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Subject: interesting 1914 session rss

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Tim Taylor
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My good friend LL had finally played TTLM with me the week before -- 1915 intro scenario basic rules. He immediately wanted to play again the next week, but insisted on the 1914 scenario. This is the most unstable and unforgiving scenario, really only suitable for experienced players in my opinion. I insisted on playing the Entente since I was the most experienced player and this is the more challenging side.

The next week we met up at my place as per usual and I had the historical set up all ready to go. The narrative I now give is based on post-game discussions. I took no notes and rely entirely on my faulty memory.

We played with most Advanced and Historical rules as well as two Optional rules: The Advantage and d12 Combat.

I thought LL’s initial turn was exemplary. The attack on Liege by 1st army was held up, no surprise there. Luxembourg was occupied and he moved a cavalry unit into Ardennes. Mandated French attacks into Germany resulted in many casualties on both sides, but the French lost cards and LL chose to lose a mix of units and cards. After this ineffectual attack (from the French POV) their armies retreated back into France. After LL’s first turn, things were looking bad for the French, but I had shaken him. Afterwards he reacted rather than acting. The effects were astounding. LL completely scrapped the Schlieffen plan and turned all his forces southwards!

Although Liege fell, French reinforcements ensured Namur would be a tough nut to crack. Cavalry battles in the Ardennes escalated into the German 2nd and 3rd armies vs. the French 5th. German armies concentrated on attacking into Verdun, Nancy, Belfort, and Mulhausen. But attacking into rough terrain well-defended by Forts and French armies just bled the Germans of cards and units. Rough terrain negates one hit inflicted on the defender, meaning the Germans were suffering greater attrition than the French despite their numerical superiority.

I kept mentioning that LL should not leave his right flank open after he retreated from Namur and Antwerp. I told him my British cavalry could swoop down and cut his supply lines, but he was too worried about a French invasion of Germany (his armies were much weaker than I realized)! Thus when the UK cavalry finally did get behind his front lines, he had to “advance to the rear” and re-establish supply. Now the only battles were in eastern France.

I offered lenient peace terms, essentially status quo ante bellum except that I demanded a plebiscite to determine the fate of Alsace and Lorraine. LL incredulously declined. I just smiled and entrenched my armies while he had to put all his Build Points into cards.

Autumn 1914 was a brutal turn for the Germans as LL attacked into the teeth of entrenched armies and Forts. The Germans suffered massive casualties in these attacks prompting LL to retreat all German armies back into Germany. In the following Entente player turn four full strength French armies attacked into Germany from Metz right on down the line to Mulhausen. These attacks revealed German armies in a parlous state and LL was forced to remove all his forces from Belgium in order to shore up the French front. He left only a cavalry screen protecting Aachen and northern Germany. Although French losses in these attacks had been heavy, it was clear the French could not be dislodged from their positions in Germany.

So by the end of Autumn 1914 all of France and most of Belgium were Entente controlled while German armies were on the ropes defending Germany!

One last time I offered peace terms, but this time I demanded the return of all French territories annexed by Germany in 1871, all German colonies would be taken over by the Entente, and all operations on the eastern front were to halt immediately. What choice did LL have? He surrendered.

Playing time was about 90 minutes.

I have seen many references to the impossibility of a French win in 1914, much less a Decisive Victory. I thought I’d provide this counter-example.
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Alex Berry
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When is the Eastern Front expansion coming out?
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Roger Hobden
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Thanks for the AAR !



 
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Matthias Desbois
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nice epic game, txs
 
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Tim Taylor
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In retrospect, LL did give major clues that his German armies had been beat to $#¡† by his fruitless attacks against French forces in rough terrain.

He began to play Offensive cards and then not attacking anywhere!

I had never seen this done consistently before. Sure, maybe one Offensive just to move troops, but this was turn after turn of moving and not attacking.

If I'd been paying more attention I would not have ascribed this to simply being relatively unfamiliar with the game.

***

Oh, and regarding At All Costs! I'm still looking for a publisher.
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Piero
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Herr Niemand wrote:

Oh, and regarding At All Costs! I'm still looking for a publisher.


Oh, wouldn't Nuts! Publishing consider your game for publication too?
 
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