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 >