WIFCON 2006, Lansing,
From left to right: Tom Bell (Ru/Fr), Richard Dagnall (CW), Paul Rae (Ge), Bob Rodriguez (USA/Chi), Steve Balk (Ja/It)
S/O '39 Storm Clouds over Europe: Poland falls under the German shadow as Buddha looks on, laughing... perhaps he knows that their plight will not be SO long, this time.
M/A '41 Breaching the Pyrenees: Counters obscured by driving rain, Rundstedt smashes a pair of holes in the Spanish line with an o-chit.
M/J '41 Breakthrough in Spain: The breach is decisive and the Germans advance.
M/J '41 CW Raid in France: The CW lands in France, taking Lille and Rouen... this raid however will result in their loss of 4 corps and the Royal Engineer.
M/J '41 Far East: Japan gobbles up Siberia... this is one of the few non-blurry-all-to-heck pictures I managed to take of the east.
J/A '41 Mopping up Spain: Barcelona falls and German forces rush towards Madrid.
S/O '41 High Water Mark: Germany loses it's nerve and won't advance much beyond this point... an inexhaustible supply of CW troops seem to bar the way, and US entry is becoming imminent.
M/J '42 Russians Advance to Contact: Horrible miscalculation/inattention in M/A '42 leads to Russian DoW in that month. A frantic scramble to take out Yugoslavia and reinforce Rumania ensues, an effort which is just barely successful .
M/J '42 Allies' Southern Bridgehead: After bitter battles for the Pyrenees line, the Allies position is strengthened by more landings in Southern France.
J/F '43 Disaster in the East: Rolling inexcusably high dice, Russia has smashed through the Vistula line and is contained by the thinnest of margins. Army Group South has retreated to the Danube.
J/F '43 Holding the Line in France: Germany mounts what it hopes is an effective defence of the Seine. CW will make a mockery of that in the next turn.
S/O '43 The End for Germany: After delaying the inevitable throughout the summer, Germany we finally succumb this turn. Allied initiative robs Manstein of the opportunity to mount one final counterattack...
S/O '43 Fortress Japan: Steve's Japan now thoroughly on the defensive, about to face all Allied resources... he will last well into '44
Germany: Paul Rae
Japan/Italy: Steve Balk
USA: Bob Rodriguez
CW: Richard Dagnall
USSR: Tom Bell
NOTE: Here is a truncated Game Report from the German perspective:
Axis strategy was to close the med. Initially we planned to invade Gibraltar from North Africa but the initial turns of combat between Italy and CW were brutal (we did not use carrier planes, so the CW fleet was probably a bit more effective than it is usually) and made it evident we wouldn't be able to pursue that strategy very quickly. Instead we decided to invade through Spain.
France was finished in J/A '40 due to 2 of the 4 impulses of M/J being storm... however we rejected Vichy in the interest of having unobstructed access to the Spanish border. this was our first really serious mistake... Cleaning up the last French resistance slowed my advance to the Spanish border, and although S/O was beautiful (6 impulses of fair weather) I only got my troops into position (and then only in a very ad hoc fashion) by the 2nd to last impulse. DoWs Spain, rolled a 5 in a +8 assault on Bilbao, but did manage to get two hexes on Barcelona.
The Allies scheme nefariously as the younger Velten looks on
The winter was murderously bad. CW reinforced Spain heavily, but in J/F '41 I got a rain impulse and threw an O-chit and smashed through the mountain line, killing Franco. Failed another attack on Bilbao subsequently, but I managed to isolate and destroy Alexander and kill several CW units. M/J I advanced through Spain, taking Barcelona and getting up to Madrid. CW had 4 amphibs at this point and invaded at Calais and took Lille, however I contained that thrust and killed a bunch of units
In J/A Madrid fell, and I closed in on Bilbao. CW managed to extract some of his units which were trapped on the east coast of Spain and bring them to Gibraltar. In S/O I took Bilbao and advanced a bit further south. At this juncture we Steve and I held a council of war. The CW had seriously whittled away the Italian fleet and there was no chance of support form the North African side. CW production from Food in Flames and getting the Spanish factories and resources for several turns meant that there was a very imposing army built up around Seville. We gloomily decided that our chances of taking Gibraltar were small and we should try and make the best of a bad situation and go for the '42 Barb.
The Argentine Gambit - Soon, ALL of South America will fall to American imperial ambitions!
I extracted from Spain and left screening forces to contain the CW. The CW followed up aggressively, landing all along the east coast of Spain with a seemingly endless supply of land units. By M/A '42 I was seriously wondering if I could even launch a '42 Barb since the CW were now landing on the south coast of France and outflanking the Pyrenee line. At this point Steve and I decided that it would be necessary to sitzkrieg and try and kick CW off the continent... unfortunately I had not been manipulating my garrison chits AND I had aligned Finland in J/F '42, so the moment I withdrew a few troops from the east, USSR broke the pact.
Well I knew this was our death knell... basically at this point it became a rush to kill Yugoslavia, align Hungary then Rumania, rush defending units there, and then it became a defensive action. My opponents were extremely aggressive however and slowly but surely I was driven back across France and Poland, defensive line after defensive line succumbing to O-chits. USSR took Berlin in J/A '43 (all German calendars were re-labeled 1945 to keep our morale up). CW took Kiel and Munich and reduced the factory line in the same turn. Hamburg fell to the CW and Stettin to the Soviets in S/O. Game Over, Player 1!
Steve Balk pacing as the Allies plot his final destruction
Steve's Japan played a solid game but was ultimately sunk by persistent bad luck. We did get all three of the USSR's eastern resources early on, but USSR (wisely as it turns out) never made peace. Operation Olympic was launched in M/J '44, conquering Japan finally.
As to the CW's incredible beef, several factors played into this:
1) we played Food in Flames and did not mount an effective BoA
2) CW produced with Spanish factories and resources for almost a year, and then again after Spain's liberation
3) US sent massive lend lease to CW
I have never seen another CW so completely built out. He was advance building all kinds of stuff, and the entire war in western Europe was 90% fought by CW troops. Also he built out his amphs and built an o-chit every turn (two later on). From 1942 on, it was constant supercombineds and invasions, followed sometimes by a land ochit. Oh yeah he also built every single CW BB in the force pool...
Also.. Richard Dagnall is a wizard with naval search dice, to the point that he wasn't even seriously escorting his convoy points. Steve could simply never find him.
Well that's my tale of woe. I have learned a lot this game about the need for laser like strategic focus as the Axis. I have also learned that maybe I should pay attention to the garrison in '42!!
All in all a fun game against excellent opponents, I should be so lucky to face them again for my revenge!
Since the con ended early for us, we set up and played Patton in Flames, the 1948 scenario. Since it was basically classic rules, it played quickly and was enjoyable... much fun was had by the Allies dropping A-bombs on my advancing Russian hordes! We got up until the Spring of 1950 before calling it and playing a short game of 7-ages, also a very fun game. Thus ended my 2006 con experience... now begins the long wait for Wifcon 2007, and hopefully slightly more success!