Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
I really didn't think I'd be writing this report. This week, I was meant to be playing 4-player wargames. Instead, illness ravaged the potential players, which left just Popey and me standing. There was the possibility that we could find other players, but we looked at each other and, with eagerness, settled on another game of Paths of Glory.
This time, we'd try the Limited War game - a maximum of 10 turns, with the possibility of ending when someone reached Total War or from a Automatic Victory. I thought it unlikely we'd get 10 turns in, and so it proved, with Popey frequently being called away to tend to the need of customers, but we did get through 6 turns of the game and I had a pretty good idea of where the game was heading.
Once again, I played the Central Powers and Popey took on the part of the Allies. We probably made a few rules mistakes. The big mistake involved the BEF, which was improperly shielded from a couple of losses by the Belgian Army it was stacked with. I'm pretty good with most of the exceptions, and the ones that I forger change from game to game!
As standard in our games, I started with The Guns of August, and then followed up with a flanking attack into Sedan. My rolling was poor, and though the flank attack worked, Popey was left with only a reduced army and not a mere corp. He retreated into Chateau-Thierry and the game was underway!
Popey commented during the game how he found his playing of cards far different than in the shorter game; he was far more interested in getting reinforcements and playing for the future. This could definitely be seen from his first card-play of the game, which was for Replacement Points!
My second card play was Race to the Sea, opening up the possibility of grabbing the channel spaces. I'm still not sure of the play: it removed a high-OPs card from the deck, and I ended up not actually attacking those ports. It was far more of a play to make Popey worried about the possibility.
As the turn progressed, Popey attacked Austria-Hungary and the German Fort in Strasbourg, forcing me out of the latter. I moved back in, and attacked the reduced 5th Army in Chateau-Thierry. By now, the rest of my hand was full of 2-OPs cards, so I had limited offensive capability for the rest of the game. Landwehr allowed me to recover in Strasbourg and Sedan, and Popey kept getting RPs, as well as harrassing my AH forces. He also brought up Russian armies and corps to menace Germany.
Popey ended the turn by attacking Sedan with the BEF and Belgian forces, causing the first misplay (the BEF should have been reduced, not the BE Army).
By the end of the turn, we replaced most of our losses and sat looking at each other. It had been a remarkably slow turn, with few big movements of troops. Here's the board at the end of the turn after Replacements had been taken:
I began the next turn by Entrenching my troops in Sedan. It should be noted that this was the only trench placed in the entire game. This was not due to a lack of desire for trenches. Rather, it demonstrates my pitiful rolling when attempting to construct them: I failed all four rolls I attempted in the game. Not having a trench in Strasbourg worried me, but I wanted to keep my forward position protected.
Popey and I exchanged Moltke and Falkenhayn events, which ensured that I'd enter the Limited War stage at the end of the turn. Popey then launched an attack on Germany and Austria-Hungary with his Russian forces, following it with an attack on the ill-defended Liege, forcing my army to retreat. I played German Reinforcements to bring the 9th Army into play to reinforce the French border, and Popey moved in with his Russian forces, surrounding Konigsberg.
This wasn't going well for me. I summoned the 7th Austrian-Hungarian Army, and watched as Popey captured Czernowitz. The turn ended with my lines in some disarray: German was having a hard time of it, and I'd need to manoeuvre my armies back into position to even think about starting my own offensive. The possibility of a breakthrough against me seemed high.
However, the drawing of Place of Execution (CC: +2 drm against a FR fort) seemed to make a successful attack against Nancy a real possibility. So, that's what I tried. The result? A 2 on the die roll, when a 3 or better would have seen 7 loss factors instead of 5. Popey shrugged off the result and placed some British Reinforcements in London. I attacked again, and Popey took an extra step loss instead of surrendering the fort. He then moved more troops in, and my opportunity was lost.
I note in passing that Turkey had entered the war. We did nothing with it for the game.
With my AH reinforcements, I began to put pressure on the Russian front, taking Ivangorod and forced Popey to counterattack, rather unsuccessfully. The score was currently greatly in Popey's favour, but he was still at a 0 War Status; this turn saw him playing several events to bring him up to Limited War, in particular the Rape of Belgium and Blockade.
I ended the turn by besieging Warsaw; Popey's attack on Konigsberg was a great disappointment for him. We'd moved forces in to reinforce our lines, and the storm was about to burst.
My hand for the next turn had two 5 OPs cards, one allowing Bulgarian entry into the fight. I looked at the map, considered whether it was worth it, and said, "Nah!" Instead, I used the card to start a mass attack on the Russian positions with my AH forces. Warsaw was captured, and I forced the Russian troops back from the AH border. Popey counterattacked, depleting some of my forces.
The next couple of action rounds saw "Supply-Line Shenanigans", as Popey likes to refer to them, as my AH forces cut off his Russian forces, only to have Popey run up his corps from Odessa to reinstate them.
Popey also attacked my forces in Sedan, having reinforced the BEF with two British Armies. The resulting attack was not a shining light for the British forces with particularly poor rolling.
The Australians and Canadians entered the war (Hooray, we all cheered), and, as the fourth turn ended, I felt that I'd finally regained the upper hand: the French front looked secure for once, and the Russians had been beaten back from Austria-Hungary. How wrong I was.
And then Italy entered the war on the side of the Allies.
It would take some time for them to build up to full strength, so I did the only thing I could do at the time: I ingored them. Instead, I brought in German reinforcements and started the long, slow job of forcing the Russians back from the German border. Most of the Russian forces were on the Austrian-Hungarian border by now, and as I pushed in on the North, Popey pushed back in the south.
Then came the turning point of the game: hassled by the continual attacks of the British Forces in Brussels, I finally deployed forces to cut their supply lines, racing through Cambrai to Calais and Ostend, weakening my defenses to do so. If I could hold the line, I would have pushed my front lines forward and struck a major blow for winning the war. In my favour was that only Sedan - which contained a trench - was directly adjacent to the French forces. With two action rounds left, Popey would have to move up armies from Paris and then break my lines. I thought I had a good chance of holding.
Popey attacked Metz, and moved his Paris forces into Amiens. Metz retreated (although Popey didn't follow up). I now launched an attack on Amiens: with 10 force to 6, I had a very good chance of forcing him to retreat and stopping any counterattack. I rolled low, Popey rolled high. He didn't retreat. I moved a corp through to cut off the French forts from supply - I knew that the corp was likely doomed, but the effect of the manoeuvre was high: now only the forces in Amiens could attack.
The last action round of the turn; Popey attacked my army in Cambrai. 5 strength against 5 strength. I just needed to tie Loss Factors and I had this. I rolled a 2, Popey rolled a 6. I retreated, Popey advanced, and my army in Calais was cut off from supply. (Considering this now, I think it's likely I was still in supply due to the Port rules, but I'm not 100% sure. Let me know!)
The gamble had failed. My lines were in tatters, Popey was pressing hard against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and - due to the strong offensive I had pursued - I didn't have many RPs to rebuild. The Allies now had the upper hand.
The final turn we played was distinguished by Popey's attacks with the French against my German lines, which were pushing me slowly back, although his concern with lines of supply stoped him from advancing as far as he might have liked to. Meanwhile, the Russians also had a merry time attacking Austria-Hungary, although Popey was never able to turn it into the great advantage he wanted - he gained 2 VPs there, but no more.
Meanwhile, northern-western Russia started falling to the advance of the German armies: I bottled up his armies in Riga, and destroyed the line of forts he had protecting his borders. I was terrified that his Lublin army would reverse my gains, but - for once - the supply rules worked in my favour and he couldn't pull it out of position.
Italy attacked Austria-Hungary, and I had to pull back a much-needed AH army to defend.
Finally, France retook Sedan, recaptured Liege, and the French territory was not back to the pre-war line. The turn ended with me in a parlous state. However, it was also past 11 pm, and further play - although much desired by Popey and myself - was not an option. We had to work the next day!
Looking at the board, I felt - at this stage - that victory was all but assured for Popey, with the French-German front poorly defended on my part and likely to soon collapse. We'd both greatly enjoyed the game and I'm sure - given the chance - we'll pull it out again. I just don't know when that chance might occur!
I'd felt the problems associated with the play of possibly too many Reinforcement effects, my later hands had been very short of OPs and RPs. There's a real art to balancing the card-play in this game, which really becomes apparent in the longer games. Even though we only got six turns finished, we felt we'd really made a lot of interesting decisions.
My play was a lot more conservative this game, and sometimes too much so (I feel). My one great gamble failed; I thought the chances of it succeeding were high, but the penalty for failure was also high and so it proved.
We had a great time playing this; I hope you've found the report likewise entertaining.
I've enjoyed reading your session reports. Thanks for posting!
Your German army in Calais looks to be OOS if Cambrai was taken by the AP. CP can only use ports in Germany and Russia to trace supply.
Your friend could have advanced Italian armies to besiege both Trent and Trieste, since they were ungarrisoned. It would have put major pressure on the CP to relieve both cities.
Thank you for your Session report. I found it very interesting and it shoes you two are still in the "wild and wolly" phase of the game.
Some notes and tips if you are interested.
Playing race to the sea was probabely a mistake since its the one event thats never played during mobilisation because there to many other events you have to play which are a lot better.
Playing Moltke is even worse because it gives you easy accsess to much needed war status.
Your gamble ( the attack on Amiens ) which probabely would have lost you the game wasnt necessary. You should have taken the two armies you used to cut off the BEF to cut off the French forts together with a GE corps to seal the fate of most of the French army. He only could have saved the BEF but without most of the French armies you should have controlled the west front.
You both play with big holes in your supply lines which would cost you very dearly against an experienced opponent.
Your army in Mulhouse didnt seem to to alot during this game. If you dont have a trench in Strassbourg its better to evacuate Mulhouse or your army there might be eliminated after a sucessfull 6 action round attack against Strassbourg by the French.
Enjoy this great game and keep the session reports coming.