From: Vancouver, BC
Hi - I am reposting below my conclusions from a much longer After Action Report which I posted today in the War Room, at the end of the "Montenegro Gambit Test 2" thread. Essentially, Bavre and I played a test match in which he as the Central Powers pursued an all out offensive against Russia and Serbia, selling all of his tech chits on the opening turn in order to rail in as many units as possible to these fronts. We had agreed not to pursue the Montenegro Gambit, so he attacked Serbia proper with full force instead. The result was that Serbia surrendered by late October 1914, Russia withdrew after the Bolshevik Revolution in September 1915, and I resigned as the Entente.
"My conclusions are that an all-out attack in the East by the CP on the opening turn - if pursued with the focus that Bavre brought to the job - is devastating for the Entente, especially if it is combined with an equal push against Serbia. These two campaigns feed-off each other through the morale impact of surrenders by minor powers. Just fixing the Montenegro gambit will not change that, as I argued at the end of that long thread. If the CP wants to take out Serbia and Russia, they can do so AT THE SAME TIME, while leaving enough of a force to block any French and British attacks in the West.
Others should test out this opening by the Central Powers to see if a different defence strategy, and/or more skillful tactical moves by the Entente, would have changed anything fundamental. Personally, I doubt it. In terms of the adjustments to the game settings to slow down this assault in the interests of giving the Entente enough of a chance to hold on, there are some minor tweaks and two more major ones that I would recommend.
The minor tweaks are the following:
- giving Russia other safer locations for their units to mobilize, if the hexes in Poland have been captured and/or Poland has been cut-off;
- fixing the glitch which prevents two Russian corps from mobilizing in the Caucasus if Brest-Litovsk has been captured;
- making a few more enhancements in Montenegro to reduce the M-Gambit, such as making Centinje a Fortified Town, increasing their two Montenegro detachments from 7 to 10; and adding an alternate capital in Pec;
- and perhaps strengthening Serbias starting positions e.g. by making some or all their front-line corps and their initial HQ start at full strength;
The two bigger adjustments that I recommend are:
- reducing the unit morale impact of minor units surrender, by reducing the % swing; or restricting it to the controlling Major and the Major that forced the surrender; or perhaps eliminating this feature entirely for minor powers.
- prohibiting both sides from selling their tech chits on turn one (only).
The goal of these changes would be to enable both Serbia and Russia not be overwhelmed in the opening couple of moves. They would slow down a concerted CP attack in the Balkans enough to make it plausible for the Entente to try to double down and defend Serbia by sending in a couple of French or British corps. And they would give Russia enough of a chance to mobilize and perhaps even counter-attack a bit either in East Prussia or Galicia as the Central Powers rail in more forces. I don’t think it would invalidate the East-first strategy (at least I hope not). But I think these changes would prevent the game from being settled in the opening four months of the war. "