Chris Heap Senhouse
My wife and I played the introductory version twice, then
decided to try out the full campaign. We are really novice
wargamers, only really having played BattleLore before,
but wanted to learn something more complex. So far it's taking
us quite a long number of hours to finish the game.
I am playing the Central Powers, and decided to play Guns of August,
and keep my offensive focus on France. Finally on turns 13-14,
that is paying off as France is starting to crumble. I believe
my wife should be doing less to respond to me there and
counterattacking from Russia instead, but we're not sure how
to figure out good strategy for either side.
Also, Turkey and Italy seem pretty pointless - I've only fought
with Turkish units twice to fulfill mandated offensives.
The event cards in the Total War decks haven't really been played,
as it always seems preferable to use the small ones for Ops and
the big ones for RPs.
It has left us feeling like we aren't understanding something(s)
about the game. Since everyone raves about it, I wanted to find
out what we're missing as far as basic strategies, what the point
of the smaller nations are other than versimillitude, and why
the events don't seem worth it. Any advice?
Its quite a big leap from Battlelore to Paths of Glory, I wouldn't be suprised if you are a bit disorientated, especially in your first game.
A fair few of the Late War events probably shouldn't be played: if you play them all you end up with a pretty small and weak deck. However, some events are stronger than others. For example Sinai Pipeline, plus Allenby, puts a British Army in the Middle East which can demolish Turkey if the CP player doesn't respond.
Some of the weaker nations are just there for historical accuracy as it were- Montenegro for example. Turkey and Italy are the weak underbelly of their respective sides. Allied offensives inthe Near East and German offensives in Italy threaten to win large numbers of points and can draw away enemy troops and cards from the main fronts.
The game's strategy involves managing multiple fronts and comittments. If you have both been concentrating on the Western Front then the war will tend to become one of attrition and trenches rather than a war of maneuvre. Which may be rather less strategic, and is anyway probably in the Allies favour (they have better replacement rates if they spread casualties between Britain and France, and anyway they can win in the long run just by waiting for Blockade to do its work). The war gets more interesting and open if you play more than one front.
I hope this helps, I only started playing this game a few months ago myself.
That's an impressive jump in complexity...but it sounds like you've already toughed out the hardest part. I strongly encourage you to invest a few more playings. As you get to know the cards better, the decision-making takes on a new level. Also, the weak/strong points in the intial set-up will be more apparent. When you start to anticipate things rather than simply reacting....then the game begins to really shine.
I find that with most similar CDGs, folks tend to play very OPS-heavy initially...then begin to get more efficient with there movements and play more events/reinforcments/strategic redeployments. I think you'll begin to appreciate the subtleties of the game more and more with a little more investment of time.
Have you tried Twilight Struggle. Its a step lower in compexity (and play time) but sound like it may be a great option if your wife is amenable to these types of games. War of the Ring may be a good one to keep in mind, too, especially if you have any inherent love of that theme.