Previously : Rhineland reoccupied, Ethiopia conquered, Japan invades China, Anschluss, Russian purges, Spanish Civil War starts and stalemates, CW and France establish new Entente Cordiale, Persia conquered, Germany and Italy sign a second pact, Czechoslovakia sacrificed, Bessarabia seized, Finland attacked, Germany conquers Belgium and Denmark, CW and France declare war but French border rapidly overrun.
Sep / Oct 1939
Next morning, the politics phase is dull but necessary, being mostly owed options and bid point collection. At which point the session is brought to a sudden end by Easyjet cancelling Swiss Andy’s flight home from Manchester. Off he scoots to Stockport to get a train to London to theoretically catch a flight from London City airport. Good luck with that...
So imagine now that several months have passed and everyone except Greg, our Japan / Italy player, has almost completely forgotten the state of the game. First thing I want to know is – where have all those zombies come from?
Sorry, where have all those Germans come from? Our Soviet player is again enjoying the delights of budget European flights so will arrive late in the evening – to pass the time, we set up Pax Romana and play a couple of turns (but with our usual vague grasp of the rules).
Andy arrives from the airport, consumes a curry and we commence. First roll of the new session and the French bounce an unforgiving die down one of the dueling dice towers for military initiative. The Democrats (specifically the French) could really do with winning this – but it’s a 2. Hmmm, the only way the Fascists can lose is … er …, they can’t as their roll is at +1 and the Democrats went first last turn. Doesn’t stop them rolling 1 to rub that in, mind. The communists roll large but opt to go last so that Andy can have a shower in the morning for it is now 1am and time for bed. After a small whisky.
Next morning: First up the Fascists –
The Nationalists attack in Spain. Their FTR is shot down by the Republican bomber and the defenders repulse the attack killing the Fascist INFDIV.
The Japanese ground strike two Chinese units but miss. Germany ground strikes Paris, shooting down a French FTR in the process. Undeterred by the ineffectiveness of their air force, the IJA attacks across a river to clear out the approaches to Cheng Tu and succeeds as usual (+5, DR 17). Most of the Nationalists are now isolated, with the final nationalist city now in reach.
Not such good Fascist progress in Europe though. Paris does not fall despite a +11 attack (7 rolled) after a French bomber flies from Marseilles to lend support, a CW Spitfire dies defending French honour but is avenged by a French bomber shooting down a German FTR. The French reorganize, the CW attack a lone German corps outside Lille and destroy it. The Chinese Nationalists retreat towards their last city.
The Communists fall to flip any Finnish troops and decline the attack in the rain.
The Fascists roll the next weather and it is fine everywhere. The Japanese attack at +5 again and roll 18. Three more Chinese units wiped off the map and Greg is one more roll away from taking the Nationalist Chinese out of the game.
The Luftwaffe are now uncontested in most of France and ground strike Paris and a reinforcing stack with a 5 and 3 factor bomber respectively. They miss. I think we can actually see Andy P's luck being siphoned off to the other end of the map. However undeterred by this, Metz is attacked at +9 and Andy rolls 14 – the city falls. The Germans despatch 2 out of supply CW Militia and attack Lille with its sole remaining flipped WP Militia. Barrel scraping provides 2 points of ground support for the embattled defenders who withstand the attack and take out another Germ INF Corp. Lille stands alone.
The French regroup around Paris, Vichy and Lyon (La Ligne de Beurre) and await the next onslaught. The Chinese cannot do anything. The CW do a naval and move boys around.
The next weather roll is fine everywhere again and Greg’s Japanese launch a final attack at +5, a 14 is rolled and Nationalist China is conquered. Over the past two and a bit turns the Japanese have rolled five combats and have destroyed ten Chinese corps and three divs for the loss of only three units themselves (almost certainly divs and militia) and captured three cities. At no point did they have better odds than +5 – but rolling 15, 16, 17, 18 and 14 will work for most people and if you are going have some luck, you'd better use it.
Greg often appears to hoover up luck from his opponents, but delivering this series of Japanese rolls has meant that his ally has had to “share” as well. Andy P gathers his German forces for a final assault on Paris but again the dice cheat him of a result delivering the dreaded 14 result (three units lost when attacking a city).
In the end of turn phase, US entry option 26 is played allowing relocation of the US fleet to Hawaii. I’d like to think that Japan is bothered by this, but I think they are more concerned about the hordes of Chinese zombies now roaming East Asia.