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Subject: Issues felt in the game rss

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Alberto Natta
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Greetings,

Now I've bagged an amount of multiplayer games in T&T, and there are some issues I feel - in the hope they get addressed in the 2nd edition ruleset.

Technologies are not good enough (Except Rocket Artillery)
That is the biggest concern of mine - and of my regular pals.
Rocket Artillery is a "must" technology to have, and without it there is the feeling one cannot do much. Players litterally hunt Rocket Artillery, treasure cards of it and so forth just to prevent others having the same tech.
All other technologies are mostly superfluous, or too situational.
Heavy Tank and Motorized Infantry saw some use in general, nice to have but not felt as a "must".
The rest? The AF techs tend to never be used (or if played, pratically hardly ever saw action). Naval ones even the less (Especially as the Soviet do not have any need of them pratically!)

Atomic Research is ok, it gives VP. It has its balanced meaning. (And it represent the last hope for cornered nations that cannot win otherwise)

The "Air Debate".
Only with West I tried a few times the "Precision Bombing" thing. It does not really work. (It links to the Action Cards issue too though)
Often requires to have long range bombers, maybe even jets depending on how the enemy play.
And you hit only on 1.
To do sensible damage you need to have many AFs (which means you have less of other troops), and I got in reach to bomb both Axis and Soviets in the games I played that tactic.
There is a fundamental prerequisite to it - that you can play defensive (hold a strong position you have) and put your Rivals below you in IND.
Otherwise AF have seen very minor use from most nations, Axis especially tend to rarely have an AF. Soviets build AF only for Persian front pratically if they want to go down there. Brits receive USA AF to they're naturally inclined to use some techs but current usage of AF looks way too weak to me and any investment in ground forces is much superior.
The pivotal issue is that AF hits only with 1 on the ground. Therefore you can play without AF and enemy AF end up very inefficient. Someone may say that the fact they ignore border limits AND they can rebase at the end of combat if you're the active player makes them decent enough. I beg to differ. They do not grind away the enemy, they do not easen conquest in meaningful ways.
G2 and N2 Air techs are a necessity in my eyes (if paired with ships or land forces to avoid pesky destroying raids vs lone land troops) to force everyone produce AF.

The "Trench War"
Essentially the game reaches often a point where it looks more WW1 than WW2. It could be a fault of the people I've met and my own style of game.
But at some point - especially if there is a prolonged peace - that the wars are consumed in corollory sectors where few units are involved; because elsewhere you have phalanx of blocks where you can enter in with much less firepower (and normally defender fires first).
The moment you get something like Rhur / Munich and Paris / Lorraine with 5-6 blocks each you know that you are asking for slaps in the face if you go in. Unless you have a double card play stocked. But in most cases I've seen situations where there are just masses of blocks (which sure, can be 1-2 steps and not max steps but who knows) and one does not dare to attack because it can be ruinous, expose to counterattack and everything gets worse down there.
That adds to the need to have more efficient AFs or even techs allowing more troops per border in terms of crossing.
Winter should be allowed for everyone for internal movements without aggressions I think or something like that.

Action and Troops shortage
The Action Cards are okay in the first stages (pre-39) in how much you can move, but once you grow in blocks and the need to move them around, they do not cut it anymore.
If I look vaguely to a Barbarossa, and pick a Summer card for 10 blocks - the Germans should go into like Baltics, Belorussia, Kiev and Odessa at once! That's an average of 2.5 blocks per region.
Where do you go with that? And that also means to paralyze all other zones of operations.
There has to be ways to increase how many blocks you move per season.
Allow to play multiple cards (which are played in letter order - at full effect or reduced / halved for the future ones), add techs to multiply card numbers (or augment them).
Currently it just seem that what a nation can do in the whole of a season (3 months!) is way too little.
Troops are also way too few. A basic principle of the game is that you have limited blocks to move. So to move a 4 stepper block is more efficient than to move a 1 stepper one. Also to attack - since defender fires first - you need a large superiority. VERY LARGE one in most cases. Considering the ratio troops are worn out - once you fight an organized enemy and not a neutral country fielding forts you will struggle to get much far when opposed.
More meat to the grinder is required or we fall even more in the trench war concept where everyone sits and wait in order to be the defender. (Unless you've Rocket Artillery)

The "One Step" army blocker
How many times you've been unlucky and 1 INF / ARM step or so survived, and stalled for 1 precious season your 15 steps horde of troops?
By how the game currently is - you will entirely waste 1 season to clear out 1 step with vastly superior forces - which anyhow cannot move out and re-engage in the very same 3 months. (A season)
There should be some form of "forced retreat" if you have a 5:1 or so ratio of land steps in a region after combat. Troops that cannot retreat (Forts, defenders that cannot retreat otherwise) are elimited in an exchange way (1 step of it destroys 1 step of the attackers)

War production too thin
Nations want to do something - usually it's land grab since seas are not productive but are needed as resource lands for some (West almost exclusively).
Meanwhile political cards look fine in their current incarnation, once war triggers troops are often quickly spent in their offensive power unless you have some tech superiority (Rocket Artillery, namely) which allows you some exploits (Entering Odessa with 20 infantry steps and hammer almost to non existance the dozen+ of Soviet defenders before they can shoot or so)
But once there is a decisive battle in a season, the losing side hardly recovers from it (Usually the situation is exploited by the third party which still have the best troops not spent yet though - which makes everyone reluctant to attack - linking up to the Trench War part)

The combined mix seems to lead the games either in sculpted patterns of peace lasting til '42 or so and then you go trench war mode with fights in Scandinavia, Persia or Afrika and Europe is mainly untouched.
A rushed war earlier tends to lead to victory of the non involved party that builds up and strikes at the most convenient time for it. (After having massed more peace dividends)
And in general what can be achieved in 1 year is very minimal because of Season / AC limits.
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David E
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Honestly, most of the things you object to are things I consider features, not bugs. I suspect your games are falling prey to local groupthink, as most of what you describe has not been my experience in the games I've played.
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Michael Sosa
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You might be falling into the rut of playing with the same group of people. You either have hit on the most efficient strategies (unlikely) or have gone down the wrong path.

I have seen 12 strength air force stacks combined with some ground wreck enemy positions. I personally don't like the probabilities involved but AFs are fine, specially attacking carriers. Your point about industrial bombardment is a fair one but getting your industry reduced can be so devastating that I think I'm fine with only 1s hitting.

Regarding Trench warfare, I have never seen that. Sometimes there is a bit of stalling in one front, but the stronger side just maneuvers around. If you are building up massive number of blocks you guys may be missing offensive opportunities.

One step army blocker, no issue. What's wrong with leaving a rearguard or weak front units to absorb that first strike capability and warn the stronger rear units the enemy is approaching? If you don't bring enough units to defeat that screen then either you are to blame or perhaps the defender surprised you with elite units well dug in. I don't have an issue with the vicissitudes of war, like when my Italian carrier and Germans subs sink the British home fleet with some lucky 1s. ;-)

War production too thin: I suggest you play with some other players. Every game I've played with my group we are constantly facing agonizing decisions about how to allocate resources, fighting multiple fronts. The game almost always turns into a three way fight. I agree that losing your main force is potentially game ending for you, but if the uninvolved player can be enticed to attack whomever just beat you, the game is on.
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Dave Boschen
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I personally agree that the tech upgrades are mostly not worth it. LSTs and sonar techs are situationally good, and of course rocket arty is nice. Otherwise upgrading industry 2x per turn when possible is almost always better. Some of the techs are a trap, they look nice but the opportunity cost is too high when you can buy the always useful IND levels.

Regarding aircraft, someone mentioned utilizing D12s to smooth out the probability of hits when rolling 1/6 odds. This is worth considering.
Also, consider that air, while weak vs ground, has the advantage of flexible deployment.

Your group is likely suffering from groupthink. This game relies on players maintaining a balance of power, but it sounds like your group might be throwing drunken haymaker punches. Our group evolved from being over aggressive to more a measured meta. Instead of going for the throat, and giving the game away to the third player, we now tend to commit more carefully and then solidify gains. We also tend to add pressure on multiple fronts rather than throwing a sledgehammer to the face in the form of an Uber zerg block horde. It's safer to reinforce a long front and be able to threaten enemy supply.
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juerg haeberli
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I would recommend to read some of the strategy posts in this forum.

Technologies.
So everybody is going for rocket artillery.
The metagame solution is heavy tanks.
What a suprise that nobody want AF tech if you dont use AF^s.

Air war.
I repeat again.
The AF is the best picket unit in the game.
It can be used as reconaissance. ( see trench war )
Its the most moveable unit in the game.
It is often the only way to gain numerical superiority for the attacker.

Trench war
Use reconaissance.
If you all are strong everywhere you are doing something wrong.
How can the West be strong in/around England and in India ?
How can the Soviets be strong on their western, northern, eastern and southern front ?
The Axis strong everywhere ?????

Action and troop shortage

Troop shortage
The OB of every nation defines this nation to a certain amount.
In our games troops run out very, very seldom.
How do you run out of troops if you have to buy action and investment cards and replace losses ?

Action shortage
Barabarossa was the largest movement of forces up to this date so use the largest action card.
Normaly such large campaigns take a lot of preparation and use up almost all available resources for 1 front.
( See Barbarossa )
So I think the action card system hits the nail on the head.

One step army blocker
So you found the heroes!
Happened to the Germans during the "Ardennen offensive"
A well dug in elite formation fighting to the bitter end can be very hard to dislodge.
So your troops almost made it but a few staunch defenders held the position.
300 anyone ?
This is mainly a strategic level game. For more tactical chrome you have to scale down the game to more tactical levels.

War production to thin

If the loss of your a major army group doesent spell trouble for the looser something is wrong.
( Look at the the Germans after Stalingrad )

Usually if there is a loosing side in a 3.player game ther is also a winning side.
So be flexible. Make the necessary deal with the nation that attacked you to stop the 3 man.

So at the end of the day its possible your regular game round has succumbed to group think, ( happened to us to ) find some other people to play with and see what happens.

If you want to see how a player develops follow my strategy posts and session reports by dates. The change is quite interesting to follow.

Best regards.

Jürg

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Michael Sosa
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Regarding one step heroes, I am in a game now as the West were Axis planned for a surprise offensive against Leningrad... by invading Finland in the Spring. They brought plenty of forces (Sweden had joined the Axis that year) but the Fins' one step fort held. Axis tried again in the Summer, and the Fins held! Axis withdraw to attack the West instead.

The Spring the Axis tried to take Finland Russians partition the country by taking the undefended Fin resource. When the Axis withdrew to fight the West Russians make their own attempt on the Fins in the Fall... and the Fin 1 step fort held once more! It wasn't until the next year the Helsinki fell to the Soviets.

We all thought it was historically plausible.
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Alberto Natta
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By troops running out I meant fieled troops with offensive ability (Decent sized blocks! Not 1 step cadres or 2 step weak blocks if you feel the enemy has strong blocks or cannot afford a risk).

Ardennes, 300 and such were very short stand offs. Not 3 months one.

Anyhow I am seeking to expand my gaming horizons with new players - I fully agree the group makes the game and each player with their playstyle dictates part of the game.
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Michael Sosa
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I'm looking to play on Vassal tomorrow, we need one more player.....
 
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Hannes Sörensson
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I have to agree regarding the techs. Something that has the potential to be rich and interesting ends up being mostly not worth it. I would like to see an overhauled investment deck, with better techs and more wildcards.
 
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Dave Boschen
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I think the tech cards primary feature is their IND turn in value. The secondary and more situational feature is the technology. Not the other way around.
From that perspective, the techs remain a nice alternative option, only situationally useful, but available none the less, for the sake of strategic flexibility.
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Max
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This type of discussion is very easily dismissed as "group think" or "inexperience" (and most times, rightly so), but for what it's worth, my group has met some of these behaviors too after ~20 games (5 with the new set up), and I agree with the original poster on certain points, in special from an Axis point of view:

Technologies are not good enough (Except Rocket Artillery)


Somewhat true. Rocket Artillery is obviously excellent, almost a necessity on a large scale attack, but Heavy Tanks, LST and Precision Bombsight are very good too in the right situation. The rest are way more circumstantial and sometimes totally useless. I'd like to see a 1945 Atomic Research 4 card, as the only two AR4 cards are too easily hoarded and it doesn't make any sense thematically not being able to make research because someone draw one of those cards earlier on the game. Some more 40's wildcards would be good, too.

The "Air Debate". (Precision bomsight)

Disagree. Precision Bombsight is a great strategy if you catch the enemy's capital not ready enough for it. For example, in my last game I destroyed 5 factories on Moscow with only two 4CV AFs taking off from Baltic States. UK won the game, but USSR was badly damaged for the end game.

G2 and N2 for AF would be way too good, but something like 1/2 free extra dice if you have air supremacy/superiority added on ground or naval combat rounds would be interesting.

The "Trench War"

Agree. About half of our games feature a heavily guarded border line from Odessa to Leningrad (even from Romania to Finland, if the soviets were aggressive enough). This, I don't mind, because history could have gone this way if Stalin were more cautious, but it's true that trying to break through this line is very, very hard, and you easily end up bogged down ww1-style. Armored tech and tactics were so improved that the feeling of the game should be a little bit more mobile. This is a matter of taste for a more historic scenario, and not really a fault of the game, I know.


Action and Troops shortage
and War production too thin

Somewhat disagree. I think most times this can be overcome with a well set-up double card play (usually Summer/Fall, and more or less easy to do, remember that you can play an "A" card from Spring as emergency command). A surprise attack, with full CV blocks and FF techs on a double card play is a really good fighting chance, any time. But it's true that a well-thought offensive can be totally wrecked if you roll bad the first season of the attack and the fortress keeps hitting with its dice. After that, it comes to who (usually the defender) can send more one-step blocks to the battle, ww1 attrition style.


The "One Step" army blocker

Not a problem for us. Sure, there's some grinding of teeth and swearing when this happens, but the laughter and cheering from the rivals totally makes up for it. And like the previous posters said, it's historic too!

I'd like to add a point:

Axis fights an uphill battle, and gets a lot worse if it is the first player in 1936

We are about to try this small home rule: The first turn order roll has to be 4 or 5. Otherwise, Axis has to telegraph its long term strategy (for us, the 3 main Axis strategies could be summed up as step-heavy on the east, the west, or on diplomatic cards), and the other 2 players can prepare their obvious answer easily, which creates a stand off where they both wait for the other to get attacked by the Axis, and if they are not, they both attack the Axis dominions by 1944. We've seen some action in Persia and India, but it's rare.


In short, I really like T&T as it is, a what-if not-just-ww2 sandbox with little rules overhead, and so, I'm very wary of introducing variants or home rules. But on my group, the Axis win-ratio is abysmal, and the feeling for a ww2 game is, sometimes, a bit off. Let's see if anyone has some ideas about easy ways to change this.
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Dave Boschen
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Regarding the so called "Trench War," I think you see a buildup because the war hasn't broken out yet. There's plenty of movement and fluidity in our games once war is declared.

The game is limited by the fact that the map is broken into country sized areas. If battle lines could be drawn more precisely, then you would have pockets and flanking actions, but the game would take 3 days to play out. Because the map areas are basically country sized, the fluidity of the battle is simplified. Rather than moving the line a mile, it moves 500 miles across an entire nations territory. And rather than 5 days of action, each turn is 3 months. Considering these factors, I don't think the game is too static at all. Just depends on the players level of aggression or hesitation.
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The choice of cards and how you play them also depends on the development level in the game.

- When you're behind in Industry early on, and it's limiting your Production Level, it doesn't make much sense to invest in Technology (except perhaps with an early attack strategy).

- Conversely, when your Industry is 20% greater than your Population and Resources, you can probably justify spending more on Technology at that point.

- The number of Neutrals that remain, also has an effect, especially if you have some good Command cards in your hand. Unless you're looking for some particular Diplomacy card, it makes sense to try for additional Technologies at that point.
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juerg haeberli
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Max:
In our games the Axis wins consistently.
The West has more problems.

If I have to go first as the Axis I would go for action/investment cards every time. ( except with a very unusual meta game )
None of your rivals is strong enough for a dangerous attack against you during next year.
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Max
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If Axis go first and draw, say, 7 more action cards, they will have 21 cards, and its rivals will similarly draw a few more cards than usual, will have about 20 cards between them, and they can wait to see how the Axis play half of their hand. Best case scenario for the Axis, they will take Poland and Turkey/Spain, and some minors like Austria or Czechoslovakia, so they gain about 12 CV steps in addition to the RES/POP.

I agree that this is the correct move, but nevertheless, the Axis needs as much luck with it as with a well prepared attack on USSR or Paris. Which usually is *a lot* of luck.

What happens if they fail to create satellites and its steps, or they don't gain as much RES as they need?
Their military prospects for an early or mid war then are grim, and probably the best plan would be to sit and try to win an economic victory, given the unreliability of the Atomic Research, but I don't like the odds of holding the resources against an allied attack in 44/45. And it's very difficult to convince one of them to attack the other on Asia while you are on the lead, so...
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juerg haeberli
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It looks like you play in a classic 2 against the Axis metagame.

If the Axis buys 7 action cards the West will buy zero ( if he plays for his best interests ) and the Sovjets will probabely buy 4 inv cards and 3 steps which leaves 2 action cards left.
So there should be around 21 Axis against 16 other cards held by two factions with differnt interests.
Your best case would be a wet dream come true if I played the Axis.
Usually I am happy with gobbeling up the Balkan states and Sweden and leave Poland as buffer between me and the Soviets and try to keep Turkey away from the Soviets.
I also try to keep the low countries as a buffer between me and the West to show my good will.
This seems a realistic scenario which does not make me the rival to beat on during the game.

In the late game the Axis should only be attacked if it is the leading player which defenitely will not always be the case.
The first attacker should loose the game sice Axis spends most of its defensive assets against him.
Yes the Axis will loose to but after rinsing and repeating for an unknown number of times the other two rivals should learn the lesson.
It can also lead to a truce between the first attacker and the Axis and both play then against the obvious leader.
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Michael Sosa
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I agree with most of the above. While it is certainly nice to go last as the Axis, they can bring overwhelming force into any objective regardless. If you are first you can use deception, those blocks you are building could be anything. And it isn't the Axis against the other two players. Make sure those games are played to their conclusion so the "Allies" can see only one of them can win.

In my games now it is almost always a three way fight. Persia and India are almost always fought over.

I don't think that house rule (Axis going last in 1936) is necessary.
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Dave Boschen
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It is, however, necessary for all of the players to understand and respect the delicate 3 way balance of power by making decisions which keep their victory conditions open.

Allies need blocks at the outset to defend France and UK. They also need to add blocks to the far East to prevent Russian capture of Delhi. The Germans can afford to wait on block production but have to be careful that they don't get hard countered diplomatically in a 2v1.

Everyone needs to remember how important it is to keep an open and active front between USSR and the Allies (this is typically in Asia).
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Doug DeMoss
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Quote:
Technologies are not good enough (Except Rocket Artillery)


Disagree. Most of them are VERY powerful in the right situation. Naval Search Radar can absolutely wreck a Kriegsmarine that thought it was going to get a surprise attack. I have seen Motorized Infantry win the game by getting to a capital that was thought to be out of reach. Sonar is huge for the West. Likewise LSTs.
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Doug DeMoss
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haeberich wrote:

Max:
In our games the Axis wins consistently.
The West has more problems.

If I have to go first as the Axis I would go for action/investment cards every time. ( except with a very unusual meta game )
None of your rivals is strong enough for a dangerous attack against you during next year.


Ah, but this is when the West is at their weakest. If they KNOW you won't come after them early, it takes some pressure off and lets them build their infrastructure up. Best case for the Axis is when the West is afraid enough in the early going that they crank out nothing but units instead of raising IND when you weren't planning to go after them anyway.
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Michael Sosa
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Who says you won't go after the West early by drawing a bunch of political cards? How about building a few steps for the spearhead, getting Spain to join the Axis in 1936 and declare war? I've done it and almost ... won. When I finally cleared Scotland of its fanatical defenders the US reinforced London....

I think the West always has to prepare or invite attack.
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Brett Johnson
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demoss1 wrote:
Quote:
Technologies are not good enough (Except Rocket Artillery)


Disagree. Most of them are VERY powerful in the right situation.


Concur. Totally disagree with original premise that the techs aren't "good enough."

In particular the premise that precision bombsight is "too weak." I think it is "just right" in both game and historical terms. Review the history of strategic bombing in WW2. It was not very effective. In particular, read the "THE UNITED STATES STRATEGIC BOMBING SURVEY,
Summary Report, (European War), September 30, 1945"

So far the only thing I've seen that could "improve" the tech approach in this game is a suggestion Gary Moody made. If everyone has the same "first fire" tech discard the tech and it can be researched anew by all - representing the constant spiral of improvements.
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Michael Tan
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Korval wrote:
In particular the premise that precision bombsight is "too weak." I think it is "just right" in both game and historical terms. Review the history of strategic bombing in WW2. It was not very effective. In particular, read the "THE UNITED STATES STRATEGIC BOMBING SURVEY,
Summary Report, (European War), September 30, 1945"

Yes but this is sandbox WW2 and not a simulation. If you're playing to "win" I really see no point in the precision bomb sight tech. It requires about a 12 production investment to meaningfully strategic bomb - 2 cards for the tech, let's say 8 production for the AF CVs, and 2 cards for about 12 command actions for 6 raids (2 4 CV blocks each). Then you're probably losing 1 AF CV per raid from his fortresses and AF, leaving 7 AF to destroy 1.17 industry per raid. You'll need to spend 6 more production to replace AF losses, so 18 production to cause 7 industry damage. Germany can probably rebuild that industry with about 11 investment cards or less if their POP and RES are their limiter. Thus at best you're exchanging 18 production for at BEST 11. Strategic bombing is a stinker...
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Doug DeMoss
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m3tan wrote:
Korval wrote:
In particular the premise that precision bombsight is "too weak." I think it is "just right" in both game and historical terms. Review the history of strategic bombing in WW2. It was not very effective. In particular, read the "THE UNITED STATES STRATEGIC BOMBING SURVEY,
Summary Report, (European War), September 30, 1945"

Yes but this is sandbox WW2 and not a simulation. If you're playing to "win" I really see no point in the precision bomb sight tech. It requires about a 12 production investment to meaningfully strategic bomb - 2 cards for the tech, let's say 8 production for the AF CVs, and 2 cards for about 12 command actions for 6 raids (2 4 CV blocks each). Then you're probably losing 1 AF CV per raid from his fortresses and AF, leaving 7 AF to destroy 1.17 industry per raid. You'll need to spend 6 more production to replace AF losses, so 18 production to cause 7 industry damage. Germany can probably rebuild that industry with about 11 investment cards or less if their POP and RES are their limiter. Thus at best you're exchanging 18 production for at BEST 11. Strategic bombing is a stinker...


Don't count the initial AF production because you're going to want those anyway. Also, keep in mind that part of what you're accomplishing is to make the enemy defend those areas with fortresses and AF.

Finally, note that although yes, it costs you production, you're not only killing production, you're killing VICTORY POINTS. Which is what it's all about.
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Michael Tan
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demoss1 wrote:
Don't count the initial AF production because you're going to want those anyway. Also, keep in mind that part of what you're accomplishing is to make the enemy defend those areas with fortresses and AF.

Except for US AF production, which is free, I'd never build that many AF. So maybe discount for the US AF production slightly. But if you're using it for strategic bombing, it means you're NOT using it to overstack land battles so I think you need to count the production because everything has an opportunity cost.

demoss1 wrote:
Finally, note that although yes, it costs you production, you're not only killing production, you're killing VICTORY POINTS. Which is what it's all about.

You're not killing VPs if the Axis just spend a few investment cards to replace them.

I find only ONE circumstance in which strategic bombing is useful. If IND is the lowest on the Axis production track AND you can damage more than 2 IND per year AND it prevents economic victory, then yes. Otherwise, I'll be glad every time my West opponent goes down that path...
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