Wow, so this is what you get for 100 pieces of gold.
We were playing the Prepare for War variant, choosing a status card or response card from your starting 12, to add more variety, rather than choosing any status or response card that you want. Jean was Germany, Trevor was UK, Greg was Japan, Ken was Soviet Union, I was Italy, and Don was US. Germany’s status card was Conscription, and Germany landbattles into Western Europe. UK’s status card was Hobart’s Funnies (immune to status cards from Axis) and builds a navy in the Norrth Sea. Japan’s response card was Thailand as they build a navy in the Sea of Japan, and with bolster cards, gets into the South China Sea, with an army in South east Asia. Soviet Union’s status card was Defense of the Motherland (can build twice) and builds in Eastern Eruope and Ukraine. Italy builds in the West Med. US’s status card was American Volunteer Movement Expands allowing one to build Chinese armies into China and Szechuan, building into Szechuan for their first turn.
Germany is in Western Europe on turn 2. UK land battles into Western Europe. Japan ibuilds into Australia. Soviet Union gets down a status card allowing them to battle multiple units in the same square or adjacent square. Italy builds in Western Europe. US builds in the Western US.
Russia gets Scorched Earth, which makes Ukraine not a supply center for Germany and Italy, and this slows down the Axis. Germany can never get past Ukraine. They get down Blitzkreig on turn 5, but Engima gets rid of it right after.
As Italy, I get down units in Africa, North Africa and a fleet in the Bay of Bengal. With Western Europe secure, Trevor uses reallocate resources to land battle into North Africa to eliminate my supply line. I keep building back; I figure having the UK use their land battles into North Africa seemed fair.
The US gets down a status card where they can build an army after they build a navy.
The game looks favorable for the Axis, but it collapses on turn 10.
Russia gets into the Balkans and clears out Germany. I ran out of build armies since I had used them for North Africa. Then the US builds a fleet into the Baltic and get an army down into Germany to end the game. Germany looked accusingly me for wasting my build armies in North Africa (my response card was to replace a German unit in Germany with an Italian unit, but that too fell to the Russian status card). I’m not sure what else I could have done, as I was scoring points for navies on the board and didn’t want to lose the Bay of Bengal fleet just yet. Japan couldn’t help out the Axis in Europe either. So that is a recipe for disaster for the Axis. The next game illustrates how Japan can get I the game to prevent Italy and Germany from fighting alone.
Germany collapses to the Soviet Union multiple status cards, and Japan can't get close enough to help.
Game 2: I was Germany, Don was UK, Trevor was Japan, Jean was Soviet Union, Ken was Italy and Greg was US. Germany’ status card was Synthetic Fuel, and plays a card to find a status card, which is Blitzkreig and plays it. UK’s status card was Rationing, and they build a navy in the North Sea. Japan builds a navy in the Sea of Japan. Soviet Union builds in Ukraine, Italy builds a navy in the Med (after deciding not to land battle Western Europe seeing that Germany has BLitzkrei)g. US ‘s status card is Rosie the Riveter, and plays Arsenal of Democracy (colloquially referred to as Ashat of Democracy by some people; this allows the UK to build an army and navy) allowing the UK to put an army in Western Europe.
Germany uses a bolster card to battle the French army, then a regular land battle to kick out the UK army to build in Western Europe. UK does sea battle into the Med. Japan clears out China. The Soviet Union builds in Russia. Italy has an event card allowing to build in Western Europe and a fleet in the Med. US builds in the Western US.
As Germany, I build two armies using Synthetic Fuel to have two armies adjacent to Ukraine. I blitkzkreig into Ukraine once, but there is a response card that keeps the Soviet army there. I battle in successfully the next time, and Moscow falls soon after. UK is a bit slow, allowing Italy to build a fleet in the North Sea, delaying the Allied attack. Japan gets into the Middle East allowing them to get a fleet in the Med, then an army in the Ukraine, after Moscow plays Scorched Earth.
The Axis win by autovictory on turn 9.
Gemany occupies Moscow and Japan is in Ukraine and the Med for the win.
Game 3: Trevor was Germany, Ken was UK, Jean was Japan, Don was the Soviet Union, Greg was Italy and I was the US. Germany’s status card was Conscription, and they play the Ardennes Offensive to battle and build in Western Europe. UK’s status card was Lord Lithgow, allowing you to build in India, and UK does that on the first turn. Japan builds in the Sea of Japan. The Soviet Union builds in Ukraine, Italy builds in Western Europe, while the US has the status card American Volunteer Group expands build Chinese armies in China or Szechuan), builds in Western US.
On turn 2, Germany plays the Military Dictatorship event card , which I think allows it to build in the Balkans. UK builds a navy in the North Sea. The UK eventually loses their fleet in the North Sea, and Italy will get a fleet there.
As the US, I spend one more turn putting an army into Szechuan, before building into the North Atlantic, then having to sea battle the Italian fleet out. Eventually the North Sea is owned by the Allies, and we get a foothold into Western Europe.
Germany doesn’t have any decent status cards out, and can’t dislodge the Russians. Japan doesn’t expand past their own empire, and on turn 9, it is an autovictory for the Allies. The UK hold India and Australia. The US were gaining points in China and Szechuan until the Japanese kicked them out, then the US got into Western Europe. Italy got reduced to one army.
An Allied autovictory win.
Game 4: Don was Germany, Jean was UK, I was Japan, Greg was Soviet Union, Trevor was Italy and Ken was US. Jean said he had no response or status cards so UK didn’t get one – I guess that is one flaw of the optional rule we were playing. Germany had Dive Bombers and played Strategic Planning to draw out two cards from the German deck. UK builds a navy in the North Sea. Japan builds a navy in the Sea of Japan. The Soviet Union had the status card where all units are in supply no matter what, and build in Ukraine. Italy land battles into Western Europe. The US has Wartime Production (can build an additional army) and they build in the Western US and Pacific NW.
On turn 2, Germany gets down Blitkreig. UK builds into Western Europe. As Japan, I play my response card which eliminates an army in China, and I build an army in China. Soviet Union plays a response card, Italy builds in the Balkans and the US builds in the North Atlantic.
The Allies are a bit despondent here, as the Germans have Blitzkreii down and Bias for Action. As Japan, I get to China and India in short order, using 3 builds armies to do so. Note my play was not as precise as I would have liked, as I threw away the China Offensive response card (to not lose a VP) thinking it would not be needed after I occupied China, and could have saved some builds armies. So the Axis had a lead, and were not really threatened in Western Europe.
But the game slowly turned. Engima took out Bias for Action, and Italy was reduced to a couple of units. The Russians attacked back in China, and I had thrown away some defensive response cards in the VP phase as my discard.
I got to the Med, when Germany was in the Middle East. I then played a response card. As Trevor pointed out later, I should have played a builds army into Western Europe to ensure I got my own supply center. I mistakenly thought that with a fleet in the Bay of Bengal and the Med, I could draw supply from an Axis army in Western Europe. But when Germany lost their unit in the Middle East, and the US built there, I was out of supply and had to remove my fleet in the Med. I didn’t quite get that rules on that, but I guess the straits are owned by the Allies, so with no Axis unit in the Middle East, I had no supply in the Med.
That was the downfall, as Germany was really low on cards and ran out of cards for the last 6 turns. Italy had no units, and I couldn’t get back into China. The game tilted slowly but surely towards the Allies who win on turn 18 by autovictory. It was quite a surprising result given how the early game started for the Allies.
Autovictory for the Allies on turn 18 after a bad start and bad feelings on their side.