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Subject: Combined game report #4 SCW stalemate rss

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Simon Nicholls
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Bakewell
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Our players:
Fascists
Germany Andy P (AndyP)
Japan, Italy Greg (jes nogger)

Democrats
CW Laurence (Laxyboy)
USA, France, Nat China Simon (nailsworthnobby)

Communists
USSR, Com China Andy W (way too cool for BGG)

To date: Rhineland reoccupied, Japan at limited war with China, Stalin purges army, France and CW sign level 1 treaty, Ethiopia conquered, Austria absorbed.

Sep / Oct 1936

Everyone seems to be picking up bid points, except for Germany who grab the last Swedish resource and Italy who hold a tasteless parade (one of the extra options provided in the last WiFFE annual and definitely a favourite for discerning Italian players). By holding a parade to celebrate the victory over Ethiopia, the Italian gets to play an option – in this case he joins the naval treaty – and then also pick up bid points as if playing option 0(g). And all for only 1 build point.

The London naval treaty is another of those clever little Harry Rowland mechanisms that is buried in the game – at first look you would never join the treaty as it limits the amount of ships you can build. However because it also affects a country’s Political Effectiveness (PE) if you have a low naval ratio, quite often it is worth the US, USSR and sometimes Germany joining. You would only not want to join if you already are near the top of the naval ratio pile and need to build more boats (CW and Japan for instance). I’m not sure why Greg joined Italy at this point, maybe for the USE effect – perhaps he can remember.

Generally it seems to be a feature of the political part of the game that there will be turns when no one has anything urgent to do and so everyone plays the option to collect bid points. The Soviet player is most often in this position which means they can end up with a huge stack of bid points – which guarantees they can play an option when they need to, for example gear ups.

In military affairs, the weather is fantastic everywhere but only the Japanese have any need of it as they trundle forward in China. They are momentarily foiled by the strategic brilliance of the Chinese field commanders (run away, run away), but sooner rather than later this will cease to be a viable option.

This photo shows the China theatre situation after the withdrawal –



Nov/Dec 1936


You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world


France wins the bidding war and plays a minor economic agreement with Spain to prevent Italy from doing so. Italy responds by playing a coup in Spain with a hope of either moving it (politically) dramatically towards the Fascists or more likely starting a civil war. Spain is particularly susceptible to civil war due to its poor stability which modifies the die roll. A die roll is made to determine how many of their available forces the Republicans and Nationalists will get. Unfortunately for Greg, the roll gives a 50:50 result which means the opposing sides are effectively matched. They are set up in turn and each control around half the objective locations. Everyone else takes bid points.

Firing off a coup in Spain is quite a common Fascist strategy – in this case the Spanish were providing resources to France and there was a chance they could be brought into the Democratic camp so there is logic about going for the spectacular influence swing. A civil war is not the ideal result unless one side or other has a big advantage and can win the war – in this case, unless Greg’s Nationalists are very lucky they will not be able to win the war and while the war is ongoing, this prevents Germany from using this route to access Gibraltar. This is because, in the event that an outside power declares war, both Republicans and Nationalists will immediately set aside their differences and defend their country – so the Germans suddenly have a double sized army in their way. It would not be impossible for a late war army to push through, but it’s not something you want to be dealing with in 1939/40 after you have finished with France.

This coup option choice and the two die rolls that followed have effectively provided Laurence’s CW with a northern shield for The Rock. Now Greg’s Italians will have to invade from Morocco and the sea if he wants the Med to be closed at the western end.

Military affairs start and the Japanese burn oil to launch a full combined action into China, invading an empty hex adjacent to Canton with 2 marine corps. The dice roll is very unkind and while the notional unit dies, so do both Marines. Cue Simon dancing around like he’s won the war. China seems to be here for another few turns and perhaps this signals that Greg’s luck has run out. (No it hasn’t)

Then the weather gets worse and nothing much happens anywhere mostly because no one has much they can do. The opposing sides in the Spanish Civil war circle each other. Unfortunately I seem to have no photographs of this theatre until 1941 – probably because nothing was happening – but here’s a photograph from then.



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Jason Johns
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nailsworthnobby wrote:

Firing off a coup in Spain is quite a common Fascist strategy – in this case the Spanish were providing resources to France and there was a chance they could be brought into the Democratic camp so there is logic about going for the spectacular influence swing. A civil war is not the ideal result unless one side or other has a big advantage and can win the war – in this case, unless Greg’s Nationalists are very lucky they will not be able to win the war and while the war is ongoing, this prevents Germany from using this route to access Gibraltar. This is because, in the event that an outside power declares war, both Republicans and Nationalists will immediately set aside their differences and defend their country – so the Germans suddenly have a double sized army in their way. It would not be impossible for a late war army to push through, but it’s not something you want to be dealing with in 1939/40 after you have finished with France.


Well, if this happens. On the turn or two just before Germany wants to invade, have the Nationalist just suicide attack the Republicans. Who cares which units you destroy, right? Fewer units of either side are fewer units! whistle
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Simon Nicholls
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That's a plan that has been used but there is a risk of misjudging it and losing the war before you can effectively reduce the nationalist army, or not starting earlier enough. It is quite difficult to find enough suicide attacks unless you start early and they all go to plan i.e. units from either side are lost in sufficient numbers. If the republican player really wasn't concentrating this would have a chance, but at this stage of the game the focus is very much on this part of the map and a sudden rush of spurious attacks would quickly alert them to a plan being hatched.

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Andrew Pleass
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As would the Vichy collapse & numerous German 'holidaymakers' heading to southern France

This was indeed an option discussed before the last session and I guess it's still an option, so I'd better stop talking about it
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