NEAR EAST (Back to Paths of Glory Strategy)
I find the Near East in the tournament scenario is a matter of "momentum opportunities". Example of an opportunity is -- Yudenitch card shows up early enough during Limited War, especially if it arrives before Bulgaria is available to CP (and so Turks are "Truly Alone"). Because it can get going while the Turks have relatively little to interpose -- just playing the card is good for at LEAST one round of total panic SR from the CP, and then "maybe the first die roll against Erzerum is good" and if it IS then you're off to the races with a really good shot at doing a quick-pickup of Mosul & Baghdad, with "continued irritation potential". So I can't remember if you had Yudenitch card available before Bulgaria came in -- if you did, it would have created huge immediate pressure (as opposed to the slow eventual value of the 2 armies in Kharkov -- I mean obviously you'd have held that card for a turn). Even if Bulgaria was just entering, it's still a strong consideration, given that Russia had pressure going already and Yudenitch would add much more immediate pressure than Kharkov armies, and once it's at Kars it doesn't cost much to make that "first key roll" vs. Erzerum and see how it goes. If it goes well, things can get "real good real fast".
- NelsThompson (talk) I had Yud on the BU entry turn. I would have to go back to look at my options, but iirc, I realized I had missed the opportunity when I didn't play it early.
MEF is usually more of an opportunistic/annoyance card, and/or "because I just need war status".
Near East Lines of Play
Focusing on the gains each side can make and the conditions that make them most desirable.
Play CAU before BU entry. Press through Erzerum (not Rize?) to threaten Mosul and Baghdad. Or drive directly along the Black Sea coast to Constantinople. Should the Russians deploy one or more corps to the Near East hoping for early draw of Yudenich/CAU? I'm not sure. Out of the box, as standard play, maybe. There aren't so many opportunistic AP SR plays, and one or two RUc to the NE can develop a threat if the cards fall. I have moved away from this in my recent play, focusing on Austria or on the German fort line. I might return to one or two corps tossed into the NE, hoping to draw interest.
- Brianreynolds (talk) Not Rize. If you go through Rize against anything but a completely unprepared defense, you can end up with a trigantic stack of Bulgarians on Kars, and then you're just sad. CAU always needs to be able to reach Tbilisi. If you can pop Erzerum early, then the race is on -- I think the best opportunity is then through Diyarbakir to try to slice off Baghdad & Mosul by taking Martin - which then adds fun little side-lines of play with the BRc from Basra). Depending on "things", I would I would also consider a stack of RUcs holding Kars and then CAU going to Eleskirt, because it threatens that same southern path.
What's par for Allenby? Much depends on the Turkish army draw, of course. Allenby is a must play to secure Egypt, I'm pretty sure. In a normal game, where the CP probably has at least one TU army and probably Kemal in hand, what should the push be with Allenby? I feel that Allenby should take Damascus, and Damascus will threaten Mosul and Baghdad, too, but I'm not sure what to do to make that happen.
- Brianreynolds (talk) The main thing with Allenby is the huge opportunity cost involved -- he has a LONG way to fight through to generate even his first VP, and for the privilege you've already given up two 4 cards AND given the CP a very useful piece of war status if Russia is "on the menu". I've tended to use him more as a threat than as an actual "thing", but I've certainly watched game logs where he works his way up into contention for Damascus and stuff. I *have* played Sinai just to keep the threat open, and then also a stack of 3 BRc's in Sinai is enough of a threat to provoke some reaction. But it's tough going.
- NelsThompson (talk) I buy that, and for now I'm going to revise and not assume Allenby should be played nor that he should get a VP. I get nervous about losing Egypt if Allenby isn't played, but this is easy to estimate, and it's a risk that can be measured and floated or not floated. Partly I don't know how to manage WS, and I've felt that the AP needs to play Allenby to get the US in the game, but I think you're right: it's more complicated than that.
The Turks should be prepared to go for Baku. I think it's one of the most reasonable ones to push for in a 1 VP game. Like some of the other pushes, it can at least be explored. It only takes two spaces to get it: Kars and Tbilisi, and if attrition favors the CP, or could with a good opening roll, it should be attempted.
- Brianreynolds (talk) Totally agree. And of course they historically took it :) It's kind of on the opposite end of the momentum swing with the CAU -- basically it's when YLD comes on before CAU and gets its act together, which I think comes down to taking Batum and then having a combined Batum+Erzerum stack "all adding to an Army attack table value" which pure RUcs can only hold out against for so long. And then quickly take Grozny & Poti so the CAU can never enter the NE map (it isn't allowed to walk there overland later, unlike corps)
Watch for the opportunity to SR multiple BU or GE corps from within NE adjacent to Basra after AP SR play. Another reasonably priced 1 VP attempt.
- Brianreynolds (talk) I often THINK about doing this, but it takes a lot of SR followed by painful number of ops. Rolling on c5:c4 is... not a guarantee!
Another reason to set up early with CAU and early to TW and Allenby. In some games, the AP can't be stopped, and going into the contest, if this is one of those games, you want to take advantage of it. But how about from the other side? How do you set up Russian or French Orient Army pressure? This is a deeper problem. I don't know how to prep for it. What is the favorable ratio to attempt it? I'd like to have a playbook for it, so at least I can threaten it and pin an extra AH army in the Balkans to prevent it, or maybe get lucky.
I'm not sure this gets to happen much against seasoned PoG players, but if AP is neglecting sending anyone down there (or piling up in Basra / MEF) and YLD is available, then "getting across the Nile" is completely a possibility. YLD and TUc stay in Sinai to guarantee supply (Desert allows retreat cancellation), and the goal is to batter Cairo down and then SR in an extra GEc and stuff. Getting a GEc established on NE map early is essential (because their combat cards are SO useful on NE map)
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