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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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373px-Beloe_Delo_1.jpg



To Hell on an Armoured Train!


Hi, Paradox folks, I haven't posted here in a while, but here's an AGEOD AAR for you!

For those of you with little familiarity with the AGEOD system, read the RoP AAR on this forum - it's fantastic stuff. For those of you with little familiarity with the Russian Civil War, I recommend "A People's Tragedy" or Wikipedia :cool:

It's 1918, and a civil war has broken out in Russia! The Reds (that's me!) control the majority of the country, but insurrections are breaking out everywhere, and two major counterrevolutionary centers are developing. In the East, the revolt of the Czech Legion has sparked a total overthrow of Soviet power beyond the Volga. In the South, along the Don, the Cossacks and Denikin's Volunteer Army move to face Sorokin's Bolshevik army.

This is a PBEM game, where I play as the Reds, and my good friend John and good enemy Michael play the Southern and Siberian Whites, respectively.

Anyways, I'll trust that you guys will Nerd Out enough to get the setting and move on to the posting!

bakcground.jpg
 

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Turn 1 ("The Pre-Turn")

Right, here goes nothing...

Turn 1: Early June 1918

The game begins with a "pre-turn" - we all get the chance to have a look at stuff and move a few things around before the mostly automated first turn of the game. Not much I can do Very few unlocked forces. I take the opportunity to run as many requisition missions as I can - basically grabbing men and cash - and promote a couple of army commanders. I move the forces at Simbirsk north to Kazan in an attempt to hold onto the Imperial Gold Train.We Bolsheviks sent the Tsar's gold east to keep it safe from the Germans.. now it looks like it'll get snatched up by the Whites.)

Initial strategy is to hit the Siberian Whites as hard as I can with what I have. That includes the Latvian Riflemen, my best force. The Siberians are the weaker of the two factions, and they're split. Along the Volga are the Czechs and KOMUCH - the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly, a white-aligned government. The Siberian Whites proper - the big armies - won't arrive until a few turns later at least. Oh, that reminds me! I need to shoot the Imperial Family before they arrive at Ekaterinburg..


Pre-Turn Map

tlmap.jpg
 

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Turn 2

Turn 2: Late June 1918

Our first battle didn't go well!

image1mb.jpg


This is in the southern theatre, just east of the Crimea, where the Southern Whites begin the war. My Sorokin takes massive losses to John (Digital_Pariah)'s Denikin. Sheesh. This is what I would have done in his place - one big blow. Sorokin's on the retreat now. At least the other mobile forces in the south have unlocked (well, except the Taman Front):

image2wm.jpg



The plan now is to pull Sorokin's boys back to Ekaterinodar and hope for a turn or two to recuperate and dig in. In the meantime, the division-sized force at Tikhoretsk (the railway crossroads) will destroy the railroad. It's set to "retreat when engaged". More partisans will fan out and try to kill as much of the railroad line around Azov as possible, while the nearby flotilla of gunboats and fluvial destroyers moves to cut the railroad bridge or at least bombard/sink something.

Hopefully I can make Ekat strong enough to repulse an attack or two, but really, I'm on the ropes from turn one down here.

The east doesn't look too much better:

image3bl.jpg


This is what I consider the main front. There are other minor actions going on further east - mostly partisan armies moving to cut railroads, Blucher down by Orenburg, etc - but Komuch is the biggest threat and needs to be eliminated post-haste. Komuch HQ is in Samara. Remember that...

As you can see, that army I mentioned is on its way to Kazan, where it will be met by Trotsky and maybe a better divisional commander (Frunze, I think). Farther south, another force (two divisions) is preparing to move east from Tambov. Tuchachevsky will command them. Finally, next turn the Latvian Riflemen unlock. I'll be sending them by the same route, and Tuchachevsky's boys will probably divert south to hold Saratov.

I ordered my first division, by the way, back in Moscow. Infantry. I'll be pumping them out as quickly as I can (I have the benefit of knowing about the Socialist-Revolutionary (SRs) uprisings in the future) but I still have 2 more turns til my first requisition missions complete.

There is one more largish force in the east:

image4xz.jpg


Ekaterinburg looks like it'll fall shortly, but it is necessary to fight for the place - I must delay the Komuch-Siberian linkup. Also, the Imperial Family must not be allowed to fall into White hands..
 

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Turn 3: Early July 1918


The SRs are in revolt!

srsu.jpg


Unfortunately for them, the Hungarians and Latvians are unlocked. They'll clean up this little mess within a few turns, then Bonch-Bruevich will join them, form an Army and head east.

I certainly need them in the east:

trotofsky.jpg


Ekaterinburg held against an enemy reconnaissance this turn (and the Imperial Family survived another half-month), but everywhere else looks kind of bad. My plan to hold Kazan with Trotsky + Co has been scuppered by a White flotilla on the Volga, which holds the crossing under its guns. Feeling the need to do something, I'm sending Trotsky on a Trot south and around back to Simbirsk, hopefully swiping at some Czechs along the way.

Finally, the south:

ekat.jpg


Denikin seems to have paused, which is fine by me. I've bumped up the units in Tikhoretsk to defend, then retreat, as I think I might be able to inflict a little damage now that they've dug in somewhat. In Ekaterinodar I combine units into one large Don Front of 23,000 men and ~400 combat power. We're entrenching furiously...

Elsewhere, the Whites under Fitskhelaurov captured that town on the railroad north of Tzaritsyn. Voroshilov's 10th Army is moving to evict them.

Hopefully next turn I can report SRs being squished and further delay in the South and East. I'm scrambling!
 

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Turn 4: Late July 1918

This was a busy turn. The Siberians are starting to hit their stride. Remember how I was all hoping that Trotsky would 'swipe' the Czechs?

swipe.jpg


Well, Trotsky ran into a Czech division and the entire KOMUCH army! Incidentally, my opponent said this with the turn:
Sorry about Trotski... laugh laugh
which caused me to have a little panic attack about Trotsky actually dying in battle ;)

Anyways, here's how the situation looks now.

splitv.jpg


The problem with using Trotsky as a leader in the field is that he's bound to the railroad. At Simbirsk, the road south along the railroad is blocked and the river crossing is too (stupid White flotilla). So, I've divorced Trotsky from his units. He'll make a break for it along the railroad while they retreat in the only direction available, north. Trotsky may try to hook up with the newly formed (by event) Iron Division later.

Meanwhile, Tuchachevsky has swept in from the west against no opposition, as planned. We took a depot at Penza! Next turn I'll test my strength against what appears to be an isolated Czech division.

orsk.jpg


Looks like there's going to be a fight south of the Urals, where Blucher starts - Orsk. The White force advancing on me has a thousand fewer men, but mine is half-composed of partisans, so it's a toss-up. Or maybe I'm screwed. Let's hope for toss-up!



Other things of note:

karelia.jpg


Karelian Nationalists are taking control.. Miller's Whites will probably clean them out soon.. however, I have forces earmarked to take the place back...

yaroslavl.jpg


That division I built isn't even finished yet, and they're already holding off Baby's First Siege! Well done them. Bonch-Bruevich and his Latvians and Hungarians are coming to lift it next turn.


Oh, I completely forgot the South! Nothing much has changed. Our division-sized force had to retreat from Tikhoretsk, but made it without damage. Going to Armavir next turn. We still hold Ekaterinodar, still digging in. I dunno why he hasn't attacked, actually!
 

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Turn 5: Early August 1918

Things are getting rough in Siberia. I think I've going to have to give up on the "very early eastern offensive" idea. Which is a bit embarrassing, seeing as the AI did it against me...

disaster.jpg


There was a series of battles. First, Trotsky and his men were kicked out of Simbirsk. Trotsky himself was wounded :eek: and forced to Kazan to recuperate, while the men devolved to Muraviev's command.

Then Kazan was taken, forcing Trotsky to be evacuated further east. :wacko: At this point I hold none of the strategic locations along the Volga. It's time to pull back a bit and form a coherent line. Oh, except for the Iron Division. They'll rampage around in the rear for a bit.

On a positive note, my first batch of requisition missions came in this turn. I know have 9 infantry divisions being built, the majority will finish in two months (four turns). :) Another batch of requisitions was immediately placed!


Nothing much happened on the other fronts. Here is a map for you:

mapaug.jpg
 

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another AGEOD AAR, and it looks every bit as enjoyable as RoP. It seems like the create orders/all moves automated system really lends itself to elegant considered MP games. One reason MP doesn't appeal (to me) with the Paradox engine is so often it comes down to having to simplify what you do to a few basic things. Here you can still plan, consider etc ... and then it all goes wrong!
 

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another AGEOD AAR, and it looks every bit as enjoyable as RoP. It seems like the create orders/all moves automated system really lends itself to elegant considered MP games. One reason MP doesn't appeal (to me) with the Paradox engine is so often it comes down to having to simplify what you do to a few basic things. Here you can still plan, consider etc ... and then it all goes wrong!

Thank you sir! Yes, the play-by-email system is really fantastic. There are so many layers to consider - the temper of your opponent being one of the most important. You have all the time in the world to think and strategize.

I do like Paradox MP - but only as co-op, and only as LAN. I can't tell you all the great times me and my housemate had with HoI2 back in the day - I was Germany, he was Romania, we went out for lunch and discussed how to divide up Europe.. ahh, the memories.
 

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Turn 6

Turn 6: Late August 1918

This turn has left me nervous! Let's start with the relatively stable front - the south.

southe.jpg


The image pretty much covers it. Kalinin's division sized force was kicked out of Armavir by a bunch of Cossacks and is moving to join up with Sorokin now. Sorokin's done wonders with his month of spare time, entrenching up to level 3 and training a few units. The Taman Front is on the move, too, though not perhaps in the way you'd expect.

Intelligence from within the Volunteer Army supports the theory that Denikin had planned to move on us several turns ago but has been paralyzed by various command issues.

Oh, and to the northeast, Fitskhelaurov's boys made an attempt on Tzaritsyn after Voroshilov made a blunder and found himself out of position. Stalin, however, was able to hold against Fitsy's attack long enough for Voroshilov to make it back and eject the Whites. They're on the southern side of Tzaritsyn now, which makes things somewhat simpler for me. 10th Army needs rest, but I may advance it down the railroad to delay things later.

Now, I think I mentioned 'rampaging around in the rear a bit' in reference to Siberia? The rampaging is over and I'm desperately looking for an exit.

trapped1.jpg


This is Berezin's corps, at Perm. Can't go east, can't go west, can't go north.. so we're fleeing Perm and heading south. Maybe I can force a crossing somewhere near Kazan? I have to hope Michael leaves an opening somewhere.

Also:

trapped2.jpg


The Iron Div is in a similar predicament. Not sure what to do here. Again, I'll try to force a Volga crossing, but he can block at any point with his fleet. That fleet is killing me! :bonk:

blucherrun.jpg


Also, we can't forget Blucher and his boys, fleeing from a horde of Ural Cossacks after two disastrous battles. I made a mistake in hoping to beat them in a straight-up fight - Blucher should be used to maraud around in the rear, not battle armies. Now I may lose the services of his troops permanently - and Blucher himself is getting blamed for the losses.

I hope next turn the eastern front looks better!
 

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Turn 7: Early September 1918

A very quiet turn. Fighting only happened at the margins! This is convenient for me, because I am very tired. In fact, I'll keep this text.

The most interesting thing (to me) is that Bela Kun died in battle this turn. His Hungarians have been working with the Latvian Riflemen, crushing the SR revolts over the past month or two, along with a Red Cossack division. Anyways, Bela caught a bullet from some disgruntled Yaroslavl resident and the future of the Hungarian revolution could be very interesting. I may lose the war, but Bolshevism will live on in Budapest! :D

Anyways, I avoided total disaster in Siberia, but the Iron Div, Berezin and Trotsky are still on the wrong side of the Volga. My forces on the proper side will go on the offensive and try to find a crossing for them.

In the South, nothing much of note happened - again. Denikin will come down like a hammer someday or later, but it's going to be rough for him. We've reached entrenchment level 4!
 

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Turn 8

Turn 8: Late September 1918

This turn was less quiet. Our Ekaterinodar defences were finally tested! The result:

ekatstrong.jpg


Very good! The remaining rabble of the Red South all combined together stood up against Denikin! If only for one turn, I still consider it a great triumph. Level 4 entrenchments work.

Of course, I've lost 10,000 men and my combat power has been halved. I hope he doesn't have a follow-up force.

Meanwhile, the east. It's not looking great. Here's the result of my biggest push to open up a path over the Volga, Muraviev and Frunze against some Czechs:

syzran.jpg


All I can say is, I'm impressed by the enemy. They have the Iron Div seriously isolated now. The Czechs can't leave soon enough..

Here's a shot of the full eastern front.

easternfront.jpg


1 - the location of the previously mentioned battle. It looks like some Siberians have come along to reinforce the Czechs at Syzran.

2 - Tuchachevsky with a medium-sized force. He'll be joined by reinforcements next turn...

3 - Trotsky. My opponent is gleeful that he has been isolated. I don't think he's aware of the redeployment button, or as I shall call it, the Trotsky Trot...


Finally, I'm having serious issues with resources. My money has dipped into the NEGATIVES (i don't know how!) and I need a ridiculous number of infantry replacements. On the plus side, the divisions I ordered are starting to come online. Next turn, Antonov-Ovseenko will be free to move up into Karelia with a 3-division force, hopefully countering Miller. Blucher's given up the ghost - his remaining artillery piece has been disbanded :( - which frees him up to command some of this new force as well.

Oh, one last note. The SR insurrections have been finally, thoroughly dealt with. That means our Latvians and Hungarians are free to deal with some serious issues. They're heading east.. :cool:
 

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Turns 9 + 10

Turns 9 + 10: Early October - Late October 1918

Again, I'm in a hurry, so I will be brief and combine both turns.

In the south: Nothing. Really, nothing. Some skirmishing around Tzaritsyn, the enemy retreated. Our forces in Ekaterinodar have recovered and even gained strength (level 4 forts, combat strength 648, 39,000 men).

In the east, I'll do another big picture thingy.

eastagain.jpg


(1) is the location of my main forces. Last turn they were all to be commanded by Muraviev. Well, Muraviev's buggered off, and all I have are a bunch of one-star commanders. So much for concentrating a force. I'll send the Latvians and Muraviev's old force at Syzran to try and blast open a crossing for the Iron Division (2). Trotsky and Berezin are way up at Sarapul (3), which withstood two large attacks from the Whites this turn, but only just. I think we might be able to slip out through Kazan now, however.. fingers crossed...

Elsewhere, the Turkestan Army receives two new native units, Antonov-Ovseenko faces off with Miller in Karelia (no combat yet, but adjacent regions), and Blucher receives two shiny new infantry divisions.


One last thing - a new map for you. Not much change:

octstratmap.jpg
 
Last edited:

Alikchi

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Turn 11: Early November 1918

Wow, big turn! Suddenly, all eyes turn south!

ekat.png


We lost Ekaterinodar in a massive battle! Well, actually, we won the battle, though at great cost. Sorokin prudently decided to retreat when ANOTHER white force was spotted on its way. They'll head back to Novorossisyk for their Last Stand. See image:

southz.png


I say I'm very pleased by this result, compared to what I've seen in other games. Concentrating a force and entrenching it inflicted a whole lot of casualties on Denikin's boys. Normally I view Sorokin and his army as a purely delaying force.. and I'm right.. they are. But they can delay through damage, too.

A close observer might be wondering, "so where's the Taman Army in all of this? Aren't they usually entrenching/gathering dust in Novorossisyk right about now?" Well, here they are:

ukrainev.jpg


I shipped them out through the Don a few turns ago all the way up to Voronezh, where they met Avtonomov, a truly awful officer. It's early November now. Over the next few turns, the Ukraine will unlock, and I intend to sink my teeth in ASAP. At the very least, I'm guaranteed Kharkov with this headstart.

While we're looking at stuff that Pariah has charge of, lets examine the Finland Front:

finlandz.jpg


I can't be sure, but I think Antonov-Ovseenko and Miller's forces are roughly equal. I'm taking the defensive, and so is he it seems, at least until he's ready. I expect and hope for this to be a quiet front, as in OTL.

Now, the east!

syzranbattle.jpg


Another fight at Syzran, as expected. The Latvians didn't break through, but they inflicted casualties, and more importantly...

eastoncemore.jpg


THE IRON DIVISION CROSSED THE VOLGA! Woohooo! :D

Now, to explain what all those arrows and numbers mean:
1)Bonch-Baruevich and Tuchachevsky's combined force. ~500 power points. They're heading up the railway to assault Kazan next turn.

2) The location of the Syzran battle, obviously. The Latvians aren't badly hurt - they're moving north a hex to try and check the enemy force in Simbirsk. Don't want them interfering with the Kazan operation. Meanwhile, the Iron Division and Frunze et al will move to Kuznestk for some R&R.

3) Blucher's unactivated, so he can't participate in the attack on Kazan. He'll move here and take a shot at it when he can.


I'm really enjoying this, as you can probably tell. If I rescue Trotsky and Berezin too I'll be positively ecstatic.
 

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Turn 12: Late November 1918

The Germans are out of the Ukraine, the Czechs are heading home, and Trotsky's free of the grasping claws of KOMUCH and Kolchak!

byeczechs.jpg


I now have a total of ~85,000 troops on the Eastern Front, which is more than enough to hold the line through the winter, I feel.

That number includes Trotsky and Berezin, because Bonch-Baruevich and friends took Kazan and cleared the way for their escape!

eastwinter.jpg


Yes, that's right, my little clockwise wheel of rescue was a success, so now it's time to pull back to winter quarters, safely on our side of the Volga.

No action in the South, Karelia, or Turkestan. The Ukraine has opened up for pillaging and Avtonomov and his boys are moving in. I need an Army commander down there though.. Kamenev seems likely...
 

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Interlude

Right, time for a breather. Let's have a look at some of the interface bits here - it's slightly different from Rise of Prussia.

roundnumbas.jpg


This is the top bar, visible on the screen at all times. It shows (from left) my current National Morale, my Victory Points, my Engagement Points, Money, Conscripts, War Supplies, and the Rail Pool.

National Morale is pretty important. I gain it by winning battles and holding strategic objectives. It affects the cohesion of every unit in my army - a low enough national morale, and the enemy can steamroll me.

Victory Points are simply score. Another way to win (besides driving enemy NM down to 0) is to end the scenario with more Victory Points.

Engagement Points are earned by doing well in battle, I believe. You need them to perform certain actions in the interface - like gaining a new general, building an arms factory, mobilizing your reserves etc.

Money and Conscripts are what you'd expect. I need plenty of these to build new forces.

War Supplies are, well, supplies. I don't really know how this works, but I do know that you can build an arms factory to increase production of WSU (war supply units). I might do that later, just in case.

Finally, the Rail Pool. This represents the amount of railroad transportation I have left in the turn. Every unit in the game has a 'weight' value that determines just how much of the railroad infrastructure it takes up when transported in that fashion. If I use up my rail pool, I can't transport units by rail.

productionrealz.jpg


This is the production and reinforcements screen. Stuff is being constructed on the left. That's 1 siege gun, 1 heavy artillery, 1 political commissars group, 2 sailor detachments, 2 gunboat squadrons, 3 conscript infantry regiments, 3 cavalry divisions, and 5 infantry divisions - 74 combat power type. That's 4 infantry regiments and one 105mm battery. On the right - the reinforcement screen. You don't need to know about that, save to say that it's how I send replacement soldiers to depleted units.

The heavy artillery, siege gun, 3 infantry divisions and the commissar are going to a command under Zhloba. The 3 cavalry divisions go to Budyenny, who I just received this turn. The rest will go to various independent commands. I think Zhloba and Budyenny will be moving to face off against Yudenich, with Bonch-Baruevich as their Army commander..


roundscore.jpg


Self explanatory I hope.


roundmap.jpg


And a map for you!
 

Alikchi

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Turn 13: Early December 1918

It's almost Christmas. Things are settling down across all the fronts .. except one. Well, two. Well, I'll just show you.

easty.jpg


By now you're probably familiar with western Siberia. What is new in this image is a coherent front line. From north to south: Tuchachevsky, Trotsky, and Makhin. Each commands roughly 30,000 troops. (You can also see Bonch-Baruevich's portrait hiding behind Tuchachevsky. He's heading to Petrograd to command the new anti-Yudenich force.)

I won't do any winter offensives unless a fantastic opportunity presents itself. I have enough on my plate, and the Siberians can wait. Right now I need to focus on Ukraine. Speaking of:

ukrainen.jpg


Belgorod is already in our hands, and Kharkov is soon to follow I hope. Various partisan groups have spawned in the enemy rear and will attempt to wreak havoc, tear up railways, etc before the Whites get anywhere close. I'm sure Denikin will be leading the advance into Ukraine.

There is one last active front. Turkestan!

turkestan.jpg


The Whites - under the leadership of the Emir of Bukhara, currently - have taken Samarkand. I only have one force, a mongrel army under Zinoviev, so I conceded the town in favour of defending Tashkent. I'm hoping that by entrenching heavily, I can pull off a nice long delay a la Ekaterinodar. Delay is all I can do, really - I know more White forces are coming from the railway to the northwest.
 

Narwhal

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Very nice AAR. That's a lot to read at once, and had no time to do more than glance quickly through the second half ... for now. I ll catch back tomorrow.

I envy some of the things you do with your screenshoot - I cannot go beyond some ugly paint on the map. You will have to tell me how you do to have all those fancy arrows - I wish I could use them to make my AAR clearer. They add a lot. I will also use your trick to put number on the map and explain them :)

Doing an AAR of a game / war as large (in geography) and as mobile as the Russian Civil War. You succeed quite well, but someone who does not have the game might get lost - you might want to use the strategic map (with some edition : numbers / arrows) so the player knows where you are. I plan to do this from now on in my AAR
 

Alikchi

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Firstly, thanks! I have the advantage of a backlog of posts on the AGEOD forums I've brough over here, with some edits for folks who haven't played. :)

For screenshots I highly recommend the program I used - SnagIt - I was able to figure the arrows out within a few minutes of starting the program. I rely heavily on graphics as I am not very good with words, so i need the best tools ;)

I take your point about the size of the war. Next turn, I will do as you suggest and try something interesting with the strategic map. :)
 

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Woohoo! An AAR for RUS! I might actually learn to play the game now! Now all I need is spare time to actually play, and everything will be just fine. ;)

Thanks for bringing this AAR over here. I've bought the game (essentially just for the topic), I have zero experience with AGEOD games, so anything that clarifies and/or reinforces that it's worth sinking some time into this scary big game, is a good thing. :)

For learning the ropes, would you say that it's easier playing as the Reds or the Whites?
 

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  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Pride of Nations
  • Rise of Prussia
this does look very interesting ... once I work out how to play RoP you've inspired me. So, just on reading, railways really matter (yippee!), the war on the rivers is well modelled. Does the game have the RoP trick that units without supply wagons simply die off?

anyway, really good read and a fascinating insight into the game