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Subject: 10 Games in rss

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Philip Thomas
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I have now completed 10 Games of Pursuit of Glory (all of them campaign games). Before I even finished the first game, I wrote fairly extensively on strategy in various aspects of the game. How does my advice look 10 games in?

Lets start with some information about the games themselves. 7 of the 10 games were won by me, 3 by my opponent (there were 4 different opponents in the 10 games, but all 3 of my defeats were at the hands of one opponent, Jeromey Martin). Allied and CP wins were split half and half which can be further broken down as: 3 CP autovictories (including surrenders by the Allies mid game); 2 Marginal CP wins; 1 Marginal Allied win; and 4 Allied autovictories (including surrenders by the CPs midgame).

There's been some concern about the effect the timing of Parvus to Berlin has on the game. I'm sure there is an effect, but the data from these 10 games doesn't suggest it is a strong one. In games where Parvus appeared in Turn 4, 5 or 6 the split was even between the sides. The Allies won the single game in which Parvus appeared in Turn 7, and the Central Powers won 2 out of the 3 games in which Parvus appered in Turn 3.

Turning to opening theory, half the games saw a Russo-British Assault opening and half saw a different opening which I have named "Abadan Mandate", since its cheif features are a landing at Abadana and the fulfilling of the Allied Mandatory offensive by attacking with the Russians, both in the first allied impulse. Wins and losses for the 2 opening types were roughly even, with slightly more Allied wins using Abadan Mandate.

This leads nicely in to one of the strategy articles I wrote earlier, "The Decks". In that strategy article I opined that there was very little reason not to open with Russo-British Assault. The arguments I made for that opening are still valid. However, the "Abadan Mandate" opening has its advantages as well. By using a Beach-head off Abadan, the Allied player can secure the Arabistan pipeline with a movement order and reach Amara, threatening Kut. By attacking with the Russians he can fufil the Turn 1 MO on his first impulse, allowing for the full use of his other impulses. Moreover, if he uses a high OPs card, he can set himself up for Secret Treaty at the same time.

The problems with "Abadan Mandate" are more subtle. Firstly, because you haven't played Russo-British Assault initially, you will either have to play it for War Status later, wasting an impulse, or you will have to settle for a lower War Status total. If you are unlucky, you could end up without 4 or more War Status at the end of turn 2, delaying Limited War by a turn, as happened in one of my games, and even if that doesn't happen the low War Status hampers use of Lloyd George etc. The second problem is that the Central Powers may deploy to Mesopotamia in force and seek to take Abadan, leaving your troops out of supply and/or pushing you into Southern Persia. Careful play should avoid the risk to the supply line, but being pushed out of Arabistan is quite possible in the early game. One could view this as an opportunity- Turks in Arabistan are diverted from other fronts and the tantalising possibility of a Russian conquest of the province is opened up, but it still gives the Turks several VPs in the short term.

That is enough for one post, I'll come back to this later.
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Philip Thomas
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Mobilisation Deck

While Pan-Turkism was played as event in all 10 Games, in 2 cases it was held back until the midgame and then used once the Allied player had increase the Jihad level by other means. Both those were Central Power wins, and at least one Central Power defeat could directly be linked to the VP loss from Armenin Rising which Pan Turkism can give rise to. So I'm no longer totally for initial play of Pan Turkism. The downside is similar to that for not playing Russo-British Assault.

Liberate Suez is a card that shapes the early game, diverting CP forces to the Sinai and Allied forces to Egypt in response. The attack very rarely gets anywhere- in only one game was Cairo captured and even then the Turks were driven from Egypt a little later- but the Jihad increase is important.

Indian Mutiny was played as en event in 2 of the 10 games (around 1917), both runaway Turkish victories. In both games it was followed by an actual Indian Mutiny, which is pretty nasty.

I don't think I have ever seen Project Alexandria used as an event, although I was about to use it one game when CP autovictory intervened. In general it is a risky Invasion, since you can only get SCUs to the beach-head initially and so risk being pushed into the sea when the Turks bring up an LCU.

There has been complaint that Churchill Prevails is quite random in its distribution of benefits. This is clearly true, but it seems success in bombarding the straits doesn't correlate to success in the wider game. In 3 games the Royal Navy didn't even destroy the first fort, but the Allies went on to win 2 of those games. In 2 games the Royal Navy destroyed everyhing including the Bosphorus, and the honours for those games wer evenly split. Likewise in 2 games the Royal Navy destroyed everything but the Bosphorus and again the honours were split. In the other 3 games where the Navy destroyed some forts but didn't get as far as Constantinople the Cps won 2 and the Allies won one. The sample size is of course too low to draw firm conclusions...
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Philip Thomas
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Mobilisation deck (cont)

Enver Goes East can be even more effective if played later in the game- just prior to a Russian Winter Offensive, for example. Secret Treaty has tended to be played before Persian Push. I have never seen Parliamentary Inquiry played. The Reserves to the Front+ Save Tiflis combo is quite often seen. If the CP player is swamped with RPs then it may be worth keeping Fresh Recruits for later.

Limited War deck

Bulgaria and Parvus are indeed all-important. Salonika Invasion is sometimes played as British Reinforcements- which only gives up one Beach-head and allows play in Winter or in combination with another invasion. Gallipoli Invasion is better played as such since it gives 2 Beach-heads, as is Kitchener because of the advantage in deployment given. Armenian Uprising is more powerful than I thought it before playing, with both the irregular and the Markers having considerable disruptive potential.

Enver-Falkenhayn Summit is rarely played and even when it is played it may be just for the SR rather than the Vp potential. Bull's Eye Directive is extremely powerful when used right- particularly against Allied beach-heads! Gorlice-Tarnow is another powerful card, the absence of a Russian Corps can be critical on the Caucasian Front. Verdun is less useful, and the loss of German Rps can be troublesome.

Let the French Bleed has been rarely played and even more rarely played to good effect. The need to play Romania has become more apparent over time- its a card worth holding for a turn. Romania played before Bulgaria is powerful, possibly too powerful. The two Turkish Reinforcement cards that add Turkish (rather than, or as well as, Turkish Arab) troops are vital for Turkish staying power. I have never seen Catastrophic Attack played as an event.

Jafar Pasha is a double-edged sword for the Central Powers, as using him may give the Allies an advantage at the crucial moment. See "Jafar Pasha Decides the Game" for an extreme example of this. Allied Solidarity is important for taking Salonika. If Romania has entered the war, the Russian special division can land at Constanta, where it is among friends.

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Philip Thomas
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Limited War (cont)

Returning to Bulgaria for the moment, I did the same analysis on it I did on Parvus. Much to my suprise, the data showed the reverse correlation to what I expected: Early Bulgarian entries tended to be Allied wins (All 3 games where Bulgaria entered on Turn 3 were Allied wins, for example) and Late Bulgarian entries tended to be CP wins (Both gams where Bulgaria entered on Turn 6 were CP wins). Most peculiar...

Also, a quick note on Maude: Initially I treated this as a reinforcement card, but its best use is actually as a trench-buster.

Total War

Lloyd George Command is a strong card, with the extra British RP a turn an important boost. Getting War Status high enough to play it before Fall 1916 is very difficult though. Allenby is also very useful. D'Esperey, as I foresaw, is less often played as an event.

I rarely see Unrestricted Submarine Warfare played- never in my first 10 games I think, though I have played it in one of my current unfinished games. Yildirim Offensive does get played sometimes- either on the last turn when its RP use is no longer relevant or in order to negate a trench on an Allied Beach-head. British War Weariness tends to be the icing on the cake of a CP autovictory, accompanied by Robertson: I have not seen the CPs lose when playing it. I have seen Townshend to Lemnos played once and then unnecessarily.

The Allied starred Allenby dependent CCs are not often played, with Haversack Ruse being the most common. This is probably because they will be played late in the game if at all and a high proportion of my first ten games ended early.

Turkish War Weariness is useful though not decisive. I have never seen Arab Desertion played, because Arab Revolt is often prevented by high Jihad levels.
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Total War (cont)

Confused Orders and Talaat Pasha both see plenty of use, with Talaat Pasha a life saver in some cases. Army of Islam is useful if Jihad is high enough. To Help and Save You has never been used.

I have only seen one use of Warm-Water Port, and that would no longer be legal now the rules have been changed to demand a continuous chain of Russia-controlled spaces between Petrovsk and the port. More suprising I have never seen Jerusalem by Christmas used...

Apis is very popular, often turning up before Serb Collapse (and then triggering it by removing the last Serb LCU). Pasha I is used for its Severe Weather cancellation as much as its Heavy Fire table, suprisingly.

Number-Crunching

Little to say here. Never seen anything like Scenario 1. Scenario 2 is a little more plausible, except that in that sort of game Jihad tends to be high enough to play Jihad cards as well...

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