Col Ret
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:44 pm

Surprise Ending to PBEM Game

Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:15 pm

Surprise for me at least. On the turn that Austria surrendered, turn 85, the game ended with a major Allied win. Morale for both sides had been dropping rapidly for several turns while rebel alignment was increasing for all at predictable rates. Consequently Austria's surrender was anticipated by both players. But why did Germany's morale drop 16 points on that turn? German rebel alignment was 75. Both players assumed the war would go on for several more turns and intended to play it out.

Russia was eliminated on turn 69 (early June 1917). The Ottoman armies then concentrated on Palestine. Their offensive there making nice advances toward Suez - right up to the time they surrendered on turn 78.

Austrian and most of the German forces in Russia were moved to the Italian frontier in anticipation of Italy's entry into the war. When that happened they soundly defeated the Italians as well as the French army that had been hastily moved there to save the Italians from a crushing defeat.

At the end Austrian, Bulgarian and Rumanian corps were advancing on Athens. In Italy Austrian and German Armies were up to the Po river, well past Venice. Knowing the Austrians were about to surrender the German and most of the Bulgarian units were pulled out of Italy and Greece and moved to the western front. The storm trooper brigades were one turn away from being fielded. It was going to be a recreation of the 1918 German Spring offensive in the west. But then the war ended!

We've never played a PBEM campaign game before. I have played the campaign game against the AI several times as both the Entente and as the Central Powers. None of these games ended like this. The AI has never surrendered while it's morale and alignment, let alone it's capital, was still intact. Does this kind of anticlimactic ending happen often?

I have other questions. The US entered the war a full year earlier than it did historically. Yet the Germans did not sail a single submarine into the Atlantic until after the US had entered the war. Without any provocation how did this happen? Why did the Central Powers Victory Points zero out at about turn 77 or 78? By the end of the game they were -238 (that's at +48 per turn!) while the Allies were 29,158! By the way the manual says that Eastern Entente VP's are only counted on the last turn if Russia is still in the game. It wasn't and they were counted.

There are other almost anti historical issues. What a quirky game. Comments?

Posts: 362
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:35 pm

Re: Surprise Ending to PBEM Game

Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:03 pm

It's difficult to comment authoritatively on the results you detail Colonel - the only PBEM I've played ended disastrously when my end of the exchange became corrupted. From that limited experience though, I'd already learned that playing against a partner pretty much invalidated almost everything I'd learned playing solo. The "almost" is accounted for by the fact that both modes of play are plagued by the underdeveloped game system. You simply can't believe what the rulebook tells you - and while heroic efforts have been made to patch the holes, the moths still seem to have the lead.

In response to some of your specific observations, it seems clear that the key factor was the Austrian surrender, and from by experience in the single-player version that doesn't surprise. I generally play the CP against the machine and I've found that the quickest route to victory is to roll Russia while occupying a decent number of French provinces. In those circumstances the Russian surrender seems to precipitate the same kind of rush to the peace table as you've noted. It doesn't seem to matter what's happening in the broader context but which particular boxes have been ticked.

As to the submarine issue, I'm figuring that the system isn't so finely tuned to the Lusitania effect as to assume it critical to US entry. Personally I don't find that too concerning. Historically, the politics leading to US entry were so varied and volatile that a lot of dominoes needed to fall before the submarine menace was deemed critical, and they could well have been tipped by the CP successes you describe without the help of torpedoes.

Finally, in regard to the VP situation, I have absolutely nothing to offer. The arcane calculation, reduction, and compensative elements of this part of the game system have always eluded me; so I tend to play as if they weren't there.

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