Imperial Russia

Breaking away from the Second World War and paying a visit and tribute to the First World War. Coming this March, 2013
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Imperial Russia

Post by Larry » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:30 am

Axis & Allies 1914
Reports from the Front.
A walk through round one
Imperial Russia

You probably want to know the turn order so here it is: Austria-Hungary, The Russian Empire, Imperial Germany, France, The British Empire, Ottoman Empire, Italy, and finally, the United States of America.

That means it’s Imperial Russia’s turn, and Russia is not in a good mood! Her Serbian cousins and Romanian allies have been attacked by Austria. With national prestige on the line, various alliances and treaty obligations, as well as strong connections to these smaller Balkan states, Imperial Russia has no choice but to react militarily to this perceived Austrian aggression. Russia is mobilized and goes to war with Austria. As the major Central Power, Germany, will certainly come into the war on the side of its Austrian ally.

Italy was also attacked by Austria during its recent turn. With that, Italy has automatically allied with Russia, France and the British Empire against the Central Powers. This is a somewhat different course from the actual history of the events, but we know that in Axis & Allies we can rewrite history. For those of you who are thinking or asking the question... “Does this mean that Italy can come into the game on the side of the Central Powers?”, the answer is no. Italy will always be on the side of the Allies. Unless, of course, you wish to conduct experimentations with house rules and play with Italy on the side of the Central Powers (I know you’re going to try that at least once). I didn't want to get into some kind of game mechanic that when followed and tracked would ultimately decide on which side Italy would be. I thought for the sake of simplicity and smooth balanced play issues it would be best to simply make Italy always be on the Allied side. I'm find with that, especially in light of the fact that historically it did just that.

Historically, although Italy was allied to both Germany and Austria, it was making every effort to stay out of any future war in Europe. Italy, instead of participating as a full fledge member of the Central Powers, had recently been following a policy of neutrality. In fact, Italy and France had established a secret Franco-Italian alliance. This secret alliance agreement assured France that Italy would remain neutral should Germany attack France. Italy did manage to stay out of the war until May of 1915, but nonetheless did join the Allies against the Central Powers when the time came.

When, the Ottoman Empire's turn comes around, it too will declare war on Russia. Certainly Russia’s armies are vast and powerful, but so too are the armies of their enemies. Imperial Russia will find that it shares borders with all three of these formidable powers.

Imperial Russia spends its IPCs (it has 25 available) as it begins its first purchase of the game. Should it go heavy on artillery? Big guns are helpful if one’s intentions are to attack the enemy and push them back. That’s what Russia’s plans are, to some extent, but Russia is surrounded by enemies, so defense is also important. If I were to sum up the Russian battle plans, it might look something like this... Hold in the North against what will certainly be a strong German push, but at the same time drive toward Vienna... Poor Austria caught between Italy and Mother Russia will certainly collapse - Right....

The purchase is made. Seven infantry for 21 IPCs and 1 artillery for 4 IPCs are placed in the Mobilization Zone. Russia felt no urge to begin an aerial weapons race. Other than a single aircraft unit that Germany presently has, and certainly will use it against the French or the British, none of her unfriendly neighbors seem to be in a rush to purchase any aircraft either, but she has made a note to keep an eye on this possibility. There are those who say that whoever controls the air controls the battlefield.

With armies in Sevastopol and Ukraine, two Russian armies are transported to Romania. The remnants of a weakened Austrian force will certainly be destroyed, and Russia will find itself in position to move on Serbia or even Budapest next turn. Well, that's the plan in any case.

Troops from Moscow are moved to Ukraine and troops located in neighboring Tatarstan are moved Sevastopol. It would be a bad idea to tempt the Turks with a weak Sevastopol. Kazakhstan continues the movements, and moves to Tatarstan, replacing some of those units that just moved out. The Russian armies are on the move. The pipeline is filling up.

As the trains, trucks and marching soldiers arrive at their final destinations, we see the following deployment: One infantry and 1 artillery in Sevastopol, facing 2 Ottoman infantry and 1 artillery. This imbalance is tolerable, as Russia is willing to use them as a tripwire and hopefully stop the Turks in Sevastopol if they dare advance against the Motherland. Tatarstan has only 1 infantry, and it has no intentions of remaining there as it advances toward whichever front where it is most critically needed. Eight infantry and 2 artillery are currently in Ukraine. This may sound like a large force, and it is relatively, but facing it from Galicia are 18 Austrian infantry supported by 2 artillery units. It is hoped, and indeed expected, that this large Austrian force will have to react to the Russian attack on Romania. If they are successful, and they most certainly are expected to be, Galicia will have to reinforce Budapest what with the threat from occupied Romania. Belarus is showing 6 Russian infantry along with 2 artillery. Poland, directly next to the German territories of Prussia and Silesia, has 6 infantry and 2 artillery. The 4 infantry and 2 artillery presently in Livonia are mostly in transit, and will be reinforcing the Russian-German fronts next turn. Karelia has 1 infantry unit, also in transit.

The Imperial Russian navy remains in their sea zones. A Russian battleship in the Baltic Sea (in sea zone 12) and 2 fast moving cruisers (cruisers can move 3 sea zones) in the Black Sea (sea zone 21). Russia realizes, as do many of the other powers, that just having a fleet is sometimes more important than actually using it.

Contested Romania, being reinforced by fresh Russian units, finds itself with a combined Romanian and Russian force of 12 infantry accompanied by a large artillery force of 5. These are all represented by Russian pieces (as Russia controls the Romanian forces, there is no need to differentiate them). The Austrian force is comprised of 1 infantry and 1 artillery.

With warring parties only sharing one contested territory, Romania, the battle begins. Obviously Russia is expecting a quick victory and is delivered one. With the dice arranged on the battle board Russia promotes 5 of its 12 infantry to the “Infantry with Artillery Support” box. Russia rolls for 7 dice for its attacking infantry... they are looking for 1's or 2's. This is followed by the 5 artillery supported infantry which are looking for 3's or less on their 5 rolled dice. Finally the Imperial artillery fires off its 5 dice ... they too are looking or 3's or less. Four hits are easily scored and Austria will remove its 2 units. Before they are removed, however, they fire their defensive dice. One die for the defending infantry is rolled and one die for the defending artillery is also rolled. Neither scored a hit.

The two Austrian units are removed. Romania is liberated! Russia, being the attacking power, will be receiving the 3 IPCs that Romania offers. The National Production Chart, located in the Sahara on the map, is undated. Imperial Russia advances 3 places. No one loses IPCs for this gained territory, as it was previously contested. Of course, if Romania had been controlled by and paying IPCs to Austria its income would have been reduced by 3 IPCs when the Russian units moved in. But that wasn't the case in this instance...

This successful attack on Romania is proving to be a brilliant move. It places a large army on the Serbian border, thus threatening all of Austria's gains to date. It makes a direct threat to Budapest to the North and forces the Austrians to divide their otherwise large consolidated force in Galicia into two smaller forces. At the same time, these Russian units in Romania also threaten to combine with Russian forces in the Ukraine and jointly attack Galicia. It’s not always about brute force... sometimes it’s about location, location, location.

Imperial Russia is not the biggest power on the map... far from it. It’s not the smallest, either. The Central Powers are indeed great and formidable powers, and as I said earlier, all three of them share borders with Russia. The Motherland will be challenged, and it may not fair all that well.

We all know about the Russian revolution. It forced Russia out of the war. This potential revolution can also occur in our game. Already under great social and economic stress as the war begins, the conditions that can permit a Bolshevik revolution are always present. A Russian revolution, which I should point out is an optional rule, can occur at the end of any Russian turn starting in round four if Russia is losing the war. Russia will be considered to be losing the war if all of the following conditions are met:

Three or more territories adjacent to Moscow are controlled by the Central Powers.

At least one other original Russian territory is controlled by the Central Powers or contested.

Moscow is controlled by Russia or contested.

If the revolution occurs, the Imperial government is replaced with a republic. As a consequence of this, an armistice will be signed with the Central Powers, effectively removing Russia from the war, and the game. All Russian units outside of original Russian territories or Russian-controlled territories are immediately removed from the board, and Russia will no longer have a turn. I suggest that if this optional rule is used, one Allied player should control both Russia and the United States.

Well, it’s time to mobilize those new units that were bought at the beginning of the turn. As with all the powers, the new mobilized units are placed in the power’s capital territory. I guess it must be pointed out that St. Petersburg, or at the time, Petrograd was the capital of Imperial Russia. I must say that for the same reason the Bolsheviks made Moscow the center of its government, instead of Saint Petersburg, is the same reason I did. St. Pet's proximity to Berlin is way too close for comfort. In any case Moscow was the central hub of the Russian Empire. At times it got so confusing that even Napoleon thought that Moscow was the Russian Capital... :D. Did he know something we didn't.

New sea units can be placed in any sea zone that shares a naval base symbol with a territory that you originally controlled. New units can enter play even in a contested territory or hostile sea zone. No combat occurs because the Conduct Combat phase will be long past.

Finally, Imperial Russia will collect its IPC income for this turn. In this case, and with their newly established control of Romania, Russia will collect 28 very appreciated IPCs.

Germany is next, and it has a lot of work to do.

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Re: Imperial Russia

Post by VonLettowVorbeck1914 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:02 am

Very interested in the fast cruisers. Turn order looks great, and although a swinging Italy would be cool I understand the simplicity factor.

Russian Revolution seems cool. Do the CP get to keep the territories they were in? Can they keep attacking Russia (it seems not, which is good)? Is Moscow a typo and the territory is St. Petersburg that matters, or is it Moscow for industrial and historical reasons?

Thanks for the info! World War I was always more interesting to me than WWII, and this game looks ever more exciting to play!

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Re: Imperial Russia

Post by Flashman » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:41 am

When does Italy join the game if it isn't attacked?

Have you found that the Austrian attack on Italy is usual (jumping the gun rather than waiting for Italy to attack Austria), or is it better to wait (if Italy joins on round 2 it'll miss a turn).

I understand the copyright issue, but would it be possible to post an outline map; it'd make it much easier to follow the reports.

Regarding Russian capital, Moscow seems a long way off for the CPs to reach. In reality Russia collapsed long before the Germany got anywhere near this area, which is partly why I'm concerned about the capture-the-capital victory conditions for a war in which no major capitals were captured.

I imagine that Petrograd was considered too close to Germany, at least by sea.

Do the Central Powers have to physically occupying Russian tts to collect income from them after a revolution?

What happens to Romania and Serbia if there is a revolution - are they treated as part of Russia?

If Russia has dropped out of the war, is Moscow still treated as captured for CP victory purposes?
Last edited by Flashman on Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Re: Imperial Russia

Post by Guest » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:34 am

Larry it shows you know your W.W.I history, you could write a book of how you made the game(s), thanks, Pellulo

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Re: Imperial Russia

Post by Flashman » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:33 pm

Are there many differences from this map and Diplomacy?

Only spotted one or two so far. Austria seems to be a pixel-perfect version of the Diplomacy tts. ... e=original

Belarus and Tartarstan are new.

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Re: Imperial Russia

Post by WILD BILL » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:05 pm

These narrations are awesome, can't wait for Germany's turn. I can picture the 1914 game setup in one of your game rooms (assuming you have an entire wing for testing/playing AA back in Boston). Are you playing through a solo game, or do you have an opponent (keep him lock in the closet between sets LOL). Seems like too much detail to not be moving actual units around the board.

It looks like Politics will play an important roll early on, and although the writing is on the wall as to what side each power will join, there are limitations on who, and when certain powers can attack in the early rounds.

I can already see that politics limits the Russia's ability to make attacks, or start hostilities with other members of the Central Powers (other than Austria). I see how Austria attacked Serbia (by rule to start the fight), and they also attacked Romania. Being both are under the wing of The Russian Empire, Russia was able to retaliate. There was an absence of any Russian attack on the Germans or the Ottomans (don't think they are allowed to). Combined with you saying that both of these powers will come to the aid of their Austrian ally on their turns (treaty obligations), and could make attacks on Russia leads me to believe that Russia wasn't allowed to attack Germany, or the Ottomans (draw first blood) on their first turn by political rule. If neither of these powers attack the Russian Empire (not probable, but could happen) is Russia allowed to make attacks on them in their second turn? Would a German attack on France or UK lift those restrictions, and the Russians by treaty obligations can now attack whomever attacked their ally(s)?

Something similar for Italy. I know that Austria attacked them to bring them into the war in the first turn (may not always happen). This would definitely allow Italy to retaliate on Austria, and because the Germans on their turn would have entered the war aligned with Austria (probable attack on Russia/France) this would make Italy and Germany enemies as well (I think), allowing the the Italians to declare war on Germany if they want to. So by time Italy's turn comes around, the Germans will have thrown their helmets into the ring on Austria's side by reinforcing Austrian positions, or direct attacks on France, UK and Russia.

If Italy wasn't attacked by Austria, there must be a trigger to bring them into the war. Being you mentioned the French and Italians had a secrete treaty that would allow Italy to stay neutral if France was attacked by the Central Powers, the same treaty could probably be stretched into an attack on France allows Italy to declare war on the CP on their following turn. Although not completely historical, the game needs Italy to be brought in, so you can't just allow the CP to not bring them in if they don't directly attack them. Could just be Italy can enter the war on IT2 if France is attacked, but why delay it if France is attacked on German's first turn when Italy's turn is late in the order?


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Re: Imperial Russia

Post by Flashman » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:06 pm

I think you're making it sound a bit more complicated than it really is.

If Austria can alter history by attacking Italy on turn 1, I see no reason why Russia cannot invade Germany on its first turn. Technically Germany and Russia were at war before any shots were fired in any case.

I've suggested that the Allies not be "allowed" to invade neutrals, but simply by backing Austria Germany was already at war with Russia and France.

Italy, for example, was initially at war with Austria but not with Germany; I think for game purposes we have to assume that "war with one makes war with all".

This is a bit confusing since Larry has decided that Austria launches the first invasion even though, historically, this was a mere bombardment, and the first actual crossing of national borders was made by Germany.

Personally my turn order would have been Ger-Rus-Aus-Fra; it depends what you consider to be the opening hostility - as far as I can tell simply bombarding an area over a border is not part of the game.

The big question for me so far is:

What happens when a 3rd power enters a tt already contested between 2 others:

1. Must it attack the enemy units, just as if it is entering a hostile uncontested area?

2. Does/must it attack all enemy units, even if they are of mixed nationality?

3. Do units of friendly powers already contesting the area:

a. Have to take part in the attack

b. Can choose to take part in the attack

c. Are not permitted to take part in the attack

My guess is c; since if, for example, a single British unit entering an area contested between 10 French and 10 German units can trigger a full scale 11 vs 10 battle, the French stack would in effect have 2 successive attacks versus the German stack (which has not had a chance to reinforce between the French and British turns).

If I guess wrongly, and mixed armies are permitted to attack, then can the allies still choose who gets control of the area if captured even if the units of one of them are all eliminated? This might also occur if an attack against a mixed force by contesting enemies is wiped out in combat.

I assume that mixed forces are always allowed to defend together.

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Re: Imperial Russia

Post by oztea » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:20 pm

I want to know what happens to German units deep in russia when it surrenders, can they walk through russian territories to get back to Germany?

(such as the forces contesting Moscow)

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