This is not all inconclusive by any means. The game has only been out for a short time and I’m sure there will be more strategies that evolve. The observations presented here are offered in hopes of improving the game not to trash it. So please don’t misunderstand our intention. This is a combined effort to reflect my thoughts and those of my opponent SgtSteve on the current status of the game.
After several PBEM games we see some patterns forming that we’d like to get other people’s opinion on. The game goes similar to that of Warspite and Colberki’s current game. Initial push into France until a strong defensive position is attained; the CP have generally stopped at Calais then utilized the rivers and woods as the defensive line. The concentration is then on an early defeat of Serbia, followed by Russia in early 1917. The goal here has been to reduce the Russians to less than 60 moral so that the two revolution events take place. So far we’ve been able to accomplish this without investing Russia with men and materiel at the expense of the western front. By this we mean you do not have to take St. Petersburg or Moscow to achieve this goal. Once the Russians are out the west stabilizes and neither side seems to be able to make significant progress and the game ends in a minor German victory.
Yeah, there's a clear lack of a proper war-weariness mechanic for the Central Powers
We do not initiate submarine warfare although the Mediterranean convoy has been sunk several times with surface fleets. This apparently doesn’t upset the U.S. and they have not entered in any games played to date. Either way we don’t see anything that would prevent a CP minor victory each and every game.
Yes. There is an event by which the US becomes upset from convoy sinkings, but I rarely see it fire, and anyway, there's no need and the cost of sinking convoys is too high.
Note: All games have been played with the house rule of no strategic warfare capability for bombers, airships or battleships as the either had negligible effect or in the case of the latter simply did not exist in this time period
Battleships could theoretically make strategic attacks, and the occasional shelling of the British coast shows the kind of minimal results they could acheive. The real impact of strategic attack should be on morale, but the game doesn't model this well.
Tanks, fighters, bombers don’t really mesh right. For example, during my last game the Entente player sent a fighter to one of the CP airbases results was Entente loses 4 CP loses 0. However, when a bomber was flown the results were either at minimum equal losses or the CP fighter would lose. So the Entente player sent about 4 bombers to a CP fighter hex and was able to eliminate the fighter. This would seem to be counterintuitive. Unless we are to believe that a bomber unit has an inherent fighter escort component. If so are the fighters just interceptors?
This is another example of how bombers are OP.
From my limited experience tanks are not cost effective. I don’t expect Panthers or T34/85s on the battle field in 1917/18, but the cost to loss ratio is just too steep. I don’t see the attack, or defense benefit of creating a unit that is 3 times the cost of an infantry unit with no discernible benefit.
Tank defensive power should be at least the same as an infantry unit, since tank units in-game are supposed to be infantry + tank support. It's too easy to counter-attack tanks at the moment, and lose them during the attack.
Turkey is a production and manpower money pit for the British... there is no reason to attack Turkey as they are not a victory condition nation. Britain would be better off using those resources attacking German units in France to beat down the German morale. I would say a small defensive force to hold the Suez open to keep the convoys flowing. Some would say you need to attack Turkey to keep them off Russia, but Russia will surrender with or without the Turks adding to the fray.
The same goes in reverse - Turkey can be a bit useless for the CP. Invading the Caucasus causes minimal loss of PP in return for large Turkish casualties. Attacking Suez blocks the canal at best - this inflicts the loss of a convoy but does not lead to greater opportunities really for the Turks. At best, one can use their forces to bolster the CP elsewhere once Bulgaria (which is over-powered in my opinion) joins the CP.
Seaborne invasions are very limited because your invasion force has to stay adjacent to the supply ship to stay in supply. The defender knows this and simply defends the cities in an invasion zone. This may be historical for the time period. I’m not making this point to say you need bigger meaner invasion rules. I’m mentioning it because it’s one more reason that the allies don’t need ships at all. You can build units in the Med so you don’t need to escort them from England. And if you’re trying to get to France from England with transports it’s a simple one turn move, again no need for escorts. Germany doesn’t need to attack convoys to win the game so they don’t build subs to attack convoys, again no need for escorting your convoys. German invasion of England is very limited so no need for a large home waters defense force. So, ships are not cost effective or useful. Oh and one more point…naval invasions possible along the North Atlantic coast lines, England, France, Germany etc… in the middle of winter? Brrrr that water is cold. lol
Ports really should give full supply the same way capitals do - the alternative is even British forces in Ireland and Italian forces in Sicily being in half-supply, which is ridiculous.
SW: Strategic warfare in WW1 was based on two factors. Convoys to England and…..convoys to Germany. While both the German and British Air Forces tried to bomb the “heartland” of each other the bottom line is 300 total tons by Germany and 800 by the British, the total tons of bombs dropped during the entire war is insignificant. The idea that fleets of Gotha’s, Zeppelins or Handley Page bombers would range across the sky obliterating all before it is more akin to Steam Punk universe than what was the reality of WW1. Shore bombardment of city hexes by fleets’ offshore in order to destroy the production capability of an entire nation without any response by the cities coastal artillery is rather bizarre and should also be removed from the game.
I'd vote for reducing stat-attack for Battleships to a minimum. Very obviously ships can shell factories - it's just their too valuable to use this way.
Agreed that bombers are OP - they should have a minimum impact on morale and a small chance of reducing PP by 1 and that's it.
RE: Convoys to Germany. I'd definitely support a gradual morale reduction for the CP as long as the allies have the upper hand in the naval contest. Actual convoys to Germany though are unecessary except for the Baltic convoys which motivate the German player to keep control of the Baltic - Germany is way too powerful already. Bringing in convoys to Germany if they defeat Entente naval forces just makes them stronger at the point when they are already winning anyway.
Tech Tree - If you don’t build ships, tanks or planes you don’t need to tech them. So a player only needs to tech Infantry and Artillery, the balance of their production should be used to increase ammunition production. The only units they should built are Corps to attack with, Garrisons to defend positions and Artillery on a ratio that can be supported by your ammo supply. This will save a lot of upkeep on labs and units that are not cost effective.
True. I develop this tech anyway as a form of role-play, but in reality I'd be better off saving the PP. Tanks should be better in defence. Subs should be cheaper. Railway guns should be easier to develop and contstruct - as it is even if you focus on them from day 1 with a single lab on artillery you can't build them in time.