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The Great War in Europe: Deluxe Edition» Forums » Sessions

Subject: With the Advantage of 98 Years of Hindsight rss

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Robert Lloyd
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The last time I played a full game of GWiE/NE it ended with an Allied Victory in November-December 1918, about as historical as you could wish for - although one of the reasons the AP (Allies) won was because the Bolshevik Revolution was avoided.

This game is an interesting contrast although I will not spoil it by saying how and when it ended. I will post the whole game over the next few days. Sorry no photos.

1 August I 1914 - VPs 1 - CP Gain: Brussels.

Germans invade Belgium. Allies sacrifice cavalry screens to slow German movement towards Mons. BEF retreats south in the direction of Soissons to make contact with French. Heavy German attacks around Longwy which is captured. French offensives in Lorraine and Alsace. French capture Morhagne. Russian advances into Eastern Galicia and East Prussia. Strong German counter-attack near Thorn by OberOst.

Fairly standard opening. Not sure the use of Allied cavalry was optimum.

2 August II 1914 - VPs 6 - CP Gain: Ostend; Lille; Dunkirk; Calais; Boulogne; Arras. AP Gain: Lemberg.

German advance in West reaches St Quentin and Albert while the Channel Ports are occupied. British chase German cavalry out of Albert. Serious fighting between the Meuse and Upper Aisne as the Germans force the French to give up ground. The Germans recover Morhagne, as the French redeploy units east to west. In the East, the Russians take Lemberg and Czernowitz despite Austrian attacks south and east of Przmysl. In Prussia, the Russians are in Insterberg and Tannenberg and a German counter-attack at Tannenberg failed.

The French still hold Amiens and Abbeville where their reinforcements will concentrate. The French lost 18 units in the first two turns.

3 September I 1914 - VPs 7 - CP Gain: French Emergency Replacements.

The German offensive on the Upper Aisne continues. Laon proves to be the high point of the German attack. The French and British mass between Amiens and the sea and start to push north against a weak German screen. The French also attack the German Naval Corps at Mulhouse without success. On the Eastern Front, the intensity of action declines, but the Russians isolate Lotzen and push across the German border threatening Posen. In Serbia, the Austrians have forced the Serbians back to Belgrade as they advance from the west.

The Allied counter-offensive has begun in the west and the Germans are bound to lose some of their initial gains. The French maximise their strength by taking the Emergency Replacements.

4 September II 1914 - VPs 7.

The forward momemtum of the German offensive is completely lost although the Germans do get within range of Reims. They are forced to defend against a developing Anglo-French offensive which is now steadily moving towards the Pas de Calais and the Sambre valley. The French offensive in Alsace continues as they try and get round the south of Mulhouse and break in to the Rhine valley. The Russians and Austrians are attacking each other around Przmysl and the San River without decisive result. Konigsberg is cut off from overland communication with the rest of the Reich. Action on the Balkan Front subsides as the Austrians cannot take Belgrade yet.

A rare turn in which the AP suffered fewer losses (9 units) than the CP (15), due to the current Allied advantage in the West.

5 October 1914 - VPs 7

The Allies continue to gain ground in the Pas de Calais. The Germans held Bethune against a British attack, but the Front is getting closer to Boulogne and Hazebrouk. The British are also involved in a second attack towards Arras which the Germans hold. The French attack in southern Alsace is suspended after the Germans reinforced in this sector. The fighting on the San River resolves itself as the Russians take Tarnow and the Austrians pull back to positions in the Carpathians. The Russians are also attacking the Lotzen position and there is fighting on the lower Vistula between Thorn and Danzig. Turkey prepares to declare war.

Although German resistance in France is stiffening, in part due to entrenchments, the Central Powers are still on the defensive in both East and West. Austria plans to shelter its forces from the Russians in the mountains during the winter.

6 November - December 1914 - VPs 9 - CP Gain: Constantinople; Ahwaz.

The British liberate Bethune and the French reach the vicinity of Boulogne. Behind German lines, Mauberge and Antwerp hold out. The Russians advance to Gorlice and have Przmysl invested. In Prussia, the Russians capture Lotzen but are unable to maintain a foothold on the west bank of the Lower Vistula. The Turks move forward in Sinai and occupy Ahwaz in Persia with a cavalry brigade. The Turks move on to Russia territory in the Caucasus and secure parts of Northern Persia.

The CP lost 75 units in 1914; the AP 81 units. The unreplaced deadpile has 43 CP units (35 German) and 38 AP units (France 21; Russia 16). The VP Total is a bit high but otherwise it is a reasonably good start for the AP.
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Festus Kira
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Hi Robert,

I was looking forward to your report. I am playing PBEM with Loris at the moment and will post something soon.

I do not see how the RU can be successfully on the offensive in August14? GE can place their units in a way that RU can hardly do any damage in Turn1 and if they advance too far a second Tannenberg can be the consequence. In Aug, due to the column shift, AH is at least equal to the RU, how can they lose lemberg in Aug? In our game the deadpile is filling up, but no significant RU advance, on the contratry, AH almost took Kholm in Poland.
If I understand correctly, the AH "B" units were deployed against Serbia to conduct offensive action there? I would not deal with Serbia until after the Thyphus event. AH is too weak to take Belgrade in 1914 and the B units can be used much more effective against RU.

I would love to see your west setup, the cav screen you mentioned. Sound intriguing.

Cheers
Festus
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Robert Lloyd
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Hallo Festus

I played this after a break of three years from this game so I was a bit rusty for the 1914 play.

The French cavalry was north of Namur and slows the movement of some, not all, of the German infantry starting at Liege. The British cavalry was at Mons. This prevented a strong attack on the BEF in August I, but cost the Allies all their cavalry. I wouldn't pretend it was the best set up, but the BEF escaped nevertheless as the German cavalry disapated itself occupying the coastal area.

The basic Allied strategy in the West was to absorb the German right wing advance by retreating while being relatively aggressive in Alsace- Lorraine aiming to inflict enough casualties on the Germans so that they could not defend the coast in strength due to the length of the front line.

In the East, the Russians advanced because the Central Powers let them. In Prussia, the Russian moves were cautious with the Germans invited to risk their units in counter-attack. The Russians slowly squeezed the Germans back to the Vistula and Konigsberg as the Germans did not want to get into a sustained fight.

In Galicia, the Austrians only sought to delay the Russians and abandoned the frontier towns. Again, the Austrians didn't want to get into a big fight prematurely. By allowing the Russians to advance, the Austrians can see how the Russians commit to different areas and can counter-attack on narrow fronts as they did around Przmysl. Assuming the Russians do occupy the ground surrendered, the Russian line is extended in length and is further from the places where reinforcements arrive and beyond the Strategic Movement capability of the Russians. The Austrians get to defend in mountains and in the longer term the Russians are drawn further forward which could be a problem in 1915 when they may need to pull back quickly.

Group B was actually committed to Galicia and helped ensure that the Russians did not have an easy advance to Krakow and was an important reserve against the losses the Austrians did suffer.

I have noticed that you favour an Austrian offensive in August 1914. I am all for tactical counter-attacks, but I wouldn't want to push into Russian territory. That seems to me as likely to lead to a very depleted Austrian Army in early 1915 when I would like it to be in good health to assist a major German offensive.

How interesting the different options are in this game.

Regards

Robert.
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Loris Pagnotta
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Hi Festus

The Serbian Secret Service thank you very much. In fact, wondered why the Austrian troops were diverted from the Serbian front to the open jaws of the Russian bear.

Loris
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Festus Kira
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Hi Loris, Hi Robert,

indeed, it is very interesting. I think that Loris is doing exactly that with me, as you, Robert, described in the game we are playing at this moment. Your AH tactic sounds very intriguing, I will try it out, next time. Loris, beware!!! I am still not convinced, as I want to take advntage of the column shift, but I'll try it out.

I like offensive action as the CRT favours the attacker. Unfortunatly Loris knows that and has one unit defense lines. And, Loris will hopefully confirm, I was extremely unlucky on the die rolls in August.

I like your set up in the west, Robert, basically I follow the same idea. I put one FR Cav in Brussels and one in Ghent, the BR in Mons.

Festus
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Robert Lloyd
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Festus00 wrote:


I like offensive action as the CRT favours the attacker.

Festus


Very true and you will never win this game without making a lot of attacks.

However sometimes the CRT is like a siren's call and it tempts you onto the rocks.

The real outcome of combat in this game is what happens when you attack plus what happens when your opponent attacks back. So the problem is to know who the CRT favours you have to define "attacker".
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Bill Lawson
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"I like offensive action as the CRT favours the attacker.

"

Clearly a weak point in a WW1 game.
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Robert Lloyd
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Indeed many would think that.

OTOH, I can think of a few WWI games where the CRT favours the Defender more (Guns of August) for one and I think the comparison does not favour them.





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Somebody made the suggestion to introduce a "0" on the CRT, that the defender does not lose any unit on a 0 die roll at 3-1 and 4-1 and maybe even 5-1. That sounds good, but nobody has plytested it yet.

Festus

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Robert Lloyd
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I think it would seriously alter the game to introduce a 0 result on the CRT which might apply to a third of combat rolls when the the drm is -2.

Combat is not just about the CRT. The Combat system is also about stacking strategies (Defender advantage), limited advance after combat (Defender advantage), terrain modifiers (Defender advantage), Combat chits and HQs (balanced), speed of movement of units to repair gaps (Defender advantage), speed of replacement of units (Defender advantage), counter-attack capability (Defender advantage).

What I am trying to say is that the outcome of a single roll on the CRT tells you little about combat in this game. WHat is more significant is that it is not unusual to have 500 units eliminated in a year (a lot of them attacking units) and it is also common to experience superior attacking forces unable to deeply penetrate enemy defences despite months of effort. For an offensive to really succeed in GWiE you do not simply have to destroy some front line defending units but you also have to overwealm the ability of the defender to circulate units back to the front line, ie defeat the enemy replacement system.

Even at the scale of a single combat the CRT does not seem wrong to me. If one WWI division was attacked by three enemy divisions over a period of days or a few weeks then wouldn't that unit be very likely withdrawn from the line for rest for a few weeks or sent to a quiet sector to recover (in the game it is in the eliminated pile for a few turns). The CRT doesn't have to be about combat losses as such, which could be very variable, but more about the stresses of prolonged exposure to combat for the survivors. I have sometimes thought the classic Western Front 3-1 attack which is not intended to capture ground simply represents the impact of an active section of front line where the attackers are wearing out the defenders with raids and shelling and other minor operations. Such things alone were enough to require the rest and rotation of units from the front. This accounts for the undercurrent of attrition in the game which in the long term was more wearing on the defender who was hit by more shells. Big set piece attacks when the attacker was (briefly) more exposed and during which some famous massacres too place were not so frequent.
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Robert,
the game I am playing with Loris confirms evrey word you say. I realize that I will have to sit down and try to understand the game better.
Cheers
Festus
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Robert Lloyd
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Festus

I look forward to hearing more about your game. I studied your last report closely and your discussion with Loris on the opening situation in the West was very interesting too.

I have written a review on the Victory Conditions which I will post shortly. I wrote it a few weeks ago but have been refining it as I researched other peoples views on the game.

When I have recovered from this effort I will need to find a Vassal opponent myself as I now think I am up to speed on this game again.

Robert
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Robert,

I have not found time yet to report on our game yet, too busy with the other stuff (job,family).

I can say one thing though. Loris proves to be right, but he also profited from a major and too many minor mistakes I made. In Aug2 turn I had the opportunity to prevent him from creating a frontline in north of France... and just threw it away (miscalculated).
Billyboy was also right when he said I had not grasped how to play the Allies; Loris showed me how. Now that I have an opponent, I think I am learning again. When you play solitaire all the time, I think that process stops at a certain point.

Looking forward to your report on the victory conditions. I was thinking about doing something on the events, which, in general I like very much but there are a few that I feel need some additional rules.

Loris and I normally exchange files once a day, due to the time difference to Europe (I am in Cambodia) max 2 is possible on the weekends when I stay up late. I think it will be possible for me to play two games, but I better get the permission from my Major first(I am the General, my wife the Major, I take general, she mayor decisions). However, I am not very confident that I will be a match for you.
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Loris Pagnotta
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I am the General, my wife the Major, I take general, she mayor decisions
As in all marriages from ancient Rome to today.

About the game only one precisation:
My initial deployement greatly suffered from unexpected Horst attack against the French cavalry in Lens. This put off balance my position but only for one more turn than my expectations (the frontline is ready on sept 1 instead of Aug 2) and this give to Horst more territory as well as Amiens and Abbeville but left him in the open ground, exposed to my counterattacks.
The result in SEPT 2: Amiens is again in French hands, and Abbeville is about to undergo the British offensive.
On the following turns, Horst had increasingly dilute its strike group to cover the holes that my offensive opened in the center and south sectors as well on the eastern front, and as always, the German brilliant offensive was turned off.
Now begins the real game, will Horst cause early the fall of Czar and bring the German troops in the West before the Allies destroy the Germans on western front?
Horst was convinced that things should proceed in a certain way, when he saw that they were not going as desired is erroneously convicted of having committed a mistake and tried to regain the momentum by anticipating the double shift, he moved very well but, I am managed to take off the white rabbit from the hat and now its eastern front is in serious trouble.
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The attempt for a double move turned out to be a disaster. To my defense I must add that I was unaware that HQs can also advance after combat. The rule says that surviving attacking units can advance after combat. 10.46 says that HQs can "support" units involved in combat. My conclusion was, that HQs are supporting, not attacking units.

Chees
Festus
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Loris Pagnotta
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I posted the question to Ted Raicer. I am hoping for his kind response.
Yago (Horst) You suggesting the shadow of the doubt on my mind, and I prefer dissolve it if possible.

Cheers
Loris
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Loris,

no doubt. I read the rules again and I think I was splitting hairs. I just mentioned it so that I can blame Ted Raicer for not writing precise rules instead of taking the blame myself... makes me feel better.

Festus

 
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