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Subject: A Full Campaign Game rss

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David A
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Having only recently acquired the game, this was my first game of Advanced Third Reich (look for a review soon). I found an understanding friend who was willing to play it over several weeks, while the game stayed set up in my attic. I took the Allies, figuring that his early game as the Axis would be action-packed and satisfying. We made several mistakes here and there, but most were correctable and none were game altering. Starting out with the Campaign Game is not recommended by the rules, but I found that our patience and time frame helped matters a great deal.

Observe massive changes in history as two inept, inexperienced commanders duke it out in the European Theatre!


Two-Player Campaign Game (Fall 1939-Winter 1945)

1939:
Fall:
Germany invades Poland, conquering it in one turn. Italy – impressed by the German assault – declares war on France and Greece. Italian troops mass on the French border, while tanks transport to Albania. Italian infantry advances into Greece. Russia occupies the Finnish border territory and Bessarabia. Finland resists but is crushed; Rumania wisely surrenders the Cernauti and Kishinev to Russia without a fight. Britain – taking advantage of the early Italian alliance to the Axis – moves on Tobruk.

Winter:
Germany invades Belgium and Luxembourg, but encounters staunch resistance. Luxembourg is taken at high cost, but Belgium repels the German troops with few losses of its own. Italy invades France, but is stopped at Marseilles. French counter-attacks crush the Italian force. Italian infantry takes Salonika while tanks advance on Athens.


1940:
Spring:
Germany invades France, unleashing the blitzkrieg. An ambitious exploitation attack on Paris fails, however, and Germany is forced to re-group. Britain sends an infantry unit and air squadron to assist France, but Franco-British counterattacks fail to inflict much damage. Italian armor takes Athens, conquering Greece.

Summer:
Germany conquers Paris. Demoralization of French forces prevents any counterattack, and French forces demobilize, stranding the British infantry unit in Caen. Belgium – weakened by constant attacks – falls, along with The Netherlands. German-Russian tensions increase, but Germany increases the Eastern Garrison to prevent a Russian entry into the war. Vichy France activates with Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia as its allies. Only Lebanon-Syria remains Free French. British tanks converge on Tobruk.

Fall:
Germany invades Denmark – which surrenders without a fight – and eliminates the lone British unit in a now-hostile France. Germany, as uncontested master of Western continental Europe considers an invasion of England. The conservative use of British power thus far has left the British navy intact and the homeland well defended. Germany opts instead to begin an early preparation for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia; German forces mass on Nazi-Soviet pact line and Rumanian border. As tensions increase, Russia invades Finland and Rumania proper. Rumania falls almost immediately, delivering Ploesti’s crucial oil supplies into Russian hands. However, Russia – not yet at war with Germany – is forced to continue oil supply to the Germans. British tanks take Tobruk, but the British navy in the Mediterranean is weakened repulsing a wave of Italian reinforcements.

Winter:
Foolish planning leaves Germany with too few resources to declare war on Russia. Germany – forced to waste precious time – masses its forces even more on the Russian borders. Russia takes Helsinki, conquering Finland and denying a strong Axis presence north of Leningrad. British troops reinforce Tobruk. Repeated operations hurt the Italian navy greatly but also cause the continued weakening of the British navy in the Mediterranean.


1941:
Spring:
Operation Barbarossa begins, and the Ploesti oil is promptly cut off. Germans drive hard into eastern Poland and Rumania. Rumania puts up stronger resistance than expected, and Ploesti remains in Russian hands. Seeking to increase resources, the Germans also invade and conquer Norway in a single strike against Oslo. Hungary and Bulgaria – seeing a chance to strike against Russia – join the Axis. Britain tries to conserve resources, committing little to offensives and most to rebuilding the damaged navy. A surprise Japanese-Russo peace treaty – brought about largely by U.S. diplomacy – brings an early transfer of troops from Siberia (although the troops will not arrive until the Fall).

Summer:
Operation Barbarossa continues: German forces take Ploesti and advance into the Ukraine. In the north, a small arm of the German forces clashes with Russian troops in the Baltic States. Italy launches an all-or-nothing invasion of Malta and succeeds in taking the stronghold! In one stroke, Britain loses its naval strength in the Mediterranean.
In response, Britain shores up its troops in Egypt and lands tanks in Bergen, threatening the German occupation of Norway. Responding to rising tensions, the U.S. imposes an oil embargo on Japan.

Fall:
With oil supplies restored, the dam breaks, and German troops sweep into Russia. Rumania is conquered, and Kiev is taken. German troops drive Russian forces out of the Baltic States and are poised to push on to Smolensk, Moscow, and Leningrad. Yugoslavia joins the Axis forces. Seeing British weakness, Germans launch an invasion of England. British navy repels some of the force, but a single infantry unit manages to land at Great Yarmouth. Britain halts other operations – including recovering Malta – to address the German invasion. The German infantry survives counterattacks but is hemmed in and unable to move. Armor units threaten German infantry in Oslo, but the relative weakness of the British presence prevents an attack. Partisans allied to Britain arise on the island of Crete.

Winter:
Winter grinds Operation Barbarossa to a halt. German forces push on towards Dnepropetrovsk in southern Russia but fail to gain any ground elsewhere. In addition, icy northern waters prevent German reinforcements from landing in England. Italy decides that constant defense of its islands from partisans is not worth the effort and decides to allow a full contingent of Allied partisans rather than waste resources on constant repression. Britain sponsors partisans in France who meet with a less conciliatory stance from the Germans.


1942:
Spring:
A muddy spring slows Barbarossa, but Germany is able to beat back Russian forces and maintain its gains from 1941. Its infantry remains stranded in England, and British naval forces array themselves in the North Sea to prevent German reinforcements. Britain recoups its strength and builds replacements, planning on a counter-offensive later in the year. Japan attacks Pearl Harbor.

Summer:
The U.S. declares war on the Axis and sends troops to England. British replacements raised in the spring, manage to repel German forces from English soil. Germans gain significant ground in southern Russia – taking Dnepropetrovsk – and slight ground in the north. Italy invades Alexandria, battering British troops in Egypt. Egyptian Wafdist forces are placated by British diplomacy and disband as a threat to the British Empire. Britain sends heavy armor units to Egypt by way of South Africa, but the units might arrive too late to fend of the Italian invasion.

Fall:
The Germans succeed spectacularly in Russia, threatening Moscow and taking Stalino and Rostov. Vichy France declares allegiance to the Axis. Italy takes Cairo, conquering Egypt (though British infantry remains in the region). The U.S. invades and conquers Morocco, thus establishing a bridgehead in North Africa.

Winter:
The Germans lose ground in Russia during another harsh winter, keeping possession of Rostov but being beaten back in the north. Spain – having already committed anti-communist troops to Operation Barbarossa – joins the Axis as a full ally. U.S. tanks advance into Algeria. British reinforcements reclaim Cairo from Italian troops.


1943:
Spring:
Spain conquers Gibraltar by land. Sweden piles on the anti-Allies bandwagon when it activates as an Axis minor ally. The Germans maintain their position in southern Russia and manage to push forward again in the north, threatening Moscow again. British troops reclaim Alexandria, thereby ending Italian presence in Egypt. The U.S. invades and conquers Portugal, thereby maintaining a foothold in continental Europe. Vichy French units defeat U.S. tanks in Algeria.

Summer:
Italy turns its attentions to Tobruk, managing to re-conquer the stronghold and port. Germany mounts a major offensive in Russia that proves disastrous: nearly every German unit involved is eliminated. Sweden invades and conquers Finland, defeating the Russian garrison there. U.S. troops invade Spain through Portugal.

Fall:
Germany tries to regroup in Russia but loses Rostov and is pushed back yet again in the north. A joint Swedish-German invasion of Leningrad fails. The U.S. conquers Spain – thus returning Gibraltar to Allied control – and pushes north towards France. A joint U.S. and British force invade Norway, landing at Bergen. Italy solidifies its hold on Libya.

Winter:
Another harsh winter in Russia stymies German recovery in Russia. Russian troops are unaffected by the conditions and mount an offensive, driving German troops out of Dnepropetrovsk and Stalino. German troops – already weakened by the failed assault on Leningrad – are driven further back to the Baltic States in the north. The U.S. and British forces join with the lone sentry British tank battalion in Norway to take Oslo. The U.S. wins costly battles in the Pyrenees, thereby successfully pushing into southern France but ill-prepared to assault German forces there. With control of Gibraltar, U.S. forces invade Italy, landing at Livorno.


1944:
Spring:
Threatened by an increasingly powerful Russia to the east and an Allied-controlled Norway to the west, Sweden switches sides and joins the Allies. Germans stem their retreat from Russia, trying to bolster their lines with spring reinforcements. Italians give staunch resistance to U.S. troops in Italy, as Italian air superiority proves insurmountable to the Allied ground troops.

Summer:
Diplomatic efforts and the changing winds of war cause Vichy France to suddenly switch sides, turning on their former German allies in southern France. North African Vichy units join the free French, lending naval aid to Gibraltar and moving tanks into Libya. Persia joins Axis forces and moves into Russia towards Grozny. Despite new French assistance, the U.S. gains little ground in southern France. A second invasion force lands at St. Nazaire and makes for Paris. German troops stationed in France take Vichy and move armor units between the second Allied force and Paris, bringing a sudden halt to the invasion plans. Russia continues to harass Axis units out of the motherland. With the Swedish withdrawal, Russian tanks take Helsinki uncontested.

Fall:
Russian forces take Kiev with the help of airborne units, pushing German units out of all Russian cities and into the rough terrain west of the Dnieper River. Taking encouragement from Persia, an Iraqi coup joins the Axis. The Persian invasion of Russia is crushed, crippling Persian forces and leaving only token units to defend Tehran.
Seeing a long road ahead, the U.S. abandons the Italian campaign and presses north into the Alps, guarding its rear with a heavy tank unit.

Winter:
In a breakthrough assault, Russian tanks enter Rumania, besieging Ploesti. A German counter-offensive cuts the tanks off from supply but regains little ground elsewhere. Allied units regain Vichy in southern France and push slowly towards Paris in the east. All countries are low on resources and are able to accomplish little.


1945:
Spring:
Turkey joins the Axis to halt Russian aggression. Russia rescues stranded tanks with a seaborne invasion of Constanta, winning a naval battle with Turkey in the process. Turkey invades and conquers Lebanon-Syria, capturing it from Free French forces. Italy presses north to strike at the Allied troops departing Italy – and to reclaim Venice, Genoa, and Milan in the bargain – but loses most of its troops in a disastrous strike against U.S. tanks. German and U.S forces struggle for dominance in the Alps with each side giving and taking ground. Nevertheless, Allied troops first set foot in Germany. Meanwhile, German forces crumble on the Eastern Front, as the Russians enter the Baltic States and eastern Poland. Russia suffers moderate losses but is better able to replace the lost units than Germany.

Summer:
Britain reclaims Lebanon-Syria from Turkey with the help of U.S. tanks.
A contingent of U.S. armor turns south again from the Alps and takes Rome in a lightning strike (this time with proper air support from Britain). Italy is conquered, and high anti-German sentiment causes several units worth of Italian forces to volunteer for the Allied service. The first U.S. force is held in southern France by heavy German armor, the second manages to take Paris but is then driven out by a German counterattack. A new, third joint U.S./British force invades Germany, landing in Bremen. The combined German navy in the North Sea unsuccessfully defends against the invasion and is broken by the Allied fleets in the process. Russia sends tanks unsuccessfully into Persia, but several infantry units move quickly through the mountains towards Ankara in Turkey. Sweden attempts a Russian-assisted invasion of Stettin but is repulsed by the surviving Baltic Sea contingent of the German fleet.

Fall:
Yugoslavia switches sides, joining U.S. and Italian troops in the Allied effort in the Alps. The third U.S./British force takes Berlin but is rebuffed by a German counterstrike. A strong U.S. tank unit invades Iraq, taking Mosul. Britain invades Turkey from Lebanon-Syria. Russia takes Warsaw and Krakow as the German Eastern Front enters full retreat.

Winter:
Bulgaria switches sides, though it has little strength to offer the Allies. High spending and losses earlier in the year leave Germany all but paralyzed. U.S. and British forces take and securely hold Berlin and Bonn. The Russian juggernaut steamrolls into Germany in a massive armor exploitation attack, taking Breslau, Dresden, Prague, and Leipzig in one assault, thus dealing a deathblow to German military power. Russia conquers Rumania and Turkey. A small British force takes Konya in Turkey. With air support from Mosul, U.S. tanks take Baghdad and suppress the Iraqi revolt. Germany responds with a feeble attrition war in the Alps but surrenders by year’s end.


Final Score: Stalemate
(Germany surrendered in Winter 1945)


Analysis:
As the Allied player, I relied too heavily on history to do my work for me. The build-up in Allied forces will crush the Axis eventually, but I failed to notice that I was running out of time. Only some desperate play in 1945 allowed me to pull a stalemate out of the game, though to be fair, the rather lucky activation of Spain for the Axis – and subsequent capture of Gibraltar – was a major blow to the Allies. My opponent, on the other hand, only had one major bungle – the stalled Operation Barbarossa. Most of his other setbacks were due to some significantly bad luck.

The Allied player needed to play more aggressively sooner, while the Axis player needed to either develop a more pointed Russian strategy or focus larger resources on an invasion of England. However, the changing nature of the game – particularly its diplomacy – means that these strategic changes might not yield expected results next game. Despite the historical nature of Advanced Third Reich, it remains unpredictable and exciting. I already cannot wait until my next game!
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Alan Richbourg
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Great writeup! I enjoyed reading it.
 
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Zack Stockdale
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ditto, lots of fun to read, would make a great alternate history story line someone call Harry Turtledove!
 
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Leo Zappa
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I also greatly enjoyed the read! I am inspired to consider bringing my copy of Third Reich 3rd Edition out of retirement (if I can convince anyone else in my gaming groups to play it with me!) Well done!
 
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Good report. It's rare to see any one pulling out the older games for a play. Many times getting through the AH rules takes longer than playing the game. Doubt I'll ever play my Advanced Reich. It's near the bottom of the heap. I admire your commitment.
 
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Steve H
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great AAR
Great first session report! Hope we will get to read more of the same from you. What's next in your attic?
 
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Till Bockemühl
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Although I haven't played the game, I also enjoyed reading this session report. Makes me think about getting a copy of ATR.

How long did that session take? You mentioned "several weeks". Can you estimate how many hours?
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David A
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Quote:
How long did that session take? You mentioned "several weeks". Can you estimate how many hours?


Hmm...I think that we spent roughly 60 minutes per season. With an additional hour for setup and a few extra hours for dithering and consulting rules (remember that we were both learning the game, and the rules are quite extensive), I would say that total hours of play came to about 27 to 30. Leaving it setup for so long was a sanity saving measure, but one could play it in a single, very intense weekend.

My upcoming review (next week, I hope) will address the learning curve as one of the few negative aspects of the game (big shock, coming from old Avalon Hill!). If you are interested in the game, please look for the review; even though I am really impressed with the game, I have no illusions about its problems.

Quote:
What's next in your attic?


Honestly, I'd love to play A3R again soon, but I need a slight break to absorb (not to mention finish my dissertation!). I'm trying to convince my informal group to play Down With the King or Republic of Rome next. Next on my "grognard" list is Siege of Jerusalem, one of my favorites!

Thank you all here for your kind comments. Writing the session report was a lot of fun, but it's nice to see that it didn't just disappear into the vacuum!
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Michael Sosa
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I enjoyed the session report. I am now convinced I need a good WWII war game...
 
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Rich Hart
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Cheltenham
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Superb write up, my hats off to you!
 
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Todd Dunnavant
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This was a nice summary, thanks! Here are some resources that you can use, if you want to continue to play the game and get better.

First, the Advanced Third Reich email list, on Yahoo!: Subscribe via a3r_ers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

See the group at http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/a3r_ers/

On-line game modules either at www.warplanner.com, or see the Advanced Third Reich module on the VASSAL game site, www.vassal.org. I "own" the A3R module for VASSAL, so, yeah, I like playing this one :-)

There is a quarterly magazine for A3R and related games, such as Empire of the Rising Sun and A World at War. If you want to focus on A3R, then get the back issues, up through about 2002. They are a marvelous resource for learning the game. Oh, yeah -- they can be had from the A World at War web site, at http://www.aworldatwar.com/. AWAW is the 3rd generation in the "Third Reich" line of games, with "Advanced Third Reich" and "Empire of the Rising Sun" being the 2nd-generation games. AWAW is a much bigger, more complex game, thus many people choose not to invest the time to learn it. And, yeah -- AWAW costs about $140 retail.
 
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Chris Reinsel
United States
Neenah
Wisconsin
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yeah I am happy with A3R. Enough complexity, but AWAW is too much for me. If anyone is in Wisconsin and ever wants to play, send me a sitemail.
 
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NACHO FERNANDEZ
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Very fine AAR!!!
Thanks
 
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Mark Owens
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Great AAR/Replay!
There's enough detail to convey what was happening per season without providing overwhelming detail.

Thank you very much for contributing!
Mark O.
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