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Ok I've gone through the rules and (especially) the cards and noted down any changes I can find, and put them in any fronts which they apply to. I may have missed a few, if so please point them out. Here is the Italian Front.
Italian front Changes
No link between Trent and Verona, Italian army moved from Verona to Venice, Italians set up with Trench 1 already in place. French,British and US armies may not move into Italy, and only 1 Corps from those nations can be in Italy. Trench 0 in place everywhere once Entrench has been played, German units may not move into Trent, Villach, Trieste or Italy unless CP is at total war: German Armies may not move into Italy at any time. Von Below requires play of H-L, is 1917+ and cancels Mountain effects as well as trenches. Italy will not join if Paris is Cp controlled. There is no VP penalty for Italy not joining, though the Italy card can only be played once as a non-event. Everyone into Battle now works as an allied Sud Army in addition to its usual form.
The Italian front in basic Paths of Glory can be the decisive sector of the War, with the CPs breaking through the pitiful Italian armies and marching on Rome. In the Banquet des Genereux variant this has become an unlikely scenario. The fighting on the Italian front is likely to be restricted to the foothills of the Alps as was historically the case. The missing link between Trent and Verona is one facet of this, while the restrictions on non-Italian and non-Austrian armies operating in Italy are another. Indeed there may well be little Italian actvity unless an MO is rolled, for both sides are working against Trenches and the Italians will realise that advancing into the mountains risks bringing down German Armies and the improved Von Below. Although there is no longer a VP penalty for not bringing Italy into the war, the Allied player will probably want to play Italy for War Status, especially given the encouragement towards US entry in this variant. If the Germans are in Paris Italy won't join, which increases the already high incentive for a German drive on the capital.
Another major reason to play Italy is to tie down AH forces. You are right in seeing that major breakthroughs are no longer on the cards unless a major concerted effort is mounted (which generally means bringing in at least 1 german army). MO's are indeed the major combat action on the front, which contribute to attrition.
However the CP player cannot afford not to garrison the front with 2 VP locations on the border and Vienna not too far away... ...result: at least 3 AH armies immobilized which will be missed in the Balkans and on the Russian front.
Yes, I expect Italy will get played one way or another.
I find I can garrison the Austro-Italian border with 2 AH armies and some corps. But that is in the normal game where anything in Maggiore is just asking to be put OOS.
You probably could get away with that - but it is very thin. Either you garrison Villach with a few corps or otherwise a victory location... A lucky italian MO could seriously damage the position and/or give the italian easy (follow-up) attacking options - I prefer to avoid that by putting in the extra army
in my current online game (with the 'normal' rules) I am putting pressure on the Italian front (I'm Allies). With some US corps I can get up to 12 strength attacking Trent, which is then reduced to the 6 column by the terrain.
With the changes I wouldn't get more than one US corps. And in any case I could only get 3 units on Trent for strength 6 at most. Much less worrying for the Central Powers.
I suppose this shows the changes work both ways- they hamper Central Power offensives into Italy and Italian offensives out of Italy...
I'm glad you've liked it. I'm most interested in your after-action reports, particularly regarding the elements of the game that have undergone modification.
Thanks for your interest!
Well Antani you are luckier than I since you have actually got to play the variant! I am still nowhere near making a working ACTS module. Of course, one could use the existing ACTS module if one used Mobilisation cards that had been removed from the game as the new cards that are added, but it would be pretty messy...