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Subject: Anzac Day - introductory game rss

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Merric Blackman
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There will come a time when I play the full Paths of Glory, but it wasn't to be this time around. I'd even hoped to get past turn 3 one of these days, but playing with someone unfamiliar with CDGs made such unlikely, especially as Popey was called away to work at inopportune times during the game.

I'm getting much better at the rules of Paths of Glory, but there are still things that trip me up or that I remember later in the game. I provided rules interpretations for Popey during the game, so he was able to concentrate on the strategy - and it made for a very interesting game.

So, I took the Central Powers and he took the Allies. And we began as per the history... with the Guns of August.

Post-Guns of August

The initial attack could have gone better - the British Expeditionary Force managed to hold out in Brussels against the big attack from Liege, while inflicting casualties back. I'm not 100% sure if I remembered the retreat rules correctly for that attack, although the attack on Sedan was far more successful and saw the retreat done properly - two squares from Chateau Theierry then to Cambrai.

My next attack, from Sedan and Liege, eliminated the BEF completely, but it left my 3rd Army in a vulnerable state, so the counterattack from Popey destroyed it - he also attacked my forts, to poor results on his end.

France

At this point, I began to move my forces around, moving my 5th Army in Sedan and beginning to isolate the French. The French 5th Army was reduced to just a corp - and a damaged one at that. Paris lay before me, but supply lines would be a problem.

Meanwhile, Popey was beginning to probe on the other side of the map, attacking my German and Austrian-Hungarian lines with his Russian forces. Several good attacks left him damaged, but I was worse off and tremendously worried by the German lines falling.

Russia

However, it wasn't like I could concentrate on that front too much, because Popey's next attack with his French units was crushing to my units...

France

As the game went on, I very much felt the effects of my decision not to attack Antwerp and Ostend. Looking back on the game, the "leaving them behind me" strategy was dreadfully flawed, and it left me with pinned units that should have been disrupting more of Popey's supply lines. Actually properly cutting off Popey from supply was something I attempted, but poorly. This was perhaps the best moment for me in the game... although, by now, the fort in Strasbourg has been destroyed and I'd had to put a needed unit into it to hold it.

France

Meanwhile, Popey had kept up the pressure on the Russian front... but had managed to bite off more than he could chew. Danzig fell to the Russian 1st army, only to have its supply lines cut by my forces. It would be eliminated at the end of the 2nd turn as Popey was unable to rescue it. The fortress of Thorn was destroyed as Popey attempted to force through the supply line, but I rolled a 6 and caused his attacking army to flip... and he wasn't able to advance and cut off the supply line.

Russia

One of the interesting effects of a very intense second turn is that Popey had played no cards to provide replacements. I had played one - with the effect that I was getting some new troops, but Popey had been far more on the offensive than me.

Here's a view of the board at the end of turn 2:



The attacks from Russia continued in the early third turn, with the fort at Konigsberg being destroyed as well. I was forced to redirect my reinforcements to that front as Popey continued his advance. I finally played the card that would allow Germans to attack Russian forts, and took Warsaw. By pouring in the troops, I'd finally stabilized the German border there, but down in Austria-Hungary, I'd lost a couple of centres to Popey's attacks. This wasn't going as well as I'd like!

France

The holes in our lines on the French Front were getting silly by this side. Popey ran a corp all the way up to Liege, cutting my supply. I used one of my reinforcements to get cut his corp off in turn and restore supply to my front lines.

I was getting towards the end of the game, and I was in a lot of trouble. So - a big final attack!

France

It didn't go as well as I'd hoped - and a lot of that had to do with me not calculating the odds properly. His reduced 2nd Army was completely destroyed, but the fort remained. The 6th Army ended up as a reduced Corp, but that was enough.

As a final insult, his corp in Bar le Duc ran around to take a few final victory areas from me, and gave the Allied Powers the game with no uncertainty!

So, here are the final positions on the Western and Eastern Fronts:

France

Russia



The final victory point score? All of 8 points to me, which meant I'd actually lost 2 VPs from the start of the war... not a good position to be in, and a definitive Allied Victory in the introductory scenario.

Looking back on the game, there were definitely problems with my play. The French Front was a mass of holes - that Popey destroyed most of my forts whilst I left his armies mostly untouched speaks volumes. In fact, Popey's destruction of forts all over the map was brilliant. We did have quite a few high rolls, but it was my inability to protect those forts that gave him the chance.

Supply lines give me trouble - they also did in World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin. I really need to play the game more to get used to the ebb and flow of it. Ruleswise, I'm feeling happy with my grasp of the game, and I've got most of the exceptions down now.

This game took us about 2-1/2 hours to play through; a lot of time for only three turns, but there were quite a few interruptions - and a lot of studying the game board. I love the tension you get from a CDG with only a few attacks really feasible each turn, as you must choose them wisely - not always something I did.

We did have someone watching us most of the game (Cosmo), and if he's ever around with time to spare, I'll see if I can't play a game with him.
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David
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Nice report Merric. How do feel the game is standing up to the test of time with all the other great cdg's out there? I've heard from some that it is a little dated. Sold my copy a couple of years ago, but tempted to jump in again.
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Will Fleeson
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Thanks for the enjoyable session report, Merric. That devestation on the Western front was brutal.
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Andrew Kluck
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Antwerp and Ostend are not worth that much effort for the AP, for them securing the route from Paris to the forts is everything on the western front.

The Eastern front confuses me a little, in one the Russian 1st is cut off in Danzig, yet the next picture shows the Russians cutting off the German 8th with a bunch of Germans forts destroyed, how'd that happen?
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Dan Freedman
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Yeah, looks like the Germans could have basically won the game on Turn 1, Action 2 with a move to Nevers (assuming CP had a 3 Ops card to secure supply lines). This would have cut off the entire French fort line.

I don't think Ge8A (in the East?) is cut off. Is it Ge3A that you are referring to? It is in supply. While the German forts are destroyed, the reduced Russian army couldn't advance in (looks like anyhow). The spaces are still CP owned.

Thanks for posting the session and the pics Merric! Makes me want to play.
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Merric Blackman
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Double Dan wrote:
Yeah, looks like the Germans could have basically won the game on Turn 1, Action 2 with a move to Nevers (assuming CP had a 3 Ops card to secure supply lines). This would have cut off the entire French fort line.


In retrospect, I should have done that... I forget whether Popey forced me back with his first attack or not. We were definitely still learning at this stage, so the effects of being Out of Supply weren't foremost in our minds!

Quote:
I don't think Ge8A (in the East?) is cut off. Is it Ge3A that you are referring to? It is in supply. While the German forts are destroyed, the reduced Russian army couldn't advance in (looks like anyhow). The spaces are still CP owned.


Popey became very wary of advancing into destroyed forts because I had armies coming up from the south that could cut him off on the Russian line. There are quite a few intermediary pictures missing that would show it more clearly. We had a few dancing movements where Popey destroyed the forts, then I counterattacked and forced him back.



* Popey moves Ru4A through Warsaw, Lodz and Plodz to regain control of the latter two points.
(I play a Reinforcement card, desperately needing to rebuild forces)
* Popey attacks Thorn, destroying the Fort and its corp defender, but takes 1 step-loss in return and can't advance. He's thus unable to put the Ru1A in Danzig back into supply and loses it to attrition.

(The Ge3A is kept in supply through Thorn, but could also trace supply through the port in Konigsberg if Thorn had been taken.)

I spend a RP to flip the Ge3A back to full strength; Danzig reverts to German control.



Cheers,
Merric
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