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Quartermaster General: 1914» Forums » General

Subject: Call for Session Reports: Central Powers victories rss

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Benjamin Hester
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interested in hearing descriptions of games where the Central Powers won.

Specifically...

- was Germany able to seize either Paris or Moscow early?
- was Germany able to sustain a navy and score via status cards?
- did Germany get their force-discard status cards out early?
- was Austria-Hungary able to seize Rome?
- were the Ottomans able to hold their region and seed objectives?
- how much of a factor was attrition? (presumably targeting Russia)
- how frequently was drafting required, if at all?
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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I won a close game as the Central Powers last week - a one-point lead at game end.

Never got Paris, Moscow, or Rome.

Germany did score some naval status points and got off a ton of big attrition cards.

The Brits snuck in and grabbed Constantinople early, but the Turks eventually got it back - never expanded much, though.

Attrition was big, with the Russians going empty-handed for the last few turns.

I think we all over-prepared a bit, as France and Germany ending the game with several usused prepared cards.
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Mick Mickelsen
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I have played two games and both times the CP won. In one game the AH dominated and took Rome. In the other Germany took Paris keeping France out of much of the war. In both games we didn't use the attrition option that much, usually when game circumstances changed so that card was of little other use.
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Mikko Saari
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I won as Central Powers yesterday. No Paris, Moscow or Rome. I played the German High Seas Fleet status and managed to keep a navy in the North Sea for the most part. Austria-Hungary didn't do much, but I did get the Kriegsmarine out for couple of scoring rounds. Ottomans had something, but not much. I didn't do any drafting.

I beat the Entente by three or four points. I got an early lead, and managed to keep it, even though the Entente was scoring better than I was in the end. I'd attribute my victory to heavy use of Economic Warfare from Germany - without those points I would've lost.
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Witch Lord
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I've played 100+ games, mostly (but not exclusively) 1 vs 1. About 50% saw the Central Powers win.

The most crucial thing I have to say is that every one of those games was unique. I can definitely say that for each of your questions, I can think of at least one occasion where the answer would be yes, and one where it would be no. That leads me to believe that victory is not determined so much by how successful you are with any one particular strategy, but rather by how well the two camps coordinate and how well they can exploit weaknesses in their opponents' game.

Specifically:


BenjaminHester wrote:
- was Germany able to seize either Paris or Moscow early?


I'm sure that going for Moscow can totally be a legitimate strategy, but in our particular group, we just haven't gravitated very much towards it, at least not in the early game. Every time Germany neglected the Western front to go East quickly at our table, it got badly punished by a combined French and British offensive. It is totally possible to go East late game if it becomes apparent that those two have lost steam.

Taking Paris certainly puts Germany in a strong position, but it is neither necessary for victory, nor does it guarantee it. I've seen plenty of games where Germany won by points after being stopped in Picardy or even Belgium, as long as it managed to score 5 or 6 VPs per scoring round, and Austria was strong in the beginning too.

OTOH, one time I managed to still win with the Entente after Paris fell to the Kaiser not once, but twice! (You just need to take it back from the Germans as many times as they invade I guess )


BenjaminHester wrote:
- was Germany able to sustain a navy and score via status cards?


Germany and Austria each get a status card that awards them 2 VPs if they fulfil a relatively difficult condition (the High Seas fleet in the Baltic/English Channel, and the Balkan Domination around Serbia, respectively). In my experience, the Central Powers almost always won if they managed to score those cards more than once during a game. Probably not so much because of the cards themselves, but because, if you manage to fulfil those contracts, it means that your position is fairly strong to begin with, and they just give you the final edge you need to win.

In conclusion, I personally regard those statuses as powerful, but difficult to play. Again, personally, I seldom base my strategy around them, but I will be opportunistic about them.

By contrast, I consider the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine to be a comparatively weak card. it requires 2 turns to generate 1 VP/scoring round, does not negate VPs for your opponents the way that occupying hard objectives does, and because the Austrians play first and get only 2 Build Navies in their deck, their Navy tends to be fragile anyway. I'll always take the opportunity to build Austrian Armies first, and only go for the Kriegsmarine when I feel that I can no longer expand on land.


BenjaminHester wrote:
- did Germany able to get their force-discard status cards out early?


Sometimes yes. Those cards are very feared because they can be devastating if they cause an opponent to lose a key card - but they can also be surprisingly harmless if the discarded cards happen to be weak. In fact, you are actually helping your opponents if you make them discard cards they don't want, because they will draw the powerful ones that much more quickly.

TL,DR: the Red Baron and the Tripled Trench Lines have an enormous psychological impact, but they actually rely on luck quite heavily. They tend to work better against Russia, since they cannot afford to discard much, even weaker cards though. If you do use them, it might be wise to play a decoy status first so that Sidney Reilly won't hurt your plans so much.

Mustard Gas, by comparison, is significantly weaker since it can be easily countered by the Entente (just keep one useless card prepared at any time).


BenjaminHester wrote:
- was Austria-Hungary able to seize Rome?


As a group, we have come to the conclusion that it is more important for the Blue player to defend Rome rather than Paris (since it might not be possible to keep Paris anyway if the Germans have a strong game) so nowadays that doesn't really tend to happen. What's really bad is if both Rome and Paris are lost, as that effectively removes one Entente player from the game, thus negating the Entente's one big advantage, so we're very wary of that.


BenjaminHester wrote:
- were the Ottomans able to hold their region and seed objectives?


In most of our games, the Ottomans really just stick to Instanbul. The objectives require a build in Anatolia and one specific card, which is very expensive tempo-wise while there are so many hard objectives up for grabs for Austria. And by the mid-game, we often find that the Russians have had the time to take Azerbaijan and possibly Anatolia, with the British possibly in Persia too.

Defensively speaking, it may not be possible to hold Istanbul indefinitely, but it can cost the British and/or the Russians many turns and many cards to overwhelm its defenses and finally occupy it, so that trade doesn't always appeal to the Entente to begin with.

As always, opportunism is the best strategy - go for it if you can, and there's nothing more lucrative to do.


BenjaminHester wrote:
- how much of a factor was attrition? (presumably targeting Russia)


Sometimes, decking the Russians with the Austrians and then using cards like the Red Baron to attack them and bleed them out of VPs at the same time in the end game was what turned the tides of an otherwise lost game. It's very strong if you can pull it off, as it gives you points and territory at the same time.

It doesn't have to be only against Russia though. Another strong tactic is to use German Economic Warfare cards in conjunction with multiple attrition to make France or the UK discard many cards all at once. Imagine a round like this: the UK only has two Navies out. Austria plays the Spanish Flu, then Germany plays von Lettow-Vorbeck, and also reveals Unrestricted Submarine Warfare during the attrition phase. That's 10 cards to discard for the UK at once. Time for some painful decisions, George...


BenjaminHester wrote:
- how frequently was drafting required, if at all?


Entirely according to circumstance. Personally I don't mind drafting if it gets me a card I need to defend my position, especially if I don't like my hand very much anyway. I do get punished for it a lot when I run out of cards in the end game, so maybe I'm not the right person to give advice on this in the first place though. blush
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Benjamin Hester
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fantastic responses so far, thank you.

two things I would like to clarify, re-reading my OP:

- in no way did I mean to insinuate that the game wasn't balanced. just curious to hear how other games played out, since our CP players were having some troubles.

- in no way did I mean to insinuate that my list was a necessary recipe for the CP to win. it's clear that this game has near-infinite replayability, as each deck (Entente and CP alike) has multiple viable strategies, and can rarely handpick their strategy - the sequence of the cards in their deck, and the attrition/economic warfare disbands will force them to react to the situation rather than shape events as they like.

Just like the real war did :-)
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Benjamin Hester
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also, hi
Mikko Saari
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- didn't we play Diplomacy over email way way back in the day? If so, great to hear from you again!

Ben

 
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Mikko Saari
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Quite likely, I used to be rather active in the online Diplomacy circles back in early 2000s. Those were good times.
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Ricardo Dubcek
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Hey,
I've played 7 games so far and CP won three of them; sadly, as I kept switching allegiances (not mid-game of course) I've only won twice XD. However, it was all for the best, as in my last game as Germany we totally steamrolled the Entente with +23 points. Yes, OK, AH and I had each played more games than all Entente players combined, but it still felt awesome.

About your questions:

- was Germany able to seize either Paris or Moscow early?
Not super early early but I did take Paris. I also think going East can be a viable strategy, but Germany has more cards for going West.

- was Germany able to sustain a navy and score via status cards?
Yep. Intelligence reports via the UK saying out loud "hey, I should take out that navy" warned me in advance, so I prepared a Defend navy and held him at bay. As mentioned, he wasn't all that experienced.

- did Germany get their force-discard status cards out early?
One thing I think I've learned about Germany is not to be too eager about playing Status cards from hand, there are a few events that let you do that more efficiently along with some other stuff. So I got a few (and not super early), but not as many as in my previous game where I had around 5 straight out of hand... which of course means I didn't attack/use them all that much. Needless to say, I lost that game.

- was Austria-Hungary able to seize Rome?
Never seen that happen, but I think putting a navy in the Adriatic is probably the best first play for them. Worst case scenario for AH is Italy can build there, but hey, you made them "waste" a turn (maybe it wasn't the best time for them) and Germany may be able to profit from that. Best case scenario, you make them waste a turn AND they have to draft. In either case, you can take the Alps, which secures Tyrol for later.

- were the Ottomans able to hold their region and seed objectives?
Hold sometimes yes (beware of Gallipolli early in the game), get objectives is tougher but tempo reasons, as has been mentioned.

- how much of a factor was attrition? (presumably targeting Russia)
This is the part I liked best about my last game. Germany has some super powerful economic warfare cards, specially against the UK, so with a bit of luck (get I think Von Lettow before they have three navies and then the one with the submarines where you discard Sea battles from hand), which I had, it can be devastating; prepared attrittion cards are icing on the cake. By the end of the game both UK and Russia were out of cards and got us a few points when they couldn't discard any more; as Paris had been taken, France couldn't do much either. Did I mention we won at +23? cool

- how frequently was drafting required, if at all?
Not often. I can see it happening when Rome or Paris are threatened, perhaps if German supply line has been cut by an early attack on Western Germany.
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Benjamin Hester
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making the UK/US deck run out of cards is very impressive indeed, I've never seen that. They must have been preparing a card every single turn or something.
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BenjaminHester wrote:
making the UK/US deck run out of cards is very impressive indeed, I've never seen that. They must have been preparing a card every single turn or something.


Agreed. I've seen them with an empty deck a handful of times, but I yet have to see them lose points to discards.

Then again, this is one big reason why this game is so awesome. You've never seen it all.
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Xander Xander
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was Germany able to seize either Paris or Moscow early?

Yup yesterday I take Paris in 3rd turn.

was Germany able to sustain a navy and score via status cards?

Yup also did it in this game.
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