How the heck to defend Serbia?

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Chernobyl
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How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Chernobyl »

In my playthrus against myself in hotseat (yeah I consider that fun lol) I defeated myself (serbia surrendered in october 14 and bulgaria joined the war in december 1914)

Even knowing my own offensive strategy, I couldn't devise a defense. The key to the attack is to sacrifice some German tech and rail in an extra German corps or two (near Sarajevo, perhaps also Belgrade) and a German detachment (next to Cetinje). Those corps allow your initial Austrian corps to advance aggressively, surrounding Cetinje (two units adjacent on turn 1 which the Entente has no way to stop, decreasing supply and MPP to the Montenegran capital each turn), and also pressuring Serbian corps into early fights they aren't ready for.

With those three extra units opposing them, the Serbs can't block every route of advance. The road to Uzice and the rail link between Cetinje and Pec both must be occupied to prevent an enemy unit taking those important hexes. (If Cetinje gets surrounded by 3 enemy units quickly, the unit inside will be cut off from its HQ, lose supply rapidly, and likely fall before Albania even joins the war). The Serbs simply don't have enough units. On top of this, their units are weak during the first few turns.

Well anyhow before I go any further with this wall of text, I'll stop for now and ask for you guys' opinions. Is Serbia defendable? Picture is Serbia's situation on turn 1.

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ThisEndUp
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by ThisEndUp »

It ultimately depends on how large of a commitment to the theater the CP is willing to make. If they rail in 3 German units and deploy a second Austrian army? Probably not. Even retreating down to the river at Nish-Pristina or the mountains around Uskub is unlikely to save you from overwhelming numerical superiority.

But 1914 is about priorities. A large commitment to Serbia means less satisfactory advances in France and weaker defences in Galicia and east Prussia.
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Tanaka
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Tanaka »

Yes you will suffer greatly in other theaters sending in all those extra units to Serbia vs a human opponent!
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Dazo
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Dazo »

@ Chernobyl: Yes Serbia is defendable but you have to be very flexible and adapt to CP moves / overall situation.
ThisEndUp and Tanaka are right about CP early involvment down there: it means weaknesses Entente need to exploit on other fronts.
That said, if Germany use a "mobile" army (HQ 4 corps 1 artillery) strategy to deal with trouble on foreign fronts (OE, Italy, Serbia, Greece...), you can just buy time with Serbia.

Standard strategy is to entrench on turn 1, reinforce units on turn 2 and then just defend while slowly falling back using terrain to delay CP as much as you can.
If you're submerged on turn 1 like in your pic above, don't hesitate to sacrifice ground and retreat/operate to a shorter/better defensive line.
Try to entrench after moving or use ZoCs to avoid attacks/enemy units coming adjacent the following turn so you can entrench.
Sacrifice units you can't move/save far enough to gain some time / 1 turn.

You also need to have clear priorities:

1) Serbia severely lacks MPPs, meaning you have to manage your units very efficiently
- defend the center of the line with your corps, entrenched and attached to HQ, use detachments at the end of the line in difficult terrain and where you can afford to lose ground/an hex
- use extra units (detachments, weakened ones, unattached/foreign units...) to entrench in the back as a second line so you can retreat on prepared lines or switch units if you have a chance to attack
- never attack unless you have very good odds against exhausted AH units, even then it's better to just use your turn to reinforce your corps back to full strength
- doing that also limit the risk of messing up attachments
- if you have to lose units, try to lose detachments and lose them in full supply because you can afford to buy them back easily and they'll come back quickly
- as an aside, try to keep 50-100 MPPs available each turn to deal with unexpected losses/situations
- you have to hold long enough to benefit from all free units coming by event (volunteers and such)

2) Since you lack MPPs, limit research and try to max out the russian convoy as long as it lasts, disable the naval convoy if you can't protect it from AH raiders
- as research you need trench before anything else, reinforcing your units is a priority but put at least one chit there as soon as you have some leeway, it will work for you each turn
- only defending will make it easier to save MPPs for more trench chits and just level 2 will make things difficult for CPs without deentrenching artillery
- the typhus outbreak that decimates your units will also be more manageable
- it will also help to maintain the starting experience of serbian corps as long as possible, increasing their combat prowess (every little bit helps)
- that will also give you a chance to build some XP for your serbian HQ (once again, every little bit helps)
- infantry tech should be next if you survive long enough
- buy back starting research chit to gain some MPPs right away (to operate/save units or reinforce them next turn)

3) Belgrade is just a bump speed, Nish is far more important and more defensible
- don't hesitate to evacuate Belgrade on turn 1 (rail or move), same for Valjevo
- saving the two detachments on turn 1-2 is a big help as once reinforced/entrenched they can greatly stabilize your defensive line
- even if you have to lose them on turn 2, put them on supply 5 or more hexes so you can buy them back cheap right away
- Serbia has good defensive terrain and the more you retreat, the more the front shrinks so you need less and less units (5-6 at start then 4 then 3 then 2).
- fall back to a shorter front whenever you lack/lose units (especially corps)
- the main point isn't to save Serbia but to delay/deny CP use of rail towards OE as long as possible (so you can lose Belgrade, no biggy)
- there isn't any NM and only limited MPPs to gain for CP in Serbia so (Belgrade 8, Nish 8, mine 15 so around one mine at full strength once they reach max production, nothing much)
- it's more if you count every ressource in the area including Cetinje and Tirana but still only MPPs and nothing more than another mine

4) What about Montenegro and Albania ?
- I consider them as units providers mostly for extra detachments
- the hardest decision is wether or not to give the russian HQ to Montenegro, I usually say yes since it allows their corps to be combat worthy and join the main defensive line
- you can go for two serbian HQs but you'll hardly have the use of it since it's hard to maintain more than 6-7 serbian units combat ready at any time
- CP can kill Montenegro quite quickly if they really want to (though quite costly) even if you decide to use the montenegrin corps to defend the capital
- defense there is usually entrench detachment in capital from turn 1, other detachment next to it on the road or in Pec to block movement in the mountains (reinforce to 10 as soon as possible)
- the main problem with Montenegro is surrender rules are pretty tricky and their units can vanish at the worst possible time
- so never use montenegrin units to defend important hexes/places in Serbia if CP is going hard for Cetinje/Montenegro
- last thing: be careful if you leave Tirana empty, CP amphibious move is unlikely but still possible...

5) Keep an eye on Bulgaria / CP diplo investment
- you can ignore them and your back early on
- start planning for retreat / extra units when they are around 70% mobilized
- you only need two detachments entrenched in mountains roads on the border to delay Bulgarians, just watch out cavalry / forced march moves towards towns in your back
- if you're lucky and Bulgaria joins CP on your turn, advance those 2 detachments one hex on the road towards Sofia and entrench them there, it will give you some more cushion

6) Special moves: CP can bring reinforcements easily to Serbia but you also have that option if you are willing to pay the price
- send Entente units by sea to Albania/Montenegro (belgian, french or english units, italian ones later if they join you)
- bring Romania on your side early or... just invade it with Russia !
- massive diplomacy to block Bulgaria entry but that's a risky gamble
- push CP so hard on other fronts (mostly Galicia/Carpathia) that AH will have to stay quiet in Serbia
- amphibious landings on adriatic coast (from Italia or Albania if your fleet can control the sea)

All in all, it's a win whenever Serbia blocks the OE railroad well into 1915, just somehow survives or forces CP (especially Germany) to mobilize important forces to clean the area.

Below, possible successive defensive lines:
Image
avensis
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by avensis »

Hi, thank you for these explanations it helps me a lot too [:)]
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OldCrowBalthazor
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by OldCrowBalthazor »

ORIGINAL: Dazo

@ Chernobyl: Yes Serbia is defendable but you have to be very flexible and adapt to CP moves / overall situation.
ThisEndUp and Tanaka are right about CP early involvment down there: it means weaknesses Entente need to exploit on other fronts.
That said, if Germany use a "mobile" army (HQ 4 corps 1 artillery) strategy to deal with trouble on foreign fronts (OE, Italy, Serbia, Greece...), you can just buy time with Serbia.

Standard strategy is to entrench on turn 1, reinforce units on turn 2 and then just defend while slowly falling back using terrain to delay CP as much as you can.
If you're submerged on turn 1 like in your pic above, don't hesitate to sacrifice ground and retreat/operate to a shorter/better defensive line.
Try to entrench after moving or use ZoCs to avoid attacks/enemy units coming adjacent the following turn so you can entrench.
Sacrifice units you can't move/save far enough to gain some time / 1 turn.

You also need to have clear priorities:

1) Serbia severely lacks MPPs, meaning you have to manage your units very efficiently
- defend the center of the line with your corps, entrenched and attached to HQ, use detachments at the end of the line in difficult terrain and where you can afford to lose ground/an hex
- use extra units (detachments, weakened ones, unattached/foreign units...) to entrench in the back as a second line so you can retreat on prepared lines or switch units if you have a chance to attack
- never attack unless you have very good odds against exhausted AH units, even then it's better to just use your turn to reinforce your corps back to full strength
- doing that also limit the risk of messing up attachments
- if you have to lose units, try to lose detachments and lose them in full supply because you can afford to buy them back easily and they'll come back quickly
- as an aside, try to keep 50-100 MPPs available each turn to deal with unexpected losses/situations
- you have to hold long enough to benefit from all free units coming by event (volunteers and such)

2) Since you lack MPPs, limit research and try to max out the russian convoy as long as it lasts, disable the naval convoy if you can't protect it from AH raiders
- as research you need trench before anything else, reinforcing your units is a priority but put at least one chit there as soon as you have some leeway, it will work for you each turn
- only defending will make it easier to save MPPs for more trench chits and just level 2 will make things difficult for CPs without deentrenching artillery
- the typhus outbreak that decimates your units will also be more manageable
- it will also help to maintain the starting experience of serbian corps as long as possible, increasing their combat prowess (every little bit helps)
- that will also give you a chance to build some XP for your serbian HQ (once again, every little bit helps)
- infantry tech should be next if you survive long enough
- buy back starting research chit to gain some MPPs right away (to operate/save units or reinforce them next turn)

3) Belgrade is just a bump speed, Nish is far more important and more defensible
- don't hesitate to evacuate Belgrade on turn 1 (rail or move), same for Valjevo
- saving the two detachments on turn 1-2 is a big help as once reinforced/entrenched they can greatly stabilize your defensive line
- even if you have to lose them on turn 2, put them on supply 5 or more hexes so you can buy them back cheap right away
- Serbia has good defensive terrain and the more you retreat, the more the front shrinks so you need less and less units (5-6 at start then 4 then 3 then 2).
- fall back to a shorter front whenever you lack/lose units (especially corps)
- the main point isn't to save Serbia but to delay/deny CP use of rail towards OE as long as possible (so you can lose Belgrade, no biggy)
- there isn't any NM and only limited MPPs to gain for CP in Serbia so (Belgrade 8, Nish 8, mine 15 so around one mine at full strength once they reach max production, nothing much)
- it's more if you count every ressource in the area including Cetinje and Tirana but still only MPPs and nothing more than another mine

4) What about Montenegro and Albania ?
- I consider them as units providers mostly for extra detachments
- the hardest decision is wether or not to give the russian HQ to Montenegro, I usually say yes since it allows their corps to be combat worthy and join the main defensive line
- you can go for two serbian HQs but you'll hardly have the use of it since it's hard to maintain more than 6-7 serbian units combat ready at any time
- CP can kill Montenegro quite quickly if they really want to (though quite costly) even if you decide to use the montenegrin corps to defend the capital
- defense there is usually entrench detachment in capital from turn 1, other detachment next to it on the road or in Pec to block movement in the mountains (reinforce to 10 as soon as possible)
- the main problem with Montenegro is surrender rules are pretty tricky and their units can vanish at the worst possible time
- so never use montenegrin units to defend important hexes/places in Serbia if CP is going hard for Cetinje/Montenegro
- last thing: be careful if you leave Tirana empty, CP amphibious move is unlikely but still possible...

5) Keep an eye on Bulgaria / CP diplo investment
- you can ignore them and your back early on
- start planning for retreat / extra units when they are around 70% mobilized
- you only need two detachments entrenched in mountains roads on the border to delay Bulgarians, just watch out cavalry / forced march moves towards towns in your back
- if you're lucky and Bulgaria joins CP on your turn, advance those 2 detachments one hex on the road towards Sofia and entrench them there, it will give you some more cushion

6) Special moves: CP can bring reinforcements easily to Serbia but you also have that option if you are willing to pay the price
- send Entente units by sea to Albania/Montenegro (belgian, french or english units, italian ones later if they join you)
- bring Romania on your side early or... just invade it with Russia !
- massive diplomacy to block Bulgaria entry but that's a risky gamble
- push CP so hard on other fronts (mostly Galicia/Carpathia) that AH will have to stay quiet in Serbia
- amphibious landings on adriatic coast (from Italia or Albania if your fleet can control the sea)

All in all, it's a win whenever Serbia blocks the OE railroad well into 1915, just somehow survives or forces CP (especially Germany) to mobilize important forces to clean the area.

Below, possible successive defensive lines:
Image

Dazo, this is a very impressive guide for Serbia! It belongs in it's own thread, or better yet..an amendment to the official strategy guide. Thank you.
Chernobyl
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Chernobyl »

That's all good advice but it depends on not getting blitzed too hard. As far as I can tell, a vigorous assault on the Serbian corps (they are your primary target, Belgrade can wait) doesn't give the Serbian player a chance to implement most of that strategy.

The Serbians don't have enough bodies to block every hex from infiltration, they don't have enough time to retreat, reinforce and entrench (often you have to pick one of the three), and they don't have enough MPP to fully reinforce fast enough (even with maximum convoys and selling tech for extra MPP)

I even tried immediately abandoning Belgrade and trying to form a line on the river near Nish/Pristina and I still lost a corps on turn 2. The most northwesterly Serbian corps only starts with 3 movement points on its first turn so it can't retreat behind the river and entrench. Maybe I can swap it with the strength 10 unit? I'll see if it lets me.
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OldCrowBalthazor
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by OldCrowBalthazor »

ORIGINAL: Chernobyl

That's all good advice but it depends on not getting blitzed too hard. As far as I can tell, a vigorous assault on the Serbian corps (they are your primary target, Belgrade can wait) doesn't give the Serbian player a chance to implement most of that strategy.

The Serbians don't have enough bodies to block every hex from infiltration, they don't have enough time to retreat, reinforce and entrench (often you have to pick one of the three), and they don't have enough MPP to fully reinforce fast enough (even with maximum convoys and selling tech for extra MPP)

I even tried immediately abandoning Belgrade and trying to form a line on the river near Nish/Pristina and I still lost a corps on turn 2. The most northwesterly Serbian corps only starts with 3 movement points on its first turn so it can't retreat behind the river and entrench. Maybe I can swap it with the strength 10 unit? I'll see if it lets me.

Yes, this is true too. Really good points and I've had this done to me a few times to my dismay.

I think Dazo has a good guide that still is valid concerning the bulk of the operations that a Central Powers opponent may use on Serbia. But against an aggressive operation that finds holes in the Serbs lines (even by passing Belgrade and going for their corps) then Serbia will have a hard time. If this happens, than its real important for the Russians to hit Austria-Hungary hard, especially if the KuK deployed their 2nd Army down on the Serbian Front instead of Galicia.
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Dazo
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Dazo »

@ avensis, OldCrowBalthazor & Chernobyl Thanks for reading and your kind words :) .

@ Chernobyl: all valid points, if CP commits hard in Serbia, you can only try to delay the best you can and that's not easy but you can frustrate them a bit

As said OldCrowBalthazor, that will also means Russians have the chance to shake CPs hard. In the end, Serbia is just a giant speed bump so if you can exchange losing it against advantages for Russia, that's well worth it (control of carpathian passes, grabing mines and towns in Silesia...). It's all a matter of balance / give and take.

Looking back at your screenshot, I see you have 3 german units there, two come from the Denmark area I think (corps and marines) while the detachment comes from the east.
That means you probably broke up some research chits to rail them there, airship and one of industry or artillery wich is already significant MPP spending.
You also have no german HQ and the marines and detachment are understrength so their combat ability will be reduced.
You sent the 2nd AH army to Serbia which weakens Galicia a lot and is not the best HQ/unit ratio for AH plus it will cost MPPs if you need to rail it back to Galicia later on.
You also took back one AH cavalry corps which usually go to the polish border to help recon/shore up defenses there.

All of that means a weakened eastern front while it's already full of holes unless you railed corps from the west to make up for it (more MPP spending).
But then it would be your western front that is weakened... A thing I usually avoid as much as I can (I'm making a guide for that Schlieffen thing right now so just wait for it ^^).
That said, the timing and commitment of Germans in Serbia is always a fun strategic problem to solve :) .

Anyway, we can start a game to see if we can find a way to improve our views on the subject (I'll play Serbia of course :D), there's no perfect plan as they say !
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OldCrowBalthazor
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by OldCrowBalthazor »

Bump
stryc
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by stryc »

This is only my first time playing the game, so take this with a pinch of salt...

It was clear that Serbia was going to get rushed at the start so I wrote off Belgrade as a bad risk then fell back to hold the line in the mountains. Gave Serbia maximum MPP aid. Also put masses of pressure with Russia on the Eastern Front, primarily against Austro-Hungary; that took much of the stress off Serbia, at least enough to hold and gradually build.

April 1915...
Image

It's going to get tricky when Bulgaria joins the Central Powers though.
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by stryc »

Attachments: Urgh. This forum. *sigh*
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Hubert Cater
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Hubert Cater »

Hi stryc, I've found this site useful for embedding images into this forum, perhaps it will help for you as well?

https://imgbb.com/

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stryc
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by stryc »

Thanks.
Didn't realise this was a necro'd thread. Sorry.
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OldCrowBalthazor
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by OldCrowBalthazor »

ORIGINAL: stryc

Thanks.
Didn't realise this was a necro'd thread. Sorry.
Necro'ed? No..just pulling this masterpiece thread out from the past for reference. Chernobyl and Dazo are top players of this wonderful game. I needed to find this not only for myself...but for any future players who were not around when this thread was visible about a year and a half ago.

Serbia is very hard to defend against top players in MP matches. This guide is very useful.

cheers.

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Chernobyl
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Chernobyl »

Dazo suggested it to me. Other players were probably already doing it. I experimented with how to best destroy Serbia/Montenegro in hotseat and posted about how strong it is.

Other players found the true power of conquering Montenegro early: incorporating the global moral penalties and bonuses (since nerfed) into an aggressive East-first strategy. The weakened Russian units were unable to properly defend Poland the Central Powers could instigate an avalanche of catastrophes for the Entente.
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by OldCrowBalthazor »

ORIGINAL: Chernobyl

Dazo suggested it to me. Other players were probably already doing it. I experimented with how to best destroy Serbia/Montenegro in hotseat and posted about how strong it is.

Other players found the true power of conquering Montenegro early: incorporating the global moral penalties and bonuses (since nerfed) into an aggressive East-first strategy. The weakened Russian units were unable to properly defend Poland the Central Powers could instigate an avalanche of catastrophes for the Entente.
Well we certainly got those Russian deployment issues fixed after the Montenegro Gambit tests last year.
Funny how one thing led to another! [8D]
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Bavre
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Bavre »

ORIGINAL: Chernobyl

Dazo suggested it to me. Other players were probably already doing it. I experimented with how to best destroy Serbia/Montenegro in hotseat and posted about how strong it is.

Other players found the true power of conquering Montenegro early: incorporating the global moral penalties and bonuses (since nerfed) into an aggressive East-first strategy. The weakened Russian units were unable to properly defend Poland the Central Powers could instigate an avalanche of catastrophes for the Entente.

The global moral thing actually never got nerfed, only the quick and easy way to obtain it in this situation. A while back I even used a similar technique in my first WiE game (study game against a forewarned opponent): I let some of the tiniest guys live (Luxembourg, Denmark...) and killed them once Wehrmacht and Red Army had really locked hornes. The result was not as crazy as it was in the Montenegro Gambit but Manstein still parted the Red Sea easily...
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by OldCrowBalthazor »

ORIGINAL: Bavre

ORIGINAL: Chernobyl

Dazo suggested it to me. Other players were probably already doing it. I experimented with how to best destroy Serbia/Montenegro in hotseat and posted about how strong it is.

Other players found the true power of conquering Montenegro early: incorporating the global moral penalties and bonuses (since nerfed) into an aggressive East-first strategy. The weakened Russian units were unable to properly defend Poland the Central Powers could instigate an avalanche of catastrophes for the Entente.

The global moral thing actually never got nerfed, only the quick and easy way to obtain it in this situation. A while back I even used a similar technique in my first WiE game (study game against a forewarned opponent): I let some of the tiniest guys live (Luxembourg, Denmark...) and killed them once Wehrmacht and Red Army had really locked hornes. The result was not as crazy as it was in the Montenegro Gambit but Manstein still parted the Red Sea easily...
Ah yes the Global Morale boost is still a thing..and some savvy Axis players in WaW do such a thing with the Japanese during the rampage post-Pearl Harbor. Of so I have heard anyway. Seems a lot of planning would have to go into that when figuring who goes down first and continue the sequence. Over all helps the Germans too while this is going on and they are shivering their A$$3s outside Moscow and Rostov...or so I would guess. [;)]
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RE: How the heck to defend Serbia?

Post by Chernobyl »

Is it true that every surrender gives a +/- bonus to every country? Like when Poland surrenders does China get a morale penalty and Japan get a morale boost?

I usually ignore Netherlands and Greece in WaW but perhaps I could "save" them for a particularly opportune time. There's also Timor, Luxembourg, others. Seems pretty gamey but I'm reluctant to remove the feature because current balance is probably based on it.
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