No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
I am moving to Asia in August for a few years. I’ve been saying goodbye to many of the guys in my game group and beyond and so want to let you in on a little bit of my farewells and the happy games I’m playing before I leave.
I’d knew I was leaving soon, but a recent trip to Alabama and California gave a distinct breakup to my time here in New Mexico. I’d gotten back to home (though am presently…homeless), and knew that I wanted to play a grip of games with my friends and the gaming group. We’re going to culminate the games with a Here I Stand game on the 31st of July, but until then, here is the first report.
My friend Jordan’s family was out of town and so he wanted to get together and play a longer/heavier game. We usually play Twilight Struggle (which he’s buying from me), but his brother Jesse bought Pursuit of Glory from me and so Jordan wanted to play Paths and get some general experience. I showed up in the afternoon of July 21st and we started playing. He took the AP and I had the CP.
The Guns of August destroyed Liege and then the GE 3 took Sedan while the 1 and 2 were forced into an exchange with the BEF in Brussels. The RU 8 destroyed the AH Corp at Czernowitz and took the space, while the BE moved to Chateau Thierry, and coordinated FR attack drove the GE 3 out of the Sedan. The AH 3 moved back to Uzhgorod to protect its flanks while the Germans in Liege attacked Brussels again, reducing the BEF and taking the city with the GE 1. The world became aware of the Rape of Belgium. We both played for RP. The GE 1 destroyed the last of the BEF and the fort in Antwerp (though it didn’t advance), while the GE 8 took Lodz and besieged Warsaw. The RU 2 and 4 failed a flank attack against the GE 8 and had to settle for a drawn combat. A risky play of Falkenhayn for OPS lead to an AH envelopment of the RU 8. The RU 4 reinforced Dubno while the RU 3 failed in its attempts to relieve the OOS Russians. The AH armies redeployed to ensure the destruction of the RU 8, and the AP played blockade.
I kicked off with the GE 9 in Breslau. He responded with the RU 9 and 10 in Kharkov. I played Oberost, while he fulfilled his MO in an attack from Nancy to Strasbourg (which barely resulted in a tie [whew!]). The SB 1 destroyed the AH Corp in Timisvar. I played for OPS and redeployed my forces on the West Front, while the Allies did similarly with the Russians. I played the Reichstag Truce (to get me to Limited War mostly). Now that the way along the coast was open to me (because of WS), he closed it using some of his troops from Paris. A Wireless Intercept allowed the GE 9 and 8 to shatter the RU 2, while the AP brought in the BR 2. I played RP and he finished the turn with Moltke (argh!).
AP and CP advance into Limited War
While I was busying mobilizing the GE 12, Romania entered the war! I SR to protect Transylvania and move some TU to Baghdad for a strike south. He played for RP and I followed up with Falkenhayn (what are the chances it’d get dealt into my next hand?) The BR 4 was equipped, while I redeployed the AH 3 and 4 south towards Romanian (hereafter called AH East) and moved the GE 12 South. The RU units redeploy to try to break through the Przemysl-Lemberg-Tarnopol line, and the BR units in London move to Ostend. The GE 12 reached Trent, while AH 5 took Belgrade and AH East advanced to the border with Romania at Kronstadt. A coordinated offensive by the Russians took Lemberg. I played War in Africa, and the BR sent a spare Corp. The RU 12 was deployed in Petrograd.
AH East smashes into Ploesti while the Germans attack Cambrai and eliminate the BR unit there (which would’ve been used to launch a multi-national attack). Italy responds by joining the war (to be fair…Jordon played this card when I would have, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Italians are really anti-climatic when they first enter the war). I move a AH Corp from Vienna to Trieste, the AH East takes Bucharest, and the GE 12 crushes the Italians at Verona. The Italians scramble into more defensible positions on the Venice-Verona line, while the SB lose a combat trying to retake Belgrade. I played for RP and he played Yudenitch. AH East advances and occupies the rest of Romania, reducing the last RO units to OOS. A BR attack on Brussels ends in a tied result. I get the AH 10 in Vienna and he plays the IT 5 in Rome. The Siege of Belgrade succeeds this time, and it falls to Austria.
I start with an all front German assault: an attack on Brest Litovsk destroys the Army and Fort there, A repeat of last turn’s attack on Verona is similarly successful, and an aggressive attack on Cambrai routs the French defenders. The Italians maneuver to defend Venice from CP attacks, keep the Western Front secure, and the Serbs retake Belgrade. I play Place of Execution at Verdun, with 7 step losses for each side. The BR 3 is deployed (Jordan’s biggest beginner error…he had the BR 1 in his hand, which would’ve given him the WS, but he didn’t realize the importance of that at the time). I respond with the GE 11. In response to some movement on the West Front, I launch a coordinated attack on Cambrai which is very successful. He plays for RP. Austria launches a major attack on Belgrade and retakes it. RU 11 reinforces. I play for RP. His final move is an SR. I gain a VP for his failed MO.
AH à IT MO, IT MO
I kick off with Rathenau and the MEF lands prepares to invade Adana. SR covers the Ottoman Empire and the FR 10 deploys in Paris. Bulgaria sees the success of the Hungarians against Romania and joins the Central Powers. In an attempt to gain WS, the Allies play the Great Retreat while the AH 11 deploys. 3 Russian Armies in the North deploy forward and besiege Konigsberg. I move the GE 11 to Tannenberg to attempt to relieve my besieged fortress. The RU North fails in its flank attempt against the GE 11 and is hammered in the battle, and in an attempt to exploit this unexpected victory, I move the GE 9 to join the 11 (GE North), while a single AH Corp attacks Venice to satisfy the MO. The Italians in Venice attack the GE 12 at Verona and are repulsed with serious losses for the MO, and Konigsberg falls.
CP advanced into Total War
I open with Mati Hari and after seeing his very poor hand, decide now is the time to push for victory, so I use the 2 OPS to send the GE 12 with supporting Corps to attack Venice from Verona and drive the Italians back to Florence and gain Venice and Bologna while GE North takes Intersberg from Tannenberg and cuts off most of RU North in Konigsberg. The FR 7 deploys in Orleans, and the AH move two armies into Italy (AH West), while the Germans take Antwerp and Cambrai with marches. The French scramble to protect their nation, while AH South and GE 12 take the rest of Northern Italy and a GE attack on Chateau Thierry drives the Belgians back. The Salonika invasion is launched (mostly for WS, finally at 11 for him). The Germans move the majority of their Western Front Forces into the Dijon-Bar-le-Duc-Chateau Thierry-Sedan-Brussels line, which cuts off the 4 French armies in Nancy, Verdun, and Belfort. The BR attempt an attack on Brussels, but are unable to gain the advantage, and the Serbs destroy themselves in an attempt to retake Belgrade by storm. The Germans destroy the remaining Belgian forces and advance into Melun while the AH South take Florence by storm. Yudenitch, in an attempt to rally the Allies, assaults Trebizond, and overcomes Kemal. The Turks scramble to protect their fragile supply lines, and the game ends with the Russians pushing the Turks out of Erzincan. The FR failed their MO.
Final VP tally: 27.
This last turn may look like the Allies botched it, but he only had one 3 card, and it was his best card. I saw his hand and so knew that I could just play more OPS than him and he just couldn’t respond. He really needed his Total War cards a turn earlier.
With the collapse of the West Front, the French surrender, and a peace conference is called in Munich. The Russians regretfully attend the conference, while the Serbs are barely allowed a delegation. The Russians agree to return the areas of Anatolia that were taken, along with Lemberg, and their holdings in Poland are returned by the Germans, though the Russian side of Poland is de-militarized. Romania becomes a vassal state of Austro-Hungary, without even its own police forces. Serbian is compelled to submit to Austrian hegemony, and disband most of their armies, as well as pay indemnity, but their remnants of an Army are still in tact and even tolerated to reform some. Italy is a beaten nation. Forced to pay a large indemnity and give up territory to the outskirts of Venice, they are a broken country. Britain agrees to decrease their influence in Egypt and withdraw from Arabistan and Kuwait, though they do not pay any war guilt fines. Belgium is renamed Flanders and becomes a puppet of Imperial Germany. France is a shattered nation. Compelled to give up a large swath of land in the East, drastically reduce the size of her Army, disband her air force, and pay massive war debts, their economy soon collapses.
The Bulgarians didn’t do any of the actual fighting, and are seen as late-comers and second rate citizens by the rest of the Central Powers. But still, with the major damage to Serbia, and the after effects of the campaigning in Romania, Bulgaria becomes an economic powerhouse in the Balkans, which had cost them almost nothing. The Ottoman Empire is once again able to control an access point to the Persian Gulf and extend their influence into Egypt. Their attempts to gain control of Persia are stopped though by a resurgent Russia. The Empire’s development into a modern European state is accelerated by German engineers and scientists. Austro-Hungary gained large swaths of land from Serbia and Italy, as well as controlling influences in the new governments of Romania and Serbia. However, the war has given hope to Croat and Bosnian separatists within the Empire, and many high ranking Austrians were concerned that this relatively short war had almost taken a crushing toll on their country. Germany rose triumphant among the nations of Europe. As the power that had decisively ended the war, most of the war debts were paid to them, and they were able to continue their naval building program, even utilizing aircraft in some of their new ship designs. Rathenau’s industrial model had contributed much to Germany’s success and Jews were elevated to a position of some respect within Germany society. General Falkenhayn was praised for his willingness to make hard choices during war and not worry too much about the cost. Adolf Hitler, an obscure Sergeant from the 5th Army was the most highly decorated infantry soldier in Germany because of his maniacal assaults of enemy positions during the battles of Verdun, Cambrai, and Chateau Thierry.
But all was not well in Europe. Russia soon fell into revolution and the weak-willed Tsar was replaced by a popular and aggressive militarist. Tensions begin to mount between the Russians and the rapidly developing Ottomans, as well as with the rapidly splintering Austro-Hungarians. Germany valiantly tries to use their powers to preserve the peace, while at the same time building up their navy to ensure the continuation of their Empire. But, France and Italy, see in Russia an opportunity to avenge themselves on the their old foes and begin to prepare for a new struggle. Germany continues to Britain, tired of conflicts on the Continent, begins to reach out and befriend America, signing naval alliances with them, and focusing on British colonies abroad.
Final Play Analysis
Jordan did quite well for his first play. Twilight Struggle has taught him how to do some deck management. There were a few mistakes made. He never played Entrench, which would’ve turned the West Front into a bog, given him time to start moving his large Russian forces more into the front. He also had trouble massing his forces for effective attacks. He was slow to attack the Ottoman Empire, and I was fast to attack Italy. He really played the Russians quite well (consider the resources I sent against him), but didn’t really use the Romanians appropriately, and struggled to coordinate his forces in the West. All in all, a great game (because his family arrived home right before the victory!).