David Dockter
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EiA Sawatdee on Halloween 2015.



We hadn't played since June 27th: summer and life had intervened. This week, my crew lost a close business mate of 20 years; one who we had worked/served with around the globe (rest easy, Brother Dino). Tragic & unexpected. REALLY needed a break from life and gaming with Sawatdee/1st MN was the fab chicken soup. First up was the usual Friday 1st MN session [played an enjoyable game of Triumph & Tragedy with Alan (Russia), SteveV (the West - he won) and Steve K (trainee of Germany)]. Then Saturday with the Sawatdee group. So...

This AAR is for two sessions, June 27 and Oct 31, covering NOV 1807 > JUN 1808, EiA Sawatdee Game III.


This Unique Masterpiece of a War-game & Associated Experience



You know we are EiA/WiF nutcases here in god's country. I was first lucky enough to play in Don Peterson's FABULOUS EiA Roseville group back in the '80s (our Sawatdee Corey also trained as a Jedi there).

Don Peterson
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Haltom City
Texas
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Don Peterson started this EiA obsession in the Twin Cities about 25 years ago

I've waxed about EiA on many occasions. Even managed to get the designer Harry R. on Guns, Dice, Butter twice. I won't recant why we think it is SINGULAR great game/gaming experience, but Bob the Host said something yesterday: "There is no game but EiA that uniquely forces players to live with their mistakes and then they either recover from them - or not".



We then talked about how everyone takes a turn in barrel and some actually plant the seeds of their opponents' demise by picking the method & timing of their own defeat. So you got to surrender? How can you kick the ant hill in the process of surrendering to turn your opponents against one another? THAT is one of the critical challenges in EiA. Of course, you can just bemoan, bitch & cry over your surrender. However, some have the mettle to turn their misfortune into ultimate glory.

Three other things I noticed yesterday: the game goes on in the background ,dance of death and CHIT ANGST:

Game going on in the background: Back in the day, the game was more the thing. Not now; the comaroderie is the thing. The game continues to chunk out incredible storyline and contributes to the camaraderie.

Dance of Death: We really had a great dance of death this particular session; intricate operational combat & land/sea movement. The solid logistics/supply mechanic also really fuels "the dance". Really a work of art. The only draw back - and it is BIG - is that your opponent can respond on land (no intercept or reaction). The designer Harry acknowledged in a Guns, Dice, Butter interview but said, "So, just how much longer do you think it would have taken to complete a turn if an opponent could interrupt your movement?". Fair point.

CHIT ANGST. Told this story a few times previously. Bob Heinemann used the term "CARD ANGST" to describe Paths of Glory . I thought of that yesterday whenever I looked at the Frenchman sweating out his Chit pick. MUCH tension produced by this design.

The combo of these items above produced good laughs and great smack talk again yesterday; even after playing the game for well over two decades. Recently, I did an analysis of the favorite wargame hotties published in the last decade: Welcome to the GaGa Zone: Wargames with High Fanboy bases and lots of LUST: 2nd Golden Age of Wargaming Edition There are some fantastic games on that list, but, not many besides PoG (Paths of Glory), FtP (For the People), Carthage: The First Punic War and handful of others that produces the angst and storyline that EiA does. Rich story; lots of angst. This is good.


The little emperor stricken by a case of SEVERE [BATTLE} CHIT ANGST

So Where Did We Leave this Story?

Previous session report here: EiA Sawatdee: Game III: May 23, 2015: Paris Falls, an Island is Cleansed and a Strategy Conference is Convened . Essentially, the dark side (France & Spain) were being fought tooth-n-nail by the brave British and Russian lads; both in Poland and in France. Turkey, Austria and Prussia all at enforced peace. Peace for those three would be expiring in the summer of 1808 (so, either this session or next).

NOV 1807 > FEB 1808


Our fantastic Bob the Host even got the crew a cake

When we played in June, Bob the Host had a cake baked on behalf of the EiA Sawatdee group: a beautiful cake. That session primarily involved the Russian army running into France to raid Paris. Unfortunately, the Russian boooofed their break-in deal roll (tossed a lousy "2"; which would have been ok if he had the arty there {since we're playing with Rabid Bob's -1 to break in rolls if you have arty present - Wendell hates this rule more than the plague}...but, sadly, the arty was off on another mission: the Russian had misplaced it!).

The other key highlight was a series of wicked battles in Poland: France had left a force of about 50 SPs there (after forcing out Prussia) to secure Poland. A combined RU/BR force of about an equal size kept coming at the French. In Nov 1807, a Russian heavy militia force even managed to defeat french corps despite a tremendous difference in morale (chit pulls were the cause once again). In Dec, a combined RU/BR force both outdrew the French twice in a 2 day battle {ECH vs Defend and Outflank vs Defend} and kill off Davout at Breslau.

The session ended with the Russian Expeditionary Force (7 corps...3 CAV, Guard, Arty and 2 inf) in France running for the coast and being reinforced by three British corps. NAP finally returned from Prussia and assembled a force of 6 french corps, 1 spanish and the loaned Prussia corps. The stage was set for a showdown in the spring of 1808.


End of FEB 1807: showdown in France: battle of St.Malmo. Coalition slips away in dead of nite awaiting Austrian re-enter: June 1808...and Rabid Bob, grand poopah of Austria, is ready


Brits celebrate the death of DaVout in Poland December 1807


Wendell the Grand Vizer plans prior to his exile to O-HI-O

MAR 1808 > JUN 1808: The legend of the evading band of the creme of the coalition's army and gettin' in someone's head


The rock of gib

Bob the Host managed a trip to Europe over the summer. One stop was Gibraltar. Bob the Host managed to even secure a piece of the rock which will now grace our EiA Sawatdee board forever (see pic above).

MAR 1808

The BULL in the China-cabinet: Rabid Bob


Mar 08: the unholy dark side diplomatic conference: left to right...Grand Vizer Corey, Sultan Lt. Jason, Frenchman BOB the Host


The Hand of Rabid Bob can be counted on by allies

Session began with a lot of diplomacy. Frenchman was DESPERATELY trying to woo the Grand Vizer (Corey) and the Sultan (Lt Jason). After the Frenchman was done trying to charm the turks, the Coalition attempted their diplomatic skills. Unfortunately, the Coalition brought a bull known in these parts as Rabid Bob (the Austrian) to the conference.

On Friday, Rabid Bob (the same as Bob that owns our local 1st MN lair known as The Source) had stopped in our session of Triumph and Tragedy. Rabid Bob became the designated "Peace Dividend chit selector". The first chit pulled for me was, of course, a big fat ZERO (0,1,2 victory points are possible). I should have known he might toss a spanner on Saturday. Back to the conference...

So, Rabid Bob opens up with the ice breaker something to the effect, "SO, I just want to know if you are going to stab us in the back". I proceeded to translate many Rabid Bob statements with the "What my rough edged friend from Vienna is really trying to say...". and things like, "I'm not taking you with us to the strip club next time: you'll scare away the strippers with opening lines like that". We managed to get a vague promise from the Turks that they hadn't made a decision yet.

As I walked out of the conference I bumped into the frenchman. I told him, "No need for you to try to woo the turks; just send Rabid Bob and he'll help out your position better than you could ever hope to".

Taking out the Trash


Mar 08 east

On the battleground in the East, Warsaw, the BR/RU force of about 30 engaged 33 French oppressors. Chit pick. BR/RU force went with an outflank vs a French defend chit: much shouting. French broke quit, but coalition flubbed pursuit roll. However, they did wound Massena for 3 months. Much laughter in the Coalition camp: "The Poles really hate those French marshalls".

French Chicks; Again


Russians enter Paris...again!

In the west, the RU/BR Expeditionary Force decided to gamble and lunge for Paris. Two russian cavalry corps foraged (on a 5 and 4) along with some British corps and got lucky (1 lost inf factor). 8 Coalition corps besieged Paris, while a few set up a screen to prevent easy evil empire relief.

Again, the Coalition attempted a critical Paris break in roll. Shouts were made..."TOSS DEM BONES"!.. and the die was flung into a corner...it twirled for a bit and then...


Mar 08 Paris break in die roll: Russian arty looks on

...a "2" appeared. And, yet again, due to Rabid Bob's optional arty -1 rule, another evil empire capital had fallen: if only our mate Wendell [who has unfortunately for the 1st MN/Sawatdee Group moved to O-HI-O] was there to witness it - his fit would have been worth the admission price. The fireworks for the turn were not finished...


Mar 08 west: RU/BR force in Paris looking west at French relief force

As Wellington looked west, he could see a large French relief force on the way. As previously indicated, the Coalition had left screening corps. Since the French had not moved combined with his lowly Spanish lackey, the Spaniard would have to clear a path to Paris through the screen. Consequently, one Spanish corps plus the loaned Prussian corps assaulted a thin red line (1 british corps). Chits selected. The Evil empire went with an Echelon, while the cagey Coalition whipped out a Cordon. After the first round of combat, the Coalition still had 4.2 morale (a russian cossack dragged down morale), while the Evil Empire retained only 2.3 morale. However....

NAP knew he had to win the battle in the space next to Paris in order to remove the Coalition occupying force (that would cost France $150+ at the interphase). And, the Coalition knew they needed to stop the French in that space. Both sides decided to attempt reinforcement. Dice tossed...NAP made his roll, but, Wellington rolled a FRICKIN' "6". Much cussing in the Coalition camp. Consequently, the thin red line evaporated, but did manage to take 4 French guard with them (a 2 level guard commitment).

In the French turn, NAP entered Paris to force a showdown. Chits selected (after the Frenchman fretted forever). The Russian, before turning over the Frenchman's chit yelled out, "You've went with Probe". French chit revealed....Probe. Much laughter. Coalition then revealed their withdrawal chit...and slipped away. Paris had been liberated, but the creme of the creme of the coalition (RU Guard, RU Arty, 3 RU can corps, 2 brits corps and RU 1st Corps) had evaded - hoping to soon link up with their Austrian mates (150 SPs waiting for them).

APR 1808


Apr 08

Similar coalition evasions occurred in April, with France again going with a Probe vs a Coalition Withdrawal at Zurich. This led to MUCH trash talking - "We're in your head, Frenchman...deep, deep, deep into your rather twisted mind".



The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me 'til I'm sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There's someone [in this case the Brit & the Russian] in my head but it's not me



Apr 08 collapse in east as French try to make a final stand and are spanked silly

In the East, Russia conquered Poland: the remnants of the once proud force led first by Davout and then Massena flee west. Goodbye frenchman (and spanish lackey): Poland will be shortly returned to the aggrieved Prussian.


Apr 08 part2

MAY 1808


May 08 french continue their long retreat from the east

In May, in the east, the French fled the scene after yet another setback: this time at Posen. 22 BR/RU selected OUTFLANK vs yet another French DEFEND (23 SPs). France lost in the third round, and, the Coalition again miffed the pursuit roll. However, only 13 French Sps routed out of Posen alive. The campaign in the east was over.

On the other fronts, Turkey assembled its feudal corps on the Russian border: evidently the Grand Viser and the Sultan had reached a conclusion.

In the West, NAP attempted to again bring Wellington to battle. Again, the Frenchman could not bring himself to select Assault (despite urging by the Russian..."Come on man: select Assault! Do it!") and went with Probe, while the Coalition again choose Withdrawal and slithered away. [As an aside, we do play with an optional rule that Escalated vs Withdrawal gives a +1 mod to the withdrawal die roll].

In Austria, Rabid Bob formed his 150SPs into two stacks: one awaiting the arrival of the RU/BR force from France and one in the South to take Italy.


May 08 austria concentrates

JUN 1808


Jun 08 turks arrive

June began with Turkey declaring war on Russia. Russia called the Brits and the Prussians: both shouted "AYE". Spain allied with Austria...for some reason.

In the West, France had one more shot at the creme of the creme Coalition force. The Frenchman declared, "I will not be selecting chits this time; the Grand Viser will be". We gave a good belly laugh. The Coalition placed their chit facedown on the table: "We've selected; make your pick evil empire".


Jun 08: Suffering from severe CHIT ANGST, France gets a CHIT therapist

As the Grand Vizer took the chits he proclaimed, "Ok. The first thing we are going to do is to get rid of this pussy probe chit". More laughs. Eventually, the Grand Vizer revealed his chit: ESCALATED. BR/RU revealed yet another WITHDRAW. So, due to the optional rule, Wellington would only withdraw on a 4 or less: a 5 or more, DISASTER.

So, drum roll... Wellington tossed the die....out popped a "4": the Coalition then withdrew into a mile high stack of Austrian corps. They had escaped, after occupying Paris twice and inflicting numerous losses and mind f*cks on the frenchman. One corps in particular bares mention: The GLORIOUS 1st Russian Corps (route of march/battle below).

So, with the 2nd Turkish war kicking off and the impending entry of 150 Austrians SPs and Rabid Bob into the 3rd Coalition war, we called it quits for our fabulous Halloween session of the EiA Sawatdee.


Jun 08 coalition combines


The march of the glorious RU 1st Corps


Jun 08 big boys towers of power

Wrap Up


Walt Mink

Thursday night I stopped by Bryant Lake Bowl and caught a rehearsal of Walt Mink; very good (they had a big bash scheduled at the Varsity). They play like we wargame here in god's country; all heart. Their music also has what we dig in our war-games in these parts: lots of depth.

Great wargame design produces Chit Angst, Card Angst and/or Choice {operational warfare} Angst: gut wrenching decisions that we wargamers love to wallow in. EiA produces this angst in spades, which is one reason we keep returning to it.

We're also fortunate to have a GREAT group of EiA players in the Twin Cities. In this session, Corey (the Grand Vizer) and Lt Jason (the Sultan) made a wise decision to enter against the Coalition: France/Spain would have been overwhelmed. Too many Austrians and the creme of the creme of the Coalition army has never been touched. Corey told me later, "I've had to serve as the balancer". We do try to keep the game between the rails, whereas in back in the day it was much more about grinding countries into the dust. Pro's & con's to each approach.

France, although enduring a BAD session, may have actually been quite wiley. Did he really want to wipe out the creme of the creme of the Coalition prior to Turkish entry? I'm guessing maybe not. I suppose we will only find out at the end of the this game. Regardless, Bob the Host is one hell of a gamer (he took the Breakout: Normandy WBC gold ring this summer).

Rabid Bob, Fitz and Prussian Chris all rock solid, fine EiA players. Great guys to b.s. a saturday with (tip of the hat to Prussian Chris's bottle of PORT this session - that stuff was good). British Dee, a WiF and ASL fanatic from way back, continues to move up the learning curve and seems to be "getting the EiA bug". And, we've got a few new players in the wings to round out an EiA 10 - which is about what you really need to keep the game moving.

So, we had such a blast on Saturday; had been too damm long (4 month break). FABULOUS gaming mates that love tackle the biggest and baddest monsters our hobby has to offer. We miss our WiF Wendell comrade.

We quickly scheduled a session two weeks away. God willing, we'll be able to keep that date and plunge whole hog into the 3rd Coalition War. Hope Prussia Chris brings another bottle of lucky Coalition port.


Prussian Chris firing up a pipe during a 3rd Coalition War Planning Conference...



...and his Russian ally celebrating the Coalition's spectacular numerous successes...and successful infiltration of the twisted mind of the Frenchman [note: Prussia Chris' fab port in glass on arm of chair]


SitRep JUN 1808


Political Display Chart JUN 1808




======================



Regular EiA Sawatdee blog: EiA (Empires in Arms) Sawatdee

Other 1st MN, Herr Dr, Sawatdee session reports: 1st MN/Sawatdee/Herr Dr Session Reports

EiA Sawatdee house rules here: http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?233@@.1dcfcaab!enclosure=.1...

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Wendell
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Yellow Springs
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
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France Bob should just start drawing chits randomly, can't be any worse...
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Andrew Shumway
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On your picture of the political status chart, there is a hand written note in the lower right corner that says something about $ Man Ships. For example, TU has 118 - 75 - 18. The number of ships seems obvious, but what do the $ and Man columns represent? Are you adding the Ottoman Empire manpower in with TU?
 
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David Dockter
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No; Ottoman not in it I believe. But, Ottoman was beaten down in last war; will disappear in this one devil
 
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Andrew Shumway
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Okay, so you're saying that TU is generating 75 manpower/$118 per econ phase (or has $118 saved)?
 
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David Dockter
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Saved $118
 
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