HidekiTojo
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Surviving and Overall Strategy as Republicans?

Thu May 22, 2014 8:29 pm

After much practice I've become better at the AGE games. I'm very into Espana, and am trying very hard to succeed as the Republic which I knew was going to be a challenge.

But it's been an unmitigated disaster and I can't even make it to the end of September without being beaten beyond recovery. I send the that anarchist general over to Catalonia to work with Durruti and despite having two leaders I'm unable to push Cabanellas out of Aragon. I'm utterly unable to even slow down Franco in the south which I knew was the best I could hope for anyway.


I've really never even made it past September and haven't been able to form the Popular Army.

Nationalists are fairly straightforward in most ways. I knew Republicans were going to be a hefty challenge but a big issue is that unlike the Nationalists I don't really have a game plan. In fact I don't have any kind of plan going into the campaign whatsoever.

So I would be very grateful for some guidance in this topic so my goal of changing history (digitally) becomes a reality :thumbsup:

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Kensai
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Fri May 23, 2014 9:51 pm

Got your PM. :)

Republicans should be hard, but not impossible. I haven't played the grand campaign myself yet. They should have "worse" but more numerous armies, as the Austrians in Rise of Prussia. Are you familiar with that game?
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HidekiTojo
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Sat May 24, 2014 12:04 am

Sweet!

Well I just got it on sale on steam and have only dabbled with rop in the invasion of Saxony (?) Campaign that's like 9 turns as Prussia. My heritage is Prussian so I had to lol. So technically no. I've been playing Union in aacw and cwii. As well as Romans in aje and bor. Siberian Whites in RUS. The Hugh Thomas book has been very helpful especially since im now up to the events of July.

That being said republicans are more difficult to organize which is a big issue. Also how to handle the brigata mixta is another thing bc I've been constantly restarting and only done the ejercito popular once and didn't get past October. Im trying to figure out which areas to focus on and where to mass my armies and in general how to set up my divisions and corps and armies properly once October rolls around. Which cities to focus on attacking and defending or what regions. I know the big picture is defend in the south and push hard in the north. Is it worth it to feed anarchists into the brigata mixta? Bc apart from a division under durruti I think its best to just leave those cnt/fai militia at home.
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HidekiTojo
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Sat May 24, 2014 12:05 am

Oh and I don't speak a word of Spanish btw. German yes pretty well but definitely not Spanish.
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Durk
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Sat May 24, 2014 5:12 am

From my experience, Jaen is the key to winning as the Republican. You need sufficient force to hold in Jaen. If you can do so, your other forces will gradually win the upper hand and you will not get blitzed in Madrid.
So your first Army commander goes to Jaen. See if this works.

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GlobalExplorer
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Sun May 25, 2014 11:42 pm

I had no problems with the Republicans (normal difficulty).

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Initially you can use your huge anarchist force in Catalunya, form them into a large stack with the (anarchist) commanders available (Duruti) and move to Zaragoza.
that will prevent any attempt of the overconfident Nationalists there to cut Catalunya off.

Image

In the North (Basque) I organized my units as best as I could, defended, and they held out. They got stronger over time, and eventually counterattacked.

Image

In the South it was chaotic, but the Nationalists did not make much ground. I constantly destroyed the railway lines to Granada.
A counter attack from Valencia slowly gained ground and prevented any success for the Nationalists.

Image

Around Madrid I was getting stronger turn by turn, and when the Int. Brigades arrived I was in an unassailable position. The key here is to not get overconfident and counterattack too early, same as in Basque country.

It could have been a key to hold the terrain at Segovia, to prevent an outbreak of the Francists, As long as they are not through the mountains, Madrid is safe.

Generally the key is not to initially waste the many small units you have, rather keep them intact and build larger stacks.

Image

Eventually, the nationalists could not gain much ground on any of the four fronts, and collapsed when I started massive counterattacks, supported by the International Brigades.
I found it too easy actually, but it was fun all the same.

In reality, the Republic did not lose Madrid, and did not lose the war on the battlefield, but collapsed first because of the loss of the Basque country and - most importantly - because it betrayed the POUM and the anarchists in Catalunya (the civil war inside the civil war), it helps to keep that in mind. Had they fully solidarized with the Anarchists, given them the best weapons, moved the arms factory from Toledo to Barcelona when there still was time, they had a good chance to survive until 1939, when help from France / Britain would have become available.

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ERISS
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Mon May 26, 2014 3:39 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:The key here is to not get overconfident and counterattack too early, .
Generally the key is not to initially waste the many small units you have, rather keep them intact and build larger stacks.

In reality, the Republic did not lose the war on the battlefield, but collapsed first because it betrayed the POUM and the anarchists. Had they fully solidarized with the Anarchists, given them the best weapons,

The State high command of Republic military lost the war for a bad strategy driven by politics,
already at the beginning of the war (when there was almost no bolshevic in Spain):
State high command thought defensively for they didn't really know what happened (anarchists did, as they had serious agents in troops and by workers in army),
and also High Command paralized the blitz attacks of anarchists, for fear of democracy they let behind them:
Spain state let the fascists to fully organize and to get the initiative.

"The key here is to not get overconfident and counterattack too early,"
Anarchists teached the lesson to fascists, but state socialists let the fascists to apply it.

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Mon May 26, 2014 3:47 pm

You're right, I often wondered who the politicians in Madrid feared more, the Fascists or the Anarchists.
The whole story that a government does not hand out rifles to their workers militia, or sacrifices the only weapons factory they have instead of giving it under workers control, reeks of treason.

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Mon May 26, 2014 7:53 pm

Perhaps that's something that can be applied by someone who makes the "next" game about the Guerra Civil.
That the Republic defeat was largely to internal division between the government and their unloved pawns, the workers militia.
I believe it was to a large degree the meddling of the Soviets, who wanted to snatch the revolution from the Spanish people, and tolerated no socialist platform that were not controlled by themselves.
In the process they handed Spain to Franco, but got their hands on Spains gold reserve.
It's something that is not modelled in SCW, and makes the Republican side too easy.

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Mon May 26, 2014 8:14 pm

Imo the Nationalist win the war beacuse they had a professional army and the veterans of Africa. After failing to take Madrid and finishing the war they go for the crucial objectives in the North. After the surrender of the North the war was almost won.
The Republican Army was better prepared as the war progressed but it was too late to win the war.
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Durk
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Tue May 27, 2014 4:23 am

I do think there is a place for games which explore the politics of a war. However, one thing I really like about the design of España is that it is politically neutral. It focuses upon the military aspect of the war without making judgments. That is a tough task for this war where both sides brought such Iconoclastic Idealism to their Cause.
It may be true that some of the politics of both side decisively impacted the battle front, but that is not the mission of this game. It is the military history.

As to the name of this thread: the early Republican challenge is to thwart the Nationalist blitz. If the Republican player can achieve this, then the player buys time to recruit, train and organize. A point short of Madrid is essential to make this stand. Jaen is my preference due to terrain.

This is a remarkably balanced game. It will not or might not feel balanced at first. This is because the game is so subtle in the opportunities offered. I think it took me three games to win as the Republicans. Almost the same number of pbem games it took me to lose at the Nationalist. The Nationalist have an advantage as you learn the game, then it all comes down to planning, playing and praying to the god of gamers.

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Kensai
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Tue May 27, 2014 7:27 am

In a defensive war (such as the one the Republicans fight) it is important to choose where to make a stand. Retreat from unattainable and indefensible positions and calculate where the bad terrain (and possibly weather) will make the attacker's life miserable. From what I've seen so far the Republicans need their time to have a real army to resist.
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Tue May 27, 2014 9:06 am

Leibstandarte wrote:Imo the Nationalist win the war beacuse they had a professional army and the veterans of Africa. After failing to take Madrid and finishing the war they go for the crucial objectives in the North. After the surrender of the North the war was almost won.
The Republican Army was better prepared as the war progressed but it was too late to win the war.


Ok. That explains why you left out the politic context, you're not interested in it.
Now people will come off this game with the impression that the Civil War was decided by who had more men / guns.

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Tue May 27, 2014 9:26 am

I haven't said that.
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Tue May 27, 2014 11:29 am

Ok, I have.
"professional army and the veterans of Africa" does not automatically win wars. It was an advantage the Nationalists had. But when ordinary people rallied in large numbers to defend Madrid, the "professional army" was forced to retreat.
The government with the support of POUM could have held Madrid and Catalunya. But instead they interfered and disarmed their strongest column. And of course it's extremely risky in times of war to disarm your own troops. The reasons for defeat were largely political, not only only a matter of arms and battles.

I believe it is likely that there's a myth going round in Spain (among the Republic supporters), that the Republic was defeated because it was outnumbered and outgunned and defeated by the superior troops of Franco, Germany and Italy, denying that there were other causes, and the defeat was to a large degree self-made.

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Tue May 27, 2014 5:06 pm

GlobalExplorer - To be fair, there is much political content in the game. The decision options, the political factions, command and control; and others.

It bothers me that you tend to over-exaggerate others' positions to make a statement which has little to do with the actually game. The war deserves thoughtful discussion, however this game provides one way to understand that discussion. Enjoy it for what it does examine.

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Tue May 27, 2014 7:11 pm

I'm sorry .. I did not have to start an argument. It is perfectly ok that Miguel made a military simulation of the SCW, especially with the engine, but imo he should have used more political events.
I really like the game as it is (see the review in my sig).

To say something about history is another matter.

Many important politic decisions (events) are absent from the game that's all. It's a great game that still isn't using all potential.

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Wed May 28, 2014 1:50 am

I love the game as it is I thought the consensus was going to be that the nats were easier by far. I thought Miguels the problem was going to be making republic viable. This is mainly a military sim. That being said the more political elements included in a game like this and ageod titles in particular the better.
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Wed May 28, 2014 3:58 am

Admittedly, the Republicans are tough to play, but I am not just surviving, I am winning as the Republicans.

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Wed May 28, 2014 9:30 pm

Ok, to take the opposite side of the argument ..
I have been asking myself if Miguel had made this an entirely realistic simulation of real events, if this would be a real strategic game at all.

From what I read about the SCW, the Republican would no longer have complete, direct control of a large part - lets say 50% - of their forces, because these forces do not respect a proper chain of command. Orders are given every turn but somehow don't materialize. For example the militia have decided that they do not want to follow their assigned leader and have promoted someone else. Or they could have disbanded before the order could be carried out because of many psychologic, politic or economic reasons. Or they could also quite simply not have recieved rifles and ammunition. Or some of them even switched sides. Let's say it boils down to either did they not agree with you and your order or they were not able to fulfil.

At the same time, other militia may have become active in the area and taken what they consider appropriate action, and the same process of orders and disobedience repeats over and over again.

What we get could be complete chaos, with a helpless high command (you), trying to enact reasonable strategic decisions in a world where people's capacity to fight is entirely unpredictable, and depends on anything from interpersonal problems to overabundance of alcohol, love interests or jealousy, lack of respect, etc, and a cohesive strategy can never be implemented. People rather prefer to fight a bit here and there, or they don't.
(and I think this is the real truth about the SCW, that the Nationalists won because they worked mainly as a military force, the Republican forces more like a population of individuals with very different motivations)

So it could be in the end - while I will still stick to what I have said before, that the political aspect is mostly missing - it is not necessarily that this would be a better game if it wasn't.

The really good news in that would be that it could be enough to have a bit more "realistic" dissent inside the factions (mostly but not only Republicans), and we automatically approach a sweet spot between realism and playability, without changing the current game on a dramatic scale.

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Wed May 28, 2014 9:47 pm

A question that I still have is if other people agree that the game was too easy for the Republicans.
For me it was enough to consolidate for a few months, then send a large, disciplined Army against the dwindling Nationalist, and win a complete victory after 1 year or so.
There should be real problems on the road, and the question is if this can be achieved with the game.

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Wed May 28, 2014 11:42 pm

GlobalExplorer, You raise two interesting issues. I am responding to both of your post with this single post -

The Ageod system has a very simple solution for creating the chaos of conflicting command – hard activation; that is, leaders who fail their command check are often frozen in place. Because Republican leadership is limited and typically these leaders have low activation values, the leaders will often not perform. Players may operate units without leaders, but this brings its own combat penalty.
This is a much simpler solution than lots of special rules to create the same disadvantage to disorganized and mutually squabbling factions.

Players who do not use hard activation miss the 'most' historical play of Wars in America, Rise of Prussia and, now, España 1936, the advantage of playing a game where your subordinate commanders simply refuse to follow orders. The older 'hard activation' is not as elegant as the 'hidden activation' of Bloody Roads South, but quite decent in getting at the desire to present a more historical disorganization.

The existing game without hard activation does historical recreation very well by very slowly opening the ability to create armies, corps and divisions. This is simulated very well with the anarchists in Catalonia having extremely limited command and control. Other factions have limitations of leaders with come very close to the ideal of 50% out of action.

As to game balance, it is not a Republican runaway. In my experience, if the game is between two players new to the game, the Nationalists win. The Nationalist march into Madrid in a few months and the Republican NM plummets to a fatal level.

Once players are more experienced, but still relatively new to the game, and begin to understand the best way to raise new troops and use the card options, the game swings toward the Republicans. The Republican strengths are more accessible and easy to muster. While the Nationalist strengths are not so apparent.

However, once both players have a more complete understanding of the game, historical patterns emerge. The Nationalists make steady progress, isolating the Republican factions, eliminating one of the Republican groupings, usually the Northern. Then with the addition of the Italian units and a more complete rail network, reducing the final pockets of resistance. The success with which the Republican forces can resist this progress determines the winner.

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Thu May 29, 2014 2:54 am

GlobalExplorer wrote:A question that I still have is if other people agree that the game was too easy for the Republicans.
For me it was enough to consolidate for a few months, then send a large, disciplined Army against the dwindling Nationalist, and win a complete victory after 1 year or so.
There should be real problems on the road, and the question is if this can be achieved with the game.


I should add these two comments: Nationalist are the more successful side in my current play.
However, the Republic has a very decent opportunity to win.

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Leibst
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Thu May 29, 2014 6:52 am

There are some minor improvements to try with the AI to make things better for the Nationalists and make Republicans player not to win so easily as it seems.
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Kensai
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Thu May 29, 2014 8:28 am

Durk wrote:Players who do not use hard activation miss the 'most' historical play of Wars in America, Rise of Prussia and, now, España 1936, the advantage of playing a game where your subordinate commanders simply refuse to follow orders. The older 'hard activation' is not as elegant as the 'hidden activation' of Bloody Roads South, but quite decent in getting at the desire to present a more historical disorganization.


In all my games I play with the delay when the commander is not activated, sometimes I feel the "freezing" of commanders in 2-week turns is simply too much. But there is definitely merit to it as well.
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Thu May 29, 2014 9:26 am

What I meant was activation, but on the level of leaderless units. Leaderless units would be inactive just like leaders. Would that be fun? I don't think so.

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Durk
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Fri May 30, 2014 3:53 am

Oh GlobalExplorer, you miss the contradictions of your own position. Look at Kensai's advice, play as if you mean to explore history.
Either you really want the challenge you say you desire or you wish to win. I think you must sort out this contradiction for yourself.
AI is not a pbem opponent, maybe you should take up pbem play and enjoy the full richness of this game.

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GlobalExplorer
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Fri May 30, 2014 5:24 am

What contradiction? Perhaps you missed something which is that at one time I was talking about the game, and at another time about real history.

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Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:38 pm

The Republican side is definitely a lot more difficult to play, especially because their forces are so much worse. Let me show you one example, a really extreme one.

In that game (I was Nationalist) I had brought EVERYTHING to Madrid. 40.000 men, led by Franco. The Republicans had 40.000 entrenched defenders.
This was turn 29.

my NM: 90
Republican NM: 110

Easy defense of Madrid? Well...
http://abload.de/img/madridbattlem2sum.png
+21 NM for the Nationalists. Yup. Game over for the Republicans, there was nothing they could do anymore because once I took Madrid it was game over anyway.

Now I gotta honestly ask... what can the Republican player do against that? Note that I had lost in every other area of the map. This was my last hope.

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Leibst
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Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:21 pm

I wish i could change something to avoid Franco getting that 6-7-7.
But i see you lose 27 casualties in ranged combat vs 3! thats the key of that battle.
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