We hadn't played since fall - almost a four month break. It actually had worked out real well, given the holidays, end of year work crush and the usual curve balls real life tosses at all of us. I had called Bob the Host (and, the evil French player this game) earlier in the week. He began the conversation with, "Well, are you ready for the arse whupping you are going to receive when we resume EiA?". I told him he was delusional (a fairly common trait of short dictators) and that it would be GREAT to finally get EiA back on the table with the Sawatdee group. We also arranged to get some playtesting of Triumph of Chaos v2.0 either before the EiA Sawatdee session or sometime next week.
On Saturday, just before jumping in the car, my beautiful wife looked down at my feet and announced "You are NOT going to Bob's house with a hole in your sock representing Mother Russia". I didn't argue (don't argue with women from Kyiv); my beautiful wife is a BIG fan of Bob the Host. Ran downstairs, tossed another pair of socks on...ready to rock. Ran upstairs, tossed a boot on...what the hell..another frickin hole! Back downstairs... I was beginning to think maybe the omens were bad for the continued war on the Sultan and his Grand Vizer... and maybe that the coffin I had bought a few months ago for Turkey might actually be meant for me.
When we last left the story ( EiA Sawatdee: OCT 4, 2014: Game III: Coalition Turkish War: Of Coffins & Georgia ), Russians had broken into Constantinople (using Rabid Bob's "outlandish!" artillery +1 optional rule) - but failed to take the bastion of Ottoman insolence, a combined RU/AU horde was pursuing the retreating main Turkish force, Spain & France were at peace (except for the game long continuing French-British war) and Brits, Austrians and Prussians all in one way or another feasting upon the decaying Turkish empire...
Fashionista spots a faux pas: Illegal sock ware (EEEEGADS!) for gaming at Bob the Host's EiA lair
Sept 1806: Clash in Bulgaria
A long diplomacy/strategy session kicked off the day. The Coalition agreed upon a goal: conclude the war in Turkey within two months...successfully. France (and possibly Spain) would be declaring war in December. Prussia & Britain would put together a big stack, cede Berlin and await the arrival of the Russian army. If RU/AU could force a big battle or two in SEP/OCT, that might be enough to entice a surrender out of the Turks - and if not, Turkey would probably be so crippled, that a small force could remain to prevent the feudal corps from regenerating, while the main Russian army could run west to the sound of the french guns.
Austrian Corey (doing yeoman's work in our EiA group pinch hitting for absent members...the ultimate "sixth man" in our Sawatdee group...Rabid Bob had to cancel at 10P Friday nite - coming down with the damm flu - I called Corey, a few minutes later he confirmed...don't attempt EiA without a "sixth man") was authorized to approach the Turks and see where the knuckleheads stood. Preliminary negotiations began, but quickly concluded. The war would continue for now.
The naval move began with a shuffling of Coalition fleets to begin the movement of British troops to the North German Plain (prep for fighting the impending 2nd Coalition war). French remained blockaded in the south of France, while Spanish ships grew mold.
Germans assess the situation over bloody mary's
Turks & French debate strategy
Turkey began the movement phase fleeing the RU/AU forces for the mountains of Bulgaria. The main RU/AU main stack pursued and initiated combat. The Coalition and the Evil Empire retired to their corners and selected chits. In a rare show of Evil Empire kindness, the French handed the RU/AU commanders their attack chits (actually, we use cards). Upon further inspection, it appeared the French were attempting to influence the Coalition chit choice...
France stacks the deck
After a few minutes of discussion, chits were selected by the respective sides: RU/AU went with an Echelon vs Turkish Assault. 90 Coalitions forces (AU: 28i, 5c, 9g and RU: 32i, 16c) vs 78 Turks (52i, 26c). Results? AU/RU lost 12, Turks lost 13 (including 5 pursuit losses). Turks retreated out of the mountains. Compounding the defeat, Constantinople fell to the Russian (another break in enabled by Rabid Bob's +1 siege arty rule when a "5" popped out of the die cup...and numerous Turkish curses of the rule ensued).
During the conquest step, 2 more minors in North Africa fell to the Coalition (RU took Trip and AU grabbed Cyr). A wandering Turkish corps enabled the Turks to grab Hesse (what da?!).
RU/AU victory in the mountains of Bulgaria
OCT 1806: End of the Sultan's & Vizer's Road
Since the turkish fleet had been forced out of Constantinople, it was now vulnerable to RUS/BR naval assault. 20 ships on each side squared off. The RU admiral (russia had 95% of the coalition naval force on the scene) tossed dice like a mad man, winning the wind gauge, inflicting 25% losses and earning the compliments of Lord Nelson.
In the land phase, the Turks & French decided to go move last, allowing the RU/AU force to again hit what remained of the Turkish main army. Both sides debated their chit choices...
Evil empire in deep chit conference mode
Chits were revealed: both sides had selected the attack chit. 80 RU/AU forces hit 60 Turks (in only 6 remaining corps). Earlier, the Turks had utilized a "Greenville Mafia" green cup from WBC to roll their dice. A change of tactics would be required in this critical battle. Consequently, "the coffin" was pressed into action! After a couple of trial runs, it was determined that the coffin would become the Turks defacto Yahtzee cup.
In the first round, both sides rolled poorly inflicting minimal losses. During the second round, average rolls - the turks with "4" vs RU/AU "3". For the final round, only a "6" would break the Turk (a "5" if guard committed - so one more pip...nah, we decided not to take the risk), while the Turks had a 50/50 to break the Coalition. The Sultan put the die in the coffin and shook the damm thing like he was trying to save his life. The Coalition ended up tossing a "5" (yeah, the Turks would have been broken if Coalition had committed the guard). Slowly, the coffin was opened. A "5" was inside: much Turkish shouting. The Turks had won the battle, but, with only 40 remaining factors after losses.
Looking at the situation, the turks only controlled three provinces (all under siege) - so, it was possible Turkey could be forced to sue by December. A new round of negotiations began at the initiation of the Turkish leadership team. Turkey proposed conditionals for all four Coalition members with no land or corps reduction.
The Coalition retired to discuss the proposal.
French spy detected
NOV 1806: Peace Breaks Out.
Turkey accepted conditionals from all four Coalition members; with Russia arranging the marriage of a beautiful turkish woman and russian prince to seal the deal. Turkey had fought very well against an overwhelming coalition of forces; hats off to the turks!
As peace settled over Europe (the exception of that British/French dust up), Coalition forces began their journey west...
DEC 1806: War Erupts!
Double December Dec' on Prussia
Dee picking up WiF
A tub of WiF fun
The Brit had spent much of the day putting away an ongoing WiF game Bob the Host had going in his zombie apocalypse safe room (some spring remodeling on the schedule). As December began, a French/Spanish declaration of war on Prussia was announced. Britain was summoned from his WiF sorting task. As, the Brit entered the room he commented "It appears time for the infamous Prussian grab ankle stretch exercise." Prussia, laughed, and then promptly called upon his British ally to answer the unwarranted aggression. The Brit hemmed & hawed (naval deployment issues), but then proudly responded, "Yes, we will heed the call: I declare war on the iberian french lackey."
We had an interesting development in the naval phase. It is very rare that we have any rules disputes anymore. Bob the Host led an effort to produce consolidated rules and has us vote on optionals prior to play (which is how Rabid Bob's +1 arty siege rule came into being for this game).
Here was the situation: A combined British/Russian (Remember, BR/RU had just received a conditional from the Turk). Fleet sailed from Constantinople. It could only reach a "safe" port on the Turkish coast. An issue arose: Could a French/Spanish fleet sail into Turkish port (assuming the Turks granted access - which they would in this case) and conduct port combat without BR/RU being able to fire the port guns. Clearly, it was a Turkish port - that happened to have a 1 point Turkish garrison. One wrinkle was that BR/RU still had "limited" access - did that entitle them to fire the guns? Could the Russian fleet be attacked - since it was combined with the Brits? Both were transporting their own corps, but, wouldn't it be possible for the Russian to transport enemy corps (the Brits) - since they were one stack - and then open them up to an enemy (of one of the forces - the Brits - in the stack) attack? As Bob the Host also pointed out, did limited access after a war concludes entitle the BR/RU fleet to even dock at a port? Many questions.
In the end we decided (somewhat of a split decision) that the BR/RU force would NOT be entitled to fire the guns - and the BR/RU could redo their fleet move. Consequently, the BR/RU fleet left their corps in Constan and fled for the safety of Malta.
RU/AU forces hurried west, while the primary Prussian/British forces retired behind Berlin. French forces poured into Prussia and captured Berlin on the their first siege attempt. We decided to call it a day. Although we really didn't get rolling until almost noon and wrapped it at 5ish, it had been an action packed session. Hopefully, we'll resume in later Feb or early March.
End of 1806 Political Display and VPs
End of session wrap up
As we were picking up, we began a good discussion of a variety of gaming topics over a beer or two. The discussion began at our EiA gaming table, continued in the ride home (Bob the Host gave Dee and myself a ride), at the dinner table (my better half made Bob the Host some vareniki) and through a late night EiA post session debrief call. One of the topics was an upcoming miniatures convention organized around Battles of the Age of Reason (28mm?) that the Prussian plans to attend, some discussion of long overdue and heavily anticipated Blitz! A World in Conflict , and playing of "the long EiA game".
The Portland EiA group here on BGG just completed an EiA game that went the distance: hats off to Mr.Bruhn and his mates!: Portland 2014 - part 5 - This is the Way the World Ends . We usually never get that far: generally our games end after the 2nd Coalition War or the inevitable "let's do the Brits or the Russian" that follows the 2nd Coalition War. I don't recall us ever getting past 1810 in Don Pederson's legendary Twin Cities EiA group. And, since we've just restarted after all these years, we've only played a few short games in the Sawatdee group (warm up games!).
WiF Wendell ( who has been a fantastic addition to our group) pointed out that we really need to play longer than that, in order to both better understand the implications of this or that decision and to experience a richer EiA gaming experience. Wendell indicated he plays EiA always assuming "it will go long". I do completely agree with Wendell - that that is the ONLY way to play EiA.
We all agreed, but, identified the usual issues:
1. Tough to get & keep 7 players together for the year required (assuming you can play 8 hr sessions every month)
2. The game gets broke: a country or two falls way behind after 1807. With such limited time to EiA game, why ask players to keep showing up for their beating/
We do believe, point 2 - eliminating countries - can be moderated. You need a MATURE EiA gaming group where:
1. Players recognize (both the winner of a war and the loser of a war), when to settle for less than a complete and total victory - when to give surrenders - how to lose the war, but win the peace (using surrenders to destabilize the situation such that the country surrendering can arbitrage the resulting new situation)
2. Players stop short of stomping countries into the ground
3. Russia and Turkey balance the game appropriately (appropriately defined as keeping the balance of power within the sidelines)
The good news is that I think Sawatdee is such a group (it's really a great gaming group - fantastic banter and lots of fun!) and this particular game had the potential to go long. The other good news is that spring is only six weeks away...and the prospects are good we'll be continuing this game SOON.
No better way to spend a Saturday in the dead of a Minnesota winter
EiA Sawatdee rules & playbook:
EiA Sawatdee blog: EiA (Empires in Arms) Sawatdee
Other 1st MN/Sawatdee session reports: 1st MN/Sawatdee/Herr Dr Session Reports
- Last edited Mon Feb 2, 2015 6:30 am (Total Number of Edits: 5)
- Posted Mon Feb 2, 2015 1:32 am
Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
Update from Constantinople
Turkey - all by itself - fought Russia, Austria, Prussia, and Britain for seven months. We came THIS CLOSE (holds fingers close) to capturing both Charles and Kutuzov in an earlier battle. We fought two more battles this session, losing one and winning one.
What decided us to accept the Coalition's approach - for the record, Corey/Austria was the one who broached peace, after the Turks won the battle in November - was the possibility (as Dockter notes) that we could be driven into civil disorder by having all of our manpower-producing capitals occupied.
We might have been able to avoid that, but it would frankly have required some luck. Constantinople was gone already, due in part to lucky Russian dice AND due to a truly shitty house rule (which I didn't know about) that allows Russian and French artillery units a bonus in sieges. We would have had to survive another battle in December with enough left in the right position to at least besiege one of our lost capitals. But our feudal corps were in tatters, and it was clear that if there were another battle, we would have been losing janissaries, not feudals. So when Austria approached suggesting the Coalition would offer conditional surrenders - and when in subsequent talks, they agreed this would involve NO loss of territory, NO removal of Turkish corps, and NO loan of corps, we agreed this was a deal too good to pass on.
We (my co-Turk Jason and I) felt bad about not sticking with France for the big war, but even Bob the French thought we should take that deal. The Coalition tried to browbeat Turkey into an abject "surrender without fighting" deal in April. We fought a far superior constellation of forces nearly to a draw. Now they are all dashing west to face France...