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France's War Strategy - 12/17/2019 10:04:35 PM   
marion61

 

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France declaring war on Belgium and Holland so that it can out flank German forces is a bit un-realistic. Firstly, England was guaranteeing Belgium's sovereignty and would either have stopped the French attacking Belgium or withdrawn their troops from the war in protest. Secondly, the people of France being a Republic and all would have had civil unrest against the war with Belgium. Thirdly, Belgium is pro-entente and France declaring war on a possible ally would have had a huge negative impact on this. I don't mind the what-if of France doing this, it's just I don't think that France should be able to do this for free in the game. They should be taking a huge NM hit for doing something that drastic. I've played thru version .02 twice as The Central Powers, and each game France declares war on Belgium if The Central Powers don't. I don't declare on Belgium as CP's which delays the British entrance and it keeps the front smaller. If the CP's declare war first on Belgium, Britain automatically declares against the CP's, so why does it allow France to do the same with no consequence?

< Message edited by marion61 -- 12/17/2019 10:09:11 PM >
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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/18/2019 1:35:25 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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Hi Marion61,

Thanks for the feedback. Naturally any time we enter into "what if" territory, or when game play diverges from the historical, any action/reaction is logically going to be debatable because we'll never know for sure what would or could have happened.

In game play terms, and from a development point of view, we generally want to ensure that the AI always (within reason) puts up a good fight. In this case a German strategy of not invading Belgium does indeed narrow the front and will more often than not guarantee a Central Powers victory. Belgium opens up the front, much as it did for the Germans when they historically invaded and as a result it is possible the AI will do the same for the Entente side but in reverse, much like a human player would (and quite possibly in real life too) if it felt the war would otherwise be lost.

That being said, an Entente declaration of war against Belgium is not always guaranteed, and it comes down to whether or not the Entente AI is able to advance along the narrow front first. If it cannot then it will prepare a DoW on Belgium. This is also the case for its invasion of the Netherlands. It just sounds like in your game the Entente AI was never able to make any headway and thus the invasions of the Low Countries.

In terms of penalties, there are two for now, one is that it upsets the Americans drawing them further back from joining the war on the Entente side, and it causes a similar reaction to the Netherlands as well.

Granted it may be the case that we could add more of a penalty, but again, we have to be careful so as to not eventually still have it as a sure fire strategy for the Central Powers side.

On the other hand, if you really prefer to not have the Entente AI declare war in this case on the Low Countries, this can easily be amended by creating a custom version of the main campaign and turning off these AI OFFENSIVE plans.

Open the Editor and perform a SaveAs of the main campaign to your USER campaigns folder.

Then Campaign->Edit AI Scripts and then open the OFFENSIVE script and look for the first two events where France targets Brussels and Rotterdam. Set the #FLAG= entry equal to 0 from 1. Save the script, recompile the script by clicking on Update *, and then save the campaign.

Hope this helps,
Hubert

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/18/2019 3:33:03 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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Just to add that another penalty to the Entente of doing this is that Britain and France suffer National Morale penalties for doing so, of 4,000 and 2,000 points respectively.

Coupled with providing the Central Powers with another ally, and swinging the US and the Netherlands away from them, this isn't necessarily a strategy that will always be the right thing to do.

Although the UK was committed to protecting Belgium's integrity, the altered status of being at war doesn't mean that they wouldn't have been willing to take more drastic measures if they considered the situation demanded it, e.g. in 1940 the UK was considering invading Norway.

The British would also not have seen the Entente side as being the "bad guys" here, and they would likely have said that they would ensure Belgium's post-war status was as an independent state once again.

This isn't to say that the penalties couldn't be more severe, and if balancing the campaign requires increasing them then we'd certainly consider doing that.



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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/18/2019 7:42:46 PM   
Xsillione

 

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The NM cost and the free ally for Germany is more than enough penalty, to the point that it is almost too good for the player if he does the Russian first plan. Even more worthwhile if they can keep Belgium alive, since they can build an extra artillery.

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/18/2019 10:42:43 PM   
Sugar

 

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What about the food deliveries to Gemany? Don't they stop after the Netherlands joining the CPs and losing their access to trade with hostile countries?

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/19/2019 3:17:48 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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The Netherlands joining the CP does reduce Germany's imports that way, though it's not as bad as having the Dutch join the Entente.

Keep them neutral but pro-Central Powers to benefit the most from their trade.

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/20/2019 4:12:15 AM   
Peter Hugo

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: marion61

France declaring war on Belgium and Holland so that it can out flank German forces is a bit un-realistic. Firstly, England was guaranteeing Belgium's sovereignty and would either have stopped the French attacking Belgium or withdrawn their troops from the war in protest. Secondly, the people of France being a Republic and all would have had civil unrest against the war with Belgium. Thirdly, Belgium is pro-entente and France declaring war on a possible ally would have had a huge negative impact on this. I don't mind the what-if of France doing this, it's just I don't think that France should be able to do this for free in the game. They should be taking a huge NM hit for doing something that drastic. I've played thru version .02 twice as The Central Powers, and each game France declares war on Belgium if The Central Powers don't. I don't declare on Belgium as CP's which delays the British entrance and it keeps the front smaller. If the CP's declare war first on Belgium, Britain automatically declares against the CP's, so why does it allow France to do the same with no consequence?


I agree with this logic; however, Joffre did advocate (even though he was overruled) before the war for such a plan in case Germany focused on Russia since the Franco-German border was heavily laden with fortresses and he knew Belgium was ideal for French forces to outflank the fortresses more quickly to invade Germany proper in order to aid Russia (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_XVII). So, if Russia had been facing a large German army from the beginning, it's conceivable that after about 2-3 weeks, and assuming the British had declared war about this time out of sympathy for the Entente, that the French and British may have agreed to put military pressure on the Belgium king to either join them, allow Allied forces to traverse their territory, or possibly suffer invasion. It's debatable if the Belgians would've been any more amenable to these overtures than they were when Germany presented their ultimatum in our timeline, but maybe the game could have another possible outcome, besides a French DOW that makes Belgium a CP minor, which is Belgium activating as an allied minor, either fully mobilized, or with only detachments in Brussels and Antwerp so that Allied forces can march through unopposed. Perhaps even a DE could pop up two turns after Germany not declaring war asking if the French player wants to spend 100 MPPs over two turns to put military pressure on Belgium. This would then be added with any spending on diplomacy, but with a higher probability gained from the military effort, but no guarantee it will turn Belgium. Would add an interesting twist to uncharted territory.

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/20/2019 9:52:55 PM   
1775Cerberus

 

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A quick AAR from my first game of a "Serbia First" strategy. (This is a continuation from a earlier tread dealing with the same question here.)

The IG send six Corps adn an HQ to the Adriatic to drive through Montenego and Albania before turning through Southern Serbia. The Serbs were knocked out of the war in 9 months, but the end of the war in Serbia coincided with a DOW on Belgium then a month later on the Netherlands. The IG Army at the time of the DOW held only six hexes of French territory. There was a reserve kept to deal with this matter, but I was only focused on Belgium and not the Netherlands. Belgium fell in what amounted to one turn being only able to relieve the garrison at Liege and occupy the Ardennes. The DOW on the Netherlands caught me flatfooted and saw for three months fighting in Germany and along the Northern Rhine. The situation was finally stabilized, but saw the war take on a truly brutal phase that I can honestly say I have never seen out of the AI in any game. From the fall of 15 through the fall of 17 the French/British were losing two or three Corps a turn in Europe and the IG Army was suffering the same losses.

What about Russia all this time you ask? Due to the constant drain of manpower in the west the fight in Russia became two punch drunk boxers who would land body blows but could never quite land that KO punch in this period. It was only at the end of this period where heavy investment in C&C and Infantry Training, both in Germany and AH, allowed the scales to finally tip and drive the Russians out of Poland and the AH to break into the Ukraine.

Italy remained stalemated after early successes with the redeployment of the IG corps from Serbia to the Italian Front and trading out regular Corps for Mountain Corps. Spring 1918 saw a successful drive into the PO valley by the Central Powers but that was the only real successes by the IGA and AH in Italy other than preventing a complete collapse of the front in the Summer / Fall of 15.

The winter of 17 saw both sides draw deep breaths to prepare for the resumption of the carnage in the spring of 18. I was not to be disappointed by the AI who attacked ferociously at several points of the front but then was checked by two 13 point 10 shell bombardment artillery units that allowed the German Guard,(not planned at all, just the Corps in front of Verdun), to walk in and take Verdun. This was followed a turn later by the taking of the fortress of Tulle. Added into the Home fleet sailing into the cordon of subs at level 3 around this time, the subsequent loss of five dreadnoughts to zero for the IGN both France and Britain found themselves at 25% national morale and falling.

The war would end in an Entente Major Victory the second week of December in 1918. However I was not assured until the Summer of 18 when Russia finally surrendered due to NM failure that I would win. To say the victory was Pyrrhic would be appropriate. There were points in 15, 16, 17 that I was thinking that the AI was going to beat me. I consider myself a not bad player so this surprised me very pleasantly. All in all one of the more enjoyable games against an AI I have had in a while.

It was the very historically correct reaction by France and England to my strategy that made the game so close for so long. Read about Plan 17 please. If you want a bibliography, ask me and I can provide several good recommendations from my personal library. I applaud the designers for thinking ahead and preparing for this scenario. This has elevated the game, along with an AI that I am personally enamored with at this point, to one of my personal all time favorites along with "CIV2" and "Masters of Orion".

Maybe a DE for applied pressure on Belgium to join the Entente would be a good option to add, along with a chance that it backfires and drives Belgium and the Netherlands further into the Central Powers camp.

Maybe make Liege an "Alternate Capital" when attacked by the Entente would be a good call also. I mean if Yepes can become the "Capital" of Belgium why cant Liege?

If anyone wants to ask me questions about my game or strategy points please feel free to ask either in PM or here. The more we talk and discuss, the more information the designers have to work with!

< Message edited by 1775Cerberus -- 12/20/2019 10:12:40 PM >

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/20/2019 11:03:37 PM   
Sugar

 

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quote:

It was the very historically correct reaction by France and England to my strategy
That wasn't historical, but hypothetical.

This game isn't a simulation, it has to be balanced for either side. I`m having no issue with the DoW on Belgium, but with the DoW on the Netherlands if it leads to deny their access to international trade and the implemented downsides for Germany.

There's nothing a CP player can to do avoid such an outcome, and the possible downside for the Entente of annoying a possible Allie that doesn't appear anyway usually is in fact none.

Actually from my observations and compared with the predecessor, there's only one viable strategy for the CPs: install the connection to the Ottos asap to be able to send massive german support, or they will break within a few turns. And that's additionally to support AH after the initial russian blow.

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/21/2019 11:57:42 AM   
stormbringer3

 

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What exactly do you have to do to install the connection to the Ottos?
Thanks.

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/21/2019 2:04:37 PM   
Sugar

 

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Take Belgrad, Nish and everything along the railway, get Bulgaria to join the CPs (what happens automatically after advancing into Serbia, but still will take a while; and don't forget to leave a garrison in Belgrad). All connected towns and cities along the way have to have supply 5 at least.

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/21/2019 8:23:06 PM   
stormbringer3

 

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Thank you.

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RE: France's War Strategy - 12/21/2019 9:09:30 PM   
Sugar

 

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My pleasure.

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