The Portland/Vancouver Axis and Allies Meetup Group Message Board › How the $@$@""&/-(;$; do we balance 1914?

How the $@$@""&/-(;$; do we balance 1914?

Erik S
user 9748771
West Linn, OR
Post #: 64
Need help from everyone. We need to find a way to balance 1914. Travis and Kyle were right ( I was wrong) , 1914 is very unbalanced in favor of the allies (when people of equal footing are playing). Most recently we played with a house rule which limited uk build in India and the ottoman empire was still on the ropes. Some other suggestions have been tanks entering the game earlier and reduced cost by one 1 Ipc, more starting money for the CPs (all going to the ottomans). What are some other rules we might want to consider?
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 147
I am a little surprised to hear even with limiting India to 8 units that the game was still substantially tilted towards the Allies. In my play testing I have been able to cause the Russian Revolution pretty consistently by Turn 5 and the only thing saving Russia from conquest instead is the fear of a liberation by UK via India and a massive landing by US troops via Karelia. In other words it is safer for the Central Powers to knock Russia out of the game permanently even though they do not gain as much money than trying to take Moscow and hold it against Entente counterattacks.

The problem for the Central Powers is that knocking out Russia via the Russian Revolution just evens the game for the Central Powers and The Ottomans are usually in worse shape against India than Italy is against Austria since the US is able to reinforce Italy while nobody can come to the aid of The Ottomans.

However when I limited India to 8 units that reduced the threat of a liberated Moscow since everything was coming from Karelia and the Entente actually played for a Russian Revolution by using a “Hold Moscow at all costs strategy” and therefore Germany was stronger than usual as they did not lose as many units slugging their way towards Moscow. The Ottomans were able to hold against the UK long enough for Italy to fall to the Austrians. So I found the game very balanced.

I wonder what Central Powers opening move you are using? It was not until I ignored Italy with Austria and went all out against Russia that I found success against the Russians. This gives Italy a short lived reprieve but once Russia is neutralized and the Austrians turn back towards Italy they are collecting probably 34-36 while Italy is lucky getting 14 and 12 as soon as Venice is contested. That is a huge difference and even with the USA dropping in 20 Austria still has the advantage. The real question is who falls first; The Ottomans versus a limited to 8 India or Italy backed by the USA versus Austria.

I am playing a Challenge Game of 1914 next Sunday and will let you know how that goes. Though it is with an unlimited India so I expect the Allies to win.
Geoff
user 4288043
Hillsboro, OR
Post #: 87
First time playing this game, but I think we can't fully say it's one sided with the India limit since Germany didn't force the Revolution, they instead tried to take Mosco by turn 6/7. I say we give it another try with the India Limit before other changes to the game. It seems reading some other write-ups Russia and Italy are handled differently. Plus Eric you rolled horribly this last game... but then again I am Capt'n Oblivious for a reason.
Erik S
user 9748771
West Linn, OR
Post #: 65
Yes, Geoff I did roll horribly. Andrew as Austria I attacked Serbia ( have to) and Romanian first and then went towards Italy. I had a token defense on the eastern front. I did not take Serbia or Romania. Russia reenforced Romanian and that bogged down the Austrians. I played the ottomans as well, they went into Bulgaria to get the troops and the Ipc value and played a delaying action vs the Brits. The ottomans did eventually make it into Russia, but by then their Capitol was contested. The Germans took out the British fleet on turn one and went all out towards Russia. Austria has to keep Italy in check, but (as you said) Russia has to be the initial primary focus.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 148
Erik,

Strategically the Central Powers are in a tough spot. The starting income is 113 to 77 and that $36 detriment has to be made up somehow. Adding to the woes of the Central Powers is that by Turn 3, 4 at the latest, the Allies should be up 8 in Africa while the Central Powers will be down 4. So now the detriment is 121 vs 73 or 48. The question is where to get it? Some can come from Neutrals but the rest has to come from some Allied Power(s); so which one(s)?

Neutrals, ignoring Africa, depending on play should be worth about plus 6 for the Central Powers (Albania, Serbia, Romania, Belgium, Saudi Arabia for the Central Powers and Afghanistan, Persia and Portugal for the Entente). So now we are down from 48 to 42… still not good.

The UK is out as 15 troops are sitting there that are technically out of the game till they can be moved onto the Continent. Forget the USA too so that leaves Italy, France and Russia. Italy is a definite possibility. Austria can easily take Italy, they have a force ratio of 40 vs 20, can attack first and kill more casualties on Turn 1 than they will receive and Italy would only have time to build 12 more troops before Rome is attacked. Assuming Germany puts pressure on France to keep her out of it then Italy falls quite easily. However Italy is only worth $14, 2 of that in Africa so only 12 for the Central Powers and that is not enough to make up the difference. 42 - 14 = 28 vs 12 or still down 16 and that does not take into consideration what Russia will be doing if left alone.

How about France? Especially if Italy is out of the game as that is another 26. Unfortunately Germany can only muster 64 troops against France for a Turn 5 attack of Paris and France starts with 34, adds 6 for Portugal and African reinforcements and can buy 32 before Germany gets to the doorstep of Paris. That is a whopping 72 not counting any UK reinforcements which there should be at least 6 if not 12. Paris is not going to fall; period.

So that leaves just Russia. Russia is worth 25 and if the Central Powers can cause the Russian Revolution and capture say 13, which is very doable, then it is 42 - 25 = 17 vs 13 or only -4 for the Central Powers and they have better position. Voila! There we go. And if the Central Powers are going for Russia both Germany and Austria HAVE to go for Russia as Russia’s single army is larger than either of the Austrian or German armies, just not if they are combined. So now knowing that the Central Powers have to take Russia or lose that simplifies what we do for Austria.

(Edit - corrected math error)
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 149
I see only one opening for the Austrians that really works. I will call it RR (Russian Rush). This opening assumes Russia will be the primary focus of Austria and Germany. Austria could attack Venice to gain local superiority over Italy but that removes 8 troops from RR that are vitally needed for success. I say go all out against Russia and ignore Italy.

Russian Rush (RR): The goal is to get as much as possible against Russia as soon as possible; every Austrian troop on the board moves against Russia except Tyrolia and they move to Trieste. The key here is to capture Serbia on Turn 1, Romania on Turn 2 and be in a position to launch a massive attack into Ukraine on Turn 3 with about 50 troops and use reinforcements and the Trieste troops to push back or at least hold the advancing Italians. By doing this you pin the Russian troops in Ukraine giving the Germans a free hand in Poland. The Germans should be able to muster 41 troops by Turn 2 and another 15 right behind for a total of 56 in Poland on Turn 3. This leaves enough troops to take Belgium and fight a delaying action that should stop France at the Ruhr.

At this point both German and Austrian reinforcements are going against France and Italy respectively so it is these initial forces of 50 Austrian and 56 German troops marching against Russia. The Russians start with 49 troops and in 3 Turns buy 23 more for a total of 72. So the Russian army is larger than either of the attackers but is down 106 vs 72 in overall troop strength.

For the Central Powers it is not a matter of attacking but more forcing the Russian defenders into a position they do not want to be in. Do not attack their large force; instead force them to attack you to avoid the Russian Revolution or the fall of Moscow. This is a Theater of maneuver, force the Russians to fall back to defend their capitol or force them to attack one Central Powers force while the other completes the Russian Revolution or captures Moscow. Time is not on the side of the Central Powers. UK troops from India and US troops are coming to the rescue, the Central Powers better do it by Turn 5, 6 at the latest or it is game over.

Finally you mentioned The Ottomans reaching Moscow and that surprises me. It seems to me the best thing The Ottomans can do is take/contest Egypt and take/contest Sevastopol while keeping the UK troops from gaining any ground in rescuing Russia via India. If they can hold Mesopotamia while doing this, all the better.

This is no sure thing for the Central Powers; in fact I think it is hard for them to do this which is why I think the Entente should win almost every time. This is the only way I do think the Central Powers have a chance to win with or without an unlimited India. It would just be easier with a limited India because then The Ottomans would have a better chance to take Sevastopol and could even go for Tatarstan making life very tough for the Russians. So with a limited India if Russia should fall or go into Revolution the Central Powers would be in a much better position to capitalize on that event and win the game.
Kyle E.
user 12644962
West Linn, OR
Post #: 38
Assuming a competent Russian player I think it is a bit optimistic for the CPs to capture 10 IPCs in Russia given the Revolution rule. Moscow can incite the Revolution on its terms as it occurs at the end of their turn. Russia does one last attack before the Revolution with the aim that they contest not take any or all surrounding territories making the Revolution happen anyway but with no one getting credit for the territories. With the UK taking back the territory adjacent to Persia and Mesopotamia it is conceivable that the only Russian territory the CPs get credit for is Poland although they probably get 1 or two other 2 IPC territories.

Erik, our game was not an accurate show of the game's balance with those rolls of yours and outstanding play by Geoff in the Middle East. I have never seen an unlimited India do as well as his limited India so that should tell you that what we witnessed there was out of the ordinary. Given all that, I agree with Andrew that it feels a tad slanted against the CPs with a limitation of 8 in India. I'm not as excited about the game to try and find a way to balance it though. Plenty of other less flawed games out there to spend our time enjoying.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 150
Kyle,

Three or more territories adjacent to Moscow must be controlled by the Central Powers for the Russian Revolution to occur, plus one other nonadjacent territory. If the Russians are contesting then the Revolution will not occur. Thus the Central Powers have to end up with a minimum of 10 if the Revolution occurs. Poland, Sevastopol, Ukraine, Belarus and Livonia equals 13 IPCs. Sevastopol is the hardest one to get due to the British in India but 10 is the minimum.

At some point it is a balancing act for the Russians. Having been forced to fall back on Moscow to protect it how many troops do they keep sending out to keep contesting enough territories so the Revolution will not occur and yet not weaken themselves so much they open themselves up for conquest. I think if the Russians avoid a major battle it is very hard for the Central Powers to overcome them and that is why I think the game is slanted towards the Entente.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 152
So after more play-testing I have come to the conclusion it is impossible for the Russians to stop a Turn 5 Revolution. The real issue is how many Central Powers troops do they take with them without endangering themselves to be conquered; which is a game losing event. At the very least they will destroy one advancing army, probably about 40-42 Germans. There is not much chance they will do much more than that of any worth though. I could easily see 36-40 some Austrian troops heading off to India or Italy once the Revolution occurs.

However by then:
France should be in Belgium with UK trading Alsace
Italy and Austria will be locked in combat in Venice
Africa is in complete control by the Allies
Mesopotamia is contested and Sevastopol is under UK control
The US has landed one force of 14 troops and is steaming back for more

The Allies should be collecting somewhere between 98-102 while the Central Powers should be getting 94-96. This is close enough that with the freed up troops from the Russian campaign that the Central Powers could win the game with an Austrian march towards India or Italy. Then it would be a matter of how well the Allies, especially the US, countered that move.

I think with just these two House Rules the game would be even.
1) India limited to 8 land units
2) Germany may decline Russian Revolution

Take care...
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 160
This last Sunday we played 1914 in the Tacoma group with three House Rules and the Central Powers were able to win.
1) India limited to 8 land units of any type
2) Germany may decline the Russian Revolution
3) Switched out French Fleet for UK in SZ 15 (BB and transport)

There were more than one items that made for an unusual game that changed the balance back and forth.
a) On G1 the German fleet hit two mines attacking the British fleet and lost a sub and cruiser before the attack began. The UK fleet survived with a BB and transport. Adding in the SZ 15 fleet and buying a transport the British were able to land 6 troops on Turn 2 in Russia (Karelia). For some reason they did not land anymore after that and instead reinforced France.
b) The German Player forgot to move his African Forces on Turn 1... Ouch.
c) On G2 a lone U-boat sank a French battleship and two transports trapping 5 French troops in Portugal for the rest of the game. It was a mere 1.25% chance that the sub would hit twice and the BB would miss twice.
d) Russia decided to split its' forces and attack the German and Austrian armies in hopes of staving off the Russian Revolution. Because of this the Central Powers were able to capture Russia on Turn 6.
e) With a limited India the Ottomans were able to hold Mesopotamia, capture Egypt and advance into the heart of Africa when the game ended.

Both sides made what might be called questionable moves and had bad and good rolling. I think the game breaker was the Allied decision to fight and try and stave off the Russian Revolution since it eventually led, though barely, to the fall of Russia. One interesting aspect of that was how difficult it is to actually take Russia. With some help from her Allies I think Russia could have held or at least been liberated since the Central Powers forces were almost exhausted when Russia finally fell.

We ran out of time and agreed the Central Powers were ahead and thus had the game though we also agreed the Allies could still come back. On the Western Front Germany was holding firm at the Ruhr but UK troops were skirting around Alsace and Munich and were becoming a concern. Austria finally had the advantage against Italy and was contesting Venice firmly though a landing of US troops in Albania was going to be problematic. The Ottomans were firmly in control of Mesopotamia and had just killed virtually the last Allied troops in Africa opening up a money grab. With the money gained from the conquest of Russia and Africa the Central Powers were clearly ahead but UK landings in Karelia and US landings in the Black Sea definitely would have increased the income for the Allies. If Africa had still been in Allied control that would have been a big difference. The mobility of the Allies via the waterways is a huge advantage.

Check out the Tacoma site for pictures of our game. :)
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