Second World War:
Great Pacific/Third Reich Variants II
By Jeff Adams
We resume Jeff Adam’s list of variants for our Second World War games, Third Reich and Great Pacific War. You can read Part One here.
14.21 Last Year Allocation
In the last year of a scenario, the BRP allocation for each power for that year is proportional to the number of seasons remaining in the scenario. For example, if the scenario ends in summer, (half of the seasons are played that year, spring and summer) the total BRPs allocated to the power will be 50% of the BRP total calculated for that year.
Design Notes: This variant requires powers on the defensive at the end of a game to carefully allocate their spending, just as powers on the defensive in the war’s early years had to during late-year seasons. Play can be distorted by powers with a full year allocation to spend in fewer seasons, as they do not need to be as concerned about a low stockpile in their final turn. For example, raiding and strategic bombing may not have a role in final seasons if there’s no chance those operations can have an impact by the final turn. Powers with a full year allocation can repair or build more than they otherwise might, purchase more impulses, fortresses, etc. Some players may prefer those options, but this variant may more accurately reflect the operations and economic state of powers in the final seasons of a game.
16.13 Automatic Bribes
A power with client or allied status in a minor nation may, in lieu of normal diplomatic efforts, pay to increase their influence level by one or reduce the influence level of one power by one on that minor’s diplomacy track. This result of this bribe is automatic and does not require a dice roll. The major power may pay 10 BRP’s to move themselves from client (“8”) to (“9”), and may pay 15 BRP’s to move their influence from client (“9”) to ally (“10”). The major may pay 20 BRP’s to reduce a power at ally (“10”) or neutral (“2”) status, otherwise the cost is 15 BRP’s to reduce another power’s influence by one for that minor. During the diplomatic segment in which an automatic bribe occurs, no other diplomatic bribes, counter bribes, or automatic bribes (this variant) may be made by the bribing power for that minor, though they may still transfer territory. The major power may only make one automatic bribe per diplomacy segment for a given minor - the power cannot pay to both increase their influence and reduce that of another power. These BRP’s do not transfer to or otherwise increase the minor’s BRP level.
Design Notes: Cash and territory talk in diplomacy, and if the price is right a minor can be enticed to look more or less favorably on a power. Spending four BRP’s per turn on bribery, you can expect a 66% chance of improving your client (“8”) status to the cusp of allied (“9”), or a 50% chance of advancing from client (“9”) to ally (“10”). At four BRP’s expended per turn on counter-bribery, you have a one in three chance of reducing an adversary’s influence level by one (if they’re not allied or on the brink of hostile), and on average you’ll expend 12 BRP’s to lower an opponent’s influence.
A substantial bribe will prove persuasive in changing attitudes and removes this unpredictability, albeit at a high cost. This variant won’t usually see much action, but it’s another diplomatic instrument and can increase diplomatic tension. Realistically, you’ll only consider such a large expenditure when you want to bring a minor into the war on your side. For example, when 5.52 prohibits a minor from joining your side due to the diplomatic status of your enemies (a minor country may not declare war on any major powers whose influence markers are in its 8 through 10 (client or ally) boxes, or on any allies of those major powers) your strategic calculations may justify the expense.
If a major power has units in a territory controlled by a major power with which it is not at war, it must remove all units from the territory no later than the following turn if it does not declare war against the major power that following turn. If on the following turn the power does not declare war and the units remain in the territory at the conclusion of the SR segment, all supplied units remaining in the territory are returned to the force pool and unsupplied units are permanently removed from play. The hexes formerly controlled by the vacating power automatically fall under the control of the territory's controlling major power at the conclusion of the SR segment.
Design Notes: It’s not likely you’ll run into a scenario that will require this rule, unless you’re playing someone with as little strategic foresight as the author (again, highly unlikely). Game excerpts:
“Britain will decline declaring war against Italy.”
“Wow, I didn’t think you could make it to Paris this turn.”
13.33 Fleet Train Damage
Fleet Trains require two (2) hits to eliminate in a single impulse. Hits against Fleet Trains are not cumulative, so an attack against a Fleet Train that sustained a single hit in a previous impulse will still require two hits to eliminate in that or subsequent impulses. A single hit does not reduce a Fleet Train’s operational capabilities - fleet trains sustaining a single hit may continue to provide movement bonuses or act as a major port.
Option: If a fleet train is hit once in an impulse but is not eliminated, reduce the fleet train controlling power’s BRP stockpile by five (5). This can cause BRP levels to go to zero or negative.
Design Notes: Fleet trains are expensive, and justifiably so given their ability to enhance maneuver and basing capacity in the expanses of the Pacific. Requiring a single hit to eliminate, they are also extremely vulnerable, particularly when based in a hex susceptible to naval strikes from multiple sea zones. Given what they represent and the effort required to protect them, this is a justifiable defensive value. However, should they be too defenseless for your liking, this variant can require a more substantial naval strike to have a greater likelihood of eliminating one and remove the possibility of a statistically unlikely single hit destroying it. The variant’s option provides a simple means to recognize the damage inflicted on some of a fleet train’s ships and the resources necessary to sustain its full operational capabilities.
16.22 World Opinion
The “minor country goes to war” influence increase (+1 each Diplomacy Phase thereafter on the minor country’s influence track for all influence markers of Major Powers that are currently at war with at least one nation at war with the minor country) does not apply when the Major Power eligible for the increased influence has at least one hex in its home country occupied by a ground unit of a major power with which it is at war.
Design Notes: The existing world opinion rules are elegant, but do not prohibit improbable diplomatic alliances in certain situations. For example, if Finland declares war against the Soviet Union later in the war (the Soviets’ poor diplomacy left them hostile and Finland rolls a 1) Germany will receive the increased influence bonus as long as they remain in the war, even as the allies inexorably advance on Berlin.
Certainly, this variant creates potential for what some players may consider “gamey” tactics. For instance, a single British unit landing on the German coast in 1941, if it remains in place in a subsequent diplomatic phase, will freeze any automatic increases Germany was enjoying, even with the Wehrmacht positioned for continued victories throughout the theater. However, it’s plausible that the diplomatic significance of an enemy capturing and holding territory in a power’s homeland would create some uncertainty on the diplomatic front and force a minor to pause in deciding where its allegiances lie. Used as described in the example, it’s also expensive in terms of resources and reduced operational flexibility on other fronts. However, it does provide players another option for diplomacy.
This variant won’t eliminate all situations where a minor, by virtue of the automatic influence increase, could ally with a power clearly on the defensive (though whether they lose within the game’s timeframe is a separate matter), but it’s a simple mechanism that prevents automatic influence increases when a power may be near or making surrender rolls.
26.21 Territory Abandonment
A controlling power that has removed all its units from a territory may declare that territory no longer under its control at the conclusion of any of its impulses or during the check for surrender sequence (3.91). The abandoned territory is considered neutral, as if the power that formerly controlled it had surrendered (26.36).
Design Notes: After expending the time and resources to capture territory there are few circumstances in which you’ll want to relinquish it without requiring some effort on the part of your opponent. However, this variant provides an opportunity to do so should you conclude that the territory’s benefits no longer justify the costs of holding it, such as when a territory is suffering continuous strategic bombing and units there may provide a better return elsewhere.
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