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This isn't about the Variant rules particularly, but about a feature of the original ruleset (which I think the Variant leaves unchanged, but please correct me if not).
Russian armies cannot move into or attack Constantinople (except the CAU army).
This strikes me as quite bizarre. The Russians had coveted Constantinople for decades. If it had been within their grasp, they would surely have taken it. As it happened, the war did not see a Russian invasion of Bulgaria and approach of Constantinople from the landward side, but it could have done...
Of course, in the original game allowing the Russians to take Constantinople has the dramatic effect of conquering the entire Middle East. Your variant has removed that effect, so the conquest (will still a major Allied victory) would not be a game-winner...
I wasn't aware that the original ruleset didn't allow that...
May I ask, where is it written?
Rule 11.3.1 As part of the restrictions on Armies entering the Middle East. The restrictions also apply to Constantinople and Bursa, despite them being on the main map (so it says).
I have 2nd edition rules, first edition might not be so clear I guess...
edit:full text of 11.3.1 in 2nd edition rules
"The only Armies that may enter or attack into spaces on the Near East map are the Russian CAU, the British MEF and NE, the French OR, and the Turkish YLD and AoI. This includes Constantinople and Bursa, which are also on the main map"
Last edited by Philip Thomas (2007-05-17 21:58:54)
I'll rephrase it by stipulating
"The only Armies that may enter or attack into spaces exclusively situated on the Near East map are the Russian CAU, the British MEF and NE, the French OR, and the Turkish YLD and AoI. Spaces represented on both maps are unaffected. "
Thanks for pointing it out...
In fact I can just remove 13.3.1 altogether, the variant nation-specific rules cover all that is necessary...
Yes. Under those rules Russian units cost an extra point to activate when in Turkey. As written this applies to all Turkey, including Adrianople and Constantinople. Do you want to keep it that way?
I've changed it to
Any non-Russian space exclusively situated on the Near East map and containing a Russian unit costs one additional point to activate for combat or movement. Spaces represented on both map incur no such penalty.
...so that Persia, etc are included too.
I think with allowing the Russians to attack Constantinople with Armies will tilt the complete balance in the NE. You would constantly see a big part of the Russian Army operating in the Balkans till Constantinople has fallen. Do not forget the Turks start getting their Armies in TW while Romania might enter at turn 3 the earliest. In order to avoid this conquest of Constantinople the CP only has one chance. Not playing Bulgaria, which generally looks very very strange and avoids CP entry into TW if they did not play Guns of August as an Event.
As I was requested I will comment on the Variant rules in a separate Thread later this week.
Well, as Philip Thomas mentioned, Constantinople WAS on the Russian agenda. The reason why they never got near it was not due to some technical problem that prevented them from going past Andrianople. Because of the German pressure on the Homeland front, they had no forces to spare for such an adventurous operation; in addition, Mackensen's 11th Army operated in Bulgaria/Romania, and other German forces could have been made available.
I think an artificial twist of the rules such as the one debated here is always a sign of a flawed design. I think PoG is not, in that sense, flawed, and does not need such dubious fix: the historical conditions that prevented the Russians to implement their plans for Constantinople are relatively easy to replicate.
If no forces are available to intercept the Russian push, the option of a neutral Bulgaria does not seem to me unrealistic or a-historical. Bulgaria joined the CP out of opportunism. An unfavourable military situation in the area would have certainly led Bulgaria to an attitude of cautious non-commitment. Russia, with the Czar calling himself "protector of the Slavs" could not have invaded a neutral Slav country. Diplomatic consequences with the Western democracies would have been predictably disastrous, and the addition of the not negligible Bulgarian forces to the CP Order of Battle very unwelcome.
I still believe one of the soundest winning strategies for the AP is to prevent, or delay as long as possible, the "Tsar takes command" and "Fall of the Tsar" events. A substantial diversion of Russian forces in such a dangerous and peripheral expedition (vulnerable supply lines!) could give the Germans the chance to breach the front, reach for the Russian VP locations and set in motion the collapse of Imperial Russia.
On the other hand, if through poor/unlucky CP play or brilliant/lucky AP, the Russians manage to enter Bulgaria with a sizeable force, with nothing between them and Constantinople, it would be most inelegant to forbid them to go for it merely on behalf of such an unjustifiable rule.
Also Klaus, under the variant rules, the Turks keep going when Constantinople is taken: it doesn't automatically bring 6 VP points in its wake. So allowing the Russians to attack it is less dangerous.
Edit: yeah there is a danger of an attack on Constantinople becomeing a dangerous diversion which strips troops from the important task of defending Russia. In fact that is pretty much what has happend in the game I am playing where I tried for Constantinople but was stopped at Adrianople by the rule discussed above. As a result of my inept concentration of Russian troops on that goal I have lost all of Russia's Vps save Odessa (and Batum). However, he never got round to playing Tsar Takes Command so he couldn't take advantage of the rest of the Russian Capitulatin sequence.
In the normal game there is a tendency for Russian Capitulation (and still more, American Intervention) not to happpen. That probably does work in the Allies favour. In the variant they should happen more often, given the various incentives to aim for them, and also that it has become easier/more advantageous to play war status increasing cards- Brusilov Offensive being a case in point.
Last edited by Philip Thomas (2007-05-21 21:22:26)