Antti Kirkkala
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After years of thinking to myself "PoG will be my next boardgame purchase" and always ending up buying something else for various reasons, I finally came to my senses and decided to grab this classic from the store shelves.

As a quick complaint I have to mention that the rules seemed a bit confusing at first as it was hard to get an overall sense of the mechanics with the first reading; there seemed to be so many exceptions and clarifications to everything (even when compared to other GMT titles with a similar complexity level, such as PQ-17 or Gustav Adolf the Great). The extended example of gameplay was very useful in bringing text to life (also the rules summaries found on BGG seem nice).

Anyway, I know that there are all sorts of strategy guides available for the game and different opening strategies must have been discussed a million times on BGG, but I still would like see if there are any fresh takes on the Allied opening, especially as a response to a successful play of 'Guns of August' by the Central Powers player.



How can the Allied player balance between stalling the German advance and the need to attack on the Eastern front, presumably against the Austro-Hungarian 3rd Army in Tarnopol or trying to maneuver against the Germans at Insterberg? Assuming Sedan's defenders are not completely wiped out, the best way to deal with a two-space retreat seems to be to go from Chateau Thierry to Cambrai.

Then one is faced with the problem of plugging the gap between Paris and Verdun, so the Germans can't march south to Nevers and surround most of the French army. The obvious choice would be to play a card worth 3 ops, move the corps from Grenoble to Chateau Thierry, and then spend the remaining two points to attack the Austrians and hope that a flanking attack succeeds. This would block the German advance but almost certainly doom the corps sent from Grenoble (or the remains of the 5th army), but that's hardly a devastating loss? Or could there be a way to utilize the BEF properly on the opening rounds?

One other thing: can the German player afford to leave Liege empty? It would free an army to move against the French, but would also open a route to Essen or Frankfurt (though any invaders would be easy to cut off and destroy, which is exactly my point: if there is never any real threat, why keep it garrisoned?)

Thanks for any answers! I can't imagine why the high command would place a newbie like me in charge of the entire front, but what can you do.
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Riku Riekkinen
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Usually the gap between Verdun & Paris is blocked by retreating the FR(c) from Sedan to Melun. Germans must stop their advance to Sedan anyway, since its a forest. Or if you need to move a corps to block germans, move it to Melun.

Germans can leave Liege empty & SR corps to Koblenz & Aachen (or Essen) when necessary (=AP SRs corps to Brussels).
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John David Galt
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A good general rule is, don't put any stack adjacent to an opponent if it's so weak the opponent would easily destroy it. Thus if you must try to block a German army with corps (or even with a single French or Russian army), place it two or three spaces away from the German. So in your example where the Germans have taken Sedan, don't be in Cambrai or Chateau Thierry or even Verdun unless your stack is big enough to survive an assault. Occupy Melun and Bar-le-Duc instead. The reasoning is that if the Germans decide to punch through one of the weak spots in your line, they'll have to spend an action moving up next to you first -- thus giving you time to either reinforce, or dig in, or pull back farther. (Or if you're really lucky they'll stretch their lines out far enough that you can cut their supply. One of the Allies' best advantages is that they have the last action of each turn. But I digress.)

Because the maximum damage that a single attack action can do to a space is 7 LP, one full-strength French army and a corps is the minimum you can count on to hold its space for one action (and thus, any smaller force should back away if you can't immediately add to it). On the Russian front you generally need two armies, and three is better, since Russian armies have only 2 LF.

Every action you should be checking that every stack next to an enemy stack meets these minimums. If you don't, you are toast.
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Andrew J
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Great advice!
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juerg haeberli
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If the French 5 army survives I usually pull itback to Nancy.
If it is reduced to a corps retreat to Melun.
You should attack the 3rd army without flank attack to maximize your chances to destroy it and close the gap in Melun should it still be there during your first action round. You will have spare russian replacements anyway because you need French replacements. If I have an English reinforcement card in my first hand I almost always play it for replacements. Replacements are only second to war status.
Watch the CP war status closely. As soon as he reaches 4 or if he plays race to the sea you have protect the costal ports which supply Brussels should you still be there.
If GoA is played you should reach limited war in turn 2.
Many small attacks ( preferably with different nations ) with a guaranteed 3 loss result are preferable to a big attack with a good chance for a 7 loss result. ( at the west front )
If you have the retreat card in your hand you can leave a lone BEF in Brussels because you will always gain an army step back should it be attacked.
Generally hit the Austrians as hard as possible during Mobilisation to maximize the impact of an early Italy.
Keep the Serbs strong and alive in a threathening position ( the mountain space next to Belgrade seems ideal for that, might be a good place to entrench ) to bind as many Austrians for as long as possible.
If the CP gets lucky with early attacks on the west front plug with the Englisch as necessary.
Especially if playing the historical variant be very careful to not overextend with the Russians. A dedicated CP attack on the east front with 3 armies and Austrian and German corps support will almost always grind the Russians down in amazing speed if they dont have lvl2 trenches
to help them. ( preferabyly in wood spaces because of the CP combat card )
Alway move stacks of Russian armies up to the front line.
The NE is your battlefield. Use it. ( Just be carefull not to loose the Russian NE armie completely. )
Enjoy the many the many challenges of this great game.
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Yan P.
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I like to use withdrawal and hope that my army survives, withdrawal makes sure it survives without a flip. I then retreat it to Verdun, and plug the hole with the corps from Belfort.
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juerg haeberli
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Xatham wrote:
I like to use withdrawal and hope that my army survives, withdrawal makes sure it survives without a flip. I then retreat it to Verdun, and plug the hole with the corps from Belfort.


You have only a 50% chance for your plan to work out.
You need an ops during your 1 action round to plug the hole in the west front.
When you have played retreat the BEF has to move.

On the plus side

You got the retreat card out of your deck.
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Yan P.
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haeberich wrote:
Xatham wrote:
I like to use withdrawal and hope that my army survives, withdrawal makes sure it survives without a flip. I then retreat it to Verdun, and plug the hole with the corps from Belfort.


You have only a 50% chance for your plan to work out.
You need an ops during your 1 action round to plug the hole in the west front.
When you have played retreat the BEF has to move.

On the plus side

You got the retreat card out of your deck.


The retreat card has to go, and the French front is usually where the payoff is the greatest.

I usually spend one op on moving the corps from Belfort anyway, they are useless where they are and I have never found that fort to be too useful in keeping the line in France.

As for the BEF, I don't move it. If the CP wants to waste ops getting rid of it, those are ops not spent doing other things. I send the Belgians down to Calais to hold Flanders if the Germans do get rid of the BEF. Good German players usually try to punch through the French line rather than the British one though.

The important thing to do is to never commit the cardinal mistake of stacking two nationalities together on the Western Front.
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juerg haeberli
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Xatham wrote:
haeberich wrote:
Xatham wrote:
I like to use withdrawal and hope that my army survives, withdrawal makes sure it survives without a flip. I then retreat it to Verdun, and plug the hole with the corps from Belfort.


You have only a 50% chance for your plan to work out.
You need an ops during your 1 action round to plug the hole in the west front.
When you have played retreat the BEF has to move.

On the plus side

You got the retreat card out of your deck.


The retreat card has to go, and the French front is usually where the payoff is the greatest.

I usually spend one op on moving the corps from Belfort anyway, they are useless where they are and I have never found that fort to be too useful in keeping the line in France.

As for the BEF, I don't move it. If the CP wants to waste ops getting rid of it, those are ops not spent doing other things. I send the Belgians down to Calais to hold Flanders if the Germans do get rid of the BEF. Good German players usually try to punch through the French line rather than the British one though.

The important thing to do is to never commit the cardinal mistake of stacking two nationalities together on the Western Front.


Agreed the retreat card has to go but as stated before the BEF or the Serbs can profit from it to.

Moving the corps from Belfort would assume that the GE 7th army isnt in Mulhouse any more which is not a given during mobilisation.

Destruction of the BEF vs. weakening the attack on the French is a viable strategy.

Not stacking different nationalities on the west front is good....if you can afford it.

The BEF makes an excellent defensive piece as long as it is full strength.
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Yan P.
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haeberich wrote:
Agreed the retreat card has to go but as stated before the BEF or the Serbs can profit from it to.

Moving the corps from Belfort would assume that the GE 7th army isnt in Mulhouse any more which is not a given during mobilisation.

Destruction of the BEF vs. weakening the attack on the French is a viable strategy.

Not stacking different nationalities on the west front is good....if you can afford it.:)

The BEF makes an excellent defensive piece as long as it is full strength.


Whether the GE7 is in Mulhouse or not is a matter of supreme indifference to me. A GE army in belfort is an easy way to fulfil a FR MO, and costs more for the attrition attacks on Nancy than the same army in Strasbourg. At the start of the game the GE will be hard pressed to have more than 9 armies on the GE front, and these should be 3 in Sedan, 3 in Metz, 3 in strassbourg, for maximum OP efficiency.

If you want to threaten an OOS, the french simply need to park a corps in Lyons. The GE does not have the manpower to move an army beyond Belfort unless Nancy has been diminished, or face OOS themselves.

Belfort is a red herring in allied play, just like Mulhouse in CP play. Best to leave it early, use the corps to plug the holes.

Likewise, the BEF is a nice defensive unit, but it's not worth parking the BE army in there. Parking the BE army in Brussels means using double ops whenever I want to move/attack, and that's simply unacceptable. Better to leave the BEF die.

As a CP, I know I'm about to win in France once the AP starts double stacking his armies. Those are the stacks I ignore - last thing I need is for a 7 to kill the BR army, use the last BR corps to cancel retreat, costing him RPs he does not care about and solving his activation problems to boot! So wherever the double stacks are, I attack elsewhere. Then the AP has to pay the double ops to do anything about it. The campaign in France is won with Ops efficiency and attrition, and focusing on the French.
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juerg haeberli
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Whether the GE7 is in Mulhouse or not is a matter of supreme indifference to me. A GE army in belfort is an easy way to fulfil a FR MO, and costs more for the attrition attacks on Nancy than the same army in Strasbourg. At the start of the game the GE will be hard pressed to have more than 9 armies on the GE front, and these should be 3 in Sedan, 3 in Metz, 3 in strassbourg, for maximum OP efficiency.

What do you think of the Alpencorps combat card ?
A German army might not be impressive...how about a German army and 2 corps ?

If you want to threaten an OOS, the french simply need to park a corps in Lyons. The GE does not have the manpower to move an army beyond Belfort unless Nancy has been diminished, or face OOS themselves.

With correct timing and a trench in Belfort I would not be that sure.

Likewise, the BEF is a nice defensive unit, but it's not worth parking the BE army in there. Parking the BE army in Brussels means using double ops whenever I want to move/attack, and that's simply unacceptable. Better to leave the BEF die.

I am pretty sure as the allies you will miss the BEF during mobilisation and early limited war.

As a CP, I know I'm about to win in France once the AP starts double stacking his armies. Those are the stacks I ignore - last thing I need is for a 7 to kill the BR army, use the last BR corps to cancel retreat, costing him RPs he does not care about and solving his activation problems to boot! So wherever the double stacks are, I attack elsewhere. Then the AP has to pay the double ops to do anything about it. The campaign in France is won with Ops efficiency and attrition, and focusing on the French. [/q]

Sounds like a good plan.
Of course the first army will show up in Nancy if possible and later there would be 3 French armies in Nancy, 2 French and a British army in Verdun and 3 British armies adjacent to Sedan to guarantee optimum attacks on the Germans.

How do you propose to hold the west front as the allies without mixing nationalities after a couple of lucky combat rolls by the Germans ?
 
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Yan P.
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What do you think of the Alpencorps combat card ?

I don't think I've ever had to deal with the Alpencorps in France. Interesting idea. Other than Air supremacy, the only cc that can be used repeatedly by the CP in France. Of course, the fact that only Nancy can be hit by it makes it less impressive.

A German army might not be impressive...how about a German army and 2 corps ?


The CP player tends to use corps pretty much anywhere but France, as France favors 6-15 combat tables which favor using 3 LF armies only. I know as the AP I will preferentially attack any stack with corps.

With correct timing and a trench in Belfort I would not be that sure.

Fair. But if the Germans can afford a trench in Belfort, they probably are not as strong elsewhere.

I am pretty sure as the allies you will miss the BEF during mobilisation and early limited war.


I'll miss it, sure, but not enough to put in a BE army on top of it. That just screams "wasted ops" everytime I have to satisfy BR MOs. If I have another BR army by the time I have an MO, then it stacks with the BEF and there is no need to send the BE there.

The BE is best used where it is OP efficient - a fallback for the BR if they lose Brussels.

Sounds like a good plan.
Of course the first army will show up in Nancy if possible and later there would be 3 French armies in Nancy, 2 French and a British army in Verdun and 3 British armies adjacent to Sedan to guarantee optimum attacks on the Germans.


Hardly optimum, if every attack costs 3 ops instead of 2. That means that you do two attrition attacks every time I make three. Who's killing more Germans then?

The FR start at 7 armies and get to 9 armies in LW, they ought to be able to man Nancy and Verdun with three armies each unless serious attrition has been going on. In which case, I'd rather the BR take over the Verdun space entirely than stack with the French.


How do you propose to hold the west front as the allies without mixing nationalities after a couple of lucky combat rolls by the Germans ?


I'd consolidate the french armies in one of the forts and give the other to the BR rather than put myself in a situation where a two-space attack costs me four ops. There are exceptions, but I'd have to have my back to the wall to start mixing in my stacks willy-nilly.
 
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John David Galt
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Quote:
Quote:
How do you propose to hold the west front as the allies without mixing nationalities after a couple of lucky combat rolls by the Germans?


I'd consolidate the french armies in one of the forts and give the other to the BR rather than put myself in a situation where a two-space attack costs me four ops. There are exceptions, but I'd have to have my back to the wall to start mixing in my stacks willy-nilly.


The problem with keeping them completely separate is that the multi-national attack rule prevents them from attacking one German space (often Liège, Sedan, or Koblenz) together. I'd much rather have one two-nation stack where the lines meet, just to avoid this problem. All it takes is a spare FR corps, and it has the bonus that folks like you won't attack there.
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