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Observations on the 1917 Campaign, Fate of Nations

 
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Observations on the 1917 Campaign, Fate of Nations - 6/8/2021 11:58:19 PM   
mdsmall

 

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Most of the comments in this forum in recent months have focussed in the 1914 Call to Arms campaign, or on aspects of the game that figure in the first two years of the war. I was struck by responses to a question I posed a while back asking how long most games run and to learn that many MP games are won, lost or abandoned before either side gets to 1917.

So, for a change of pace, I have lately been playing the 1917 Fate of Nations campaign in two back to back games against Bavre. Our specific purpose was to test a new mod I have designed for the 1917 campaign. I will post more about that later, once I have made a few more adjustment to it. But in the meantime, let me commend to other players the standard 1917 campaign for MP play. Here are some of the things I like about it:

1) It is a shorter, more intense game - lasting just under two years - compared to the 1914 campaign. I suspect that most players will play it right to the end in November 1918, rather than conceding earlier in the piece.

2) Both sides start with investments in most of the tech in the game and one side or the other usually finds good reasons to experiment with all of them. Tanks appear. Airpower is a significant factor (see below).

3) The U.S.A. usually arrives, either provoked by unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany, or motivated by the Preparedness Movement funded by the U.K after Russia pulls out of the war. But when they arrive makes a big difference to the game.

4) It features huge swings in fortune between the two sides. Essentially the Central Powers have to knock Russia out of the war fast enough in 1917 to be able to re-allocate their armies to wrap things up in the West in 1918, before the USA makes its presence felt. Both sides get to launch offensives.

In the second game I just concluded against Bavre, playing the Entente versus his Central Powers, I largely pushed him out of Belgium in 1917, while Russia went down to defeat on schedule. Then the tide swung hard back against me once he could re-allocate his best generals and veteran troops from the East to the West. It was a desperate fight to keep him from reaching Paris before November 1918, even with U.S. entering the war in January 1918. I used almost every tech in the game, and the few I did not invest in - such as Anti-Aircraft and Long-Range Aircraft - I wished I had.

At the same time, we found a couple of quirks in the settings for this campaign, which Bill might wish to revise in the future.

a) as previously noted, neither the convoys from France to Serbia or from France to Italy work;

b) as Bavre has noted, the victory conditions for an Entente Minor Victory are written with 1914 in mind by requiring the Entente to still be holding Warsaw at the end of the game. In fact, it is easier for the Entente to drive Germany to surrender - the condition for a Major Victory - than it is to achieve a Minor Victory. in my view, just keeping Russia in the war without losing Paris, London or Cairo, should be sufficient for an Entente Minor Victory.

c) many aircraft are given a higher maximum tech level than the maximum investment allowable for that tech. Thus all aircraft are given a maximum build level of 5 for Long Range Aircraft when the maximum tech level you can invest in Long Range Aircraft is only 3; and Recon Bombers, Maritime Bombers and Ground Attack Bombers are given a maximum of 2 for Naval Weapons tech, when the maximum that can be invested in that tech is only 1.

d) minor powers have their build capacity increased when their major makes investments in Aerial Warfare tech. This was not an issue for most the Majors, since they do not have minors in this campaign. However, Britain starts the game with thee minors - Belgium, Greece, Portugal - all of which have the capacity to build 1 Recon Bomber and 1 Fighter. But since Britain starts with Aerial Warfare 2, each of these minors has its build capacity raised to 3 Recon Bombers and 3 Fighters.

In our first game, Bavre - who is a big believer in airpower - built all of them. When combined with the maximum builds possible for the Entente Majors, I found myself confronted with 27 Entente aircraft from 7 nations on the Western Front, including the three Greek Fighters and the three Portuguese Recon Bombers. He had as many air units on this front as Corps, and believe me, they were effective. Towards the end, he was able to destroy a 6 strength German Corps sitting on Frankfurt with airpower alone. This seemed way over-powered to me.

I recommend that either this benefit of Aerial Warfare be changed so it does not extend to Minors; or if that is not possible, the minors in question (including Bulgaria on the CP side) have all aircraft removed from their build limits and the base build limits of their respective Majors be slightly increased.

Notwithstanding these quirks, it is a great campaign. If you have not tried playing it in a MP game, I recommend checking it out!

Michael


< Message edited by mdsmall -- 6/8/2021 11:59:04 PM >
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RE: Observations on the 1917 Campaign, Fate of Nations - 6/9/2021 5:42:24 AM   
shri

 

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Interesting.

BTW, did some Kerensky or Kornilov type event fires? causing a Russian implosion?

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RE: Observations on the 1917 Campaign, Fate of Nations - 6/9/2021 4:18:08 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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Thanks for the feedback Michael, suggestions have been noted, and it's great to hear that you have been playing it and enjoying it a lot too!

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RE: Observations on the 1917 Campaign, Fate of Nations - 6/9/2021 10:04:42 PM   
mdsmall

 

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From: Vancouver, BC
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Hi Shri,

Yes, the First Revolution fired as usual when Russian national morale dropped below 25%. However the abdication of the Car and the arrival of the Kerensky government boosted Russian morale back up to about 32%. If the Germans had stopped at that point, despite Bolshevik agitation, the Russians could have stayed in the game for quite a while. However, the Central Powers had launched an offensive towards the Ukraine though Romania. When Romania surrendered, Russian morale fell again and after a couple of turns of heavy losses, the Bolsheviks rushed the Winter Palace and it was all over.

In our first game, however, Bavre kept the Russians alive and in fairly healthy shape right up to the end of 1918. So Russia's withdrawal is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Michael

(in reply to shri)
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RE: Observations on the 1917 Campaign, Fate of Nations - 6/10/2021 6:47:49 AM   
OldCrowBalthazor


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This is all interesting! Yeah, wasn't aware of the aviation quirks that you illustrated regarding the minors, particularly the British minors, with the 1917 scenario.

Side note on aviation with the 1914 campaign: I played almost 2 dozen MP's with the 1914 campaign, and I can attest that only one opponent out them all (Tanaka) invested heavily in aviation. As Entente in two matches, and especially the first which surprised me, I started seeing my air assets heavily attrited, then down right eliminated over the Western Front starting in late 1915...with complete air superiority by mid 1916. So, to the nay sayers that opine that airpower is a waste in SC-WW1, well...I have been on the receiving end of that business, and have started taking a second look at them for future matches.

< Message edited by OldCrowBalthazor -- 6/11/2021 3:33:23 PM >

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RE: Observations on the 1917 Campaign, Fate of Nations - 6/10/2021 8:59:34 PM   
Bavre

 

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Yes, late game planes are a force to be reckonned with, especially when the bombers get deentrenchment at lvl 2. In our first game I could in the end fly 15-20 bombing missions a round, allowing me to render entire sections of the german front practically defenseless. The Entente's generous build limits are definitely a balancing problem once the resources to capitalize on them are available.

(in reply to OldCrowBalthazor)
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