This page consists of several game reports that you can download and view or print and a commentary on what's happening in the turns. Players are welcome to send in their own thoughts and suggest alternative actions that could be discussed in the commentary.
Turn Twelve Game Report   File size 37k
ANALYSING THE POSITION
Looking at the turn twelve report, we're Prussia and it looks like we're in trouble. We've only got five territories, and that's the same number we started with. It looks like we're in the middle of a war with Polands, and the Poles have been getting the better of it.
In the "Other Land Areas" section we can see three big armies on our borders. There's a big French army just arrived in Hanover, and in the long run that's going to be the biggest threat. Always assuming we survive long enough to care about what happens in the long run. If the French decide they want to knock us out, then we're done for, so we'll assume they're going to leave us alone. They're more likely to be worrying about Austria, Spain or the English.
The main Polish army is in Magdeburg, which is pretty strange, and Saxony has a big army as well. With that many troops, if the Saxons were going to throw their weight around they'd be doing it already, so it looks like Saxony is playing very defensively. If they were allied with the Poles then we'd have been carved up long ago. So we can probably get away with ignoring them for now.
We can guess what's happened for the Poles to be in such an odd position. They must have marched through Pomerania and Mecklenburg, and then got distracted by all the territory they could capture in northen Germany once they arrived. That's a big mistake. With Pomerania and Mecklenburg back in Prussian hands, their position has been cut in two, and they've got no supply line to their main army.
So the Poles in Magdeburg aren't the threat they appear to be. They've probably eaten all their supplies by now. They can move, and they can fight if someone attacks them, but they can't make attacks of their own. Which means if we leave them alone, they're not going to be a factor. All that will happen is the army gradually disperses.
This is looking a lot better than it did at first sight, and on the second page of the turn twelve report it gets better still. Look what happened on action three. There was a second Polish army in Warsaw, and we wiped it out when they attacked us in Prussia (there's a province called Prussia, as well as a country). That's another dumb thing they did. You'll see how it happened - in the first two actions we placed a lot of troops in Prussia, that they weren't expecting, and then we entrenched them in anticipation of a direct attack from Warsaw. We got lucky.
It does confirm our guess that the army in Magdeburg is out of supply, though. They wouldn't be attacking us with the armies defending their capital, when their field army is on the outskirts of Berlin, not if they had any choice. Even so, it's an odd thing for them to do. They needed to be fighting their way through to the troops in the west with supplies, not nibbling at well-defending areas in the east.
PLANNING THE COUNTERSTROKE
The first thing to do is see if we can take advantage of the what happened last turn. Going back to the front page of the game report, we can see they've got no armies left to defend Warsaw. That's their capital, their only supply centre. If they lose it, that's going to be decisive. Looking at the third page of the the report, we're ahead of them in the turn order. If we can hit them with our first action, they're not going to have had time to raise any troops (they've got lots in reserve, but if we hit them hard and fast they'll never get a chance to deploy).
The army in Prussia is 11 strong, but it has only three supply trains, so it's going to an expensive move. A quick check (front page, three quarters of the way down, underlined in bold) tells us we've got 11 build points to spend. That's most of our income on one action - but it's going to be worth it.
There are lots of other things we could be doing with the rest of the turn, although having spent most of our BPs limits our activities quite a bit. If we were worried about what the Poles might be up to, we've got three armies in reserve that might be dropped into position somewhere. A common thing to do when attacking is to use the next action to place reserves in the position your army just moved from. That replaces your losses if your attack fails, and ensures the area isn't left undefended the next turn. Although the arrival of the reserves makes the area "sticky", that doesn't matter if you've already marched your armies out of it.
If Poland had done that last turn they wouldn't be in such trouble this time.
Looking at the "Land Areas Owned" section, the population of several of the areas we own in very low (that's the "Pop" column) and we could well be growing the population back up with GROW actions, quite cheaply (the grow cost, which is the cost of increasing the population by one, is in the "GC" column). That's going to be an important thing to do, and soon, but right now it's got to be better to hammer the Poles as hard as we can. So the rest of the turn will be taken up with TAX actions (because we've used up most of our BPs) and gathering supplies, prior to using the army we threw into Warsaw to mop up a couple of extra provinces. It's probably safe to leave Warsaw undefended, since we think we'll have deprived the Poles of all their supply sources.
Notice that some of the SUPPLY actions are simply building new supply trains. Those are the ones that just say SUPPLY BER. Others move the supplies trains we already had, and the ones we just built, straight to Warsaw. Even though Berlin and Warsaw aren't adjacent and we didn't already have a supply line established at the start of the turn. We're relying on the army that attacked from Prussia establishing the supply line as it moved (and Prussia did already have a supply line from Berlin, through Pomerania).
OK, let's see what happened.
Turn Thirteen Game Report   File size 38k
OUTCOME OF THE POLISH CAMPAIGN
Well, that went like a dream. All the risks paid off. None of the bad things that could have happened actually did, but you can probably imagine what it would have been like, waiting to find out whether Saxony and the French would behave themselves and whether the guess over the Poles being out of supply would turn out to be right.
One thing to notice about the turn is that the two attacks at the end of the turn were very cheap, costing only 1 BP each. That's becuase we spent some actions and BPs gathering supplies. The only reason we didn't do the same on the first action is we wanted our blow to land before the Poles could react to the situation.
One result was all the BPs that were left over at the end of the turn. You can't carry BPs over from turn to turn (except by using the STASH action) so the leftovers get spent automatically. In this case we get four more supply trains in Berlin (our capital), four new armies in our reserve and one BP spent on an ORDER action to keep us reasonably well up the running order next turn.
CONCENTRATING FOR AN ATTACK
If you're playing in one of the other Empires games, then one thing you'll notice as you look at these game reports is the way the armies are concentrated. In the other versions they tend to be more spread out, so that when you want to launch an attack you need to gather armies from two or three areas together. The difference is the supply rules. A similar attack in Medieval Empires might look like:
You can see the attack is much slower to develop. It's harder to put yourself in position for a decisive move on the first action, and one of the skills in the Medieval and World games is managing to set up positions for the following turn. In this case it's made even slower by using RESERVE actions to reinforce the areas the attacking armies are drawn from, but this helps reduce the risks.
USING SPIES AND SABOTAGE
A lot of the time when ther difference is strengths is much less, then players will throw in one or more SABOTAGE actions to even up the odds. It's especially relevant if all your effort is going into a single attack, so that a sequence of TAX (if needed) SPY and SABOTAGE is a good way to soften up a position. So you might see the sequence above preceded by something like:
And that would wipe off a couple of the defending armies. It's not actually a cheap option. Assuming the spies are new ones created each time, it's costing 3 BPs and two actions for each army eleiminated. But it can be decisive because of the difference it makes when the battle actually happens, and it's something you can do "on the spot" without having to wait for new armies to be built and deployed.
All you can do with armies and ships in your reserve is place them on the map. They can't move or attack until the following the turn, but they can defend in the meantime. Usually people place their reserves either where they're concerned they might be attacked, or in a location they want to attack from next time. And most of the time you want to get your reserves onto the map sooner rather than later.
If you've got a fair sized empire, and the area you want to attack from is not sticky, then a useful idea is to place your reserves in an area BEHIND the front line or somehwere that appears to be threatening a completely different target. The following turn your troops are unstuck, make a rapid move to the jumping off point, and then attack with the next action. The delay in the attack is likely to be worthwhile if it means your opponent doesn't see it coming.
If you're in the sort of situation that's illustrated in the commentary above, when you've been out-manouvered, you know what's coming and there's nothing you can do about it, then it's best to accept what's going to happen and set up a counter attack instead.
In the example, if the Poles had placed their reserves somewhere adjacent to Warsaw, then they might have disrupted the subsequent movements of the Prussian army, or been in a position to re-take Warsaw the following turn. In this case that would only be possble if they'd saved some supplies somewhere - in European Empires it's probably worth ensuring you don't have all you supplies in one basket.
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