BG001-Initial Setup: Russia

The Russian set up for this game is pretty banal. Beside the required placements, most of the Army is deployed to take Eastern Europe. I also fortify Leningrad and I place two fleets there to threaten German interests. One fleet goes to Baku to supply Odessa and Sevastopol.

Russia play is a balance of patience and preparation. Against that is opportunity. If the Germans forget to garrison a minor ally, Russia has to be ready to pounce. Otherwise it’s mostly just deciding when to build and wait for the inevitable onslaught. Against the AI, it almost always comes the turn after Germany takes Yugoslavia.

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BG001-Initial Setup – Great Britain

The British Setup is dictated by Grand Strategy and my own limits. With the BEF limited to 3 ground factors, there is not much sense in keeping the Army home. I do place 3 3-4 Inf’s in London just because I once didn’t. Once. Just once.

The setup is designed to quickly attack Libya and to be able to turn around quickly in the event that Lebanon-Syria goes Vichy. Again, getting bogged down fighting in North Africa is something I try to avoid as the British player. It’s expensive and takes up SR resources. Until the landings in Sicily and Italy I really want to avoid spending money in North Africa. Again in this game, Britain/France will not DOW Italy. 

Not show here are the standard Gibraltar and Malta setups.

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BG001-Initial Setup: France

In the west, France will face a German who – at least from the AI – is highly unlikely to attack before France has a chance to add builds. Thus the setup is very basic, with a single line using a 3-5 Armor to defend the center of the Maginot Line. Many times the computer – and other live players – will leave that hex empty. I understand the thought process and the idea of doubling up the line early. However there are two other considerations for this game. 

First, I limit the BEF to no more than 3 Factors in France before 1941. This better reflects the actual British presence in France before June 1940 and forces France to contribute better to her defense. I’ve seen French players throw the dice and try to put virtually everything in the Colonies in the 50/50 shot that they’ll come up Free. They also know that if they don’t go Free, the units are virtually stuck in Africa due to a lack of SR and overall usefulness. But in doing so they rely heavily on Britain to slow down Germany in France. In a face to face game I am okay with a player trying this strategy, but since the AI won’t, it’s more or less a moot point.

I could have done that here, but given that the Axis is set to “Challenging,” I didn’t feel like giving them even more BRP’s from a faster fall of France was a prudent thing to do.

We do have to set up against the Italians. A double line will slow them down significantly unless the Germans decide to send Armor to Italy. Again, that is at least a turn away.

Not shown here are the two 2-3 Inf units in the colonies. One in Tunis, the other in Beirut.

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BG001-Initial Setup: Italy

Italy Northern Setup (Computer)

The computer has given Italy a basic setup. For Italy, everything is a compromise. If the computer is thinking about declaring war on the first turn (it won’t) it needs to provide a legitimate threat to France. Otherwise it needs to defend North Africa against an aggressive British player.

In this game, Britain will not declare war on Italy.

Italy Southern Setup (Computer)

Long term strategy has two goals against the Italians. First, to conquer North Africa as quickly as possible. This leads towards the second goal, Italian Surrender in early 1943.

The additional aspect is that Britain needs to avoid proliferate spending because of North Africa. BRP’s are precious after France falls and submarines are lurking. By sweeping North Africa clean ASAP, Britain can avoid a protracted expense. Obviously a good Axis player (not the AI) knows this and will combine both strategy and tactics to keep the British threatened enough to fight in North Africa, but not push them out completely. To have any realistic chance of winning, SW must really knock on Britain’s BRP’s and one way to do that is make them spend like drunken sailors to protect strategic assets, namely Suez.

In this case, Italy has taken the standard “look busy but more busy than we can really be” approach, and it tells me that there will be no DOW on Turn 1.

Italy North Africa Set Up (Computer)

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BG001-Initial Set Up: Poland

The Initial Polish Set up is pretty basic. The strongest possible defense in Warsaw, the 2-3 to the SW of Warsaw and surrounded by 1-3 Infantry units which forces the Germans to make cross river attacks before they can exploit into Warsaw.

Of course they may choose to attack some of the 1-3’s but then the Exploitation attack is cross river which makes it riskier. I have seen a couple of times a German player try that and fail (some really unlucky die rolls) and end up essentially losing the game on the first turn by not taking Poland. 

The only real thing of note is that I place the Polish air in Vilna because this forces the German to use his northern air forces to counter air them. It’s not much, but it might make a difference in rare cases.

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