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World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin» Forums » Sessions

Subject: My first experience with Barbarossa to Berlin rss

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Robert McCoy
South Korea
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Barbarossa to Berlin: played outside Osan on Nov 26 and Dec 3rd

Axis - Jonathan Poirier
Allies - Rob McCoy

First experience:

Loser's game verse winner's game.

Winner's game — a player wins through offense and fulfilling his victory objectives. This is done through imaginative strategies and risk-taking

Loser's game — the player wins merely through preventing his opponent from achieving victory. A player who makes the fewest mistakes will win through cautious and orthodox play.

I did not pick up on this immediately, but near the end of the game it became clear to me that the designer did not sufficiently bait the hook for the Axis victory conditions. An Axis automatic victory will be more rare than a living Norwegian blue parrot. Essentially there is very little incentive for the Axis to play for an auto-victory when playing this game; it is so much easier to play for an end of game victory by preventing an Allied victory — the loser's game. Thus, the Axis player will probably not even try to take Moscow. Instead he will focus on a steady stream of replacements and sandbagging the Soviets having just enough victory condition spaces to win the game.

Ditto for the Allies as there is no real reward for winning early. A victory on the last turn is the same as a victory earlier in the war. There is no material reward for getting ahead of schedule which means every victory space should be measured in resources spent —bean counter paradise.

In tournament play, this can be solved easily as an auto-victory counts as 2 points, while a victory determined at the end of the game is only 1 point. The loser always getting zero.

Pulling off an auto victory before 1944 could be rewarded with an additional point. In this case the loser might be penalized with –1 for making way too many mistakes. This sort of negative incentive might bring out the animal in some players.

For a single sitting, just trot out the old marginal verse strategic victory idea with an auto victory being a strategic victory and end of game being a marginal victory.

My only other complaint was when I discovered all the tedious rules about the 7th US army via the cards. The US 7th army can't be on the map to execute operation Avalanche or Shingle, and you must do Avalanche or the US 5th army does not enter the game. However, the 7th can be on the map to execute Anvil-Dragoon but obviously wouldn't be available for the landing, just the Free French Army. Of course getting it off the map means another army or forces need to be deployed to fill the hole in the line for at least one round. If such available forces require lots of time and SRs to arrange this redeployment, that is too bad. A few player's notes on this difficult situation would have been nice.

Otherwise, not a bad game — a plausible interpretation that educates entry level players about WWII.

take care
rwmccoy
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Peter Stubner
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Englewood
Colorado
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I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both sucks and blows -- Bart Simpson
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Don't be too quick to judge Axis chances for Auto Victory. I do believe that an early game all-ops strategy is feasible for an Axis Auto Victory. I have been defeated in that method. So there is a juicy baited hook there for the Axis to try. If the Axis go for it and fail, they will need to scramble to shore up the defensive lines as the weight of offense shifts, as important Axis long term benefit cards may have been played for OPS. If unable to do it, auto victory for the Allies is now very feasible. I've also had games come down to the last few cards of play.

I've had a lot of fun with this game over the years.
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Mike Szarka
Canada
Waterloo
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When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
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If the Germans can’t play the Totaler Krieg card, they will lose the game (if they didn’t get an auto-win). In order to play it, they have to have a substantial VP total which requires an aggressive push by the Axis (as they also lose VPs if they haven’t captured enough territory). He can’t just turtle. And in my experience against competent Allied play it isn’t trivial to accomplish those goals.
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Jonathan Poirier
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I think this is a premature conclusion based on basically one full play of the game. This is leaving out all-important circumstances of this particular iteration of the game. Yes, by 1943 the Axis were no longer initiating offensives in the East, and simply began hunkering down and conducting local counterattacking only from that point. The circumstances had dictated that, not the game mechanics or VP system. There had been a series of more unsuccessful attacks in the East than successful going back to 1942, so the Axis had not really been getting anywhere for a while, several times taking even or greater casualties than the Soviets in their attacks. Then came an early Allied invasion in 1943 in France. Hopes for major offensive operations in the East simply ended at that point so units could be transferred from the East to France, and reinforcements and replaced units could be brought in the West, at least to hold back the invasion, if not throw it back into the sea. By the time the Allies were thrown out of France after a few turns, resuming offensive operations in the East had become infeasible by that point as the Soviets, who had been doing very little attacking against the Axis in the East during all the fighting over in France, had been building up and simply had grown far too strong to attack. There was no practical choice for the Axis on the Eastern Front other than to hunker down and make the Soviets attack to try and wrest control of the 3 lost victory point spaces in Russia. And in Africa earlier, the Axis had gone as far as they could, even getting as far as taking Alexandria, but then had to stop due to superior forces in Cairo and then Torch came. Axis simply had to stop attacking in the desert too. The game mechanics/system is really not what dictated an end to attacking in the East or North Africa in this case, but the circumstances.
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simon thornton
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I will definitely disagree with you regards Axis AV, I lost my first 4 games of the Allies to Axis AV. Against a hyper aggressive "play cards for ops and nothing else" it can be really hard for the Allies to avoid AV.

Once I d learn how to play the Allies I started to avoiding AV.

You can play to turtle as the Axis (and Ive done so), but by removing any danger in the east the Allies can play more cards and more quickly advance their agenda in the west. So some military pressure and therefore military risk has to be applied to the east.
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