently. More strategic options were realized, and valuable lessons we learnt. This game flowed much better than our first game and we all had fun in the process.

Thoughts on Gameplay and Strategy
1. This game is tense, lots of tough decisions especially in where to spend your precious PP.
2. Think about where you will need to spend your PP in advance. One turn you will have enough, then the next you will be short. There are tough choices, and sometimes you have to take risks by leaving forces Spent.
3. Play the long game, keep on plugging away yet know when to stop and lick your wounds for another time.
4. Don't forget the secondary fronts.
5. The Event and Technology cards add variety, and there are lots of player choices for replayability.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Thanks Tim - great report!
This game does make you feel like if mis-spend even 1 PP, you've screwed things up! You can only hope that your opponent then mis-spends 2 PP.
I love playing A-H, it is very challenging but so much fun.

Herm
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Tim P.
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So far the Russians seem the hardest to play well, they are fragile and must conserve their strength. The onus is therefore on the other allied nations to relieve the pressure on the Russians.

Tim

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Steve Carey
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Tim, Siskin and I plan on playing Lamps at Strategicon weekend after next (not sure what day yet). See you there!
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Tim P.
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Steve Carey wrote:
Tim, Siskin and I plan on playing Lamps at Strategicon weekend after next (not sure what day yet). See you there!


Karl and myself will be taking the Wargame Bootcamp to Pacificon in Santa Clara that weekend. We will be taking LAMPs with us if anyone wants to learn it.

Tim
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Tom Thornsen
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Battle along the Isonzo!
I am finding that many games are decided along the Isonzo! Germany can pressure the Western Allies the first couple of turns, but play grinds to a bloody halt there.

Play of the Central Power is pivotal. Attack Russia? Attack Serbia? Attack Italy? Play defense? But there are only 3PP available each turn and enemies all around! Only being able to move 2 armies/turn limits the ability to shift focus.

My last couple of games were broken open when Italy, with copious support from Britain and France in terms of armies, heavy artillery and tanks broke into Austria. AH must then fortify Vienna and the situation quickly collapses elsewhere. Starting to agree with a growing consensus that Germany and the Central Powers need to focus on driving Russia out of the war early...but it isn't that easy.

Nice summary Tim!
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Kirk Uhlmann
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Love the report, Tim!

The Russians and Austro-Hungarians, while seemingly the lesser powers, are tricky to play.

As the Austrians, I try to reinforce the Italian border at earliest convenience (and having a German army there is a great advantage in a lot of ways) so I'm ready when/if Italy joins (as AH started to do, suspecting Italy would eventually enter against them). If AH runs too far amok in Russia and then has to shift forces back, a prepared Russia can potentially cut-off remaining AH troops.

I really enjoy hearing about the different strategies and how games are going.

Great report.

Kirk
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Chris Janiec
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Fine report, Tim. Perhaps we can play at Hanford in October?
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