It is September 1916 and the war is over. The Central Powers have won!
The tipping point was the German victory in France. Paris fell and the Germans were able to continue pushing deep into the French countryside, advancing into Normandy, central France and along the Mediterranean coast. With German forces on the march to Bordeaux, the temporary home of the French government, terms of surrender were agreed upon. The British didn't get the message, however, and kept up the fight in France where they stood. Eventually, the British were ground down in Normandy and pushed back up the Cotentin Peninsula. British forces were destroyed there in the summer of 1916, and the last hold out — a British HQ in Brest — was just about to be destroyed as well.
The Germans had moved to garrison duties in France, position forces along the coast. German U-Boats, fresh from taking the war to the Americans, were just beginning to use the French ports on the Bay of Biscay for repair and supply when the Entente surrendered.
Freed up from the fight on the Western Front, German forces were redeployed across the continent and beyond. The most immediate impact was on the French-Italian border, where the Germans made an advance on Turin and Genoa from the west. Elsewhere on the front, the Austrians and Germans had captured Padua and Verona, cutting off Lombardy from the rest of Italy. Venice was about to fall as well when the Entente threw in the towel.
The Italians were getting a rough go of it in the Mediterranean, suffering significant naval losses as the Austrian Navy — with some help from a couple German U-Boats and elements of the Turkish fleet — started to stretch its legs. Capturing the ports on the Greek coast helped with this. The Senussi rebels continued to hold Tobruk, tying down Entente forces, and the newly liberated Maghreb was rallying its forces to make a march on Tripoli.
On the Eastern Front, the Germans used their new reserves to push deep into Russia. Riga fell and German forces were moving up the Baltic coast when the Russian Provisional Government sued for terms. In Belorussia, the Germans were advancing on Minsk. In the south, the Austrians used their own reserves freed up from the Balkans to recapture Galicia. Austrian and German forces had surrounded a big Russian Army north of Czernowitz and were approaching Kiev.
The Turks were not having as much success as their Central Powers allies, but help was on the way. In the Caucasus, Bulgarian reinforcements were beginning to turn the tide as the Turkish-Bulgarian Army began pushing into Russian territory. Along the Suez Canal, the Ottomans had not been able to make any progress — but neither were the British.
That wasn't the case in Mesopotamia, however. After a long stand-off, the British sent more reinforcements and began to push towards Baghdad, capturing the city just before the Entente surrender. Reinforcements were on the way, with two German corps heading towards the Mesopotamia. In Arabia, the Arabs had revolted again and, even with the help of a German and a Bulgarian corps, were putting up a stiff fight. In the Persian Gulf, an Ottoman detachment completed its long march across the desert, capturing Kuwait. The British had forces defending Basra, however, so further advances were unlikely.
Overall impressions: I really like this game. The Central Powers seem to be a little more challenging than the Entente. They were making things complicated for the Ottomans and there were some moments on the Eastern Front where things looked dicey. But I was never really in any serious danger of losing. We'll see how it goes on higher difficulty, but I'm thinking the real value in this game will be in multiplayer. Thanks for reading!