fangotango
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Part One of "The Schlieffen Plan" series.

Start of a new Guns of August game using Vassal by email. My opponent has designed a beautiful GoA mod (which is available at the Vassal site), with original colors, naval units, rotating railheads (!), inverting units to indicate Automatic Victories, and more goodies.

We are using the full Naval Module, all of the optional combat rules except being allowed to attack even when under an entrenchment or fort. After some discussion with Paul (the creator of the Augmented rules) for clarifications, we are allowing combat support units to move during the German Special Movement phase in August 1914. For replacements, we are using optional rule 37.7.4 Optional Campaign Game Replacement Rule. This allows every country to build any kind of unit in their counter mix, and we are allowing conversion of units from turn one.

Set up was Triple Entente first in the East first, then the Central Powers set up everywhere, followed by the Triple Entente West front set-up. Who set up first was determined randomly. This set up draw seems to give the CP a little edge, as the French set-up is usually fairly standard, especially if the Germans look to be making their first offensive push in the West rather than the East.

I am writing from the perspective of the CP player. My opponent will likely chime in at times. My opening gambit will be to attempt the Schlieffen plan, to the best of my (limited) knowledge and (limited) abilities.

I have read that in reality, the Germans did not follow his plan as he had envisioned it. Instead of leaving Alsace-Lorraine weakly defended to draw the French to attack there while blitzing (special-moving ) through Belgium, and risking a weak defense against the Russians, they reinforced Alsace-Lorraine and the Russian front at the cost of a weaker invasion force. Guaranteed I'm not the first one to do this in GoA or some other WWI game, but a first for me.

The Germans deployed heavily on the Belgian and Netherlands border, with a few units entrained around Berlin. South of Metz had only one unit defending per hex.



This was to make it look even weaker than I intended to make it (a few of the entrained units would be shipped there on turn one), hoping to get the French even more excited about attacking there.



In my opinion, there is not much there for the French to win. First of all, they have to slog through rough terrain, which gives a -1 DRM to every attack, and slows down reinforcements. Second, there are no important cities for them to capture (you can bet I'm planning to defend Metz strongly, and even attack from there in strength towards Verdun). If they do happen to capture one, if it is making their northern flank weak, I'm still a happy camper. In any case, I hope not to lose a city, but to let them get close, and defend just enough to make it unlikely they will succeed.



Russia got one unit per hex, with an extra unit by Konigsberg, and a 5-7-4 also near Konigsberg. Holding Konigsberg and Lemberg as long as possible is key to keeping the minor neutrals who lean towards joining the TE staying neutral. Hopefully the Russians can be encouraged to attack along lines that I leave weak but don't really lead anywhere useful, at least not for a while. Buying time before CP cities start to fall is the key.

Of course, once turn one is over, it will be a constant balancing act between East and West. If the West takes few losses, then reinforcements can be sent East. If not, but the offensive is making headway, then the East may have to suffer to keep the offensive alive. If the offensive sputters, then the focus may have to shift East.

The Austrians set up one unit per hex against the Russians, with stacks of two at Lemberg (encourage the Russians to go around them instead of straight at Lemberg), and a stack of three in Cracow at the cost of leaving an adjacent hex vacant, to prevent any lucky first turn attack by the Russians from making a quick grab of an Austrian city.



Against Serbia, Austria starts with a couple of potent stacks with all the artillery. The plan, given the Serbian set-up, is to make 4:1 attacks on the two hexes adjacent to Belgrade, advance in strength to prevent recapture, and capture an isolated Belgrade on turn two. This cuts the Serbian replacement rate in half right away, and the Austrians can then divert their troops to the Russian front. If they can push the Serbians back a hex or two further, then they might stay longer depending on how things are going against Russia. In any case, the plan is to take Belgrade quickly, gain a few more hexes if it looks easy, and then let the Serbians stew with a small Austrian garrison to keep them in check.


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Patrick Bauer
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Waste Water too
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Hi,
I'm the TA opponent in this one. As you can guess by the title: it all goes badly for me. But here at the present situation, I'm blissfully full of hope and ideas.

Florian rolled the West 1st set up which for me was a little disappointing and ultimately a bad thing. Disappointing because I really prefer to see the eastern CP set-up first. Now Russia, Serbia and Montenegro have to set up defensively. In the early parts of GoA and actually in WWI the Russians are a terrible threat to Germany. This one roll buys the CP a little advantage.
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Paul Popejoy
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Hi!

For those wondering what in the heck the "Augmented Rules" are, they are a download of rules and player-aids based on the 2nd Edition Rules with modifications that reflect changes proposed by the game's designer, Mr. Robert Beyma, but never incorporated by Avalon Hill.

Mr. Beyma discussed his planned changes in an Avalon Hill General article, "The Guns of September," and I incorporated them into the "Augmented Guns of August" download with player aids, replacements for incorrect counters and mapboard art, etc. I would like to acknowledge Mr. Beyma's kind assistance in answering my questions regarding his article.

The Augmented Rules are currently up to version 1.2. Version 1.3 is in the works, prodded by a lot of really good questions from folks here at BGG.
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