Before launching into specific strategies on the game, it might be worth clarifying what is the aim of the game i.e. how to achieve victory. Basically one can win the game by outlasting the system through the full deck of card. The second course of victory is to reach 9 on the political track. This article is not intended to advise the best strategy to win. I’m only just learning.. In fact, just when I thought I was getting on top of the game system, I have just lost 3 games in a row. So this article simply discusses factors that will influence strategy in broad terms.
Each turn you may wish to attempt Army Reorganisation, roll on the Political Track or play Offensives against fronts. I will discuss each in turn and what you are trying to achieve. Needless to say, you will be trying to do more than one thing every turn; there are NEVER enough actions.
Army Reorg table
There are a few different types of chits that you can receive with a lucky roll (6). These chits are immensely useful. I think it is very tough to win without at least a couple, certainly I have not managed it yet. One important and obvious approach is to get a couple of rolls in every time there is a +1 in play due to a card event. The chits are:
Cheka and Imperial Gold - allows the player the option to prevent card plays and die rolls for the gold. Although powerful chits, they can only be used once. This is really important if you are about to lose, and have Moscow overrun or a similar game losing enemy activity. The downside is that you only get to use these to react and not to proactively drive a strategy
Tank Corps, Trains and Experience - these are powerful chits that influence combat results, usually giving a +1 to the die toll, sometime higher with the Experience chit. For me, I have not managed to last through the game without at least one of these chits. Getting one is THAT important. Unless of course a political victory can occur. When you get one, you can concentrate on the harder fronts, or swap around as you see fit.
Subversion. This allows you to conduct your actions before the enemy. This is extremely useful in preventing the loss of key locations, not to mention Moscow.
Comintern International - this allows the player to add +1 to the political die roll. I have generally won the game when I get this, at least if it is early in the game. That said, it did not help me much last game.
Political Level Track
For me, rolling on the track is designed to achieve one of 3 main aims:
- prevent losing, by keeping the marker above ‘collapse’. This has happened to me a few times, mainly through bad luck. It is always good to keep it on at least 3, making sure that a couple of occasions losing Petrograd, poor dissent rolls or similar could cost you the game.
- reach 7 or 8, making the Allies ‘Indecisive’. I have started making this a standard approach. If you find yourself with an active Allies, together with say Finland and Germany, you will probably be in a world of hurt. So it is nice to halt the Allies if you can.
- reach 9 for victory. I have only managed to do this with the Comintern marker. But it a really fast way to victory with a bit of luck.
This is the core part of the game. Enemy fronts will advance. You need to prioritise your limited offensives, based upon (mainly) the enemy’s distance from Petrograd, Moscow or Kiev. It is important to note that various fronts are more likely to come into play at various stages of the game. Most importantly, some fronts are more likely to move. You need to be aware of this to drive your strategy (one of the other posters has an excellent analysis of this). If you survive that long, you want to be in a position to knock fronts out of the game. So you really need to have them back at the start line whenever you can. Again, this is where the likes of armoured trains are so important. I will discuss each enemy front in turn.
Baltic - Baltic can give you a very hard time, particularly early in the game when you will not have any Reorganisation chits. You need to keep it out of Petrograd when you can. You really want to try to get Tanks, Trains, or Experience chit if you can to help with the fight, or you can be overrun by the Germans. If you accept the treaty, having Baltic out of the fight for a while can be really useful.
Finland - the timing of the entry of Finland is important. If it comes in early, and especially with Mannerheim, the game might be real short.
Allies - when the Allies come in, they can be a mega threat. You dont want these guys in play, together with say Finland and Czech Legion. The strategy here is to try to get the Political Track up to 7 or 8. I have found this hard to maintain; it just cost me my last game.
Eastern - there are 2 main variables with this front. The first is that of the Czech Legion. If that is in play, and it can be for a long time, you have a full strength front to contend with. There is not much to do here but ride it out. The second issue is the timing of the Czar’s Fate card. Until this is played, you pretty much MUST keep the front in 4 or 5 (otherwise the Czar is liberated and every battle is bad news). Paying attention to the Eastern front can be a real pain with Baltic and others closing in on the other direction.
Southern - Southern is simple, but it is always a threat throughout the game.
Poland. These guys can come in late in the game. You MUST watch out for the card that allows the front to advance 2 spaces! This nearly cost me a game when I was well on top recently, but I was lucky to have gold to save the day. In the Dawn, these guys advance a lot.
It is tough to discuss strategy in this game, as the timing of events makes every game different. But to summarise…you need to get the political track moving early in the game or you will lose. You must get a couple of Reorganisation chits to get some competitive edge in aspects of the game. Watch out for cards that will lose you the game like Czar’s fate. Good luck Comrade!