Recommend
15 
 Thumb up
 Hide
6 Posts

The Guns of August» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Schlieffen Plan November 1915 Central Powers turn rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
fangotango
Canada
Halifax
Nova Scotia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Part Thirty-Two of the "Schlieffen Plan" series.

Weather: Autumn - West Clear, East Mud

Central Powers Turn

France

The clear weather in the West gives me a wider range of options than if I'd rolled mud weather this turn. There remain only three cities in northern France for the Germans to capture. Tours will be the easiest, and will mark the elimination of the last French combat unit in this game (unless there are some very unexpected developments). The two French cities being defended by the British are somewhat tougher nuts to crack. Both sit at the end of a narrow piece of land, and can only be attacked from two or three hexes maximum. Le Havre in particular might take several turns. If the British had three units in Le Havre, it might take a lot longer than that. Cherbourg will require me to clear out the hex in front of it first. Luckily, though, the limited number of units the British have available are spread out between four French cities plus one unit in Greece. The British losses at Calais and outside Le Havre do not help their situation, given their relatively slow replacement rate.

Given that the cleanup in France is becoming more limited in scope, I think I will be able to redeploy more artillery and 5-7-4 infantry to the Eastern Front. Of course, the artillery may not be able to actually get close enough for combat until two turns from now. It will take two turns of rail movement to get there, and since the East Front gets snow automatically in the Winter months (December to February), they will likely not have the movement factors to get next to enemy units after detraining next turn.

Meanwhile, the clear weather here in the West will allow the Rail Road Engineer unit to finish its work in the direction of Marseilles, although it seems unlikely that the German units in northern France will be finished anytime soon, and available for redeployment in the south. The British will have lots of time to get full stacks in Marseilles and Nice well before the Germans are set to attack.



Movement

I take advantage of the clear weather to shift units from Tours to Cherbourg. It also allows me to set up the best attack possible against Le Havre, since the four artillery units are able to get within range. Granted, the attack will be at 2:1, but the artillery will give the attack an overall +1 DRM despite the city defense, so there is an 83% chance of eliminating at least one British unit, and a 33% of getting a DX result. Despite the DX being somewhat costly, it would take care of capturing Le Havre, and is my hoped for result. Even just eliminating a single British unit pretty much uses up their replacement limit for the turn.

The French unit in Tours will not be attacked. It will be surrounded by a few units and therefore isolated (out-of-supply), so will be half-strength on defense next turn, and much easier pickings. Instead, several units from Tours move to attack the British entrenchment outside Cherbourg. The French unit will be eventually be eliminated from isolation even if I don't attack it, so I am choosing to focus on the British instead. With their naval dominance, they can easily supply any ports they control, and reinforce them with sea movement as long as they have enough units available.

In the south of France, no real change, and no plans to attack.

Two 5-7-4 infantry and a total of four artillery units are sent by rail to the Eastern Front, to arrive next turn.

Units that will be involved in combat are indicated by the expanded stacks.



Combat

While it could have been worse, the combat round in France does not go particularly well. While a British unit is eliminated at Le Havre with a DD result (so no German losses at least), the British hold on for at least another turn. Given the attack odds, 2:1 odds +1 DRM, the result is not surprising.

Things go worse outside Cherbourg, where the combat odds are 4:1 -1 DRM. Any result other than a '1' (= '0' after the -1 DRM) will result in elimination of the British units. Unfortunately, that is what the result is, and the Germans lose a 5-7-4 to an AD result while the British are untouched.



Russia

The campaign against Russia is going slowly, but that is as expected. It does seem to be picking up steam, and the overall low losses incurred by the Central Powers is allowing a gradual increase in the total number and quality of units employed against the Russians.

The losses inflicted on the Russians has increased with each turn, and last turn marked the first time that the Central Powers eliminated more combat factors than the Russians can replace each turn. The trick is to keep that up, and hopefully continue the trend and eventually weaken the Russian army so much that they are unable to mount an effective defense.

The German replacements this turn were lower than usual, as they sacrificed two replacement points last turn by abandoning two cities in the West that required garrisons. (Those units were needed to get better attack odds against Calais.) So only two 4-6-4 infantry and a 4-4-5 cavalry are created on the Eastern Front for this turn. Every German artillery unit is now on the board, so the only way to bring more artillery to bear in the East Front campaign is to ship it in from the West. However, the Central Powers are not short of units in the East, and additional artillery units are on the way from France.



Movement

While calculating how best to position all the units at my disposal, it slowly dawns on me that I have more units than can even fit on the front line! That is not a problem I mind having. Austria-Hungary, in fact, has every single unit in the counter-mix on the board, and Germany has more units in play than they are allowed in the standard game. (We are playing with the optional replacement rule that allows each country to build every unit that comes as part of the counter-mix.) This makes me think that I should be doing something useful with these extra units.

One option is to start making more attacks, even at unfavorable odds. Losing a few extra units will not hurt the Central Power offensive ability very much, whereas every extra unit the Russians lose over their replacement rate is effectively one less unit for the remainder of the game. The soak-off attacks are one way to do that. For those unfamiliar with Guns of August, attacks at lower than 1:1 odds suffer a -1 DRM. However, they are resolved on the 1:1 table, and no matter how outrageously low the odds are (I've done 2:60+), the DRM penalty remains at -1 for the low odds. So, if there are no terrain or trench modifiers, an attack of, say, 2 factors against 40 factors, would be 1:1 odds -1 DRM. This gives a 50% of getting a BD or DD result, which obligates the defender to either eliminate their strongest unit, or retreat the entire stack (losing artillery in the process) and having them demoralized for their next turn. The beauty of it is that on all of those results, the attacking unit gets to retreat, and is not eliminated. Two times out of six the attacker is eliminated, and an additional one time in six the attacker retreats with no harm to the defender. Essentially, the attacker has a 33% chance of losing a weak (cheap) unit, while the defender has a 50% of losing a strong (expensive) unit, or must demoralize an entire stack of units. The tactic can be useful for both the weaker and stronger force. It is probably more dicey for the weaker side, as they cannot always afford to weaken the line by having a unit retreat during their own combat phase. Even if there is an additional DRM penalty for trenches or terrain, the low-odds attacks can still be fruitful.

Another option of how to use my excess units is to start sending them to other fronts, such as Serbia or southern France. I would hate to start reinforcing the Italian border, as the chances of Italy joining the Entente are very low. Further, unless and until Italy does join the Entente, the British presence in Marseilles is fairly irrelevant. Serbia is not a concern unless and until either Italy enters the war, or Greece joins the Entente: only then can the British and/or Americans can start sending units into Serbia. One thing is for sure, it will be Austrian units that I would ship out, to be replaced by the better German units. As long as the German losses remain low enough to keep the size of the army growing, that is.

At present, it is only a few units, and I prefer to keep them in the East, as three months of snow conditions begin next turn, and with the half-movement rate in snow, it often takes new units two turns to reach the front. Further, I will be making more attacks, and some of them at low odds, so I expect I will be able to use those extra units next turn.

One factor as far as the number of units needed on the front is the fact that it is slowly getting shorter, as the Russians are slowly driven back/retreat from Poland. This effects both sides, of course, and it would be nice for the Central Powers if they can find a way to widen the front by being more aggressive across the Austrian border.

My attacks will be focused on hexes that I can get good enough odds to maximized my chances of eliminating Russian units, and a few hexes that if won will create isolation for the Russian units blocking my path along the rail line from Berlin to Warsaw. A few low odds attacks will be thrown in to increase the chances of causing more casualties or disruptions for the Russians.



Combat

Combat is a mixed bag this turn in Russia. Two attacks along the Berlin-Warsaw rail line are successful. One is a high odds walk-over, but the other one is a real battle. Three stacks of Germans take on a full stack of four Russian units. The Germans make three attacks against the hex, which are all at 3:1, two of them at -1 DRM, and the third at +0 DRM. The odds of taking the hex are a little less than 40%. They end up winning the hex, but at the cost of three 5-7-4 infantry plus a 3-3-3 artillery. Two of the attacks are DX, so the Russians end up losing three units as well. These two attacks isolate two Russian hexes, and will most likely force the Russians to abandon them completely. I do attempt a soak-off attack with an Austrian 2-4-3 against one of the newly isolated hexes, as the defenders now have no option to retreat, and would be forced to lose a unit if they get a demoralized result. The attacker is eliminated at no loss to the Russians, and falls flat. All of my attempted soak-offs this turn go that way. Oh well.

The Austrians isolate the southern-most Russian unit in Austria and eliminate with a 4:1 attack. If they can roll up that stretch of the line over the next few turns, that would definitely help start a push towards Kiev and and Odessa. Another hex in the center is won in an easy attack.

All told, the Russians lost 21 combat factors, which is again higher than the previous Central Power combat phase, and more than they can replace. The Central Powers did take a pretty big hit this turn, twenty-three German factors and ten Austrian, but I don't think they will affect me too much. I do hate to lose the 5-7-4 infantry, but there are already two in transit from France, and I will likely build three more with replacement points this turn.

Starting in 1916, only two turns away, the Big Push Optional rule will kick in. This rule allows an attacker to attack the same hex over and over until they win the hex, or get stopped by an AE, AA, or AD result i.e. the attack fails to harm the enemy. The Central Powers can hardly wait for that, as I expect it will dramatically increase Russian losses, and gain ground faster for the Central Powers.



Serbia

Serbia remains in a state of cease-fire, all sides agreeing to delay hostilities. More like no one has enough units to launch attacks.

13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael McCalpin
United States
McKinney
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My hat is off to the Entente player for hanging in there through the French debacle and the impending Russian one: I might well have conceded by now.

My hat is off to you as well: this is a superb series of AARs.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Bauer
United States
Reading
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Waste Water too
badge
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm not one to steal another player's thunder. Over the years I have been frustrated many times by finally winning a game and having the other player quit far earlier than he should. Plus as was revealed in the last session report, I was unaware I had already lost according to the automatic victory conditions -- we are already into 1917. I thought we were still playing to determine Florian's level of victory: strategic, crushing or whipping boy.

The Entente is still hoping for some help in the form of allies. Maybe I can sneak a few CP objectives and get some lucky Morale rolls.

The Entente has complete mastery of the seas. This blockade effect will have a negative effect on the CP rolls in 1918. Germany could do all this and if Russia holds still have to capitulate due to starvation. (Except of course for the automatic victory rule.)
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael McCalpin
United States
McKinney
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ah, I had missed the session report where the automatic victory was noted, and I agree with you that: I would only concede with the agreement of the winning player and sometimes it is fun to see just how the "hopeless" situation plays out. After all, I play all the way to the (generally bitter) end of The Barbarossa Campaign...
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
fangotango
Canada
Halifax
Nova Scotia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SewerStarFish wrote:
I was unaware I had already lost according to the automatic victory conditions


I just happened to notice it myself while looking through the rules for something else. I figure if you keep playing, you have to abide by whatever the conditions are for the end of the scenario. For the Automatic, the Central Powers need to have 19 of the 20 objectives.

As far as Germany surrendering due to Morale rolls in 1918 because of the blockades, that simply cannot happen. The blockade only gives a -1 DRM to the die roll, which at worst gives an RR (reduced replacements) result. This does not lead to further DRM penalties on future rolls, unlike rolling a -1 or -2 (= D1, D2 respectively, which means Desertion, and every unit has to roll higher than the 'D' number on 1d6 or be eliminated), so a result of -3 = surrender cannot happen without the Entente capturing some German objective cities for added morale roll penalties.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Bauer
United States
Reading
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Waste Water too
badge
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
fangotango wrote:
SewerStarFish wrote:
I was unaware I had already lost according to the automatic victory conditions


I just happened to notice it myself while looking through the rules for something else. I figure if you keep playing, you have to abide by whatever the conditions are for the end of the scenario. For the Automatic, the Central Powers need to have 19 of the 20 objectives.

As far as Germany surrendering due to Morale rolls in 1918 because of the blockades, that simply cannot happen. The blockade only gives a -1 DRM to the die roll, which at worst gives an RR (reduced replacements) result. This does not lead to further DRM penalties on future rolls, unlike rolling a -1 or -2 (= D1, D2 respectively, which means Desertion, and every unit has to roll higher than the 'D' number on 1d6 or be eliminated), so a result of -3 = surrender cannot happen without the Entente capturing some German objective cities for added morale roll penalties.


Well I was hoping to take a few objectives too --- I was thinking AH first with Trieste.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.