War Status (or “Should The Bolshevik Revolution really Depend on Sinking the Lusitania?”).
The Russian Revolution and the US Entry have a large impact. In PoG the fact that both depend on the progression of the Combined War Status reduces the incentives of the Players to try and push the event which favours them, as they would thus also be bringing about the other, feared occurrence.
In SoE the progression towards the two events is de-linked, so players do not have a disincentive to try and push them to their maturity.
Two markers record the Russian Turmoil Status and US Involvement Status: these replace the influence of the Combined War Status on these events.
Both Players will probably devote significant energy to ensuring these events occur, given that the timing of their occurrence can have decisive influence on the outcome of the game (as was the case historically).
As a result it is more likely to see American troops around Verdun and Metz, and Lenin in the midst of red flags fluttering in Saint Petersburg.
The mechanics of the events’ occurrence remains otherwise the same as in PoG.
The BEF and MEF
Representation of specific units and events is always problematic, as game design has to settle for objective probabilities, while different persons will have different subjective assessments around the likelihood of the various possible developments.
PoG includes several specific rules for the BEF, but interestingly the player incentives thus introduced often lead to non-historical behaviours.
The solution adopted in SoE is based on the set of cards proposed by the excellent Banquets des Generaux website.
In SoE keeping the MEF expedition alive has a significant cost in terms of Replacement points and in terms of political energy diverted from the effort to involve the US in the war. The rewards will be unlikely to outweigh the investment if the expedition is not immediately successful, and a wind-up will probably be a more economic solution than allowing the expedition to linger on season after season.
Sequence of Play and Action Rounds
In PoG, as in many strategic war games, the presence of an end-of-turn phase breaks the fluidity of the action and distorts strategic incentives.
SoE turns the Action Phase into the “core” of the game, as all the steps and phases previously executed either before or after the Action phase are now performed “at some point” during the Action phase.
This creates a “continuum” of play from action to action, removing most of the strategic interference related to whether play is at round 1 or at round 6, with a “terraforming” impact on game mechanics. The tactics that used to work are left by the wayside, and the options the Players find viable in SoE bear little resemblance with those favored in PoG.
Players have incentives to stop the action and devote attention to the progress of their war effort. The aggressive Player will still be able to limit the ability of his opponent to take a breather by continuing to present challenges, but this attitude will have to be balanced to manage the risk of running out of steam first.
Some of the rigidities related to the offer of Peace Terms and the play of SR, RP and event cards have been weakened: accepting Peace Terms does not immediately end the war, and the rush for last minute gains on the ground before the Armistice is agreed can go a long way in securing a better outcome for the struggle.
Players have Diplomacy and Foreign Policy segments in which they can influence the Russian Revolution and British or US Entry dynamics.
SoE introduces the possibility to take automatic RP1 and SR1 actions, so that it is possible to SR one corps without play of a card, and also to provide replacement points to a minor nation without having to play that all-important card as RP.
Players can take Economic Actions to manage the timing of arrival for replacements.
Strategic flexibility is enhanced as Players can effect SR and OPS or RP and OPS actions with the same card play, whereas in PoG the decision to play an RP card effectively results in the paralysis of all units for the round.
Peaks and troughs in Options
In PoG the number of cards in a Player’s hand typically swings, from seven (or eight) at the start of a turn, gradually down to two or one at action six, to then magically jump to seven again at the start of the new turn.
In SoE the number of cards in hand is more stable throughout the game, with a disincentive to excessive frequency in activation of spaces because of the risk that this will result in skipping draws and lead to a smaller hand.
One very interesting difference in SoE relates to the effects of a changing War Status: in PoG the increase in commitment level results in the Player drawing all of a sudden an average of three or four cards from the new commitment level deck; in SoE the transition to the higher commitment level is much more gradual, as typically only one card is drawn each round.
Removal of deck culling and substitute event cards
PoG provides incentives to play (or not to play) the unique events cards because of the related deck culling effect. For example, playing the Italy event has the drawback that one of the few powerful 5-5 cards will disappear from the deck as the event is played (this had clearly been intended in game design).
In SoE the average OPS value of the cards the Allied Player should expect to draw is not influenced by whether the “Italy” event has occurred or not.
The average OPS value of cards in the deck is stabilized, and the size of decks augmented, especially as war status increases.
Unique event cards are replaced by substitute cards with the same OPS, SR and RP values. Rather than representing specific historical events, for the most part the 131 substitute cards represent policies, measures, tactics or technological solutions that could conceivably be repeated.
As a result, the chance of drawing a specific Limited War or Total War card is slightly reduced, and the probability that a specific event will occur at all is thus somewhat lower.
To alleviate this effect, Players are allowed to “recycle” cards in their hand as well as Combat cards in the Played Cards zone: they are allowed to discard one card to draw a new card. Recycling is an alternative to drawing, and clearly a less efficient one, however can be usefully utilized when forced to skip a draw.
The number of actions is increased from 6 to 8 per turn, and then to 9 once at least one Player reaches Limited War, and to 10 once at least one Player reaches Total War.
The number of Action rounds takes into account the fact that Players will be allowed to carry forward some of their RPs, and to take up to two reinforcement phases each turn.
The Player lagging behind in Commitment level will have to take “pass” actions or lose Victory Points (at least, he can decide when to allow consecutive moves to his opponent…).
It would be too long to discuss the set of substitute cards here; suffice to say that there is plenty of scope for Players to modify the ones proposed or to introduce their own new cards.
SoE does not have the comfortable chess-like structure of PoG, as Players are now allowed to invest cards to try and surprise the opponent with consecutive moves.
Surprise is always uncertain, so that all decisions taken in an action are made without certainty of which side will take next action.
The attempt to make consecutive moves is costly, and success unlikely: abuse will quickly lead to a depleted hand and narrower set of strategic options.
On the flip side it is conceivably possible (though unlikely) for a Player to take as many as four consecutive actions.
This feature conveys an atmosphere of uncertainty as apparently innocuous attacks could herald or shadow other dangerous developments.
The total number of actions in a game increases, with the side effect that it is relatively easier to build a higher War Status and bring about the collapse of Russia and the US entry into the war.
In PoG the play of combat cards in the first action rounds of a turn is more efficient, as this gives a higher chance of “doubling” their use in a later round, opportunity not available for combat cards played in round six.
Cards now have a longer tenure in the Played Cards zone as undefeated combat cards can remain in play in the Played Cards zone until the end of the turn following the one in which they were played. Cards are still discarded normally when “defeated” in combat, and in addition, the Player can decide to “recycle” them to gain a draw.
The casualty rate increases, as more combats will be performed with DRM bonuses, and attack will be favoured since more bonuses apply to the attacker and many combat cards reduce the effectiveness of trenches.
Movement, Combat and Control of Spaces
PoG and SoE reproduce a four year long siege of the Central Powers, both sides fighting with huge but very cumbersome Armies.
Within the limits of the counter mix available to each nation at a given point in time, Players in SoE have some more flexibility to re-organize their forces by exchanging Army steps Corps, or vice versa, or by merging reduced Corps into a full strength ones.
Given the different loss factors of units of different nationality, each Player will have different incentives, and re-organization is one additional tool to achieve tactical and strategic results
In PoG units gain control of spaces they move through, and it is possible to isolate many enemy units by simply moving one single corps around them, especially in the Eastern war theatre.
The introduction of a requirement to spend 1 additional movement point to gain control an area being passed through, and to stop if un-supplied, will significantly affect the play dynamic and the ability of small forces to isolate enemy units.
In SoE the progress of lonely units that move deep behind enemy lines will be slower, while the ability of units to advance relatively fast when adequately supported by reserves and friendly forces in the vicinity is fully retained.
Limitations preventing units from terminating their movement in spaces activated for Combat have been removed, and Players will be able to activate a space for both movement and combat.
The cost of SR for Armies has been reduced to 3, and a “cheaper” form of Tactical Redeployment has been introduced to allow Players to move single units in multinational spaces without having to pay the full activation cost.
Attacks and Advances
In PoG no attacks are allowed against empty enemy spaces, friendly controlled spaces, or spaces besieged by friendly forces.
In SoE attacks against spaces not occupied by enemy units or forts will result in an automatic advance.
Rules on Advance after Combat allow advancing units to “fan out” behind enemy lines. On the other hand, an attack executed by a single unit will rarely result in a two-space advance.
Corps will now be able to execute flanking attacks.
Consequences of Isolation
In PoG isolated units instantly lose the ability to move or attack, and survive in place until friendly forces open a new supply path, or until the end of the turn, when they are eliminated if still isolated.
It has been widely noted that this mechanism is asymmetric: units isolated during action 1 of a turn will resist for 6 turns, while units isolated during action 6 will not survive even for a single round. It also works in favour of the Allied Player, as he will have the last move in each turn.
The presence of an episodic checkpoint for isolation breaks the fluidity of the action and generates asymmetries that distort play.
In SoE units have a limited capability to autonomously react to lack of supply, and the consequences of being isolated are not influenced by when in the turn isolation occurs (i.e. whether isolation occurs during round 3 or round 6).
Isolated units can be activated for attack (only), with appropriate adverse modifiers to their efficiency.
Since attacks into empty as well as into friendly spaces are now allowed, the activation of isolated units for attack lends them a limited movement allowance.
The impact on play is significant: it is no longer enough to cut off a group of enemy units; now their attempts at breaking through need to be repelled while fending off the rescue efforts of other groups of enemy units.
SoE introduces a stacking distinction between Corps and Armies, allowing the concentration of a large number of Corps in a single space. The difficulty of supplying large armies in remote locations is reflected by the lower stacking capacity of spaces in the Near East map.
Players of SoE may voluntarily overstack spaces and then eliminate excess units.
Around the end of September 1914 the Armies on the Western Front started to dig-in and entrench, turning the war in a four year long siege of the Central Powers.
PoG reflects this tendency to dig-in, but attempting to entrench presents the disadvantage of having to activate a space without the certainty that this will result in an increased entrenchment level.
PoG optional rule 11.2.10 was proposed to address this aspect.
As noted, the SoE rules result in an increase of the casualty rate.
The combined effect of these influences is that the defence is not quite strong enough: the enhancement of entrenching capabilities provides an effective means of redress and reproduces the gridlock conditions experienced during the war.
Units will have a limited entrench ability even before play of the Entrench Event. Corps, as well as Armies, will now be able to entrench (although Corps will be generally less effective than Armies in entrenching, due to their lower Loss Factors).
Both Players are allowed to play the Entrench event, and doing so will trigger a permanent improvement in their ability to entrench, so that the Player calling the event first will enjoy a temporary “technological” advantage.
The introduction of the zero level trenches proposed by the “Banquet des Generaux” is an effective way of fully recreating the conditions that led to stalemate on the Western and Italian Fronts.
Corps can rarely withstand proximity with enemy Armies and quickly melt away when called to do so. On peripheral fronts (Serbia, Near East, etc.) it is the number of Armies that carries the day, if it were not for the Corps’ ability to cut supply lines.
In PoG the “raids” to isolate enemy units, especially on the Eastern Front, are one of the most effective uses for Corps units.
The effectiveness of Corps in gaining control of spaces is reduced in SoE, making it more difficult for a single Corp to cut deep into enemy territory.
The ability of Corps to entrench somewhat enhances their uses, but they need a better ability to withstand contact with opponent forces: the extended use for the Withdrawal event allows Corps to reduce losses by retreating.
Attacking or defending forces made of Corps and/or Forts will be able to fire on the Army table if their total Loss Factor is 4 or more in a single space (a concentration of force equivalent to an Army).
The ability to use the Army Fire table will give groups of Corps an increased staying power, making them tougher nuts to crack, especially if defending in intact Fort spaces
The strategic and tactical value of fortifications was an accepted tenet of all defensive strategies.
Fortified areas were built and maintained in efficiency as a matter of ordinary military policy, and this is reflected by the numerous fortified areas portrayed in PoG.
During the war years fortification technology evolved and adapted to the new conditions. SoE allows Players to invest resources in the fortification of new spaces (up to CF of 1) and in the restoration of destroyed forts (again up to a CF of 1; only the original owner being allowed to rebuild them progressively up to their original strength).
Italy is widely perceived as being a liability to the Allied cause.
SoE includes an amended version of a variant proposed by the “Banquet des Generaux”.
Together with many influences from other rule changes, the variant is in my view sufficient to turn Italy into a significant asset.
For those not convinced, however, an Optional rule previously published by Ted Raicer has been included that limits the ability of the Central Powers player to concentrate German Armies against Italy before the Central Powers reach Total War.
SoE incorporates an amended version of the Vesting Holland variant proposed by Mr. David Meyler.
The increased freedom of movement awarded to the German Army is reproduced by the lifting of the “race to the sea” restrictions from the moment Holland is invaded (most often this means from the start)
New Variant Cards
Many PoG cards have been altered to fit into the mechanics of SoE. In addition, substitute Event Cards have been introduced so as to mitigate the deck culling effects of removing the unique event Strategy Cards.
A few additional Event Strategy Cards have been added to reproduce famous or significant historical occurrences or characters; these are mostly inspired by variant cards included in the v2 cyberboard game box developed by Thierry Aradan; full credit for the original ideas is recognized to the authors. The impact of these introductions on play balance is minimal.
Designing and play testing the Suicide of Europe rules was a lot of fun. I hope you like them and that these enhance the enjoyment of your Paths of Glory experience.
Your feedback will gladly be welcomed and your comments appreciated.
23.0 Summary of Exceptions and Special Rules
1 OPS activation cost if stacked with BE in Antwerp, Brussels, Liege, Ostend, Calais, or Amiens (9.2.3).
BEF limited to BE/GE/FR/HO/England.
BEF corps cannot replace BR Armies. BR corps cannot replace BEF.
No attack from London alone. Dotted line does not add to flank DRM.
Loss priority if attacking:
BEF or BEF corps;
BRITISH ALLIED NATIONS (AUS, CND, PT, ANA)
Activate as BR, replaced as Allies.
Cannot replace BR reduced Army.
Cannot use BR-specific CC cards.
Cannot be used with Salonika or Africa event.
SR only inside Russia. No SR by sea.
Near East: “To Caucasus” Entry/Exit limit of 1 Corps by SR and 1 Corps by movement per turn
Loss priority if attacking: CAU.
August '14 restriction: no attack/move on GE forts.
1 OPS if stacked with US in France or Germany.
Reinforcements can be placed in Orleans if Paris is fully stacked (but NOT if Paris is enemy-controlled or besieged).
1 OPS activation cost if stacked with FR units in FR/GE.
Reinforcements placed on FR ports spaces. US corps can SR to FR ports.
No more than 1 Reinforcement event per turn (after Over There event).
1 RP with every Allied RP card play (after Over There event).
1 OPS activation cost if stacked with BR in Antwerp, Brussels, Liege, Ostend, Calais, or Amiens (9.2.3).
SR and RP not restricted when Brussels is enemy controlled.
Can rebuild BE 1 (RP) in Brussels, Antwerp, Ostend, or Calais if others unavailable.
SR and RP not restricted when Belgrade is enemy-controlled.
Can rebuild Army (RP) in Belgrade (if Nis is not CP controlled) or Salonika.
Always supplied in Serbia.
Salonika and Russian off map boxes are supply sources.
Unit is always supplied. Can only move via SR to/from the RB and Cintinje.
Allied from the beginning.
Spaces trace supply during attrition to Taranto while IT is neutral.
Limited entry (Salonika event card): GK units placed but cannot activate or be attacked. Salonika and Kavella are in play.
Greek Entry releases GK units to activate but does not restrict play of Salonika or MEF.
Note: MEF card can be played as a normal reinforcement after Salonika. 220.127.116.11
ITALY / RUMANIA ENTRY
May only be played as an event or discarded if CP is at TW and AL is not.
GERMAN Restrictions before reaching War Status 4 (or Event play):
No attack (but besiege is OK) on RU forts (Ober Ost).
No ending movement in or SR into (advance after combat OK) Antwerp, Ostend, Calais, or Amiens (Race to the Sea).
Activation and Movement
Only NE Armies can move or attack in the Near East: MEF, NE, OR, CAU, YLD, AoI. If placed as Reinforcement in their nation, they lose their NE ability (18.104.22.168).
Russia: only 1 Corps per turn can switch maps. Never an Army. After Tsar Fell event, only by SR.
Allied can activate only 1 space for combat per Action, in addition to the MEF Beachhead and the NE Army.
Beach supplied units: MEF costs 3 OPS to activate, Corps 1 OPS each.
Supply and Control
Only BR and AUS units may be supplied through the MEF Beachhead, and no Army other than MEF.
SN and ANA Corps are always supplied.
ANA does not gain control of spaces it goes through.
Turk units in Medina are supplied (suffer no attrition).
Allied supply by sea through Constantinople requires control of Gallipoli.
SR and RP
CP (except Turkey): SR only 1 Corps per turn.
Russia: only 1 Corps + Corps SR per turn and no Army can switch maps. SR only allowed in spaces within Russia.
British: SR only 1 BR or AUS Corps per turn by sea (no CND, PT or BEF).
No SR from Reserve Box to SN or ANA space.
ANA Corps is replaced directly on map (as Allies RP).
Allied SR by sea through Constantinople requires control of Gallipoli.
Sinai attack: –3DRM
Desert: restrictions in Summer (see Terrain Charts).
Albania has no units and may be entered by either side at any time.
24.0 Game Set-Up
Note: A unit in ( ) is at reduced strength; set it up on its reverse side.
Central Powers Set Up
CP Reserve Box: 4 Corps
Cracow: 1 Corps, Trench 1 Tarnow: 1st Army Przemysl: 4th Army Tarnopol: 3rd Army Czernowitz: 1 Corps Munkacs: (2nd Army) Lutsk 1 Corps
Timisvar: 1 Corps Novi Sad: 5th Army Sarajevo: 6th Army
Trent: Trench 1 Villach: 1 Corps, Trench 1 Trieste: Trench 1
CP Reserve Box: 8 Corps
Bremen: (1 Corps) Aachen: 1st Army Koblenz: 2nd and 3rd Armies Metz: 4th and 5th Armies, Trench 1 Strasbourg: 6th Army, Trench 1 Mulhouse: (7th Army), Trench 1
Konigsberg: Trench 1 Insterberg: 8th Army Danzig: 1 Corps Oppeln: (1 Corps)
Allied Powers Set Up
Allied Reserve Box: 7 Corps
Sedan: 5th Army Verdun: 3rd and 4th Armies, Trench 1 Nancy: 1st and 2nd Armies, Trench 1 Belfort: 2 Corps, Trench 1 Bar le Duc: (9th Army) Paris: (6th Army), Trench 1 Grenoble: 1 Corps
Citje: 1 Corps
Allied Reserve Box: 5 Corps
Riga: 1 Corps, Trench 1 Szawli: 1 Corps Kovno: 1st Army Grodno: 1 Corps Lomza: 2nd Army Ivangorod: 4th Army Lublin: 5th Army Dubno: 3rd Army Kamenets Podolski: 8th Army Odessa: 1 Corps, Trench 1 Stanislaw: 1 Corps
Near East Front
Batum: 1 Corps Kars: 1 Corps Erivan: 1 Corps
Allied Reserve Box: 2 Corps
Belgrade: 1st Army Valjevo: 2nd Army
Neutral Set Up
The following units are set up in the spaces listed only after that nation enters the war.
Any empty space in Belgium: 1st Army
Exception: BE 1st Army can not be placed in Liege if the Central Powers player made an opening declaration of war on Belgium.
Allied Reserve Box: 1 Corps
Allied Reserve Box: 1 Corps and 1 BEF Corps
London: BEF Army.
If Great Britain joins the allies because of a Central Powers opening Declaration of war on Great Britain, Belgium or Holland, then the BEF Army can be set-up in any un-occupied allied-controlled space in France Belgium, or Holland within 3 spaces of London; or in any un-occupied allied-controlled port in France.
Historical note: in the explosive situation of August 1914 the British profited from the professional nature of their Army: the British could be ready to intervene in defence of the neutrality of Belgium and Holland without the need to call for the aggressive measure of a mobilization.
Precisely because of their declared neutrality, however, Belgium and Holland could not develop joint plans with the British Army for the defense of their territory.
For these reasons, if Great Britain joins the Allies from the outbreak of the war, the BEF Army can be set up on the continent but on the other hand it can only be set-up in an empty space and can not be set-up so as to be stacked with Allied units.
Near East Front
Port Said: (1 Corps), Trench 1 Cairo: (1 Corps), Trench 1 Basra: (1 Corps), Trench 1
Sofia: 2 Corps Any other 4 spaces in Bulgaria: 1 Corps each space
Florina: 1 Corps Larisa: 1 Corps Athens: 1 Corps
Allied Reserve Box: 1 Corps, any empty space in Holland: HO VL Army
Allied Reserve Box: 4 Corps
Turin: 1 Corps Venice: (1st Army) Asiago: (4th Army) Maggiore: (3rd Army) Udine: (2nd Army) Rome: 1 Corps Taranto: 1 Corps
Persia has no units and may be entered freely by either side after Turkey enters the war.
Bucharest: 2 Corps Any other 4 spaces in Romania: 1 Corps each space
Near East Front
Adrianople: 1 Corps Gallipoli: 1 Corps Constantinople: 1 Corps Balikesir: 1 Corps Ankara: 1 Corps Adana: 1 Corps Rize: 1 Corps Erzerum: 1 Corps Giresun: Trench 1 Van: 1 Corps Mosul: 1 Corps Bagdhad: 1 Corps, Trench 1 Damascus: 1 Corps Gaza: 1 Corps, Trench 1 Medina: 1 Corps
The US enters the war with no units. All US units enter through Reinforcement Cards.