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Subject: Basic strategies rss

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Jethro Hendrickx
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I've read the rules, toyed a bit with the vassal module, looked at the units and now I'm looking to collect some basic strategies, basically all advice worth giving to new players.

I'll start writing down some of my thoughts, please feel free to add or comment. And please note that all of this comes from no real game experience, so mostly based on assumptions and some (perhaps sometimes incorrect) analysis.

The Cards:
From a '39 setup, and assuming Italy enters the war in summer '40 (when the axis start playing 5 cards), the axis have drawn 38 cards by summer '41 (start of Barbarossa), The early war deck contains 30 cards, this means they'll have seen 8 cards twice by then. This is important to know if you want to attack Russia with a certain card in hand, if you don't hold on to it, you have about 1/3 chance to draw it again.(8 out of 30 minus the *events that left the deck)

The Lebensraum card jumps to mind for this, I don't know if it's worth it to hold it and play or even play when it's in your hand, as it gives 5 ops and good resources as well. It can give up to 3 ops cards a +1 ops, as the 4th ops card needs to be played for Italy. My thought seems to be, if you happen to have it in hand, play it, but don't go to too much trouble to keep it. I may be mistaken on this though.

Continuing our card counting, the axis will see every early war card 1-2 times from '39 to '41, then every early and mid war card 1-2 times in 42-43 and then every card about once in 44-45. The allies are more or less on the same numbers, the sovs will only just be through their early deck when mid war starts, due to being on 3 cards for a long time. This means an early war card will be 3-5 times in your hand, a mid war card 2-3 times, a late war card probably only once. Keep this in mind, thinning your deck from bad cards, especially early war cards, seems quite important.


The Units:
In a blitz, blitzing units take first hits, rest goes to engaged units, full strength units before the rest.
This means you can save some oil by having your panzers at 3cv rather than 4cv, combined with a panzer on steel step (2cv) to take first hit. Don't know how effective this will be, but at least against the poles it should suffice.
This also means that full strength inf on manpower is very good for absorbing losses, the axis have quite a few of those, use them to attack and spread them around when on the defensive later in the war. I don't think the russians should build (or can afford) cadre infantry before they have their guard units, who are at 4cv with manpower.

The Rest:
Diplomacy seems to favour the last side in a season, as their pending influence can't be negated anymore, and they have the option to negate the pending influence of others.
VP's are what win the game. Study your cards and conditions carefully. Going for the A-bomb is risky, the card might be buried at the bottom of the drawpile, but it might turn a defeat into a victory as well.
The sovs should aim to get as much land between the Axis and Moscow. Attack Poland, the Baltic states (just march in I think), pose an ultimatum to Romania for Bessarabia, get a region from Finland. This makes them qualify for Soviet reforms ans Spheres of influence.
The axis have to decide where to spend their oil, they can't have all subs and all planes and 4 cv tanks and what else. Consider playing an event without oil or cadre just to get rid of it, and think twice about playing those precious few events which offer 2 of those.


My 2 cents for now, looking forward to any reactions and to actually play this game.
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Alberto Natta
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Cards:
Frankly the game seems very short of OPS, few card plays and they are all low on OPS overall, even a 4 card is still low to operate, at least at the beginning where you have a lot to build up, to move around back and forth, and so on.

I even evaluated that events as Donitz and Lebensraum are to never be played as event.
Until I get Speer, I can place a Warsaw or so factory dedicated to the ships (I believe it is not enforced a factory with a port for it.) - as I can only reallocate just one of the non national factories. Cadres seem terribly short on their stock, even for Germany; especially as many latewar units need cadre (including the C3 max infantry.).
Lebensraum in the end of the day gives you 3 ops, diluted over 3 cards which can be an asset if you can use them properly - this is a given.
Though as tradeoff you burst a card of 5 ops and a cadre for the future AND if instead you open with a Guderian/Rommel (which is still 4 ops) or so, you benefit of 1 round more of a leader.

4 Ops + 1 Cadre simply are way more precious than 1 factory I struggle to reposition in my assets. Let us not talk of a 5 OPS - given until now my Barbarossa (one in '39 and one in '41 total) got calmly halted by the Soviets at their frontline. At least for the Axis, just my opinion though.

Units:
I rather disagree with the B2 tanks when you get to a stage to fight some organized enemy such as France. You want to fire first, badly.
Also I am not sure that Blitzing and Full step means the tanks need to take 2 hits each. Probably something to ask about.

As Axis ships seems rather useless, subs including. Sure you need to force the UK to build some ships, but they can very easily take the upper hand. A play of ASW card means they activate 4 fleets with the supreme HQ and hunt down your subs anywhere on the map as they got ports anywhere on the map too. In a season I lost 5 sub steps due to raiding combat first, which costed me 2 attrition hits and the two allocated factories; and then Allies played ASW and litterally obliterated submarines all around.




 
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Jethro Hendrickx
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I agree about Donitz, being 4 ops and giving cadre and oil, he's very valuable to recycle.

About Lebensraum I'm not too sure, he gives you 3 bonus ops right away, in a time when they're most usefull, perhaps the most important season of the game, Barbarossa. If you recycle the card, you'll probably draw it another 2-3 times. Drawing this card instead of an "average" card (say 3 ops) means you would get 4-6 more ops, spread over the game. Compared to 3 ops right away, I don't dare to say what's best.

I think you had bad luck with those subs, I think the trick is to build them all up to steel cv2, and sortie them once France has fallen and Italy joined. If needed later you can get them to oil cv3 and leave one at cv2. You can take your first hits on this unit, costing you steel and not oil. Remember in a raid they fire first and have assault power, it needs to be a big escort that can cause them more losses than they took (or strange dice). Also note that 2 units at cv2 are better than 1 at cv4 (double hits aren't wasted).
Also when the UK parks lots of escorts, that are less ships in the med against Italy.
If asw comes out, indeed, you can be hosed.

You're right about the panzer vs B class units, vs C class doesn't makes a difference.
In combat, each blitzing unit takes a hit first, then hits are applied to all engaged units, full strength ones first. As long as the full strength units are able to absorb losses, your 3cv panzers are safe. At least that's how I read it.
 
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Alberto Natta
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Well this means your A4 panzer suffers a step loss off oil then and goes A3, as the Blitz hit is sated; and you do not need anymore the top strenght mandatory hit.
I tried France with B quality tanks. They get obliterated with your factories before they can fire if France lucks out cadres.

____

I am concerned on how to optimize the first round against Poland. I sort of evaluated it and I think the Poland best defence is to mass militias in Warsaw, and hold the extra MP to soak attrition hits.
They can leave Lublin empty.

It seems risky for the Germans to blitz Warsaw first hand this way, assuming they do need to get first the other provinces clean - and if they blitz they can only get with tanks in Warsaw - meaning all their panzers are to soak the damage off a C3 and D4 militia. If Germans are unlucky to not manage to open with a military card, they risk to be royally screwed as they need to play a 3 ops, and if Allies and Soviets can play a 3 or superior ops each to push the mud. Virtually preventing or almost a turn 1 poland fall. Theorycraft still but ...

 
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Jethro Hendrickx
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I agree about Poland, no use in defending Lublin if the germans enter with 3-4 units. Blitzing Warsaw then doesn't seems a good option as you panzers can't exploit a 2nd time and your odds of killing every Pole seem rather small. Better to blitz the turn after, so you can encircle all poles that weren't killed.

Having all 3 mudd cubes come out so soon would be highly unlikely, but indeed the germans better hurry up in Poland.
 
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Michael Tan
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Minotower wrote:
I've read the rules, toyed a bit with the vassal module, looked at the units and now I'm looking to collect some basic strategies, basically all advice worth giving to new players.

I'll start writing down some of my thoughts, please feel free to add or comment. And please note that all of this comes from no real game experience, so mostly based on assumptions and some (perhaps sometimes incorrect) analysis.

The Cards:
From a '39 setup, and assuming Italy enters the war in summer '40 (when the axis start playing 5 cards), the axis have drawn 38 cards by summer '41 (start of Barbarossa), The early war deck contains 30 cards, this means they'll have seen 8 cards twice by then. This is important to know if you want to attack Russia with a certain card in hand, if you don't hold on to it, you have about 1/3 chance to draw it again.(8 out of 30 minus the *events that left the deck)

The Lebensraum card jumps to mind for this, I don't know if it's worth it to hold it and play or even play when it's in your hand, as it gives 5 ops and good resources as well. It can give up to 3 ops cards a +1 ops, as the 4th ops card needs to be played for Italy. My thought seems to be, if you happen to have it in hand, play it, but don't go to too much trouble to keep it. I may be mistaken on this though.

Continuing our card counting, the axis will see every early war card 1-2 times from '39 to '41, then every early and mid war card 1-2 times in 42-43 and then every card about once in 44-45. The allies are more or less on the same numbers, the sovs will only just be through their early deck when mid war starts, due to being on 3 cards for a long time. This means an early war card will be 3-5 times in your hand, a mid war card 2-3 times, a late war card probably only once. Keep this in mind, thinning your deck from bad cards, especially early war cards, seems quite important.


The Units:
In a blitz, blitzing units take first hits, rest goes to engaged units, full strength units before the rest.
This means you can save some oil by having your panzers at 3cv rather than 4cv, combined with a panzer on steel step (2cv) to take first hit. Don't know how effective this will be, but at least against the poles it should suffice.
This also means that full strength inf on manpower is very good for absorbing losses, the axis have quite a few of those, use them to attack and spread them around when on the defensive later in the war. I don't think the russians should build (or can afford) cadre infantry before they have their guard units, who are at 4cv with manpower.

The Rest:
Diplomacy seems to favour the last side in a season, as their pending influence can't be negated anymore, and they have the option to negate the pending influence of others.
VP's are what win the game. Study your cards and conditions carefully. Going for the A-bomb is risky, the card might be buried at the bottom of the drawpile, but it might turn a defeat into a victory as well.
The sovs should aim to get as much land between the Axis and Moscow. Attack Poland, the Baltic states (just march in I think), pose an ultimatum to Romania for Bessarabia, get a region from Finland. This makes them qualify for Soviet reforms ans Spheres of influence.
The axis have to decide where to spend their oil, they can't have all subs and all planes and 4 cv tanks and what else. Consider playing an event without oil or cadre just to get rid of it, and think twice about playing those precious few events which offer 2 of those.


My 2 cents for now, looking forward to any reactions and to actually play this game.


This is a very good high level analysis for not having ever played. There isn't anything I really disagree with.
 
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Cohen wrote:
Cards:
Frankly the game seems very short of OPS, few card plays and they are all low on OPS overall, even a 4 card is still low to operate, at least at the beginning where you have a lot to build up, to move around back and forth, and so on.

I even evaluated that events as Donitz and Lebensraum are to never be played as event.
Until I get Speer, I can place a Warsaw or so factory dedicated to the ships (I believe it is not enforced a factory with a port for it.) - as I can only reallocate just one of the non national factories. Cadres seem terribly short on their stock, even for Germany; especially as many latewar units need cadre (including the C3 max infantry.).
Lebensraum in the end of the day gives you 3 ops, diluted over 3 cards which can be an asset if you can use them properly - this is a given.
Though as tradeoff you burst a card of 5 ops and a cadre for the future AND if instead you open with a Guderian/Rommel (which is still 4 ops) or so, you benefit of 1 round more of a leader.

4 Ops + 1 Cadre simply are way more precious than 1 factory I struggle to reposition in my assets. Let us not talk of a 5 OPS - given until now my Barbarossa (one in '39 and one in '41 total) got calmly halted by the Soviets at their frontline. At least for the Axis, just my opinion though.

Units:
I rather disagree with the B2 tanks when you get to a stage to fight some organized enemy such as France. You want to fire first, badly.
Also I am not sure that Blitzing and Full step means the tanks need to take 2 hits each. Probably something to ask about.

Alberto,

This is not an uncommon conclusion after one of two plays as the Axis. It is absolutely critical for the Axis player to master the usage of ops and resources efficiently. This is usually not possible until you have played a few times. For instance, I would ALWAYS play Lebensraum for the event for Barbarossa unless I had to pocket it for more than 1 year. Here are a few tips:

- Always build new land units at or near full strength. It is very inefficient to build a naval or air unit to half strength, and then spend a second op to build it to full strength later.
- Always pay for attrition hits whenever possible.
- Allocate industry for the free transfer once per season.
- Avoid needlessly transferring infantry and HQs back and forth across the Eastern and Western Fronts. THIS IS EXTREMELY CRITICAL for Germany. Example: After conquering Poland, DO NOT transfer the majority of infantry units West. Instead, build ALL new units in the West and transfer over only the best units from Poland. A common mistake is to use Army Group South in Poland, then transfer it to France, then transfer it back to the East for Barbarossa. It is much more efficient to leave it in the East and build Army Group Center and Army Group D in the West.
- Avoid committing full strength units to minor battles. It's really wasteful to take attrition hits on oil and cadre steps in battles that you have a decisive advantage. This is an intentional part of my design. Germany needs to maximize the value of every elite tank crew, pilot, or drop of oil. Believe me, Germany is EXTREMELY powerful once you stop feeling starved for ops and cadre.

Cohen wrote:
As Axis ships seems rather useless, subs including. Sure you need to force the UK to build some ships, but they can very easily take the upper hand. A play of ASW card means they activate 4 fleets with the supreme HQ and hunt down your subs anywhere on the map as they got ports anywhere on the map too. In a season I lost 5 sub steps due to raiding combat first, which costed me 2 attrition hits and the two allocated factories; and then Allies played ASW and litterally obliterated submarines all around.

The Axis have almost a 2:1 resource exchange rate in their favor if they pursue the u-boat campaign. If you spread your u-boats out instead of concentrating them in one region, I think it is very difficult for the Allies to wipe out the u-boat threat with one ASL card play. It's very important to play Donitz to build up your u-boat force quickly after France falls. I usually play Donitz for ops if I draw it really early, otherwise I play the event. Once you become more efficient with your ops usage, the events won't seem so difficult to play.
 
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Minotower wrote:
I agree about Donitz, being 4 ops and giving cadre and oil, he's very valuable to recycle.

About Lebensraum I'm not too sure, he gives you 3 bonus ops right away, in a time when they're most usefull, perhaps the most important season of the game, Barbarossa. If you recycle the card, you'll probably draw it another 2-3 times. Drawing this card instead of an "average" card (say 3 ops) means you would get 4-6 more ops, spread over the game. Compared to 3 ops right away, I don't dare to say what's best.

I think you had bad luck with those subs, I think the trick is to build them all up to steel cv2, and sortie them once France has fallen and Italy joined. If needed later you can get them to oil cv3 and leave one at cv2. You can take your first hits on this unit, costing you steel and not oil. Remember in a raid they fire first and have assault power, it needs to be a big escort that can cause them more losses than they took (or strange dice). Also note that 2 units at cv2 are better than 1 at cv4 (double hits aren't wasted).
Also when the UK parks lots of escorts, that are less ships in the med against Italy.
If asw comes out, indeed, you can be hosed.

You're right about the panzer vs B class units, vs C class doesn't makes a difference.
In combat, each blitzing unit takes a hit first, then hits are applied to all engaged units, full strength ones first. As long as the full strength units are able to absorb losses, your 3cv panzers are safe. At least that's how I read it.


Again agree on all counts.
 
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Minotower wrote:
I agree about Donitz, being 4 ops and giving cadre and oil, he's very valuable to recycle.

I will likely move the oil resource to another card or lower Donitz to 3 ops and add one ops to another Axis card.
 
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Cohen wrote:
Well this means your A4 panzer suffers a step loss off oil then and goes A3, as the Blitz hit is sated; and you do not need anymore the top strenght mandatory hit.
I tried France with B quality tanks. They get obliterated with your factories before they can fire if France lucks out cadres.

Usually 1 A4 armor and 2 B2 armor is sufficient to conquer France. You mentioned previously that you had been using British resources to build French units which was wrong. German armor almost always shoot first in France because the Allies must hold most of their B units in reserve to stop blitzes.

Cohen wrote:
I am concerned on how to optimize the first round against Poland. I sort of evaluated it and I think the Poland best defence is to mass militias in Warsaw, and hold the extra MP to soak attrition hits.
They can leave Lublin empty.

It seems risky for the Germans to blitz Warsaw first hand this way, assuming they do need to get first the other provinces clean - and if they blitz they can only get with tanks in Warsaw - meaning all their panzers are to soak the damage off a C3 and D4 militia. If Germans are unlucky to not manage to open with a military card, they risk to be royally screwed as they need to play a 3 ops, and if Allies and Soviets can play a 3 or superior ops each to push the mud. Virtually preventing or almost a turn 1 poland fall. Theorycraft still but ...

6 of the 30 Axis cards are playable as military cards which translates to a 23% chance of not drawing one. It's virtually impossible for Germany not to hold a 3 ops card to take the initiative if they don't have a playable military card. It's theoretically possible but I think Germany will almost always be able to attack Warsaw for two rounds which should be enough to take it out unless they are extremely unlucky. Even then, one or two manpower steps should be eliminated quite quickly, even with mud.
 
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Mark Luta
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Generally, Germany needs to bring a seemingly overwhelming army to attack both Poland, and then France, assuming a generally historical start for Axis strategy. Normally, it will not be required, but in the cases where it is, trying to 'minimize' the forces used will result in Germany wasting far too many ops points.

Generally, U-boats should not be employed in the Western Approaches, unless the Royal Navy is busy elsewhere. As long as the naval attrition favours Germany, the U-boats will seem to have great success in this region, but eventually the ability to use all the forces in the sea area, plus bombers, will take far too many losses of U-boats. In general, a viable Axis strategy is to move U-boats to the Western Approaches to force Britain to move forces there, then use the openings elsewhere, say with the Italian Navy, let the Royal Navy respond to those sea areas, then attack convoys in the Western Approaches, or else spread away and force the British to follow.

This game is completely the opposite of systems such as 'Europe Engulfed' where overwhelming forces allow rolling an overwhelming number of dice. There are many, many more strategic considerations in Sturm Europa which need to be taken into account. The pace involves rebuilding HQs at the right time to make an activation for offensive, or counterattack, as powerful as possible. The resources are normally more dominant in terms of deciding strategy than even the event cards, and certainly more important than the ops points. By mid-game, every side seems to have more ops available than the resources will allow them to efficiently use--the start of the war is when the sides much build up, which is a nicely historical tradeoff of taking military action versus using resources for future plans. Each side needs to be planning 2-3 years ahead, to achieve success.

As a general rule with respect tempo, the Axis need to accomplish what they want to outside Russia before the start of Barbarossa (assuming they pursue the invasion of the USSR). Once German forces are engaged in Russia, they will have very few 'spare' ops points available for other fronts--as was the case historically, certainly. Even during the invasion (the start of the game if playing the 1941 scenario), the Axis will need to find a way to apply points to other fronts (beyond the mandatory 'Italy' card). Then, there are two very divergent sets of objectives within Russia--the closest objective cities to take are obviously Leningrad and Moscow, of which the Axis generally want to take at least 1 for the early war scoring round at the start of 1942. Yet, also critical to long-term Axis prospects is the resource-rich Ukraine, as leaving all these resources in Soviet hands will tend to provide the Soviet player with the resources needed to hold onto all their VP cities.
 
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Jethro Hendrickx
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Thanks for all the feedback so far.

About the U-boats, is relocating them all the time not playing into the allies hand? I'd think that the allies now where the convoys are coming from (they're on their cards after all) so would guard these routes. If the Axis then move somewhere, are they ever going to intercept something? It seems to me the allies have far less need for their SHQ moves in the beginning, so can far more easily afford to move some fleets around.

I had more or less assumed (admittedly with a Europe Engulfed mindset) that subs were very much worth it in the beginning and then later, probably after an asw play that hurts, should be abandonned. (US churns out replacement fleets quickly)

From the axis point of view, what would you say is the relative worth of all assets? I'd say Industry < ops < manpower < steel < oil < cadre

But could you say for example, 3 manpower = 1 oil? I know this is hard to do and really depends on a lot a factors, just wondering if you could come up with a "fast" rule?

How do you value Spain and Turkey as minor allies? Traditionally they are "the big prizes" to get, often tied to conditions that must be met, here there doesn't seems to be anything like that, they go to whoever invested there the best.

Thanks for any insights.
 
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Mark Luta
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An interesting thing about the resources is that each side has surplus and shortages in different areas, which limits what can be accomplished at any one time. As would be expected, the USSR have good amounts of manpower and oil, often shortages in steel and really short cadre, while Germany and Britain have plenty of steel and tend to have manpower shortages over time, and sometimes oil shortages. The USA have unlimited industry but difficulty raising manpower early on (historically representing the need to organize the military draft, massive production output increases and division of effort between European and Pacific theaters). When the Soviets see the Germans starting to pay for manpower losses with cadre resources, they know it is time to make any attack which has a chance at causing manpower losses at almost any cost!

As for moving the U-boats to different zones, recall that the SHQ can move any 4 blocks--so if the Axis only need to move 2 or 3 ground units with it, that leaves 1 or 2 naval moves (a little more complexity actually involved, but that is the general concept). There is the possibility of a rule change that an 'event' card SHQ might only be useable for movement, but not to make attacks, as opposed to the op point spent on SHQ which would allow an unsupported (attrition only) attack...The original need for the 'event' SHQ was identified when the USSR needs to move units to block holes in the lines wherever the Germans break through, but still needs to play several events immediatly after the invasion--it was found that if Germany played the 7-8 cards all for ops which are possible from start of summer to start of mud, the Soviets could be forced to play no events without this rule change. The choice became to make the key Soviet event cards 'military'--too much help to the Soviets. So this rule change allowed the events to be played and the Soviets can still move 4 blocks...The problem identified recently is now the Royal Navy can make relentless attacks against the Italian Navy if they can attack with 4 blocks every 'event' card. So allowing only movement but not attacks on the 'event' SHQ should preserve the Soviet ability to react but force Britain to spend ops to attack.

My observation on getting Spain or Turkey as an ally is that it is almost never worth the effort. It takes a great deal of expenditure to gain them as allies, as well as time, and the other side can delay the effort. Then, once they are an ally, that side has to expend ops points on them to do anything with them! So one would need a specific strategy to make either a viable ally. Again, another possible rule change is to use a set of nation cards, tied in with events and specific conditions to meet, to get minor nations as allies in place of the current ops point expenditure tracks. This change might allow a side to set up a surprise entry for one of the 'major minor' nations that could be a potential game changer. Historically, of course, Romania was the 'major minor' which played a big part in the war.
 
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Mark Luta
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Also, just as a general comment since this thread is entitled 'Basic Strategies', since this is a WWII European Theater game, the Axis can expect to do reasonably well by following a generally historical strategy, and the other sides will similarly fare reasonably well by using similar means to oppose as were used historically. Then, it is just a matter of following through the mechanics to see what is the best way to accomplish what was done historically.

This is certainly not intended to mean that what was done historically will produce the 'best' results, merely that is a good starting point from which to evaluate what is the best course to follow from a given strategic position. It is not even required that Germany invade Poland in 1939...But, since we are modeling the fact WWII is going to start, some other event has to be assumed that will lead nations inexorably to war at that time. A decision to not invade Poland will risk Poland becoming an ally of another side, or perhaps the USSR will conquer them instead--and a significant amount of manpower is expected to be raised from Poland, so the Axis player will need some plan to replace this if he chooses not to invade Poland at the start.

There hopefully will never be any one winning strategy for a side, the intent of the card events is to put some randomness into the situation so that, while each side will be faced with similar considerations that their historical general staff counterparts faced, some other opportunities might be opened, and others closed off, in any given game.
 
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Do you think it's a viable strategy to go for Med + Turkey/Spain as allies and just defending against Russia?

Is Sea Lion at all viable?
 
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Mark Luta
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Sea Lion could possibly be pulled off with a bit of misdirection and some luck. Part of the mechanic that gives the Axis an early advantage against both the Allies and Soviets early on is the play of more cards per season, coupled with the initiative mechanic. If the others are not careful, Germany could engineer a turn where they go last, play the last two cards, then get the initiative the following season and elect to go first, potentially gaining 3 card plays in a row...

Even if the invasion of Britain turns out not to be possible, it is generally worth at least making the attempt, as this will force Britain to react, through both key card plays and moving land and sea forces to defend, rather than going on the offensive somewhere on the periphery. Similarly, pushing for Cairo, taking Athens, and making other mischief in the Mediterranean provide benefits to the Axis and hurt the Allied situation early on. Fundamentally, the easiest way for Britain to lose the game is to get into a land war of attrition with Germany, before American forces are available to help take some losses. On the other hand, since Britain cannot really directly hurt Germany much from the fall of France until a large invasion force is built up, a common Axis player mistake is to ignore Britain from 1940 and concentrate all effort on the east front. Failing to take advantage of the time to hurt Britain more while Britain is weak will mean a much stronger British military force by 1942-43 than was historically available.

I do not think it would be a viable strategy to start a game with a plan to concentrate solely on the Mediterranean as the Axis, after the fall of France and Poland. Rather, this would best be done as a result of what happens in a game to provide an opportunity to pursue such a strategy. A serious mistake by Britain, some real luck against the Royal Navy by both U-boats and the Italian Navy, things along those lines might lead to such an opening which cannot be expected to normally exist.

Fundamentally, the problem with not attacking the USSR is the same one which Germany faced historically, that the Soviets will only get stronger if none of their resources are taken. This is even a problem Germany must address during an invasion of Russia, the huge resources of the Ukraine are not the shortest route to the VP cities in Russia, yet leaving these resources in Soviet hands while pursuing only the VP objectives will shortly see Soviet production outstripping German. The Soviets will not be able to play more than 4 cards per season if Germany never invades, but this should be more than compensated by the untouched production the Soviet player then gains. And the Soviets are better able to support coups in the Balkan nations when their forces are in adjacent areas, which is another reason Germany wants to push the Russians off the border.

Add to this, one thing this game really brings out well is the fact that, until one side breaks the pact, Germany and the USSR are allies. One option for the Soviet player, should it become obvious Germany does not plan to invade, is to join the Axis cause and declare war on Britain themselves! The Soviets stand an excellent chance of being able to get to Cairo long before Germany can, and their supply routes are then much more secure. Having Turkey as an ally has advantages, but also creates that much longer a front for the Axis to defend. If under this scenario, the Soviets could also manage to take Warsaw before the start of 1944, the result would probably be a runaway Soviet victory.

If the Axis want to follow any strategy which involves not attacking the USSR, they will need to account for not only the defense of their entire eastern front, including invasions over the Black Sea and Baltic Sea by Soviet Marines, but also such a Soviet breakout into Africa. And with the armour blitz mechanic in this game, standing on a static defensive front is not really the best way to defend. So even a strategic defensive posture against Russia would still need to include quite a bit of offensive actions.
 
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John Benn
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I was a big WiF player for years and enjoyed that game alot until it became ridiculously unwieldy with optional rules and expansions.

My main issue with most WWII ETO games is the sense that there is very little back and forth possible.

For instance, once a side had momentum (usually the Axis) there was very little stopping it.

Is it possible in SE to start with the Axis doing well in Russia and then getting pushed back, but then later coming back to win or at least fare a lot better?

In other words, are there really strategic opportunities or is it all just an "illusion".

Things like Kursk never seem to happen in most ETO games. Germany either rolls over Russia or they get stopped and Russia blasts them back relentlessly back to Berlin.

Is this game a true strategic tug of war like the real one or more like a german ball bouncing off a wall in Moscow?
 
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Mark Luta
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The big difference between Sturm Europa and other ETO WWII games is that 'winning the game' does not necessarily mean 'winning the war'. The score for each of the 3 sides is calculated based on VPs attained during each of 3 scoring rounds (start of 1942, start of 1944 and end of 1945). The VPs are scored by capturing a VP city, holding a VP city at the time of the scoring round, and then certain other specific national objectives that apply to each side individually (the Allies get VP for never attacking a neutral nation, the Axis can play the 'Mare Nostrum' card for Italy which makes Athens a VP city for the Axis only, the Soviet player has 'Hero City' cards which allows them to create new VP cities in Russia, and so on). There are also game-end only VPs awarded, for example the Germans can gain a VP through successful development and employment of 'wonder weapons'.

So, from the historical situation, the Axis held 4 VP cities during both the 1942 and 1944 scoring rounds (Berlin, Rome, Paris and Warsaw),plus Athens, and none at the 1945 scoring. Plus, they would have gained a VP at the time each of the VP cities was captured. To win, the Axis need to do better (historically, the Soviet side 'won' Sturm Europa). How can they do so? One option is to try to hold onto either Berlin or Rome to the bitter end. Another option is to capture either Cairo, or at least 1 VP city in Russia (or even London). The scoring is extremely tight and generally 1VP is the margin of victory, so taking that one extra VP city, especially holding it through a scoring round, would probably win the game for the Axis even with a complete collapse during 1944. The Axis player would have to be careful not to give the Soviets or Allies too much advantage over the other, or he could still lose, so it is necessary to defend in both east and west as well.

And the other sides have a similar analysis to perform. As a general rule, whoever holds Berlin in 1945 is likely to be the winner, but that is not a guarantee. A really successful Barbarossa campaign which netted Germany 2 Russian VP cities would probably give the Axis the game even if the Soviets do eventually take Berlin.

Another thing I have been impressed with is the fluid nature of the Russian front, something which is absent from most WWII games. Rather than the 'momentum' movement first to the east, then to the west as was described above, the emphasis of attack on the front can certainly cause an ebb and flow which is much more in line with the historical. With some good planning and holding the right cards at the right time, the Soviets can carry out a winter offensive during the start of 1942 (in a 'historically normal' game) which can move the German front significantly. The Germans will need to get their allied nation armies onto that front as it lengthens, simply to share the losses. But...If the Axis player follows a more measured pace of invasion in 1941, the front might seem more secure, but of course the inroads will not be as great, and if not in imminent peril the Soviet player might well keep in the game a card or two that are good for a winter offensive, which might come back up during a future winter!
 
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Jethro Hendrickx
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Was it a conscious design decision to diminish the value of Spain and Turkey? Normally, Spain would mean blocking of the med and going for Africa, Irak oil and then threatening Baku, the vulnerable underbelly. Turkey would give a direct road to Baku. In Europe Engulfed for example, it's quite easy to contest Grozny through Russia, and then if possible Baku through Turkey, and Germany is doing good. In SE this seems a lot harder to do (rightfully so I think). Still I feel that it looks a bit easy for the sovs to defend their mountains on the border now.

What would you do as allies (in Africa) if Spain becomes an axis ally?

Why would Germany not get Italy into the war ASAP? Historically Italy was afraid, in SE they seem to have little to fear. They can park their fleet in a raiding box until needed and at least as long as the french fleet is around.

How do you attack Norway as the axis? Is the para the only option? Seems risky to me.

I ran some numbers, the weather is likely to change by the 7th or 8th block, 6th and 9th are possible as well, the rest is really unlikely. It just happened to me, the moment I play my 2nd ops card as axis to move into Warsaw, mud comes. What's the best plan then? There still is a C3 infantry and 6 manpower sitting there? A winterblitz seems an option, am I correct that you need to roll 2 armour symbols or 1 air symbol with 1 unit then to be able to encircle (clear=mountain=negate first assault and armour symbol)?

Thanks
 
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Alberto Natta
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I fully concur Italy is to be brought in war ASAP for the 5th card. Though I simply realized Regia Marina is doomed, first turn Italy is at war it gets obliterated to bits no matter what. UK can sacrifice 1-2 rounds of raiding combat on its convoys meanwhile it port strike down all the italian navy or so.
Then Italy virtually cannot restablish a new fleet due to its limited factory, and if a fleet appears, UK at the first event played move all the way some ships to sink the italian one in port. With 2 steps of carrier, and like a 3 step something fleet, it is pretty much ensured a hit goes through.

As Tripolitania is a Population Center, Italy can still keep in full supply 1 block in Afrika, and as many as they want in Limited Supply. So yes, 1 ops in influencing Italy the first turn seems a must to be and only a foolish thing to not do. You lose maybe 1-2 USA Oils to Italy, as tradeoff you earn Fall, Winter and Spring, if not Summer too of 1 extra card play (more recycle, more materials for Germany, etcetera.).

___

About Norway I think the Para is enough. Norway lacks planes, you roll 2 dices, which hit on 50% (6,5 and 3). Axis has good chances to sort it. Someone prefers to send also the Marine unit built on purpose. I would favor using 1 ops to influence Sweden and earn Transit (then your supply can go through it).
The UK either builds troop to go in Norway or empower the fleet to shank the Italians. (Thus a benefit to have Italy early imo here, which has no drawbacks if you lose Italian Fleet as it is virtually useless and can raid only 1 convoy route of UK).

___

Sidenote - there is still a bunch of questions of mine unansered in my thread, at reply 2 and 4.
 
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Mark Luta
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If the Axis gain Spain as an ally, really their only option next is to assult Gibraltar until it falls. With Spain as a member of the Axis, there is then a much longer coastline the Axis must defend, the benefit of blockading the Royal Navy out of the Mediterranean must be taken advantage of. (Historically, Franco grew cool towards much active participation in the war after Hitler refused to transfer Vichy territory in Africa to Spain, and when he realized that following the loss of the Bismarck, even if Spain did take Gibraltar, the likely response from Britain would be to occupy the Azores and Canary Islands and so would still be able to maintain an effective blockade of a non-neutral Spain. So in the game model, in order to 'woo Franco' the Axis player quite properly should need to address these concerns before Spain will become a belligerent ally.)

Remember that making Italy a full member of the Axis (i.e., playing the 5th card for Italy) does not automatically mean Italy is at war. Italy only enters the war when the Axis player decides, or when attacked (and the Allies have a couple of cards which will allow them to attack and weaken a neutral Italy without losing the VP--this can be done whether or not Germany has formally allied with Italy, so there is no advantage to waiting). The decision of when to bring Italy into the war is not based on cards, but based on what the objectives for Italy should be--take Marseilles industry for Italy, which considerably strengthens but at the risk of attack from French forces shortly to be lost to the Allies, or move towards Cairo and Athens, which means stay neutral while building up in Africa.

Also, if the Royal Navy can be stretched thin by German U-boats and Surface Raiders, there might be a later opportunity for a reconstituted Italian Navy to sortie and survive long enough to fully supply the North African forces for a card play or two. Taking Tobruk and Crete are very useful to the Axis in this effort, since it increases vastly the amount of ocean which the Royal Navy must patrol. Remember, outside the Western Approaches, the Royal Navy will need to occupy both the control and raiding boxes to fully interdict and protect their own convoys.
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Brian Evans
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I gotta say, this is an awesome thread. thumbsup
 
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Jon Karlsson
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markluta wrote:
to fully supply the North African forces for a card play or two. Taking Tobruk and Crete are very useful to the Axis in this effort, since it increases vastly the amount of ocean which the Royal Navy must patrol.


Europe Engulfed player here. Like it, but the naval part of that game could be more involved, so this sounds interesting. Would you (or anyone else) care to elaborate on how these (supply, interdiction, sea control, the like) mechanics work in this game?
 
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Jim F
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Birmingham
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Who knew trench warfare could be such fun?
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This is first on my 'sell everything I need this game' list...
 
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Jethro Hendrickx
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Cohen wrote:
About Norway I think the Para is enough. Norway lacks planes, you roll 2 dices, which hit on 50% (6,5 and 3). Axis has good chances to sort it. Someone prefers to send also the Marine unit built on purpose. I would favor using 1 ops to influence Sweden and earn Transit (then your supply can go through it).
The UK either builds troop to go in Norway or empower the fleet to shank the Italians. (Thus a benefit to have Italy early imo here, which has no drawbacks if you lose Italian Fleet as it is virtually useless and can raid only 1 convoy route of UK).


I don't think this works, when a para doesn't clears the are it lands in and there are no other friendly units, it becomes encircled (=oos) anyway.

A 2 cv para has 75% to succeed, still too risky for me. So I think I'll go with the marines + 1 cv para, they only have 1/8 risk to not score a hit. If they fail, you can always tranfer in some infantry later.

I think the only safe place for the Italian navy is in a raiding box somewhere. At least there I don't think they can be attacked and can keep the uk fleet honest in the med.
 
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