Sunday, January 29, 2012

Italians to the Rescue!

Yes, I did say Italians, and yes, I'm talking about WW2!  My work is still keeping me away from my normal gaming levels so to keep me going I have been sneaking in quite a bit of board gaming the past couple of months.  I had a chance to grab both the Europe 1940 and Pacific 1940 offerings from the Axis and Allies board games very cheap, so I did it finally.  These two games can be put together to play the entire war on all fronts.  We are actually having a lot of fun with this game.  It is quite easy to play, but the big strategic decisions are real brain breakers.  I highly recommend these games.  Anyway, back to the Italians!  During the course of my Europe game with Herrodadog, my Italians went nuts and ran roughshod over everyone.  At first I was thinking "what the hey!?!?", but in reflection, if you really think about it, the only reason they had a troubled start in N. Africa was lousy leadership and organization.  They were definitely poised to be in the driver seat otherwise.  So in this alternate universe they can shine.  Here's some shots from our game so far.  The Yanks have just entered the war and had their first taste of the action.
The A&A game board is rather appealing to the eye and what I like is the little miniature tokens are actually different for each nation for the most part.

Early on my Germans grabbed up all the stuff they were supposed to, and as a bonus they managed to pull off a successful operation Sealion!  I almost miscalculated, but barely got England in a real nail biter.  My Luftwaffe actually had some fighter support by the way.  So at this point the Germans were looking pretty good.

But soon afterwards we launched Barbarossa and dove into the USSR where things didn't move so fast, or so well.  I think I played this too conservatively and allowed the Russkies to get a solid front together.  I took a lot of my resource to grab England, and I was afraid of stretching too thinly into the Russian steppe.  Finally, one of my major battles very strongly resembled Kursk where I got my arse seriously handed to me and lost a bunch of Panzer Divsions.  OUCH!  So the end result is a stalemate in the East.

While all this was going on, the Italians made an early strike at Egypt shutting down the Suez canal and they never looked back.  They overran all of Africa removing all traces of the UK from the continent.  I addition they grabbed Greece and all the islands in the Mediterranean including Malta.  Italian production levels are now quite serious and they have a relatively secure base of operations to work from.

This translates to the Italians being able to go out and cause some mischief elsewhere.  Here we can see them driving through the Middle East and threatening the Russian oil fields from the South.  This will be a great boon for the Germans as now the Soviets must expend resources to defend the second front and thin their defenses in the North.

The Italians also managed to grab Gibralter from a napping Herrodadog which was really driving him nuts.  So now instead of the Yanks entering the war and making an easy landing in N. Africa, they had to fight their way into Gibralter before the Italians dug in too well.  The Yanks managed to take it back, but it was very costly.  In addition, the Italians have a tremendous amount of very mobile air assets available to counterattack and make another try to get it back quickly.  If they manage to take it back, things will look very bleak for the Allies indeed.

All UK assets and production are now coming from Canada and it will be a slow process of getting back into the war.