I will spare the readers a detailed, turn by turn account of the fifth game between SMK (Mike) and myself (my third time as CP).
Germany and Austria suffer from a lack of food to feed its people and, eventually, begin to suffer morale losses as a result. Both countries, but Germany in particular, can use a lot more raw materials than they can produce. Since I had decided to go after France first, there was little prospect of getting some looted food from Russia. I decided to embark on an ambitious merchant marine construction program with the intent to send all my transports on shipping missions in the Atlantic. I calculated that I could afford to have 50% of my transports sunk, so long as the remaining 50% returned with full holds. The raw materials brought back would fund new ship construction and leave some naval assets left over to repair and sail other ships. Two food resources brought back by a single transport would keep Germany from dipping into its reserve stockpile (assuming it had conquered Belgium and had not lost Konigsberg or other food hexes). Two ships returning would allow Germany to help out Austrians with food.
I was a lot luckier than I had hoped for as the Royal Navy rarely caught my blockade runners and didn't sink any until sometime in 1916. At times, I was bringing back as many as 12 raw materials and 12 food points with eight transports in the Atlantic. German food stocks soared and neither Germans nor Austrians ever went hungry. In the last strategic turn of the game (Sep 1916, sad to say), Germany had a food stockpile of 32 points, more than 2.5 times what it started with in August 1914.
German industry benefited, too, with economic production soaring as high as 26 points per turn. Even in January 1916, with morale at 17%, Germany turned out 23 economic points (and, thanks to the low morale, had three raw materials unused). I have not gone back to look to see what I wasted these points on, but it certainly was not arms.
The unexpected success in trade did not make up for problems on the ground.
Initially, all went well as Germany swept through Belgium and Luxembourg in August 1914 and Austria pushed into Serbia to the Bulgarian border (so as to get Turkish raw materials once Bulgaria entered the war which they did early, in Jan 1915). The Russians pushed into Galicia and out of western Poland into Germany proper which did not surprise me but carried out no major offensives in East Prussia, at least not until later. Eventually the Russians withdrew from Germany but by that time, I was having too many manpower and offensive problems to launch more than isolated and ineffective attacks.
In September, the Austrian fleet contested the Eastern Med which bought time for the Turks to reinforce the ports against British amphibious assaults (the Turks also dug in the following turn). When the British tried to take Gallipoli in November, its attacking corps was pushed into the sea. During the game, Germany was never at risk of losing the vital Berlin-Baghdad railway. I had, however, lost sight of my objective (taking Paris) and was not sending enough troops to Belgium. Instead, I was more interested in the Austrian and German siege guns leveling the French border forts for subsequent German advances there. My problem with a shortage of arms was not yet apparent, but, it was by March, and I never recovered (see graphic). Low strength corps in tenuous positions soon to be overrun by Anglo-French forces.
At that time, German morale was 98% and it had 46 corps (a lot way below strength). It should have had 56 corps. In May, morale dropped to 85%, then 74% in July, bounced up a little in September and, in November, following a massive TE breakout into Germany, morale plummeted to 26% and Germany was left with a mere 30 corps out of a total of 63.
Germany lingered on for nearly a year after that.
I should also note that I was dissapointed in my scientists. While they produced chlorine gas in September 1914, subsequent investment in poison gas did not pay off. Once mustard was developed, the TE had it too, rendering my gas barrages ineffective. The TE reached phosgene first and I abandoned poison gas research. Investment in other areas never produced any results. :(