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Subject: Another Review of Liberty Roads rss

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Matthew Lohse
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Note, this review is being made after only having played the Cobra introductory scenario, so in theory it is possible my views could change after playing the longer scenarios or a full campaign.

First of all, the components for the game are beautiful. I love the counters, the maps manage to combine a lot of detail without being cluttered, the play aids are good, and I really like the setup charts for each scenario that show each counter... it made it a lot easier and quicker to find the pieces needed. Really, the components rank amont the best I have seen for a game [and I have seen a lot of games].

The combat resolution is a bit different than many other games with a roll dice and have separate attrition results and tactical results [the latter of which can be modified by elite units]. Depending on how an attack goes, there is a possibility of exploitation where some of your units can move and attack again... an area where Armored units really shine. I really like the support system... each player randomly draws chits with different types of support [airpower, arty, leaders, ect] that modify combat in a hex of a limited area, which can really affect what sort of moves you make in a given turn.

I haven't played the D-day scenario or full campaign yet, but having read the manual and the illustrated example of play, I am looking forward to it. The system is setup so you can land in a wide variety of places [with different levels of German defenses and number of divisions the Allies can use]. Rather than create a whole massive separate system for invasions, there is a modified version of the supports system where each side draws chits that affect combat [for example partisans for the allies preventing German reinforcements of the beaches are countered if the German plays a specific different chit] and then assigns them to the various invasion hexes.

I also like the way the game manages to introduce certain motivations for actions on each side without forcing you to do anything. As the allies, you will have to spend some of your support to move your fuel pipeline closer to the front to be able to use supports. Also, you will want to try to capture more ports to increase the level of support you get... but this may divert forces from other attacks you want to make. As the Germans, you have to balance the favor you gain by attacking with the units it may cost you or the cities you may loose to the allies which also cost you favor... the less favor the have the less support you get [until it gets so low your leader is replaced and the favor level resets]. Mechanics like that make you look for ways to attack without saying "you must make three attacks each turn".

All in all a very good game that I look forward to playing again.

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Iain K
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I appreciate the comments Matthew. Regarding "Hitler's Favor" for the German player. Do they take Victory point hits for continuing to let their favor numbers drop?

I ask because in France 1944 games the German's best move is often to retreat to the fortified lines at the German border immediately after the containment of the beachhead fails.

How does LR avoid this "run for the border"?

Thanks.
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Malte Menger
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citizen k wrote:
I ask because in France 1944 games the German's best move is often to retreat to the fortified lines at the German border immediately after the containment of the beachhead fails.
Thanks.


Exactly this is what you are going to see after the last landing was determinded...
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John Gant
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There are many ways to handle the question of early abandonment of France, which is a good question to ask. Ted Raicer's Storming the Reich (in playtest now) handles it by implementing sudden death victory conditions. German can't abandon Normandy too quickly or they lose a sudden death. Allies must get across the Seine quickly or they lose a sudden death.

The Liberty Roads solution is quite elegant. You can abandon France quickly, but you will pay a stiff price to do so. This comes in terms of reinforcements, opportunities, etc. Very elegant, and better than sudden death victory conditions, imo. Plus it adds the quite realistic element of Hitler's often nonsensical demands. Great flavor, and nice chrome.

Excellent game from all reports, though I have yet to do more than read the rules.

--JokerRulez

PS I have enjoyed Storming the Reich very much. Quick, relatively easy, and a quite good simulation of the major elements involved on the Western Front. Something to like about both of these.
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Matthew Lohse
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Iain,

I think John answered your question better than I can. Since I only played the learning scenario the idea of a retreat from France didn't make much in that context [since it would expose the victory hexes to the Allies]. In the longer game I don't think it can be done before a certain point and when you do it you make it much easier for the Allies to invade any coastal hexes in France. Someone who has played the full game can probably give a better answer.
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Alec Clair
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citizen k wrote:
I appreciate the comments Matthew. Regarding "Hitler's Favor" for the German player. Do they take Victory point hits for continuing to let their favor numbers drop?

Thanks.


No you don't loose VP if Hitler's Favor drop. Nevertheless Hitler's favor drop is linked to important strategical objectives like key cities or port. In short scenarios some cities might gives VP but for the campaign victory conditions are simple:

- Capture 7 major cities in Germany.
- Exit 19 suplied allied divisions and 2 HQs off the east edge of the map

So you won't loose the game just by making the furher unhappy.
It rather reflect the difference in how to operate on the western front between the german player, which act as the front commander, and his hierachical leader chaotic behavior who try to command from far away having a poor picture of the actual situation.

So depending on Hitler's favor, you can loose extra support and have reduced movement allowance, which usually happen at the worse time, on the other hand when the favor drop to zero, it start again at the top of the track at 10 (though each time it reach zero it start one point lower with a minimum starting position of 7) simulating the nomination of a new front commander, the good news is to encourage this new commander Hitler gives you more supports tokens.

With experience you can learn to reduce the effect of Hitler's wrath on your own plan.

I know that when reading the rules it might looks like a joke or a gamey trick, but as Matthew correctly stated, Hitler's favor change doesn't tie the german to any course of action and indeed works very well to put some "overhead" pressure on the german player and keep him within some limits while still leaving him free on how to operate.

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Alec Clair
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citizen k wrote:

I ask because in France 1944 games the German's best move is often to retreat to the fortified lines at the German border immediately after the containment of the beachhead fails.

How does LR avoid this "run for the border"?

Thanks.


The sigfried line is definitively a very good place to make a defensive line and if correctly manned it can cause some troubles for the allied player.
That said it is no so easy to implement a quick and orderly withdrawal to Germany in actual play.

Firstly early in the game some german units don't have freedom of movements.
The german cannot declare an official "retreat from France" before turn 7, and he can do so only if Hitler's favor if 4 or more.

Secondly Allied units move faster than german units, especially most german infantry units are slow. Allied units can use strategic movement every turns but the german must pay one of is precious support token each turn he wants to make some strat move. So the allied can catch up and even surround part of the german force.

Finally if the German retreat to quickly, the allied player will be very happy to seize the all important ports, especially Antwerp which increase his cross channel capabilities allowing him to bring one more unit on the continent per turn, and also giving him more support tokens to increase the power of is attack with extra air and artilery support.


In actual play I have found that whatever defensive line you choose after the beachead containment has failed it is rather difficult to retreat in order, because the allied power is so overwhelming it is difficult to both leave a screen of units and also make another line, most of the time you barely have enough units to man only one line. I ve found that raher to retreat to Germany the best way was often to have your units die in place and then be rebuilt in Germany, possibly taking advantage of the strategic eserve option.


I've played more than 10 campaigns and don't think it is anything like a sure win strategy.
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Iain K
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Merci Alec.

I believe the key statement in your answer is:
Quote:

The german cannot declare an official "retreat from France" before turn 7, and he can do so only if Hitler's favor if 4 or more.


So there is a specific rule limiting when the Germans can leave France (or perhaps abandon Paris).

Games on the topic always seem to need such a rule to mirror historical German decisions.

However, you make it sound as though the Allies have no supply problems as they chase the Germans across France. True? Do the Allies' logistical problems limit their ability to Race Across France - as those problems limited the advance historically.

Thanks again.
 
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Bill Lawson
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The Allies do have supply problems while advancing across France. They must be able to trace supply to there HQ and from them back to operational ports. There are also the Pluto markers which provide the focus for most of the support markers.
Between The Fortitude, Fuhrer's Approval, Supply, and Pluto rules, giving up France without a fight (for the Germans) and a quick pursuit for the Allies are not all that easy to do.
This is a great game! I have played the Cobra scenario a couple times and the Campaign a couple times.
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Raynald Foret
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Quote:
So there is a specific rule limiting when the Germans can leave France (or perhaps abandon Paris).


Actually, there is a specific rule that make it cost efficient. The Germans could chose to run for the Siegfried as quickly as fortitude allow him, but the Furher won't be happy and more than one commander are going to be fired... (with bad consequences).

This is something that can happen even if the German commander (player) doesn't want it, in case of an early allied breakthrough.

On the other hand, you can declare that you "abandon France" on turn 7 (early august) and still try to contain the allied beachhead and then fight on some intermediary lines. That's a very difficult thing to balance because of the growing allies advantages, the speed of their units and the fact that no intermediary line is as strong as the Seigfried), but it's very interesting to try and it can buy you a lot of time (because of the need to move Pluto and because the expanding line give you more opportunity for some local counter-attacks --> they make Hitler happy).

But basically Alec has it right : it's not easy to bring back in Germany the German infantry divisions, they can't outrun the allies.

Quote:
However, you make it sound as though the Allies have no supply problems as they chase the Germans across France. True? Do the Allies' logistical problems limit their ability to Race Across France - as those problems limited the advance historically.


The real problem suffered by the allies is not directly simulated in the game (i.e the expanding truck lines), but you have 2 indirect mechanism for this :

First the Pluto markers.You need them if you face a serious opposition. So at some point you'll have to move them and that means less support available.

Second, the strategic movement rule. While it means a great mobility for the allies, it also tied the movement of their units to the HQ. And allies HQ range and mobility isn't that great (also, some may have kept too many HQs in England to maximize the number of divisions on the continent ...).
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Iain K
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Thanks again, this discussion is all making me more interested in the title.

Although in my experience (with the theater), well implemented holding actions by the German forces coupled with the growing logistical difficulties the Allies face *always* allows the bulk of the German forces, infantry included, escape to the safety of Germany ... perhaps it is historically inevitable.

Still, the manner in which LR handles these issues sounds very intriguing.

Thanks again everyone.
 
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JACOB Anthony
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Hi,

Well, it depends. As there's no ZOC in this game, breakthrough is the master key for allied playing. Allied player must choose to maneuverwith Germans trying to avoid outflanking. So german troops can be in great danger of being out of supply in pockets. In addition german out of supply units can have their movement quatered if general is fired by Führer...which is quite frequent if Germans retreat as fast as possible, loosing cities and other allied objectives, to reach Siegfried line.
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Alec Clair
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citizen k wrote:
Merci Alec.

I believe the key statement in your answer is:
Quote:

The german cannot declare an official "retreat from France" before turn 7, and he can do so only if Hitler's favor if 4 or more.


However, you make it sound as though the Allies have no supply problems as they chase the Germans across France. True? Do the Allies' logistical problems limit their ability to Race Across France - as those problems limited the advance historically.

Thanks again.


As my answers were were allready long I didn't give all the details.

Of course the allies do have supplies issues, nevertheless they can move faster than most germans units.

All allied mechanized units have 4 MP and all infantry and HQs 3MP.
German mechs have only 3MP and infantry have between 1 and 3 MP.

When using strat move most units double their MP, but Allied infantry triples their MP (simulating their trucks). Of course when using strat move you can't make contact with the ennemy, and you must stay within HQ's range.

Many allies support tokens must be used in range of a PLUTO counters, and those counters don't move fast(you can have 2 PLUTO counters max, one after each landing turn)

So you can send quick spearheads forward but the heavy supplies, that's artillery and CAS cannot follow. So you can cut or hinder german retreat and destroy lonely units and stragglers but you might have troubles engaging solid positions,
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Alec Clair
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Also note that allied (and german) units must stay in command range of their HQs to operate at full efficiency.

As you check supply before moving, you can be In Supply and then move farther than the command range of your HQs, which is 5 hexes, then you might be Out of Supply next turn (all rating halved). This is sometime useful to seize key crossroad.

I should also point out that moving along road cost only 1/2 MP, so despite that allied tanks have only 1 extra MP over german mechanized units, it can amount to a 2 hexes differences if racing on road.
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Tom H
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You guys are just plain bad. Telling me all bout this game and forcing a poor honest man to part with his money to buy yet another fantastic and stimulating game.


(only kidding but I must really stop doing this!)

PS - great review.
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