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My Final (?) Thought on GoA

 
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My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 4/30/2009 2:46:05 PM   
jscott991


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I think I'm about done with GoA, at least for the near future. I've started at least a dozen games, played at least 4-5 of them into 1915 and I just can't help feeling that its the equivalent of banging my head against a wall. For all the talk of the poor interface and how hard the game is to understand, the real problem is that GoA simply isn't an accurate simulation of WWI, especially in terms of the 1914 and 1915 CP offensives and the balance of power between the CP and the Allies.

I'll list every issue I have, some of which repeat some questions I've raised in other threads.

1. The Germans are too weak, part I: Liege and 1914 in the West. I've had to restart at least 5-6 games after just the first impulse because four German corps with a 24 strength and 9 readiness fail to take Liege. Historically, this would have been such a disaster that the entire Schlieffen plan timetable would have been scrapped, resulting in a radically different war. As almost every book on the topic I've read has stated, the Germans had to take Liege on such and such a day or their movements would be compromised.

In GoA terms, failing to take Liege means that Allied corps show up Belgium. Once the French left extends all the way to the sea, it becomes a grind to take any territory. If you take Liege on the first impulse, then its usually pretty easy to roll up Brussels, Antwerp, and Dunkirk before your advance grinds to a halt. The Schlieffen plan can't work in GoA because corps move too slowly (one hex an impulse is an unrealistically slow pace), but with some luck, you can keep going into 1915, except that you will probably have to stop before Paris.

And your advance will grind to a halt becase . . .

2. Germans at too weak, part II: The Russians and the East. The Russians are too powerful; way too powerful. Yes, their armies can be beaten if you attack them. But my goodness, the front is way too long to keep units opposite every Russian unit. In 1914, the real Tsarist army ran out of rifles! They didn't have ammunition. The GoA Tsarist army suffers from none of these problems. In fact, its huge and it is able to establish a continuous line of corps from Konigsberg to Bukovina within the first few turns. This is ridiculous and wasn't even remotely possible in 1914. I find it impossible to punch a hole in Russia's lines that can be exploited because there are too many Russian corps to attack and too few HQ activations available to do it.

Plus, once again, the game refuses to simulate the broad CP offensives of 1915 with any accuracy. Germany and Austria (mostly Germany) advanced quickly and penetrated the Russians line deeply in 1915, effectively sweeping the Russians out of Poland. Try duplicating those results when you can only move three hexes, maximum, in a two month period. It just doesn't work. It means that in the east, even if you do put enough men to garrison the whole front and even if you do get enough HQ's with activations out there, it will still take a long time to duplicate the CP's 1915 success.

GoA's movement and combat system seem designed to simulate the war only from late-1915 on. Unfortunately, all the important issues have largely been decided by that point. The more interesting part of the war is 1914 and early 1915. It's a bizarre design decision.

3. The CP are too weak economically. The Germany economy earns 0-26-15 on the first three strategic turns. 15!? Try buying the activations and arms necessary to restock with that level of production. They earn so little on the third strategic phase because they run out of raw materials. I can't figure out any way to fix this until Turkey can start dumping RM's, but they run out quickly. No CP seems to produce a surpluse of raw materials, which hamstrings the entire CP war effort.

Austria's earnings are 0-6-6. Turkey earns 1. Bulgaria seems to get a free 4 when they join, but I don't remember what they earn on subsequent turns. Austria's war effort sometimes completely collapses and sometimes runs a surplus until 1915, in terms of arms production. It depends on how active Russia is. Germany, however, can't ever stay caught up when they earn just 15. They need too many arms, too many HQ activations, and, of course, need to spend to keep Italy out of the war because Austria starts with way too few corps to fight Serbia, Russia, and Italy. I know that Austria was stretched thin in the real war, but not this thin; and Austria suffered a lot of self-inflicted wounds that a player shouldn't have to replicate (poor offensives against Serbia; poor placement of Staffel-C forces; and a pointless and costly offensive against Russia in 1914). The fact is that the Russian front is too many hexes long for Austria and Germany to garrison, counterattack along, and prevent a Russian ooze.

The German economy, until food production collapsed, performed amazingly in WWI. Plus the Germans were able to hold the front in the West, push the front in the east in their favor, send troops to the Serbian front to bring an end to that fight, and, ultimately, provide most of the key troops for the Caporetto offensive against Italy. In GoA, good luck! You don't even have enough corps to make a front line from Konigsberg to Krakow, much less push that front back.

I have tons of other points I could make, but it all boils down to the same thing. The CP are way too weak. They are weak economically. They are weak in terms of number of corps. They are weak in terms of HQ activations. I challenge any player to duplicate Germany's results in 1914 and 1915 within the same timetable historically. I challenge any player to establish a front line from Konigsberg to Krakow by early 1915, when the offensives against Russia began.

I'm sure people win as the CP. I'm sure I'm a poor player. But this balance of is hopelessly out of whack and the rules' forced slow movement heavily favors the allies.

< Message edited by jscott991 -- 4/30/2009 2:54:59 PM >
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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/1/2009 2:31:36 AM   
SewerStarFish


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As I have been your GoA advocate, I will encourage you to reconsider this game.

Foremost, I believe you are having a difficulty conceptualizing the scale of the map. Yes, there is a hex named Liege and Liege fell quickly but the Moltke application of von Schlieffen was stalled by the Belgian army delaying the Germans for almost a month. In this game's scale, you should not be likely to take the Liege hex in the August impulses; it's possible but it should usually not happen every time.

Second, no you're not a poor player, but maybe you are having trouble adapting to this game's unique HQ point system. As my short AAR demonstrated you can at least duplicate the actual German advance into France and do better than Germany did versus the Russians. I contest your evaluation of the Tsarist's army in 1914. Its advances into Prussia unhinged the German west front. I am, by far, not the best GoA player as demonstrated to me by others such as Lascar; I'm very die-ey. But against the AI I have been able to duplucate historical results and also win some at about the right timeline: Russia in 1917 and France just toward the end with the loss of AH. Heck I even conquered Britian once; starved her to death.

Instead of giving up, try and play a few losers all the way to the end. Just try to conquer one TE country; keep trying until you figure out the nuances. While this forum is a little sporadic, I'm sure we'll be able to coach you to victory. I can't say enough for allowing the enemy to kill himself against your trenches and counter attacking. Or maybe try a playing as the TE to see how and where its units start and perhaps learn how to better apply the CP forces.

Anyway, at least you were specific in your compliants and didn't just trash the game. Thanks, and good gaming.

Patrick Bauer

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/1/2009 3:16:55 AM   
jscott991


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Your AAR is the only reason I've given the game this long. But your advance was accomplished at the expense of the Austrian right.

I am not an expert on the HQ system, but I am very familiar with World in Flames and especially the WWI variant Fatal Alliances (a far superior simulation of WWI than GoA). Both use HQ's in a similar, though not as comprehensive, manner. The scale is out of whack in GoA to limit you to one hex per impulse. That isn't realistic for either front. The key in a WWI game is not making units go slowly, its making attacks costly and usually unsuccessful. The Central Powers were able to exploit breakthroughs, especially on the eastern front. Even the Russians could exploit breakthroughs against the Austrians. That's almost impossible in GoA, as the usual cadence is attack, move HQ, attack again; except early in the war when HQ's are stacked on top of one another in the west. The importance of cavalry in GoA is also greatly exaggerated.

Plus, the CP's economics are just too out of whack. German production falls drastically between the 2nd and 3rd strategic phase. That makes no sense at all. Its a function of the CP having too few domestic resources.

As for the Tsarist army, at no point in WWI did Russia ever maintain a continuous front from Konigsberg to Bukovina. This was a major reason Rumania was so easily conquered. In GoA, the Russians create this front during the first three impulses. They have way too many corps. Russia's advantage was tons of replacement manpower; not tons of well-organized front line units.

And, I can't emphasize enough that the Russians ran out of rifles! The idea that they could string out full strength corps over the entire length of the eastern front so far in advance of Germany and Austria being able to do it is borderline absurd.

Too many Russian corps, too few CP resources, and too slow of movement when you achieve a breakthrough all combine to make a very disappointing game; and I understand the interface, which bothered so many others.

< Message edited by jscott991 -- 5/1/2009 3:21:39 AM >

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/1/2009 8:29:48 PM   
SewerStarFish


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I am wondering, are you making certain to keep 2 German Transports in the Baltic on shipping mission at all times? If not the CP does indeed suffer economic hardship.

As for the Russians, I won't argue the continuous line. But I will point out that I have never played a game as the CP where Russia did not fall at about the right chronological time at least. Russia simply does not have enough HQ points to sustain her continuous line once Germany starts attacking. Essentially the troops just sit (as men without rifles tend to do). You pound a hole then have your cavalry advance behind and cut off these units, they lose readiness then dissappear; or the AI retreats. Cavalry in the western front is almost useless, but in the east it was still a force not to be ignored.

As for the Austrians, I do tend to surrender the right in favor of taking Warsaw. The impact of taking Warsaw and losing Tarnopol and Czernowitz is a trade I usually take. After I get as far as I am going to in France (or if Serbia falls) the extra troops go along the Dubno-Rowno road taking precious Russian food while the Turks usually get at least one of the resources.

I also did not get to the part of the game where the strategic economic choices become critical.

On the other hand; I agree that to a seasoned wargamer the prohibition on advancing infantry into an empty hex without HQ activation is annoying at the least. The HQ system in this game is also unusual; but now that I am adept at it -- it's tolerable. I'm a huge WiF fan and have never played Fatal Alliances(Great! now I have to buy another game); but I have played Avalon Hill's Guns of August and I like the playability of this game better.

Well, I've made the best case I can. If after letting the game rest awhile you decide to try it again -- just check back here and I'll be glad to offer whatever I can to help you enjoy this game.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/1/2009 8:55:55 PM   
Sysiphous

 

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I purchased GoA a while ago, after reading many a glowing recommendation, but have only in the past week or so started to really play it. The CP strategic situation fascinates me the most, and I've been starting and restarting games as I've learned more about how the game plays.

Initially, my concerns were similiar to jscott's; a Schlieffen didn't seem to fit in the timeframe (and failing to take Liege on the 1st turn is indeed annoying; 3 full strength A Corps, and a siege arty bombardment don't seem to be enough at times), but I have certainly improved on prior performance and can (fairly reliably) be at the gates of Paris in Sept-Oct 1914, which is historical enough for me.

I'm starting to play around with the Eastern Front dispositions now; Austria's pose and whether Germany should be passive or active on the east front early are still quesions that I'm resolving.

I just wanted to say that I've appreciated your AAR SewerStarFish, and the bits of advice that I've picked up here and there on the forum. I wish that there was a comprehensve source regarding the mechanics of strategic operations; the manual leaves too much out.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/1/2009 9:36:35 PM   
jscott991


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I love your nickname.  It perfectly describes playing GoA as the Central Powers.

To Sewerfish:  I appreciate all your responses. Otherwise, posting in this forum would be like yelling in an empty woods.

I am putting transports in the Baltic (no thanks to the manual or anywhere else, I did this because in Fatal Alliances the Germans must do the same thing to receive resources from Sweden).  German production will still FALL between the 2nd and 3rd strategic impulse.  In other words, as they ramp up to wartime production, they lose production.  Its absolute nonsense and poor economic balancing.

GoA simply has too many Russian corps.  Its not realistic to allow the Russian army the means to string those corps out the entire front.  Perhaps I should be launching an offensive as Austria in 1914, but that is EXACTLY what cost Austria so dearly in the real Great War.  Should a game really reward a player for following a path that history has shown is wrong.

The Russian front should collapse in the Central Powers favor in 1915.  I can't come close to making that happen.

Perhaps I'll play Clash of Monarchs or something else this weekend and then try GoA on a cooler head.  But this game has serious problems and it irritates me that all the focus was on the poor interface (which isn't that bad for a wargame), when it should have been on the out of whack balance between the Allies (too strong Russia, too strong Belgium) and the Central Powers, especially in terms of economics and number of corps.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/1/2009 9:51:54 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jscott991

1. The Germans are too weak, part I: Liege and 1914 in the West. I've had to restart at least 5-6 games after just the first impulse because four German corps with a 24 strength and 9 readiness fail to take Liege. Historically, this would have been such a disaster that the entire Schlieffen plan timetable would have been scrapped, resulting in a radically different war. As almost every book on the topic I've read has stated, the Germans had to take Liege on such and such a day or their movements would be compromised.

In GoA terms, failing to take Liege means that Allied corps show up Belgium. Once the French left extends all the way to the sea, it becomes a grind to take any territory. If you take Liege on the first impulse, then its usually pretty easy to roll up Brussels, Antwerp, and Dunkirk before your advance grinds to a halt. The Schlieffen plan can't work in GoA because corps move too slowly (one hex an impulse is an unrealistically slow pace), but with some luck, you can keep going into 1915, except that you will probably have to stop before Paris.


It would have been difficult for German high command to have designed a plan to for the French to accentuate the strengths and mask the weaknesses of the Schlieffen plan better than France's Plan XVII. Leaving only one army near Belgium, concentrating their best armies for an offensive in the Alsace-Lorraine and suffering heavy casualties during it won't happen in the game. Hindsight from rl to a game usually allows you to avoid the major mistakes made by your rl counterparts. The French AI/PBEM player won't make Foch/Joffre's mistake.

quote:

2. Germans at too weak, part II: The Russians and the East. The Russians are too powerful; way too powerful. Yes, their armies can be beaten if you attack them. But my goodness, the front is way too long to keep units opposite every Russian unit. In 1914, the real Tsarist army ran out of rifles! They didn't have ammunition. The GoA Tsarist army suffers from none of these problems. In fact, its huge and it is able to establish a continuous line of corps from Konigsberg to Bukovina within the first few turns. This is ridiculous and wasn't even remotely possible in 1914. I find it impossible to punch a hole in Russia's lines that can be exploited because there are too many Russian corps to attack and too few HQ activations available to do it.

Plus, once again, the game refuses to simulate the broad CP offensives of 1915 with any accuracy. Germany and Austria (mostly Germany) advanced quickly and penetrated the Russians line deeply in 1915, effectively sweeping the Russians out of Poland. Try duplicating those results when you can only move three hexes, maximum, in a two month period. It just doesn't work. It means that in the east, even if you do put enough men to garrison the whole front and even if you do get enough HQ's with activations out there, it will still take a long time to duplicate the CP's 1915 success.

GoA's movement and combat system seem designed to simulate the war only from late-1915 on. Unfortunately, all the important issues have largely been decided by that point. The more interesting part of the war is 1914 and early 1915. It's a bizarre design decision.


Continuing in the same vein as response #1 above, it's almost impossible to perform as poorly as the Russians did irl and produce a Tannenburg/Masurian Lakes or to replicate its effects in the game. I agree with a lot of what you have to say, especially in terms of the feel of the movement early in the game compared to the historical achievements of the CP by the end of 1915. However, the points made by SewerStarFish are valid: 1) activation points are the key (if you think the CP can't afford them, try it as Russia) and 2) Russia usually falls around the 'right' time.

quote:

3. The CP are too weak economically.


I know this is subjective but for me the relative economic strength for CP vs. TE 'feels' right. As . As SSF says, make sure you have 2 german transports in the Baltic.

Hope you don't quit just yet.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/1/2009 10:15:32 PM   
jscott991


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Unfortunately players who want to play the game starting from 1914 and through 1915 aren't going to make it to 1917 if they are frustrated and irritated at Russia's enormous and ahistorical army/front line.

I'm not asking for the AI to repeat the mistakes of history. I'm asking for a little balance and historical "feel" to the game. WWI is similar to WWII in that the Central Powers should have to win "fast" because the clock is against them. If they don't have the advantage early, then there is no point in playing the game. It would be like France defeating Hitler's 1940 offensive; if Germany loses there, would you really continue a grand campaign until 1945?

The Belgian and Russian armies are too strong. This has nothing to do with whether you destroy a few corps at Tannenberg. Even if I killed 2-4 Russian corps in the fall of 1914, the Russians still have enough corps to ooze along an enormous front (all the way to Rumania, in fact). And Belgium stopping Germany cold is almost as laughable as the Russian front-line. Honestly, I don't see how any WWI buffs have played this game enough to get the hang of it. Once I saw that result once, I almost stopped entirely, except I thought I had done something wrong. Now I realize I hadn't. Belgium will beat Germany in Liege over half the time. Seriously, would we play a WWII game where Poland's army beats Germany in 1939?

I can get past almost everything else (I can keep restarting until Liege falls on the 1st impulse; its absurd to imagine the Belgian army stopping Germany at the frontier), but I can't get past seeing a continuous line of Russian corps from Konigsberg to Bukovina.  Its just idiotic.

< Message edited by jscott991 -- 5/1/2009 10:21:19 PM >

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/2/2009 12:45:51 AM   
SewerStarFish


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jscott991
Unfortunately players who want to play the game starting from 1914 and through 1915 aren't going to make it to 1917 if they are frustrated and irritated at Russia's enormous and ahistorical army/front line.


Here, a little ignorance was bliss. While I was familiar with World War I, Russian timelines and battles; I was not sure of the at start order of battle. That in general, starting from 1914, I have consistently been able to achieve historical end results; had convinced me that there's merit in this set-up. That the Russians have so few (really play a game as the TE) HQ points and that I know the Russian Army of 1914 was not the underachievers history portrays but a formidible threat to Germany and Austro-Hungary, makes the game seem plausible.

I'd offer to post a new AAR showing this, but with my luck this would be the game the Russians kick my arse.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/2/2009 3:41:35 AM   
jscott991


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I'm not denying that the design might start to match up with historical trends the longer you play.  But Russia has far too many front-line units too soon.

Historically, the Russians deployed their armies in two groups.  One faced East Prussia and the other faced Galicia.  There was no Russian force of significance opposite Silesia and no Russian force opposite Bukovina (Bukovina is a largely worthless province; Russia didn't make an attempt to "cover" it until pressured by its allies to extend its front to help Rumania, a half-hearted attempt that ended in failure).  In GoA, the fact that Russia has these forces, whether they can use them or not, irritates me to no end.  Fatal Alliances models the Russian front much differently and much more accurately.  A solid frontline isn't formed until much later than 1914 and supply issues keep Russia from marching through Bukovina to Hungary.  In GoA, the slowing of the advance through Bukovina actually does occur, but that just makes me question why the AI wasted corps there to begin with.  The answer, I suppose, is that it has so many corps, why not?

In my current game, I'm looking at 50 Russian corps stretched from Konigsburg all the way to Rumania.  Some are certainly HQ's, but that's an almost unfathomable number of units for Russia to be fielding in March 1915.

As for Russia's performance in WWI, it was not that great.  They weren't nearly as incompetent and ineffective as Austria or Italy, but they were no match at all for Germany and they could not keep their armies consistently supplied.  When adequately supplied, they were more than a match for the Austrian army, but even Brusilov's offensive was largely undone by logistics and Russian mismanagement.  The Russians of this time certainly do not match the Soviet Army after 1942.

I just don't see any possible justification for Russia's strength in 1914, even if it dissipates because of the HQ issue after 1915.  It would be better for GoA to make more of an effort to match the historical ebb and flow of the conflict than impose its own cadence.  And Belgium's power is completely indefensible, even if it doesn't really matter as much.

But I keep ranting.  I'm disappointed.  I watched this game with interest for a long time, and then finally purchased it recently because I had nothing else on my plate.  I love WWI and I love Fatal Alliances.  I just think GoA's presentation of the conflict is too abstract and its heavily biased towards the side I have no interest in.

< Message edited by jscott991 -- 5/2/2009 3:43:25 AM >

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/2/2009 3:52:55 AM   
jscott991


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I mean, look at this. How can anyone who knows even a smidgen about WWI not tear their hair out when they see something like this.






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< Message edited by jscott991 -- 5/2/2009 3:58:24 AM >

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/2/2009 3:54:51 AM   
jscott991


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Or this. Incidentally, the whole reason for me quitting is that the Russians just destroyed 2 corps and 1 HQ in Konigsberg and they are about to destroy both of those armies near Danzig on this turn. Its their own Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes and there's almost no chance it could have happened historically unless Germany decided to send its men into battle with water pistols (and even then . . .).






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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/2/2009 10:12:21 PM   
SewerStarFish


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jscott991
I mean, look at this. How can anyone who knows even a smidgen about WWI not tear their hair out when they see something like this.





Heres a map of the Eastern front on 26 September 1914. (I see yours is from May April 1915 -- see next post) It would seem that the map you are displaying is actually favoring the CP in AH.As I have already shown; you need just one HQ 2 INF and 2 Cav to move the historical German Center 100 miles further east and actually capture Lodz in August. Yes in your post the Russian got 40 miles further west; but that should be an acceptible possible outcome as it was Russia's Prussian Campaign that drew forces east from Moltke's French offensive.

You complaint about the continuous line may at first seem sustained, but what the computer is doing advancing Jilinski's reserves from the Northwest front to Warsaw and the middle during the mobilization phase. I have checked and the computer will do this even if you chose a pro CP AI. Clearly this not only ticks you off; but is a significant departure from history. I can only assume it is a function of the free set-up allowed by the game.




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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/2/2009 10:29:21 PM   
SewerStarFish


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This map of May through September 1915 shows a continuous line from the Baltic to Czernowitz of 10 Russian armies (4-7 corps per) starting from an even better position in AH but a worse one in Prussia in May than the one in your posts.

But the real point of this thread is not so much your problem of having troops in this line but making this line move from here to there. So how do you make the Russian line move from the solid blue of May to the dashed blue of September in GoA?
1) Assuming a historical push through Belgium not into Paris then German stop and redeployment East of historical proportions.
2) Using air (all or all but one east) to Recon, find the weakest Russian hexes every four or five apart. Forget the cities go past them at first.
3) Attack and clear those hexes advancing one or two cavalry with the victorious infantry
4) Next impulse save those HQ points and advance tha cavalry into open hexes eastward. This draws the Russian line back and thins those bypassed cities; always take the opportunity to cut off any units; they either die or waste an activation point in relief right where you expect it and reduce the risk of activations elsewhere.
5) Repeat this alternating HQ activation, cavalry advance when ever the Russian line reforms; but always conserve HQ by advancing the Inf to the Cav and then advancing the cav again if possible.

I won't lie and say I can always achieve this on timeline, but it is at least possible to go from the maps you show to this one. But we get back to the point that I can not fix: it still doesn't feel or look right to you. I hope I am allieviating your frustrations and not missing something obvious.

<edited to add important step 5 -- or you will run out of HQ points >





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< Message edited by SewerStarFish -- 5/2/2009 10:33:28 PM >

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/2/2009 10:36:54 PM   
SewerStarFish


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On a lighter note:

All this map reading and research has made me want to play GoA (as it is the only WWI computer game I own); so even if I don't convince you to play again, you have convinced me. Thanks.

_____________________________

Why choose the lesser evil: Vote Cthulhu.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/3/2009 12:33:43 AM   
jscott991


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Have fun.

I started up again and the Russians won three of four battles against me when I had greater firepower and numbers and was on the defense! 

Go figure.  It feels like I'm playing Risk when the combat system spits out those kind of results.

I do so much reloading in this game, I find myself wishing for a quicksave/quick load system, like in a first-person-shooter.  That's not a good thing for a serious strategy game.

Edit: To clarify, the problem isn't the Russian advance. The problem is the Russian front-line's length and the number of corps. Its ridiculous. They've had this line since the 3rd impulse of August 1914.

This isn't a good simulation of WWI in terms of the details.  It feels like the OOB was designed to produce a balanced game right from turn 1 rather than model the actual conflict.  Whether all this abstraction produces a satisfying result is up to the individual player.  The simple fact is that there are too many Russian corps modeled in the game.  Whether the HQ activation system nullifies this advantage over time is immaterial.  They shouldn't have the corps.  They shouldn't beat Germany when attacking into 1-1 combat situations and they shouldn't have the supplies to maintain an offensive into the winter of 1914 and 1915.  I see no evidence of them running out of HQ activations.  In fact, they must have more than me, because they attack 1-2 times per impulse (and almost always win against Austria and, as I said above, have a good record against Germany). 



< Message edited by jscott991 -- 5/3/2009 12:40:07 AM >

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/3/2009 3:14:36 PM   
TheBlackhorse


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The thing is, the game is not an EXACT recreation of The Great War.
Both the player and the AI are allowed wide latitude in the intial delpoyment of forces. Thus, an infiniate number of results are possible. Additionally, both the player and the AI are allowed wide latitude in how they execute their respective plans. Again, the result is an almost inifiniate number of potential outcomes. There is no way to exactly recreate the Great War..What CP player would want to anyway?

The Russians may seem powerful, but their command and control is garbage. They are unable to sustain longterm offensives. The only way the Russians can succeed is if the other members of the TE do their part in draining away German and Austrian troops/resources.

As a final note, the CPs lost the war. Outcomes that reflect that are historical. Any other outcome is ahistorical, and should therefore be that much more difficult to achieve.


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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/3/2009 5:54:31 PM   
jscott991


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The CP's didn't lose the war in 1914/1915, anymore than Hitler lost in 1940.

Any game that produces a situation with an allied advantage in 1915 is no more accurate than a WWII simulation that fails to consistently recreate a German victory over France.

People would NEVER tolerate the latter, and I think GoA players only tolerate the former because people don't have the same respect for and knowledge of the ebb and flow of WWI.

GoA is more pro-Entente than Churchill's account of the war.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/3/2009 10:55:59 PM   
TheBlackhorse


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jscott991

The CP's didn't lose the war in 1914/1915, anymore than Hitler lost in 1940.

Any game that produces a situation with an allied advantage in 1915 is no more accurate than a WWII simulation that fails to consistently recreate a German victory over France.

People would NEVER tolerate the latter, and I think GoA players only tolerate the former because people don't have the same respect for and knowledge of the ebb and flow of WWI.

GoA is more pro-Entente than Churchill's account of the war.


You're being somewhat misleading in that you imply the game is lost by the CP in 1914/1915.

There have been posts by players stating that is not their own experience with the game. My own experiences are similar to others in that the CPs enjoy remarkable successes early on bt eventually falter in the latter years. I have never experienced a game in which the CPs lost in 1914/1915.

Also don't assume to know the backgrounds or knowledge levels of GOA players. I suspect there are plenty that may know even more than you do regarding The Great War.

Perhaps PBEM would suit your game style better?

< Message edited by Blackhorse06 -- 5/3/2009 10:58:08 PM >

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/4/2009 12:19:25 AM   
jscott991


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I only presume to assume what GoA players might or might not know based on the results I see in the game and the lack of public outcry over some of them, most notably the performance of the Belgian army and the number of Russian corps available to the Tsar in 1914 and 1915.  If a WWII game existed that allowed Poland to consistently stop the Germans in September of 1939, it would be fixed/altered immediately because no one would play it, regardless of how the rest of the game developed.  The same thing would probably be true about a WWII game that allowed France to last beyond 1940.  People probably wouldn't stand for it.

However, GoA does create a situation where Belgium will stop the Germans cold at Liege over half the time (in my experience, and I'm not sure what you can really do other than throw three corps and bombard the hex after recon).  It also produces a situation where Russia will string together a continuous front of corps from Konigsberg to Bukovina by the end of 1914.  That's an ahistorical number of troops available operating in ahistorical theatres.  The state of the Russian rail network in 1914 should prevent forces attacking Silesia and Bukovina from being in supply.  In fact, Russia's rail network is the major reason that the weight of their attack landed on Austria and not East Prussia (but, of course, this isn't true in GoA either, where they hit both, plus Silesia and Bukovina). 

Again, let me reiterate that I don't think I'm such an expert to say that the Central Powers can't win in GoA.  That's not true, obviously.  I'm saying that the game is an abstraction of WWI in a way that most people would not accept from comparable WWII games.  As Sewerfish says, you can produce historical macro-results (Russia surrender in 1917), but on the micro-level the game only resembles WWI superficially. 

I only say these things because I'm heavily disappointed.  It looks like a WWI game.  The interface is better than I expected.  The presentation is solid.  The game runs well.  But its not a WWI game.  It's kind of a WWI-themed game, but the wars that seem to result every time I play really bear no detailed resemblance to the actual war.  Its nothing like playing comparable WWII games that adopt this scale. They almost always resemble the actual Second World War much closer than GoA resembles its subject matter.

Edit: Just to keep this rant going for no reason, having now played through 1917, I've noted the following things:

1. When Bulgaria enters the war, Turkey's resources completely alter the dynamic of German and Austrian production.  I went from producing 19 EP a phase as Germany to 27.  That's kind of ridiculous.  Turkey was an economic hindrance on the CP, not a help. In GoA, it might even be in the CP's best interest to dump diplomatic points on Bulgaria instead of Italy to get Turkish resources to Germany faster. That's a very strange dynamic for the game to make so important.

2. Liege, see above.

3. Russia's army size, see above.

4. Russia's offensive performance, see above.  Russia routinely wins battles at 1-1 odds (at least in terms of infantry size, quality, readiness, and firepower).  That's kind of hard to accept.

5. The importance of cavalry.  Cavalry are ridiculously important in this game because of the HQ situation.  They are the key to sustaining any advance over any distance.  This certainly was not true in WWI.  In fact, as modeled by Fatal Alliances, most nations turned a lot of their cavalry into infantry to save on fodder costs by the mid-point of the war.

6. The movement pace.  Even if you like the idea of an attack only going one hex per impluse, can you really say its realistic that "regular" movement of cavalry and infantry corps through your own territory should be that slow?  If one summer impluse is approximately 3 weeks, would a cavalry corps really only be able to move one hex?  I can't find the actual scale anywhere, but that's really slow.

7. Alpine operations.  The conduct of war on the Italian front is too easy.  It was extremely difficult to attack and move large numbers of troops through the Alps (ask Conrad).  In GoA, its not that hard.  Italy routinely drives my entrenched corps out.  Fatal Alliances and WiF make these hexes impassable.  In GoA, they are part of a huge, thin Italian front. 

Anyway, its an addicting game in some respects (people who criticize the interface are really just criticizing the manual, because once you know what to do its easy to just keep doing turns).  But I really want to throw my monitor across the room just as often as I enjoy it.

< Message edited by jscott991 -- 5/4/2009 12:30:58 AM >

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/4/2009 3:54:04 PM   
TheBlackhorse


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http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2097857

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1933619

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1833313

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1907103

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1871375

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/4/2009 7:36:00 PM   
jscott991


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Those AAR's still show a continuous Russian front. I'm not sure what the point was.



And, I mean, seriously, look at this. Can you imagine this happening in the real First World War? This happens every time in GoA, even if I have one Austrian corps per alpine hex. Here I even had German corps! This is just dumb. How a designer of a WWI game can see this happen and still do nothing to code it out is beyond me.






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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 5/19/2009 11:40:04 PM   
EdinHouston

 

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I havent played GoA in a while, but I wanted to provide some positive comments in this thread.

First of all, I think GoA is an outstanding game. Yes the interface takes a bit of getting used to, and yes as in any game there are some things you can nitpick, but overall its a great game, and I really enjoyed playing.

I played many games versus the AI, and then half a dozen games against human opponents, and I totally disagree with many of the OP's points. As the CP, I usually used a France-first strategy... and it never failed. Not once. Not against the AI and not against human opponents. True, it can take until 1915 or even early 1916 to knock out France, but usually France is the walking dead by the end of 1914 once the Germans have broken out of Belgium and extended the front, and then attacking in overwhelming force with plenty of artillery against selected hexes to continue the offensive. Basically, you bleed them dry, and kill units faster than they can be replaced, and this only accelerates as the disparity in forces gets greater. When the British arrive in mid 1915, it evens things out a lot, but like I said, by then France is almost finished and its really hard to stop the Germans from taking the final cities necessary to force a surrender. True, you will never see a Sept 1914 knock out of France, but then again, no human opponent if going to be stupid enough to attack fortified German positions in the south and bleed itself dry while the German right hook is coming north thru Belgium.

About Russia, yes they have a lot of units, but their lack of airpower means that they are usually fighting blind. They cant spot for their artillery, and they cant tell where your forces are. Also when they advance into the open (especially their cavalry), they are vulnerable to artillery. But the biggest advantage you have against Russia is their lack of HQ points. If they make a lot of attacks early, they will be short of HQ points later. If they conserve HQ points, they risk not hurting the CP enough to hinder the German offensive in the west. Its not enough for Russia just to take some cities and gain some ground; they have to cripple the CP and cause them to divert units from the west (not just the reinforcements, but units initially deployed against France).

About Italy, well I am not sure what happened in the game based on your screenshot, but if the Italians are forcing Austrians out of the mountains, then the Austrians are either 1) doing something very wrong, or 2) dont have enough force deployed against Italy. Although as the CP I wasnt one to attack Italy (I focused on France and then Russia), many players try to knock out Italy as soon as they enter the war, and it can be pretty effective.

I will say, in a game like this, the defender has a big advantage until the attacker gets the knack of the HQ/offensive system, and how to attack and advance. Once you do that, IMO, if anything attacking is too easy in GoA, not too hard... but it takes a decent amount of play to get to that point. Also, a system like this isnt for everyone. It came to me pretty easy, whereas in some tactical games I have a terrible time getting the knack of playing compared to others.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 6/1/2009 5:47:37 PM   
jscott991


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Most of your points don't rebut a lot of what I was pointing out.

1. The CP cannot duplicate their September 1914 successes because corps in GoA move too slow.  Therefore, GoA takes the position that the Schlieffen Plan could not possibly have been successful.  It presents that position as axiomatic.  I understand that the Western Front was more fluid in the first months than at any other point, but prepared defensive positions and the power of defense should slow offensives, not a hard-coded movement limitation.

2. Russia has far too many troops at the start of the war and Russian territory is far too well supplied.  The Russians, historically, could not maintain a continuous front from East Prussia, through Silesia and Galicia, to Bukovina.  Historically, the Russians could not supply troops adequately to contemplate an offensive against Silesia and Bukovina, and their failure to extend their front to Rumania is a major factor in that country's collapse.  In GoA, Russia has troops to spare, whether they can attack or not (and I've yet to see it amply demonstrated that Russia's HQ limitations adequately simulate the complete collapse of Russia's supply system in late 1914 that led to the CP's relatively easy offensive gains in 1915).i

3. Italy routinely invades Bavaria through the Alps.  As for me being understrength on that front, I ALWAYS have at least one corps per hex on the Italian front and two corps in Trieste.  You can see that I was using GERMAN troops above and Italy still broke through.  The Alps were NOT passable in the areas shown above where Italy has achieved a breakthrough.  Almost every tabletop wargame I have ever played has represented this fact.  In GoA, Italy can breakthrough the Alps and then trace supply through them to invade Bavaria.  This is ridiculous.  Italy could have taken Trieste in the war.  It could never have taken Munich (arguably even if NO CP forces are in the Tyrol). 

Everyone keeps wanting to blame the system for GoA's shortcomings ("once you get a knack for the HQ system, everything is great!".  That isn't GoA's problem.  The problem is that every assumption in-game favors the TE (an ahistorically large Russian army, a one hex movement limit for corps, Italy's ability to use the Alps as a highway to Germany, the power of Liege) and the flow of the war is disjointed and bears little to no detailed resemblance to WWI.

As I mentioned above, the problems with GoA are tantamount to a WWII game where Germany fails to conquer Poland in September of 1939 and routinely is unable to conquer France at all.  No one would ever play such a game because there is a great respect for WWII's flow in virtually all WWII strategic simulations (I can't think of any highly rated WWII game where Germany is unable to finish Poland in September and France in 1940).  The lack of respect for the flow of WWI is startling, considering its flow should arguably be more "hard-coded" than WWII's.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 6/6/2009 2:32:54 PM   
EUBanana


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Beating Russia is a case of looking at the resources map, noting which hexes have the food resources in, and bagging as many as you can.  Most of them are quite near to the German border.  You only need advance a little bit, then just dig in.  The Russians won't be able to knock you off those hexes, and as the war grinds on will collapse at, or earlier than, the historical time.

For that matter, look at the resources too.  That resources overlay map is extremely important.  It makes it worth taking all those French forts on the border if only to deny them to the enemy. 

As for Liege, it's a speed bump with siege artillery there.  Whats the problem? 

The CPs are the underdog though, I agree with you there.  Economically the Ottoman Empire is important to the CPs in this game.  Make sure Serbia is conquered, then soon as Bulgaria enters you can transfer resources from the Ottomans over to Germany (and sometimes finished goods too, quite often the Ottomans are a backwater).  This gives the CP economy a shot in the arm around late 1915 odd which allows their economy to trundle on until about 1917 or so.  But its always touch and go with the German economy, right from the very start.

I like the game because it models attritional warfare quite well I think.  Certainly far better than the systems in AGEODs World War 1, which forces you attack outright or forces you to do it for research purposes (uh?).  There is a definite concept of attacking purely to bleed the enemy.  As ze Germans you have make sure the French and the Russians are both sufficiently bled.  If you try digging in without ever bleeding the enemy, you will lose due to the way the attacker can generally focus several hexes worth of troops into a single target hex, thus gaining a heavy local superiority for a round of combat, no matter how good your trench ratings are. On the other hand a serious offensive into France or Russia in 1914 (or both) should even in the event of failure damage them grievously and keep them off your back for years to come.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 6/6/2009 2:36:27 PM   
EUBanana


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Oh and Italy is probably the bit of the game I like the least.  The way the game models moutain warfare is pretty whacked.  Mountain hexes are actually difficult to defend against sustained offensives, not easier to defend.


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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 6/7/2009 5:31:37 PM   
hjaco

 

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Yes the game really lacks impassable alpine hexsides like in most other WW1 games.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 6/8/2009 4:28:40 PM   
EUBanana


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Oh, and re. the Schlieffen, I don't think GoA allows it to be possible in the time scale of the real Schlieffen Plan due to how fast corps can move, there are just too many hexes to cover.  However, a Schlieffen can work, it just takes a little longer to get the result. 

When it does work its usually right after I get gas attacks, so early 1915, and the gas arrives just to dump a load of chlorine on Paris. 

The usual result is the Western Front bogging down as it did in reality.  I will say though that in my games, in every single one in fact, that I tried a Schlieffen approach as Germany, the front bogged down with a CP advantage over what they did in reality.  Arras, for example, always falls in my experience, and so does Verdun - Verdun as an afterthought, practically!  

The Turk resources are a bit odd - its not really due to the amazing industrial potential of Turkey though, its due to them cranking out resources every turn,and they build up, until Bulgaria enters and you ship them all over.  After that is over Turkey doesnt contribute much.  in fact IMO, the reason why Turkish industry contributes to rather than retards the CP economy is because I've never actually played a game as the CPs when the Entente made any effort at all to hit Turkey hard beyond the never-decisive Caucasus Front (Even a Russian win here is near irrelevant, there aren't many critical resources over that way and the mountains prevent deeper penetration).  Its kinda fiddly to ship the required tools over there, especially as in GoA the Austrian navy is rarely as quiescent as it was in reality. 

I think if Turkey faced a major Entente attack sufficient to endanger its existence, as it did in the real war, you'd see Germany forced to bail Turkey out in terms of resources.

Having been hostomped by the Purple Peril many times I agree Russia is a dangerous foe indeed, their industry cannot support their army though, its too big, so like I said, they need to be bled down and then they are neutralised, as Russia is unable to resupply their troops.  You end up with the Purple Peril having the same offensive power as Italy pretty much.  In reality though Tannenburg was extreme luck and Austria was hammered badly by the Tsar.  You don't generally duplicate the Battle of Midway in WITP either, I put Tannenburg down as the same sort of outlier result.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 6/8/2009 5:27:11 PM   
hjaco

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jscott991

1. The CP cannot duplicate their September 1914 successes because corps in GoA move too slow.  Therefore, GoA takes the position that the Schlieffen Plan could not possibly have been successful.
quote:



Well in my humble opinion Germany did not have any September 1914 successes nor had Germany ever the necessary forces to carry out a textbook operational campaign like that.

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RE: My Final (?) Thought on GoA - 6/26/2009 4:16:08 PM   
EdinHouston

 

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well what I have read about WW1 says that the Schlieffen plan probably was not feasible, because of supply problems. It simply wasnt possible to supply all those German corps via the limited rail network, as they moved so quickly through Belgium and France. I think Keegan wrote something like: it was possible for the Germans to reach Paris in a month, and it was possible to keep the army supplied and in fighting shape when they got there, but it was NOT possible to do both at the same time. It was simply too fast and long of a march to keep the army in fighting shape, and impossible to keep the army supplied when it moved that fast.

Now some folks would say: but look at how close the Schlieffen plan came to working! And in response I would say that much of the 'success' of the german advance was due to the idiotic strategy the French chose, to advance in the south and bleed their army dry. If the French had not attacked in the south, and used those additional forces as a reserve, well there is no way that those tired and under-supplied German corps could have reached Paris. And even if they had reached the gates of paris, how would they have possibly taken it? the french would have been throwing fresh, well-supplied troops into a defensive battle against an exhausted, undersupplied force attacking a fortified position.

I would argue that GoA does a good job of modelling an alternative scenario: the Germans dont try to capture Paris in a month, but rather advance more slowly, remain supplied hoping to strike the decisive blow not in a month, but rather in a campaign that lasted the entire fall and into the next spring. Now in the actual war, the Germans didnt think this would work because the Russian juggernaut would roll across eastern Germany. But we know in hindisght that the Russians were much weaker than the germans had thought, and it *was* possible to hold them off from a quick decisive victory, therefore giving the Germans more time in the west to finish off France. I would argue that this is a more realistic scenario for how Germany could have won the war, and therefore I think GoA is pretty realistic in that sense.

But I agree that GoA wont really let you try a one month campaign, simply due to the distances and movement rules. But if you are willing to be a little flexible about the time scale, and if the French did throw most of their forces into the south in a useless attack, well you could find that German corps could be reaching Paris and even attacking in Sept/Oct (although their supply would be low). So even in that sense, GoA isnt too far from reality. But of course no human opponent would be that stupid, to have the French attack the Germans in entrenchments and forts and across rivers no less. So again, even if the game allowed German units to reach paris in 4 moves, it would never happen, because human players would compensate by keeping more french forces in the north to defend and delay the advance.

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