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Darren Kilfara
United Kingdom
Dunbar
East Lothian
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So, being rather knowledgeable about World War II - not to mention the author of a novel about a 16-year-old WWII wargamer* - I've been given the opportunity to speak to my 11-year-old daughter's primary school class here in Scotland, as they're in the process of working through a month-long module about the war. In talking with the teacher about the subject matter I should cover, I mentioned that I have this game called Quartermaster General which both my daughter and my nine-year-old son have played and enjoyed, and suggested that it might be fun to divide the class into six teams and play the game as a way of teaching them about the war and how it might have turned out differently. Much to my surprise, it looks like the teacher is taking me up on that offer in a few weeks' time...and so to help shorten the game time while getting right to the heart of the war, I've created starting scenario for QG which begins at the start of Round 8, with the map more or less poised as it was historically at the start of June 1941.

My goal is for this to be a playable, balanced and historical scenario for anyone who likes QG and doesn't have time for a full game while also being capable of teaching young kids a bit of history at a rather high level. Any and all feedback would be appreciated!

START: Round 8 (Germany to play)
AXIS VPs at START: 78
ALLIED VPs AT START: 74
STARTING CARDS: Deal each player 10 cards, of which three must be discarded before the game begins (as at the start of a normal game)...although for my daughter's class I'll probably just discard three cards at random from each deck - or pick three cards with the most problematical rules to explain! - before dealing 7 cards to each country

GERMANY SETUP
Armies: Germany, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Western Europe
Navy: Baltic Sea
Active Status cards: "Conscription", "Bias for Action"
Discard pile: 3x Build Army, 1x Build Navy, "Submarines" Economic Warfare card (version which forces the UK to discard 3 cards)

BRITAIN SETUP
Armies: United Kingdom, Middle East, India, Africa
Navies: North Sea, Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean
Active Status card: "Lord Linlithgow Declares India to be at War"
Discard pile: 2x Build Army, 2x Build Navy, 1x Sea Battle (used to battle an Italian Navy in the Med), "General Smuts Strengthens Ties to UK" Event card (played as the Event), plus 3 cards chosen at random (discarded on account of Germany's "Submarines" Economic Warfare card play)

JAPAN SETUP
Armies: Japan, China, Iwo Jima
Navies: Sea of Japan, Central Pacific
Face-down Response card: "Truk" (available for immediate use) - or, in an adult game, before starting the game and after setting up the discard pile as below, shuffle all Response cards separately, deal 3 to the Japanese player, let him pick 1, then shuffle all remaining Response cards into the Japanese deck
Discard pile: 2x Build Army, 2x Build Navy, "Kwantung Army" Response card (played in response to the Soviet "Mao Tse-tung" card), "Battleship Repairs" Response card (discarded on account of the USA's "Magic" Event card play)

RUSSIA SETUP
Armies: Moscow, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan
Navies: none
Active Status cards: "Guards", "Shvernik's Evacuation Council"
Discard pile: 2x Build Army, 1x Land Battle (used to eliminate an Italian army in the Balkans - representing the initial repulse of the Italian invasion of Greece), "Mao Tse-tung" Event card (attempting to eliminate a Japanese army in China), "German-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Demarcation" Event card (played as the Event)

ITALY SETUP
Armies: Italy, Balkans
Navy: Mediterranean Sea
Active Status cards: "Mare Nostrum", "Balkan Resources", "Impero Italiano"
Discard pile: 2x Build Army, 2x Build Navy

UNITED STATES SETUP
Armies: Eastern US, Western US, Hawaii
Navies: North Atlantic, East Pacific
Active Status cards: "Rosie the Riveter", "Flexible Resources"
Discard pile: 2x Build Army, 2x Build Navy, "Magic" Event card (played as the Event)

*The novel in question is called Do You Want Total War?, and you should all go and buy it immediately. For more information, check out:
https://www.amazon.com/Do-You-Want-Total-War/dp/0992668700/r...
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Steve
United Kingdom
Farnham
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Best of luck. I'll be watching this thread with interest, hoping it turns out to be a great experience.

And I already have your fine novel on my Kindle.
 
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Darren Kilfara
United Kingdom
Dunbar
East Lothian
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By the way, I'd really appreciate the perspective of experienced QG players on whether this scenario is in fact balanced. (I've played the game maybe 5-6 times myself, so not a newbie but not a grognard either.) Britain getting into India and near Australia so early in the game is an obvious bonus relative to the median game; are there any other obvious anomalies?

If the Axis aren't favored enough, one obvious choice would be to change the German play of "Submarines" for "Swedish Iron Ore" earlier in the game, giving the Axis an extra two VPs per turn with Scandinavia and the Baltic under German control, and letting Japan start the game with a VP-adding Status card in play instead of a Response card face-down might also help. On the other hand, if the Allies are overly strong, changing "Mare Nostrum" for "Bravado" would be an easy Italian switch, while swapping one of the US Status Cards for "American Volunteer Group Expands" would be a more significant alternative (although leaving Szechuan empty at the start of the game would at least give Japan a chance to start the game by occupying it with a Build Army card).
 
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Darren Kilfara
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Dunbar
East Lothian
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slashing wrote:
Best of luck. I'll be watching this thread with interest, hoping it turns out to be a great experience.

And I already have your fine novel on my Kindle.


Thanks, Steve - I appreciate it (on both counts)!
 
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Peter Bakija
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kilfara wrote:
By the way, I'd really appreciate the perspective of experienced QG players on whether this scenario is in fact balanced.


In terms of a historically accurate setup for the game, it looks very solid and an interesting variant.

In terms of an alternate way to set up the game and start it out, I suspect that the Axis are going to get crushed from this position. But then, as it is meant as a historical recreation for a class of 11 year olds, that is probably ok :-)

In terms of an actual game, if Japan doesn't have India or Australia at this point, the Axis is generally doomed; Japan also usually has some armies in play by virtue of a response (SNLF, Destroyer Transports, China Offensive) and not so much just build armies. And the UK is set up in a vastly stronger position than it usually is--based on the cards in discard piles, the UK has a "free" army and a "free" navy".
 
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Sean McCormick
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bakija wrote:
kilfara wrote:
By the way, I'd really appreciate the perspective of experienced QG players on whether this scenario is in fact balanced.


In terms of a historically accurate setup for the game, it looks very solid and an interesting variant.

In terms of an alternate way to set up the game and start it out, I suspect that the Axis are going to get crushed from this position. But then, as it is meant as a historical recreation for a class of 11 year olds, that is probably ok :-)

In terms of an actual game, if Japan doesn't have India or Australia at this point, the Axis is generally doomed; Japan also usually has some armies in play by virtue of a response (SNLF, Destroyer Transports, China Offensive) and not so much just build armies. And the UK is set up in a vastly stronger position than it usually is--based on the cards in discard piles, the UK has a "free" army and a "free" navy".


Good points, but if the object is to teach the history, it's probably a feature not a bug that Japan begins doomed.
 
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Darren Kilfara
United Kingdom
Dunbar
East Lothian
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Thanks for the suggestions - sounds like I need to rein in the Brits somewhat and/or give the Axis powers more of a VP lead at the start (e.g., by not only having Germany play "Swedish Iron Ore" early but also giving Japan credit for playing the Status card that gives them a VP for Iwo Jima). I think having the Axis start 15-20 points in front is a good way of teaching the history anyway - either the Axis delivers a quick knockout blow, or the Allies will be able to come back strongly and push the VP count right to the wire.

I'll look more closely at everything presently and come back with a revised variant...it now seems as though my daughter's school likes the idea I've proposed so much that I'll now be walking all five classes of kids in her year through the game and not just one! (D-Day for me appears to be October 13 - I'll keep you all posted.)
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Simon Croquet
France
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Awesome project. I wish you a good D-Day and will be monitoring this thread.
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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Japan should start with some responses in play to allow them to pull off their historical rapid offensive.
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Ian Brody
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Woodstock
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I don't think you should worry about having the starting setup look like you had played 7 turns. Pick out what you think will provide the best historical effect and go from there.... You can't consider the turns to be of equal length, like 3 months or something. The narrative of History (and life) is episodic - there can be many months of nothing, and then a couple days of intense experience which creates the story. (If you think of the Band of Brothers series, some episodes cover months, while others are just a couple days.) Just my 2 cents!


Looking forward to see you results!


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nath benn
United Kingdom
Plymouth
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Great idea,

I have brought to my Primary school a whole range of games to teach certain
histories or ideas etc.

In the past month I have played more than my fair share of QMG and will be looking to invest in a copy so that I can teach and play. Depending on how it goes for you I will prob look at copying the scenario started although we could also just play the game from the start.

Good luck looking forward to seeing how it goes.

 
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Darren Kilfara
United Kingdom
Dunbar
East Lothian
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Thanks for the replies, guys. I've been designing a list of A5-sized cards that each of the kids can have in front of them - each card has the name and photo of a leader or advisor for their given country, as well as the QG turn order by country at the bottom to make sure they know when they're up next to make a decision. The names/photos are there largely for roleplaying purposes - it's more fun to "be" a historical leader in this context than for everything to be completely abstract, I think! - although the kids will also then take away their cards and research their character as a short homework assignment, writing a paragraph about who they represented in the game.

Actually, I could throw this open to you guys...maybe you might wish to proof the leaders I've chosen for each country? These aren't always the people closest to the military decision-making structures in each country; some of them are there for narrative (e.g., Rommel, and Hess insofar as he flew to Scotland and I live in Scotland), although for the life of me I couldn't find five even remotely interesting Italian leaders. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Germany: Hitler (leader), Goering, Doenitz, Rommel, Hess
Britain: Churchill (leader), Montgomery, Mountbatten, Brooke, Cunningham
Japan: Tojo (leader), Yamamoto, Sugiyama, Nagano, Yamashita
Soviet Union: Stalin (leader), Molotov, Zhukov, Vasilevsky, Timoshenko
Italy: Mussolini (leader), Ciano, Cavallero, Badoglio, Riccardi
United States: Roosevelt (leader), Marshall, King, Eisenhower, Nimitz
 
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Marcus Straßmann
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kilfara wrote:

some of them are there for narrative (e.g., Rommel, and Hess insofar as he flew to Scotland and I live in Scotland)


If you are looking for a more involved person to replace Hess (whose only remarkable "achievement" was indeed the flight to Britain), I would suggest v.Manstein, v.Rundstedt or Paulus (for explaining "Blitzkrieg" or "Stalingrad", respectively) and Todt / Speer (for kind of "real-life quartermasters").

Any feedback from your class so far? Your D-Day was due recently, wasn't it?

I am curious as well as to how your project works. All the best, anyway!



Marcus
 
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Darren Kilfara
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Dunbar
East Lothian
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Sorry, I've been remiss in reporting back on how everything has gone so far! (Last week was the half-term holidays, and my family and I were away in Spain.)

To summarise, everyone has had a great time so far, to the point where one teacher and several of the kids have asked me where they could find and buy the game themselves. (I even heard of one conversation in which two boys said the game was "boss!", which I'm reliably informed is a good thing.) In addition to the physical board/pieces/cards, I also copied the map to a PowerPoint file and moved a set of virtual pieces around on a screen at the front of the room even as the real pieces were being moved around on the physical board. Whenever a given country was next up to move, the 4-5 kids in that team would come up to the physical map and figure out what to do; otherwise, everyone would stay seated and study the PowerPoint map.

I quickly discovered that I'd have to dumb the game down a bit for everyone. These were 11-year-olds who had mostly never played a strategy game anything like this before (one or two had played Risk), and the concept of chaining Response cards together or even really to play Status cards with a strategic purpose at all was very difficult for them. In the end I decided to make Response cards playable without having first been played face down, and also to allow a few other illegalities (e.g., letting a US army built in Szechuan remain in supply even without the supply center there having been formed) that made the game more interesting or the history more teachable.

Anyway, to quickly summarise the three games themselves, each of which lasted roughly 8 turns from our 1941-ish starting point:

--In the first game, the Western countries did a Europe-first strategy and ended the game with US and UK armies in Western Europe, with Italian armies defending Germany and Italy. The Euro Axis had focused on the USSR - the game ended with only one Soviet unit on the map, an army in Mongolia - while Japan had taken Australia and generally evicted the US from the Eastern Hemisphere. I think I'd just shade this game in favor of the Axis, although it could have been very different if the US and UK could have figured out how to multiply their power in Western Europe and keep hammering Germany or Italy in unison.

--In the second game, the main development was the formation of a joint USSR-UK army in the Ukraine which eventually moved into the Balkans and threatened Germany and Italy that way...but again, they weren't able to seal the deal, and by the end the Italians had retaken the Balkans, while dual Axis armies defended Western Europe. Japan made it into Australia but got kicked out by the end of the game. I'd probably call this one a draw.

--In the third game, Japan was struggling by the end, with three US armies in/adjacent to China and the Brits cutting across their supply line to New Zealand; territorially, the Euro Axis held its own, but they were also hit by lots of Strategic Warfare cards. Call this one a marginal Allied win.

Two more games are due to take place on Thursday - I'll try to write about them in a more timely fashion!
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Darren Kilfara
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Dunbar
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Right...the final two games were played earlier today:

--In the fourth game, Germany started by attacking Ukraine, and Britain countered immediately by building an army in Ukraine, which seems to have become a common Allied strategy in this scenario. The Euro Axis pushed hard into Russia, Germany having played the Blitzkrieg Status Card and used it to good effect; Moscow was briefly occupied, but the Western Allies were able to invade Western Europe, while a timely Soviet play of Vasilevsky kicked Japan off the Asian mainland. In the end, Japan had contracted back to Iwo Jima, and the Euro Axis wasn't doing much better; definitely a win for the Allies.

--In the fifth and final game, I decided to remove the British army from Africa and fleet from the Indian Ocean at the start of the game to even things up a bit...but of course the Brits quickly got the card that let them build an army in Australia, so they were off to the races. Japan could never find a Build Army card in a timely fashion, and as such Britain wound up steamrolling as far as China and even Sea Battled the Sea of Japan; that caused every other Japanese unit to die from lack of supply, although the final Japanese move before that happened was a Land Battle from the Pacific Northwest into the Western United States! Meanwhile, in Europe Germany again used the Blitzkrieg card to devastating effect, capturing Moscow, and Russia looked about ready to disappear from the war, but just at the last moment the USA played Murmansk Convoy and Russia played Shvernik's Evacuation Council, allowing Russia to at least survive to game's end (and even Land Battle the Italians out of Moscow with their final card play). Because Russia and Japan both suffered so greatly, I figure this one was probably about a draw.

Again, everyone had fun, and I greatly enjoyed helping the kids experience a little bit of WWII history.
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