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Subject: Political aspects? rss

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Frank Müller
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Will the ETO series have political aspects too? (spanish civil war, partisans, diplomacy or polictical events) If yes will it be playable from earlier on, eg. 1936, like some other games? (maybe such stuff will be introduced in the 5th game of the series Victory at all Cost)
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Lance McMillan
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This is a bit complicated/convoluted, so bear with me...

TITE itself (e.g. the game module on the Eastern Front) will have very little in the way of "political" rules. There are provisions for forcing the Axis minors (Romania & Hungary) to surrender/defect and we're happy with the way these are working. In some test games we've had Romania demobilized some or nearly all their army in 1941 (as they did historically) to offset the effects of taking heavy losses during the opening months of BARBAROSSA. But aside from this (and the gradual whittling down of Soviet morale that can potentially cause national collapse) there isn't much in TITE that I'd identify as explicitly political.

Once you get to TMS (The Middle Sea), there are a lot more political rules: whose side some of the neutrals (Bulgaria, Greece, and Yugoslavia) favor and various means to sway them. A few of these means are controlled by card play, and in some cases that card play may seem a bit counter-intuitive: Italy's 1940 attack on Greece is precipitated by the play of an Allied card. We're handling it this way because no rational player is ever going to demobilize his army and then attack a fairly strong neutral in the dead of winter -- but that's precisely what Mussolini did. We also have to deal with partisans in Yugoslavia who change sides (the Chetniks), the creation of puppet states (Croatia), inter-action with a former ally who stays neutral even after you attack its colonies (Vichy France), and the potential for separatist uprisings (Egypt, Iraq, and Palestine). We also address the difference of a minor state surrendering outright or forming a government in exile (and the ramifications thereof). There's lots of meaty political fare for the players to contend with.

Similarly, when we do VinW (Victory in the West) there will be political rules to address player interaction with the low countries, and the possibility of France fighting on (rather than signing a separate armistice and agreeing to a partition). In NF (Northern Fire) we'll have rules to handle Sweden becoming an active belligerent (unlikely, but possible), the Finns declaring neutrality mid-stream (or continuing their alliance with Germany). We haven't settled the details for all the political rules in the later modules, but they'll definitely be in there.

The fifth module (I don't think we've settled on a name for that yet) will be the one with the most extensive political rules. It will include provisions for both Spanish and/or Turkish entry into the war (both, like Sweden, are unlikely but can occur -- and in-game actions with their neighbors can have a profound impact on this, so the rationale for Britain sending troops to Greece suddenly becomes much more obvious). Activity in the strategic war in the Atlantic (the U-Boat campaign) will similarly influence the extent (and to a lesser extent timing) of American intervention. The fifth module's political rules will essentially bind those of the other modules together into a cohesive whole.

Finally, assuming the series does well enough and there's customer interest to warrant it, we have a final sixth module planned that will provide players with a set of scenarios for how the war begins. This isn't excactly a separate pre-war political game (in the vein of Origins of World War II or Days of Decision), but rather a series of linked scenarios showcasing the most likely ways that a continental war might have broken out (if I recall correctly there are eight of these, including the historical one where Germany attacks Poland). Basically you start with the first scenario (in 1932?), check to see if war breaks out, and then start the war from that point if it does or move on to the next possible trigger point and repeat the process. If no war occurs there's a sort of "inter-phase" where players get to improve/expand their armies as international tensions mount. Some of the options for this can lead to national armies looking quite different from how they did historically. Eventually, assuming no war occurs before then, Germany will simply invade Poland and start the whole mess. But it's much more likely that one of the earlier scenarios will kick things off in a very different way (as Mr.Chadwick likes to say, "The way the actual war began was probably the most boring of all the possibilities").

Does that answer your question?
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Alan Emrich
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Just a little clarification. The game titles are:

#1: Thunder in the East (Russian Front)
#2: The Middle Sea (Mediterranean Front)
#3: Decision in the West (West Front, both '40 and '44)
#4: Fire in the North (Scandinavian Front)
#5: Victory at All Costs (Atlantic War + linking features to combine the above)
#6: Dark Beginnings (the pre-war years from 1934 to WWII outbreak in Europe; think of this as #0 in the series, if you like).
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Frank Müller
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1932? absolutely phantastic! I dont think there is another game which offers a look at the pre-war phase so early. Count me in.
 
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Alan Emrich
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Quote:
1932?


Actually, I said 1934. I think the First Austrian Civil War ends up triggering WWII in that scenario.
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Lance McMillan
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enpeze wrote:
1932? absolutely phantastic!


Sorry, that was a misstatement on my part. I dug through my now five years old files for the 'Dark Beginnings' game and found the following list of nine scenarios that were under consideration for this module. Can't say that they'll all finally end up in the package, but this at least gives you some idea of what sorts of things we were looking at.

First Austrian Civil War (Feb 34): Germany, Italy, Hungary -vs- Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, France, Britain (the "Little Entente")

Second Austrian Civil War (Jul 34): Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania -vs- Austria, Italy, Hungary

Germany invades Austria; Italy honors Rome Protocols (Dec 35): Germany -vs- Austria, Italy, Hungary, France, Britain

France reacts to Rhineland re-militarization (Mar 36): Germany -vs- France, Britain

Germany invades Czechoslovakia (Sept 38): Germany -vs- Czechoslovakia, France, Britain

Poles pledge to support Czechoslovakia (Sept 38): Germany -vs- Czechoslovakia, Poland

USSR guarantees Czech borders (Sept 38): Germany, Poland -vs- Czechoslovakia, USSR

Great Eastern War (Nov 38): Germany, Italy, Hungary -vs- Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, USSR

Case White (Sept 39): Germany -vs- Poland, France, Britain
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