A VP Comparison: 1943
Loki is going to be possibly be unavailable for a touch due to the dreaded real world, but we did have a short e-mail chat about our relative VPs and how it got there by the end of '43. Spoiler, I use the T26 VP chart from the most recent game.
So, as '43 comes to a close I have 212 VPs compared to the 112 VPs Loki had. Self flattery aside, how did we get that 100 points?
Was it bombing? By a slim majority. 55 VP
About half of the difference in our scores comes from VP bombing. Namely, I picked up 247 points versus Loki's 192. Our U-boat points, when T27 processes, will be one point apart. Which means the other 55 VPs came from hitting VP targets and some daylight raids.
What is interesting here s that neither of us really ever blew out the bombing score. I think my high point was 15 a turn, but it settled into the 13 range by late fall as I started to shift a focus to military production. In contrast, Loki built steadily into the 13 range. Both of us had a mass U-boat repair near the end of the year that diverted missions, and both of us had to spend time prepping the V-Weapons for '44.
The difference is less the final level of destruction as it is the phasing. Loki hit AFVs and trucks very early, slowing his growth to the double digit bombing VPs. In contrast, I aimed very deliberately to get there to cover Rome if things went wrong. The difference paid off in the late summer to early fall period, where I was putting up scores 3-4 points higher a turn than our first game, which then slid into the same range as Loki's points by late '43. Even when I shifted to AFVs, the residual damage kept paying out points. Given I think his technical proficiency actually delivered more bombs for more "hit target %" results, this is a testimony to the value of getting the points in early. Particularly as the bombing scores drop much faster than the city point.
Was it losses? Partially. 27 VP
Despite a positive looking early start, the Rome landings were intensely painful. I ended with -178 loss VPs for '43 compared to Loki's -205. Both include the negative start position. Which highlights two things: one, because losses are a one time penalty, sudden shocking events are actually less dramatic than continuous operational costs. In short, it's better to lose a division all at once and then win then lose 30,000 men cracking a line slowly over 20 small attacks. Two, because losses stay absolute while rewards drop significantly, you are forgiven for a lot more errors in '43 than any other time in the game. The combination incentivizes boldness on the WAs part.
Also interesting is that our total casualties are about even; the points come from who suffered them. Loki's preference for CW assault troops in every major attack was more costly than three American divisions being rendered ineffective.
Surely then it was cities? Pretty close to bombing. 42 VP
No surprises here. Having Rome in November is a clincher when it comes to city points. What is unique is that when you compare it versus the bombing campaign. A sequencing decision on bomb targets in '43 was worth more than taking Rome 7 months early.
Now, my first reaction was to go "woah - strat air is OP." But this is short sighted. Strat air gets chopped to 1/3 it's value as of early '44. It is a one time mass packet that then depreciates quickly and requires constant air effort to maintain for ever smaller gains.
In contrast, cities are at 2/3 value as of early '44 and 1/2 their value by late '44. And once you have them, barring hideous error, you keep them for free. Rome and the follow up alone will probably be the equivalent of my entire new '44 bombing VP/turn score for a bit.
That's more than 100. Yes it is. Partisans/garrison. -24 VP
All told, Loki really knocked it out of the park with garrisons. This is an indicator of his superior mechanics, yes, but also of the fact that he has mostly preserved the heer other than the opening phases of '43. He has lost 70k less troops than I had by this point in the war, which means he is not desperately scraping the continent for anything he can find. This is also why there is a solid row of fresh armor and FJs sitting on the Arno. This has come from avoiding pockets during the withdrawal north - I've gotten a few paltry infantry regiments - and less commitment to die in place defenses.