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Daniel Berger
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Pete and I decided to play the Overlord scenario since it was our first game and because we were starting a bit late. Pete took the Allies while I took the Axis.

The Axis started by buzzing the Brits with V1 rockets. The Allies started by playing Valkyrie and, sure enough, he rolled a "6", which killed Hitler. An interesting start to our first game.

The Allies had a hard time landing on the beach since I used a forward defense and took extra losses rather than give ground, figuring it was better to stall for time than to fall back right away. To that end I gave the Allies negative modifiers whenever I could, and used cards like Wittman, Jet Interceptors, and Secret Redeployment to foil Allied attacks. The Germans, on the other hand, made no attacks of their own, choosing to preserve their precious forces rather than make risky counterattacks that would do little more than cause a step loss or two, at best.

The Allies did surprise me by making a landing in Southern France but I was largely able to contain them. Although the Allies were about a turn behind schedule, they were still making progress. Unfortunately for Pete, I drew the Donitz card as soon as possible (turn 7), and played it right away. For those that don't know, that card ends the game at the end of the current turn. We finished out the turn, but it was hopeless for the Allied player on that kind of shortened schedule.

Result: German victory at the end of turn 7.

Post Game Thoughts

Obviously this was a bit of an outlier since Hitler died right away. I don't think I would ever play it for the event since it strikes me as a 1-in-6 chance for the Allies to almost certainly lose the game. Even if that had not happened, there's still the Hitler Dies event. I also drew that card on turn 7, so even if Pete had not killed Hitler with Valkyrie, I simply would have killed Hitler on turn 7, held the Donitz card, and the game would have ended at the end of turn 8. That's still not enough time for the Allies to win.

Anyway, it was still relatively fun, with lots of interesting events to read and consider. The rules are easy to digest (though you'll need the FAQ & errata), and the game can be played in one sitting.
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Michael Rinella
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Interesting AAR.

Leaving aside the fact that it's the scenario and the Allied player has to live with the historical outcomes of turns 1, 2, and 3, it was a serious dose of good luck that Hitler died, the Allies couldn't control a hex in Germany, and then Donitz appeared at the top of the Axis deck. Almost an outlier of an outlier. Never saw it happen in playtesting over a couple of years.

An Axis Donitz win shouldn't happen in more than one in fifty games based on my experience. The Allies should be knocking at the door of the German border by the end of 1944 and the decks are pretty much at their largest at the start of 1945; the German hand size, conversely, will be shrinking. The Allied player must be aware of the Donitz event and do what they can to prevent it during 1944 (and 1943 if playing the full campaign). I've read of one Allied player that goes full-tilt to collapse the Axis infrastructure which is another option.

We gave the Donitz option to the Axis to keep the game interesting for them in the end game and to keep the Allied player on edge. Just like the historical Axis the Axis player can cling to the hope of a negotiated peace before the Soviets overrun Eastern Europe. It's unlikely but it was within the realm of the possible. Stalin certainly feared it.
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Judd Vance
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WICHITA
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djberg96 wrote:

Post Game Thoughts

Obviously this was a bit of an outlier since Hitler died right away. I don't think I would ever play it for the event since it strikes me as a 1-in-6 chance for the Allies to almost certainly lose the game. Even if that had not happened, there's still the Hitler Dies event. I also drew that card on turn 7, so even if Pete had not killed Hitler with Valkyrie, I simply would have killed Hitler on turn 7, held the Donitz card, and the game would have ended at the end of turn 8. That's still not enough time for the Allies to win.

Anyway, it was still relatively fun, with lots of interesting events to read and consider. The rules are easy to digest (though you'll need the FAQ & errata), and the game can be played in one sitting.


In a traditional campaign game, the Allies will probably take Paris and Marseilles on Turn 6. If not, they lose the game. Often, I find the Germans are putting up a stiff resistance trying to hold on to Paris and secure the auto-victory. If that breaks, there is not a lot stopping the Allies. But they still have to rush like crazy to get that one hex in Germany on Turn 7 to prevent that tactic. I often rush the Marseilles force up to Belfort and try to break across Freiburg or The Saar. Using Ike's broad front strategy, I'm looking for multi-hex attack on the weakest point.

Once that happens, you stopped all German chances of shutting you down and you have to get that VP meter to zero and still conquer Antwerp/Scheldt and Kiel to get that final attack in supply.

It's rush, rush, rush for the Allies. No rest for the weary.
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Michael Rinella
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There may be something to be said for not playing the Valkyrie event in 1944, but in 1945 instead. Haven't thought about that much but - perhaps. I still think there are reasons to play it in 1944.
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Daniel Berger
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Well, let's do some analysis.

There are 21 Axis cards for 1943, but the Overlord scenario starts with 9 removed, leaving 12.

Of those 12, the following are removable events:

#2 - OKW Intervenes
#12 - Schweinfurt
#15 - von Vietinghoff
#18 - Axis Reinforcements
#21 - Italian Social Republic

In practice, I only see #15 not necessarily being played for the event. That effectively leaves 8 cards from 1943 pile in the deck.

There 20 cards for 1944. Of those a whopping 15 are removable events:

#22 - von Luck*
#24 - V-1 Buzz Bombs
#26 - Wittman*
#27 - V-2 Rockets
#28 - Channel Storm
#29 - Secret Redeployment*
#30 - Panther Brigades
#31 - Luttich
#32 - Axis Reinforcements
#35 - Axis Reinforcements
#37 - Autumn Mist
#38 - Axis Reinforcements
#39 - Production Miracle
#40 - Panzer Refit
#41 - Volkssturm*

The ones marked with a '*' are combat cards that can be played during the Allied turn, so I have 18 rounds, plus defensive combat opportunities, to remove 20 one-time events during turns 4-6. For those reading who are unfamiliar with the game, this is not as difficult as it sounds because 7 of those cards are Ops + Event, so it's not like the Axis has to sacrifice tons of Ops to thin his deck.

In practice only #31 and #37 might not get played, with #41 being situational. For the sake of argument, I'll leave it in. That effectively leaves 8 cards from the 1944 pile in the deck.

The 1945 deck has 14 cards. Assuming that the Axis has removed as many events as he can, and you can bet that I always will, the Axis player could go into 1945 with as few as 30 cards. For the sake of argument, let's say that the Axis either doesn't draw or can't play a couple of those events for whatever reason and goes into 1945 with a total of 35 cards.

Figure the Axis draws 9 cards on turn 7. That means there's a roughly 25% chance that the Axis player will draw "Hitler Dies" on turn 7. Then the Axis just needs to draw Donitz, either on turn 7 (and hold it) or turn 8.

I'm pretty sure I can keep the Allies out of Germany until the end of turn 7, hence my comment that a certain percentage of games will end with an early Axis victory. I don't know the exact oddes, but I think the "Valkyrie Combo of Doom" that happened in our game occurs closer to 1 in 25 games or so (instead of 50).
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Peter Stubner
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Englewood
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An Allied counter strategy to try, in the Overlord Scenario at least (my only experience to date) is to hammer the Axis with continuous Attack OPs and RPs OP to capture a German hex before turn 7. There are some juicey events you may have to forgo at first pass and concentrate on Carpet Bombing, TAC air combat support, and Oil shortage (to reduce Axis RP ability).
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Michael Rinella
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If there is a 1 in 25 chance when playing the Overlord scenario, so be it. That's quite a bit different than the 1 in 4 chance I saw claimed by someone in the ratings (wasn't clear if that was for the campaign game or the Overlord scenario).

As the Allied player playing that scenario if I was worried my opponent was aiming for a "keep 'em out of Germany until Turn 7 or Turn 8" I might consider largely shutting down the Italian front until I do get that one hex in Germany.
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Robert Mull
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Woodland Park
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Had a similar ending in my first game of Festung Europa yesterday.

Axis lost lower Italy but held the Arno river line. Overlord landed on the first Allied impulse of Spring 44 but the Allies were held on the beachhead for Spring and most of Summer, when they finally captured Cherbourg and then Falaise. Axis held Le Harve, Paris and Tours through the Fall season.

Come Winter 45 (turn 7) after adding the 1945 cards the Axis had 35 cards in their deck, drew a hand of 10 cards and got both Hitler Dies and Donitz. Meanwhile the Allies drew 8 cards (V1 and V2 both in effect) and pulled six 1 Ops and two 2 Ops. We discussed the situation (it was a friendly learning game) and clearly the Axis would have played Hitler Dies in Turn 7 and then Donitz at the start of turn 8, only being prevented by the Allies holding a hex in Germany. Estimating the chance of reaching and taking a German hex with that hand to be minimal the Allies conceded.

Clearly with a better hand the Allies might have had a chance to reach a German hex (possibly via Italy), but the ability to place RPs in the middle of the turn and RD reinforcements continuously allows the Axis to hold a no-retreat position a long time. Also we did not play with the optional card draw rules (19.1 and 19.2) which would have helped the Allies, although that might also make the chance of a Hitler Dies/Donitz combo even more likely.

We will try this again soon.
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Michael Rinella
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Anything can happen, of course, but I'm going to ask: were you using the Beach Head hex stacking rules? When the Allies have five units in an Overlord Beach Head hex I don't know how the Germans could survive six action rounds a turn in Spring, Summer, and Fall and then the Winter of 1945 too. True, some cards could slow the Allies like Wittman but on the flip side there are plenty of advantages for the Allies too.

I also don't know how the Germans could have been playing V1 and V2 as events during 1944 in that situation. They would need every action round just to rush units to the front and perhaps play a card for replacements (or an event that grants replacements).

I would expect six to eight Action Rounds to achieve a breakout in France.

Perhaps the Allied player was dividing OPS points between fronts and not attacking in France every Action Round? If so, that was something to learn from. When you land in France that has to become your near absolute focus and Italy can be left for 1945.
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