The Let's Play Archive

Commander: The Great War

by Jakse

Part 1: Turn 1 Part 1

Austria barely wins 9-8, update coming to this very post soon.

July 23, 1914: Turn 1 (Part 1)

Austria. The very name itself means eastern empire. Hapsburgs at one point ruled Spain, Austria, the Netherlands and Italy! Through marriage we gained power and became the peak of the human genome.

We were Holy Roman Emperors for 300 years! Though that time has past we must now retake our place as the eastern empire. States like the Kingdom of Serbia exist because we allow them to exist. No more it seems. It is time to prove to the world that we are still strong.

Here is our situation. We are facing an unknown number of Serbian forces with 3 full armies and 3 town reserves. The terrain is rough and we must cross rivers. It also appears that the few Serbians units we have seen have minor entrenchments. Even with the difficulties facing us we cannot back down, though this includes a promise from Russia to defend Serbia!

In the bottom left hand side we see symbols near our flag. This shows how well our country is doing at a glance.

The 30 by the factory is our current number of production points. Factories in our cities produce these each turn. We use them for creating, maintaining, and repairing units, research upgrades and maintenance, and for management.

The 1200 represents our total manpower. Creating and repairing units will drain this pool. Because this is a pool of overall fighting age men, the more we draw into this the more we will start lowering our standards and straining our economy.

The 5 shells are our armaments production. Normal armies have attached artillery battalions but massed artillery buildups and capital ship combat will drain our shell stockpile.

The train is our rail capacity. At this time we have the infrastructure to transport one unit per turn.

The anchor is our sea capacity. We are a mighty land power and so far have had no use for transports and a merchant fleet for moving troops.

The flag represents morale. Victory, defeat, death, and special events can cause this number to fluctuate. If it drops too low our population might stab our mighty soldiers in the back and force surrender.

Selecting a unit brings up this information. The I by the red box shows that it is at level I as far as technology goes. The two shields show our defense and max defense. The shovel shows entrenchment (in terrain, not level of trenches, that is visual) and the battery shows efficiency. The more you fight, the lower your supplies, the further from home you are the more efficiency goes down. Low efficiency impacts attack and defense and can jeopardize a unit. The helmet shows attack value. For now, that is all we need to know.

Quick note. The beauty of this game is that efficiency will change the color of the number on units as it drops. If you see yellow or red, be careful!

Clicking on terrain allows us to examine the battlefield. The important notes are movement for all units and the defensive bonus it gives. Much of Serbia is rough terrain so in addition to any trenches or barbed wire we encounter we will also have to contend with natural defenses.

Here we see the disposition of our men again but also see the cost for us. It takes 20 pp to produce an army, 10 manpower to fill it out, 4 pp PER TURN to maintain it, and 3 turns to produce. Also, we can see the men. Currently they have soft hats and only their rifles but soon they will be outfitted with grenades, steel helmets and more!

Now then, on to business

This is our overall position. Our northwest border with Germany is secure despite that whole 1866 incident. Switzerland is neutral, but we do have territory in the west that the lowly Italians claim is rightfully theirs. The situation in Serbia has been laid out, but in the North we have 3 towns that border Russia, only one of which is garrisoned. Keep this in mind during planning.

Let's see everything we can spend our pp on before we make any decisions.

This is our unit production screen. Here is where we recruit and outfit our new armies. Garrison and reserve armies cost only 10 pp but don't have a lot of offensive power. They do defend well enough in fortified positions. Armies cost 20 pp but also take longer to create (3 turns versus 1). Cavalry cost 25 and can be powerful early but our scientists think their usefulness will drop off. The other major unit we want to look at now is artillery. Though our armies have supporting units, creating mass build ups take time and money. 40 pp's give us a stockpile to use for massed artillery attacks. Though it costs armaments to use and can be expensive, artillery will be invaluable in breaking stalemates should our mighty armies stall out.

This is our research screen. It shows us how technological advances are progressing. For now, we can only research infantry techs. Industrializing our weapons will increase our infantry defense by 4, anti air will boost that by 2, and the barbed wire allows us to strengthen our heavy trench fortifications. As long as we have labs researching this (shown at top) they will automatically fill up. We can pump pp into labs to increase the speed of research, but this will also increase upkeep. Finally, using focus points we can make one part of the research go slightly faster (about a turn) at the expense of the others.

Here is one thing I love about this game. Despite all of this info, the game doles it out in small portions. As you will see, our first battle will involve only 4 units total and result in very few casualties. We also have only two belligerents now and only one thing to research. It will get more complex, but it really does ease you in.

The management screen shows our economy. It shows how much production we have, how much we are using in upkeep, and what our balance is. It also shows rail capacity, shipping, and shell production. Just like with research labs, we can spend pp to increase outputs which increases upkeep.

Finally, we have diplomacy. It shows the disposition of the other nations of the world to us and our cause. At the bottom, it shows other parties and when they will jump in and on which side. Our faithful German allies will show up in two turns, though this will force France and Belgium to fight, with England declaring war shortly after. Russia, having promised to defend its Serbian allies will jump in just after that. My how quickly this will get out of hand! That 4 turns for Russia gives us time to plan for them, and although they will have some forces ready by then, full mobilization will require some time from the mighty bear.

Our opening moves

First of all, to protect our interests we should deploy our navy to keep any intruders away from the Balkans.

Although those green hexes mean our ships will fight better with the support of home waters and nearby ports, we are going to completely block this area off.

Unless our fearless generals get more creative, this will suffice for now. Just a note that our capital ships are the pride of our navy and our people. Losing them could prove disastrous for morale.

Now to get this war properly started!

We deploy our 2nd Army forward and make contact with a Serbian mountain reserve. Our commanders give us a combat prognosis which, based on attack, defense, entrenchment, and terrain, gives them an estimate for how the battle will go. They estimate 2nd Army losing at least a division or so, but the enemy will fare worse.

Combat! This is how combat is resolved. Sure enough, our recon was accurate. The enemy still holds their ground, but they are weakening. Subsequent attacks should reduce their fighting strength and/or effectiveness.

1st Army now deploys to the west of the enemy. Although we take a penalty for crossing a river (the bridge symbol at the bottom right of the prognosis) recon indicates we should fare even better than last time. It seems the enemy is cracking.

After the onslaught from two mighty Austrian Armies, 3rd Army finishes the enemy without any difficulty. If the enemy is destroyed or retreats, the victorious unit is allowed to move up one hex. In this case we do so.

After a week of heavy fighting though we have lost around a full corps, we have destroyed one of Serbia's and we are now closer to expanding our empire and getting vengeance for the loss of Archduke Ferdinand.

This is the situation now. The first turn isn't over because it is time for goon decision making (oh God).

Austrian Strategy

Focus on Serbia We started this war to teach them a lesson. Although the threat of the bear looms in the north, we must save up for artillery to flush the rats out of the mountains.

Focus on Russia Fan out our units in the south and gear all production to taking on the bear in the north. We made our point and now we must prepare for the bigger threat.

This is the first binary decision, but since this is a goon strategy thread, feel free to bold ideas like management or research. This early though, I think the most important thing is deciding the main Austrian focus.

I'll let people vote for another two days unless we want to get to the action since finishing turn 1 and doing turn 2 will be much shorter.