Kyle E.
user 12644962
West Linn, OR
Post #: 30
If you played AA 14 and liked it a lot but are still are curious about strategy ideas or balance issues please post some thoughts here. Hopefully this game ends up getting played a lot but until some things get figured out I can see it being a frustrating game for many players playing the Central Powers.
Kyle E.
user 12644962
West Linn, OR
Post #: 31
Part of the fun playing a new game is just figuring it out. Travis and I played two games this past week both to turn 4 and while I can't say I know all that much about AA14, I can one thing with confidence: The game is super hard for the Central Powers. It is more strategically demanding and probably skewed heavily against them.

In both games against Travis I played the Allies. In both games I had naval supremacy everywhere except the Baltic, had control over most of Africa, was winning on IPCs, and had all of my capitol cities breathing easy. In both games Russia was the target of the central powers and in both games handled the attack with little to no help from Brittain. Even in the second game I made a mistake that should have cost me the game. Russia's main army was moved two spots away from Moscow and held still by a single surviving German unit allowing Austria to mark toward Moscow to face off against a handful of reserves. Three turns later Austria is forced to leave Moscow with heavy losses.

I doubt the problem was Travis's strategy particularly in the second game where I thought he actually outplayed me. It's possible that going after Italy is the more viable way but obviously if you do that it invites Russia to become an absolute beast - they start with one of the largest armies on the board and are surrounded by juicy 3 IPC+ territories all while being a hop, skip, and a jump away from Vienna.

If the game is skewed toward the Allies like I think it is then there are a variety of house rules that could be explored to even it up.

First is India. Britain has little strategic value in building transports in the Atlantic as they cost money and because amphibious assaults are far weaker in AA14. Putting a limit on the number of units Britain can put in India would be a sizable handicap and depending on the limit could be more than enough to balance things out.

Second, part of the problem with the Central Powers is they are totally outgunned in navy. There is the whole U-boat rule which is almost worthless considering the French navy is more than capable of swatting out any subs brave enough to venture west of Britain. Take away a couple French ships, add some for the Central Powers maybe allowing them to contend for the Med or Atlantic, or any body of water other than the Baltic and it would be not just a more fair game but a more interesting one.

Third, mess with the units. Maybe take some units out of Egypt, or Russia, add some Ottomans, or whatever.

What do others think? Great game, let's figure it out.
Erik S
user 9748771
West Linn, OR
Post #: 58
This is the way I think the central powers should be played. First Austria has to help Germany with Russia (a bit). She must also attack northern Italy and land in Rome via amphibious assault on turn 3 or 4. Germany has to contain France and force Russia out of the war ( the way she really did) . The ottomans have to take Bulgaria and Austria should let her have romaniana well. Ottmans also have to stop gb from crossing the suez and limiting gb in India. Germany should also be building a strong navy (in ww1 she went toe toe with gb ). Germany has to have lots of subs and surface ships to make sure the unrestricted warfare thing happens.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 131
I played my first game of 1914 on Sunday at the Tacoma Axis and Allies group; I was a Central Power (Germany). It is still too early to tell which side the game favors even though the Central Powers won easily as that was due more to a lack of overall strategic direction and a total disregard for basic battle tactics on the Allied side. In addition both sides made mistakes though that is normal as it was the first time for all of us playing the game.

My initial thoughts:
a) It is very difficult to move around the board. Since reinforcements must come in at the Home Capitol and all movement is at one, except fighters, it is very difficult to reinforce a battle that is 4-5 spaces away.
b) The Central Powers have the advantage of inner lines of communication as Ottoman, Austria and Germany are all linked.
c) Conversely since it so difficult to move about the board that having two fronts is really fighting two completely separate wars as there is little to no movement of troops between one battlefield and another. Thus it is a real balancing act for the Central Powers to have appropriate force strength on both fronts.
d) The Allied Powers quickly gain complete control of the seas giving them a large advantage in mobility. Considering how hard it is to move about the board this creates a huge problem for the Central Powers in defending their Home territory as they try to advance forward to capture more territory.
e) As usual the Central Powers start at a huge economic production deficit and must take the battle to the Allied Powers. (77 vs 113 starting income)
f) While the initial forces and starting money on the board favor the Allied Powers, 684 vs 649, since 46 of that is in US forces the Central Powers have a slight initial advantage, 649 vs 638 which means they have to do their damage before the US can get itnot the war.
g) The US can not turn the tide for the Allied Powers if they are already losing the game. The US can shift the tide of victory to the Allied side if the game is even when they are finally able to attack.
h) Africa is a purely Allied stronghold and Germany will eventually lose $4 in income there.
i) As usual knocking out Russia seems to be the way to win for the Central Powers.
j) Due to the “contested” consequences of battles you always want to fight on enemy territory.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 132
Individual Powers:
Austria: Positioned to attack Italy and Russia.
Germany: Positioned to attack France and Russia. Able to sink most of the British Fleet on G1.
Ottoman: The weakest of the Central Powers and most likely target of the Allied assault.
Russia: Attacked by Austria, Germany and perhaps Ottoman and difficult to reinforce must hold long enough to allow its Allies to make enough gains to make up for the loss of income that occurs when it falls.
France: One mission in life, attack Germany.
Britain: The only Power that does not have a clear-cut mission. Support Russia? Attack Germany? Eliminate Ottoman via India?
Italy: Do not let Austria destroy you. Put pressure on Austria so it cannot focus on Russia.
US: Interesting choice of tactics. Build a shuck-schuck to France or a large one-time amphibious force capable of a one-time attack on Germany or Ottoman or a large reinforcement of Russia.

Units:
Infantry – a great unit, especially on defense
Artillery – the best land buy on the board; essential for attacking
Tank – virtually useless
Fighter – indispensable to maintain Air Supremacy. The low number of units in most air battles makes this the biggest risk factor of the game

Transports – expensive at 6 but needed by Britain and US. Since they are completely safe once the enemy fleet is destroyed they have great mobility/flexibility
Submarines – only so-so, prefer a battleship
Cruisers – waste of money
Battleships – the best sea buy on the board
Kyle E.
user 12644962
West Linn, OR
Post #: 32
Thanks for the analysis Andrew. Please share any other insights you get if you happen to play again.
Kyle E.
user 12644962
West Linn, OR
Post #: 33
During the last play test Paul said something to me I thought was really insightful and turned on the light bulb for me for how the Central Powers can win the game. Paul said, to take Russia out you only need to take three territories surrounding Moscow and then make Moscow contested. He was referring to the optional Russian Revolution Rule which is considered by many to be a double edged sword but I don't see it that way.

Consider this, if Moscow is attacked by Germany on Turn 4 it can have as many as 70 units there waiting for the attack assuming it doesn't get tangled up in any battles. Germany realistically could have 40 something there making it an extremely costly battle for Germany. But if Germany survives the battle and like Paul said makes the territory contested then those Moscow units are unable to move out to retake any of the adjacent territories therefore igniting the revolution. Should be smooth sailing for the CPs from then on right? Other thoughts?
Erik S
user 9748771
West Linn, OR
Post #: 59
Kyle, Check out the house rules listed in the June 1 game day section. I think if we use the optional Russian Revolution rules, then we should roll to see if Italy stays with the triple entente or joins the Central Powers. If we don't use the rule, then It should automatically join the Central Powers, on turn one. The build in India should be limited to infantry only. Even if Russia gets knocked out, once USA enters, the central powers are still going to have a tough time, if we don't use some house rules.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 134
Kyle,

Deciding whether to instigate the Russian Revolution or not for the Central Powers is an important decision. The Central Powers can certainly use the money and victory city that a conquest of Russia would bring; however paying for that with a huge loss of troops versus just taking Russia out of the game with little or no loss via the Russian Revolution is certainly an appropriate choice.

Paul it seems has seen the key for the decision that I too had determined was the deciding issue. Is the Russian Player fighting a war of attrition or a take Moscow or nothing strategy? If the Russian Player falls back on Moscow with a huge force in a “Take me or nothing” strategy then probably it is not worth the loss of troops that a conquest would cost no matter how many IPC's the Central Powers gained. If however the Russian Player makes you fight all the way to Moscow, thus lowering your overall losses but killing many troops, going for the kill is now the only way to recoup your investment. It seems to me it is the duty of the Russian Player to fight just enough to avoid a Russian Revolution strategy and yet make it difficult enough so Moscow does not fall too soon. If Moscow falls after or at the same time as Constantinople then the Entente is doing well.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 135
The first time I played 1914 I did not have the game so I only read the rules before playing it. I did give my thoughts about that experience earlier in this thread and now that I own the game I have had the opportunity to practice a bit in preparation for my 1914 game tomorrow in the Tacoma Axis and Allies group.

Based on that practice I have come to the conclusion the game favors the Entente by quite a bit and assuming no errors on either side the Entente should win every time.

The main problem for the Central Powers is they actually do not have superiority in troops anywhere on the board. Yet at the same time they have a detriment of income that is quite large and there is no reasonable way for them to close that gap. If Germany and Austria fight on both fronts (France and Russia for Germany and Russia and Italy for Austria) then they have just about the same amount of troops for both sides. If they press more troops against one Power going for the Kill then they leave themselves open for a spoiling attack in their rear. Worse, the Russian army is actually far larger than what the Germans or Austrians can muster and it seems to me Russia is very capable of making life very difficult for the Central Powers.

To make matters worse time is not on the side of the Central Powers. Ottoman is the weak link and a focused attack by Britain means eventual destruction of the Ottomans and a subsequent loss of $16 to the Central Powers is likely at best only going to be break even with the loss of Russia. As the Allies I would happily trade Moscow for Constantinople as it improves the Entente position and yet is basically a tit for tat moneywise. Add in the USA joining the conflict on Turn 4 and the advantage is definitely for the Allies. Of course it doesn’t help that I have figured out how to deliver 50 US and UK troops into France by Turn 8 without buying a single UK transport.

I don’t see the Central Powers ever getting more than about 90-91 and the Entente less than 100-101 so about a $10 advantage to the Entente. Add in control of the Sea and that is a death knell for the Central Powers.
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