Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
Don has had Alternate Histories since September, but we have never had 6 players until today with the holiday break. We replaced the 8 cards that reduced the power of the Allied cards, and we got reacquainted with the Reallocate Resources rule. In the game with Air Marshall, none of us ever remembered discarding 4 cards at the beginning of your turn to draw one of 5 cards (land/sea battle, build army/navy, deploy air force). I think it was too expensive, and no one ever was ever that desperate. But now with the rule change it is only 3 cards, and more palatable to play.
Gary was Germany, Don was British, Jean was Japan, Ken was Russia, I was Italy and Trevor was the US. Gary land battled the French in Western Europe, but Don had a build French Army card to play the French back in Western Europe. I thought, this was supposed to be easier for the Axis? I did a land battle from Italy into Western Europe to kick out the French. Ken was able to get Russian units closer to Germany, while Gary could not get started at all as Germany. Don was able to keep the French forces in Western Europe. Ken was able to hold Germany at bay, and just with the UK and Russia, Germany fell. I had to spend all my energy as Italy to hold Germany. Trevor as the US went against Japan and was able to hold Japan at bay. The game was over in 7 rounds, with the Allies winning with a 30 pt edge in score.
Gary is Germany, Don is British, Jean is Japan, Ken is Russia, I am Italy, and Trevor was the US. The French are still in Western Europe. Germany had a bad game, and as Italy, all I could do was defend, and the game was over relatively quick.
Now we know the Allies have an advantage in the original game. We’re trying to increase the Axis win rate and I think we all enjoy being the Axis player attempting to pull off an upset. So we kept the same teams.
Gary did a land battle into Western Europe to get rid of the French. This time Don did not have a recruit card for the French. I was able to build army into Western Europe and that helped the Axis cause.
The UK and US (after a theatre shift) began to focus on Western Europe. For a while there, as Italy I was stuck in the mini death spiral of land battling into Western Europe to get rid of the Allies, and could not do anything else to generate VPs. But around turn 13 or so, the Axis couldn’t get back into Western Europe, but they had close to a 28 pt lead. Gary only got to use his Blitzkreig once, before Enigma hit the table to get rid of it. But Gary did get up an Atlantic Wall, and a new card which caused the Allies to discard three cards if any German unit was attacked.
The Axis almost lost by the 30 pt rule, but we played enough VP cards to keep it close. As Italy I could only generate 3 or 4 pts as I spent most of my effort covering Western Europe. The funny thing, I actually got an Italian fleet into the North sea, threatening London. But Ken attacked into the Med sea to cut my supply and I had to spend a turn to rebuild a navy into the med sea to regain supply. But by that time, Don was able to sea battle my fleet out. I think I had one turn to land battle into the UK, but I didn’t – I chose to gain 2 VP elsewhere, since I had to land battle, then next turn build army into the UK. Now that I think about it , it would force the UK player to build army, and keep them into a mini death spiral if I could keep doing a land battle into the UK. I lost my chance though.
Russia had the middle east, and from there was able to attack into India, which Jean held as the Japanese. Again, I didn’t think Germany had good cards to play an effective game.
But it was a close game, and it was fun. The Allies won 244 to 234.
This game restored our faith. It was a moral victory for me as the Italians, getting a fleet into the North Sea, but I should have sealed the deal by attacking the UK, but I think we were under VP pressure, so I had to play the event that gave pts for Italian armies and navies outside of Italy to stay within 30 pts.
Game 3: Now we randomized the countries again. Don was Germany, Trevor was UK, I was Japan, Jean was USSR, Ken was Italy and Gary was the US. Don land battled into Western Europe, then kept all his cards to only collect 1 pt (in the new game you have to discard a card or lose a VP). He must have started a trend as everyone chose not to discard. Trevor as UK had a status card that let him built into southeast Asis, and he eventually expanded into Australia through the South China Sea. As Japan, I built a navy then the US came towards me with the status card of build a navy then build another one. I thought to myself, good, I can take on the UK and US, and hopefully that will give Ken and Don some relief over Western Europe. Trevor’s foray into Australia meant he did not have a fleet in the north sea yet.
By about turn 8, Gary did a theatre shift away from the north Pacific, and landed into Western Germany.
That left me all alone, and eventually I was able to take over Australia. I was aided by Don who ended up all the way to India, (which was aided by Ken playing a card which put a Garman unit in the Middle east). Don was able to put a German army into Szechuan, where the Allies had placed a Chinese supply center. With me owning China, that whole region was under Axis control. However, that meant we were weaker elsewhere, and the Axis came into Germany through the Baltic Sea. Don would remark his India/Szechuan play helped the team, but he would ultimately lose Germany on turn 19 and 20.
Ken had 2 status cards on the table: 1 VP per Italian navy, 1 VP for owning North Africa, so he was earning a healthy 5 to 6 VPs. Don, holding India was earning at least 5-6 pts. I was earning 9 pts by turn 16. I had 3 status cards each earning me a VP. When Don lost Germany, he did have a status card that reduced economic warfare damage by 2 cards, so when Gary did a 7 card firebomb discard, it was only 5 cards that had to be discarded which helped. Don could still contribute 1 VP on turn 19 and 20 by playing economic warfare. Similarly I earned 11 VPs on turn 19 with an economic warfare card on the UK and got 10 VPs on the last turn with another economic warfare card on USSR. Ken was still scoring 5 /6 VPs. That meant the Axis pulled off an upset, 263-251.
Don is Germany, Trevor is UK, I am Japan, Jean is USSR, Ken is Italy and Gary is US. Germany is completely owned by the Allies, but remarkably Ken was able to hold Italy, a rare feat when Germany is down like that.
It was fun to play this again, and we had two close games. I’m glad, when I was left alone as Japan, I was able to pull in 9-11 VPs the last few turns.