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Subject: Minor Wars - Session 6: Go Moscow? Go Warsaw! rss

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Aapo Alasuutari
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Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the disclaim... No, that's wrong. Welcome to Minor Wars! As you may remember, the last session ended with the Second Russo-Turkish War having started off, mostly on a positive note for Russia, who had won two minor victories on the field, although losing Astrakhan and Ukraine in the process.

The opening pictures of this session are here. Now, let us begin.

October 1791 brought relative peace to the east, as the Russian armies fell back to the Vitebsk area and a single relief corps along with a cossack attacked the Ottoman siege of Moscow. A trivial combat followed and the lone Ottoman infantry factor besieging Moscow managed to scramble to safety, heading south towards the bulk of the Turkish armies. As the Russian army withdrew from Ukraine, three feudal corps and an Ottoman corps followed in a screening fashion, keeping pressure on the defending army and also securing the Turkish main army from any attack.

November followed suit, being relatively uneventful, although famine struck both Cyprus and Rumelia, costing Turkey 2 money in the coming economic phase and the Jacobines took charge in France, giving France the ability to declare wars again, though having allied every country except Russia, this made little difference. The Russian army kept retreating, setting up for the winter in Tver, close to Moscow. This gave the Turks enough room to set siege on Vitebsk, Smolensk and Voronezh. Tzaritsyn had already fallen to Ottoman forces and Stavropel was likewise under siege. A two corps Russian relief force had moved to Saratov with a plan of heading towards Astrakhan, but it seemed likely that they would be caught and run down by the feudal cavalry corps from the Turkish main army.

With Vitebsk under siege and both Astrakhan and Ukraine taken, it was certainly looking grim for the Russians. Still, given that their army was largely untouched, what came next was totally unexpected. As December snows set upon the world the Revolution took another step forward, forcing France away from wars once again due to internal instability and lack of government while the exiled princes of France set up an army of their own, the émigré. The émigré set up in Toulon and took to forage there. Simultaneously an event granted France emancipation, giving him 5 extra manpower for the next economic phase. Then came the unexpected.

A Russian diplomat proposed a surrender to Turkey if the invaders would be satisfied with just reparations. A hasty diplomatic discussion was arranged between Turkey and Sweden to determine whether or not this was what Turkey wanted and if it was enough to secure Swedish safety. The talks were conducted in St. Petersburg and after a decision had been reached the Turkish envoy crossed the Sweko-Russian border into Novgorod and delivered their answer: The Turkish would accept mere money as a just compensation for the loss of life they had suffered, along with an extended peace. So it was that, amid rather tense diplomatic messages exchanged between Austria and Russia, the Turkish army demobilized and what little standing forces remained started marching towards Crimea, singing songs of victory as they went.

The new year of 1792 began with the cooling of Russo-German ties as Austria strongly felt that Russia had back-stabbed him. This was felt in army recruitment, as in January Austria too gained an emancipation event. Otherwise no immediate action was taken as Europe was again forced to stand still in the oppressing winter breeze. Still, the simple fact that the Turkish hordes had once again gained an important truce with one of the two hostile neighbours it had meant that war was likely coming to Central Europe once again.

In February the drums of war were sounded in Northern Europe as King Gustav III of Sweden was shot while attending a masquerade ball. For a moment it looked like Sweden might suffer a coup d'état and join France as a revolutionary republic, but Gustav managed to assume control and quell the coup. The first and foremost reason to his victory from the conspirators was a young officer by the name of Gustav Horn, brother to one of the assassins. Horn took control of the scene at the ball and managed to capture all three assassins (It is told that, recognizing his brother, he could not utter a word but merely spat at his feet and waved for the guards to take him away.) within fifteen minutes of the shooting. For his calm and control, King Gustav ordered Horn to command the King's Royal Garrison of Stockholm and capture the rest of the conspirators. Within 24 hours the coup had been stopped. King Gustav succumbed to an infection from the wound two weeks later, but before he passed he awarded Gustav Horn the rank of Field Marshal. The young man soon proved to have a cool head and a good eye for tactics, although as a strategic thinker he left much to be desired. Still, he was, by a slight margin, the best general in the whole of Sweden. (New general: Gustav Horn of Sweden, 134C)

By March the wisdom behind the Russian surrender became obvious. Corrupt nobles stole the remaining 1$ in the government's treasury, forcing even the Russian Royal Guard to forage for sustenance. The country simply couldn't have gone on with the war.

In April the son of Gustav III assumed throne as King Gustav IV was crowned and quickly proved to be a wildly incompetent leader. While his father had had the military genius to match his visions of grandeur, the son had merely ambitions and nothing much else. Luckily he mostly concentrated on living the life of a king. Meanwhile the French navy started a mutiny, effectively robbing France of all naval mobility. The diplomatic map of Europe took a turn for the worse as, even though Spain allied both Austria and Prussia, seeking to further pacify Italy and Western Europe, France took offense at Prussia garrisoning Flanders and broke their alliance. On a similar note, a French militia force of 4000, lead by Kleber, attacked the émigré army foraging in Toulon (in truth it was simply forgotten there). Kleber outwitted the unsuspecting princes, attacking their defensive formation with an echelon. The battle proved to, still, be relatively unimportant, as the émigré lost only two infantry factors and failed to do any meaningful damage on the attackers, finally retreating from the fight during the night.

May passed uneventfully, but June made up for that tenfold. First USA decided to sell two more frigates. The very second the news found their way to the courts of Europe the governments started reiterating their spending for the next three months. A heated silent auction followed with Great Britain buying the first frigate for 27$ and then upping the ante even further, buying the second for 30$. The British had thus secured a frigate edge on the seas, but they had paid a heavy price for it. The second event to cause waves in Europe was Poland proclaiming independence from Russia, refusing to any longer remain a protectorate of the eastern empire. Revolutionary rhetoric in Poland had preceded the proclamation and thus both Russia and Turkey were already ready to grab any and all areas they could from the poor Poles. Thus it was expected that both Russia and Turkey would, quite likely, declare war on Poland. After the declarations of war were unveiled, a third shock rocked Europe: Only Russia had declared war on Poland. Turkey had deemed the army to be too thinly spread to take on the Polish army of 42,000 men. Thus Poland turned to countries without alliances with Russia to guide them. Turkey turned down the envoys immediately, knowing full well that in a few months the Poles would curse them instead of looking for military guidance, and likewise the French diplomats did not please the Poles, suggesting that the Poles guard their western border against the Germans and let the Russians occupy their lands. The only one left was Sweden, who gladly sent the newly appointed Field Marshal Gustav Horn to act as a military counsellor for the Poles.

The Polish army was set up in defensive positions in the marshes of Lithuania, east of Brest-Litovsk. The Russian army, originally poised to strike against both Nemirov in Podolia as well as Minsk in Polesia, opted to head north and diverted all of their forces to Vitebsk and the Polish forest south-west from the city. Countering this move the Polish army moved north to the forests surrounding Vilna. If Russia wanted to attack, they would have to pay a massive amount of money to supply their forces. Meanwhile, in Warsaw, Field Marshal Horn eyed the map along with a letter bearing his name beside Arabic letters. Something was definitely up, but only time would tell what it exactly was.

There, that concludes our sixth session. As one may remember, our session log is available here and as per usual, pictures are not yet here, but I'll get them to you as soon as possible. Given that the previous instalments have garnered very little comments, added with the fact that I personally play Sweden and just got this new great general, Gustav Horn, giving me a brilliant opportunity to do some more imaginative story telling, I will likely change my writing style more towards story telling and less into the actual session reports I'm writing right now. If you have an opinion on which is better, do drop a reply on it.
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Warren Bruhn
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I have some comments:

I like the month by month overview of what is happening around the map. Maybe put Gustav's perspective in a separate thread? It will be interesting to see how Sweden became so powerful. The multiple surrenders by Russia to Sweden and Turkey are amazing.

It would be nice if you mentioned what year it is in the individual session reports. I just read all six sessions reports and lost track of what year it is. But I can see from your session log that this campaign is up to June 1792. (The first report lists the year as 1798, but that was supposed to be 1789.)

It would also be nice to see something about the experience levels and personalities of the players. I haven't done that in the Portland reports since the first thread, but I think that was done in the Dallas-Fort Worth reports. I think it added something to the enjoyment of reading the DFW reports.

Photos of the players and the venu would be nice, if someone in your group could post them. That seems to make a game more human.

Also, it would be nice to see how the VP totals are developing in the session posts. I see that the session log mentions the VP earned each quarter, but it would be nice to see a total here every now and then. I'm guessing that the player for Russia is having a terrible game so far on VP. So many surrenders! Perhaps your system allows Russia to get much stronger as the game continues?

I like the way you write up the battle results in the session log. Would it be hard to cut and paste the battle results into the BGG session reports?

Is one of the other players willing to help with any of the BGG work? In our Portland game, the game host and player for Turkey makes tables for the VP and political status, and posts them to BGG. He also takes some photos of the board and the players and posts them to BGG. The player for France created some nice photos with arrows for movements that he used in his own thread on Napoleon's perspective. Basically, a little help from the other players with the technical skills can make a great record of the campaign (much better than I can do with my limited skills).

Anyway. I'm enjoying the reports. Thanks for writing them up. I'm quite interested in the 1789 through 1804 period. This campaign is bringing that period to life.

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Aapo Alasuutari
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Thank you for the comments, they are much appreciated.

I'll work backwards to add in the occasional note of the current year, that is certainly something that shouldn't be missing.

I guess I'll write up a some sort of "this is who we are" post with both players and venue later on, it is certainly a good idea. Another thing I'll likely start doing is to mark down and give to you all the VP scores and percentages at the turn of every year.

Russia is certainly doing very badly on the VP scale; he has even been manipulating -2 for money, and quite a lot of that too. Russia does get some bonuses as the game progresses; for instance he is currently missing Podolia, Lithuania and Polesia (well, and Karelia) from his provinces due to Poland being independent. Before Poland gains independence, he pays a 10$ indemnity to Russia. Now Russia is robbed of that, further worsening his fiscal status, but regaining pieces of Poland more than makes up for the loss.

Still, it looks likely that Turkey will take Podolia before Russia gets his hands on it. Podolia is one of the two provinces of Poland that be gained as a core province by more than one major power in Europe. Podolia can become a core of either Russia or Turkey, depending on whichever first gains control of the province. Similarly West Galicia can become either a Prussian or Austrian province. Thus if Turkey now gains Podolia, Russia can only get it as a conquered province unless it gains dominant status. That will hurt Russia a whole lot, but regaining Lithuania and Polesia will ease the pain a lot. There are some other things on the Russia track that work to his advantage, but also some extra pains to go through.

I know not how hard the combat results would be to add... Probably not that hard at all, actually. I'll see how that looks.

I doubt there are others who that much really want to help: They're interested in these threads and actually lurk around here, but quite probably no one wants to commit heavily to this.
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Warren Bruhn
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AapoAlas wrote:
Still, it looks likely that Turkey will take Podolia before Russia gets his hands on it. Podolia is one of the two provinces of Poland that be gained as a core province by more than one major power in Europe. Podolia can become a core of either Russia or Turkey, depending on whichever first gains control of the province. Similarly West Galicia can become either a Prussian or Austrian province. Thus if Turkey now gains Podolia, Russia can only get it as a conquered province unless it gains dominant status. That will hurt Russia a whole lot, but regaining Lithuania and Polesia will ease the pain a lot. There are some other things on the Russia track that work to his advantage, but also some extra pains to go through.


That seems a little harsh in a long game, to allow those to be home provinces of only the power that takes control first. Why not allow these provinces to switch to becoming a home province of a different nation after some years as a conquered province of another? I would suggest that 36 months under continuous control of a different power could be enough to cause them to switch. That would certainly make the Polish provinces worth fighting for over the course of a long game.
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How things are in the north.

Also, I am going to spoil what happens in July.

Regards,
King of Spain
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Aapo Alasuutari
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Warren Bruhn wrote:
That seems a little harsh in a long game, to allow those to be home provinces of only the power that takes control first. Why not allow these provinces to switch to becoming a home province of a different nation after some years as a conquered province of another? I would suggest that 36 months under continuous control of a different power could be enough to cause them to switch. That would certainly make the Polish provinces worth fighting for over the course of a long game.


That, indeed, isn't a bad idea. I shall bring that up on our upcoming session, since it indeed does bear some merit.


And it seems I was wrong: We do have the King of Spain willing to contribute at least somewhat Am I a mother goose then? Still, nice going, thanks.
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Warren Bruhn
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Another suggestion for very long campaigns: Why not give Austria and Prussia a chance to get rid of the -1 for naval combat? My suggestion is that if either of those two nations maintains a minimum of 10 ships in a fleet (not just sitting in port without a fleet), for 48 consecutive months, then the -1 for naval combat goes away. That would be pretty expensive for them, but in a very long game it might be a fun thing to see.

P.S. Nice avatar!

And I would suggest buying the EiA French microbadge:

http://boardgamegeek.com/microbadge/3454

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Warren Bruhn wrote:
Another suggestion for very long campaigns: Why not give Austria and Prussia a chance to get rid of the -1 for naval combat? My suggestion is that if either of those two nations maintains a minimum of 10 ships in a fleet (not just sitting in port without a fleet), for 48 consecutive months, then the -1 for naval combat goes away. That would be pretty expensive for them, but in a very long game it might be a fun thing to see.


I don't provide very good analysis on our rules because I'm one of the newest players in this group, but I'll try anyway:

Because Austrian&Prussian naval morale is 2,0 it would seem to me that they just pollute fleets they are going to be stacked with. Then again, if you are not going to stack them with fleets and just use them for naval supply and odd transporting... no point removing combat penalties. Also, as Austrians&Prussians get their ships after phase 2 starts (around ~1793-94 maybe) edge of those ships is going to be small.
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Aapo Alasuutari
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Warren Bruhn wrote:
Another suggestion for very long campaigns: Why not give Austria and Prussia a chance to get rid of the -1 for naval combat? My suggestion is that if either of those two nations maintains a minimum of 10 ships in a fleet (not just sitting in port without a fleet), for 48 consecutive months, then the -1 for naval combat goes away. That would be pretty expensive for them, but in a very long game it might be a fun thing to see.

P.S. Nice avatar!

And I would suggest buying the EiA French microbadge:

http://boardgamegeek.com/microbadge/3454


Ah, we don't use the standard EiA naval rules: we actually have naval chits and specific morales, leaders etc; I'm quite certain we do not use the Austrian / Prussian -1 naval modifier: The modifiers come from leaders. Britain doesn't have any extra +1 modifier, of that I'm quite sure at least.

And as the King of Spain duly noted, the German naval morale is horrible and thus they are rarely utilized. I've seen, I think, one game where Prussia had a naval presence which was only used by Britain; Prussia never once took any part in moving his own ships. In another game Austria (dominant at that point), Sweden (nearly dominant), Turkey and France (undisturbed, ie. would've become dominant when Phase III begins) formed a coalition to counter the British player edging closer and closer to victory. In that game Austria started to build a fleet for himself as well as supplying money to France and Turkey so they would build a navy, but that was a very rare occasion where every single ship was needed to down the British. Unfortunately the campaign ended prematurely due to Prussia being clobbered, Russia likewise being next to fall and all in all the campaign being mostly done except for the remaining sinking of Britain and waiting for France to backstab and get jumped on by a dominant Austria backed by a dominant Sweden. It would've been a good fight to see, but would've taken a long time to get to.

We do have another campaign completely, set in 1853 onwards, dealing with the Crimean War and the rise of Prussia, in which both Austria and Prussia have rather meaningful naval prominence, but even in that campaign their naval morale is still low; they are first and foremost land based powers.
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