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'Strange' Strategy
By William Sariego
October 2006

Strange Defeat is a fast and furious game using my Defiant Russia system as its base. Like its two predecessors, it features one side on the strategic offensive and the other on the strategic defensive. The game features a mobile German army which has outmaneuvered its opponent before game play begins. Pitted against this is a powerful but slower Allied force which must somehow trade space and time while preserving as much of her armed strength as possible. The outcome is not pre-ordained, and some nice optional rules exist to explore strategic possibilities.

Allied Setup

Here is one of my favorite setups as the Allied Player.

Belgians/Dutch

Ard Cav: 1011
3 Inf: 0913
1 Inf: 0915
7 Inf: 1114
4 Inf: 1116
Res Inf, Leopold: 1517
Fort: 0719
Field1: 0718
Wilhelmina: 1018

British

1 Inf, RAC Arm, Alexander: 1515
Polish, 2 and 3 Inf: 1514
Res Inf: 1813
3 Inf: 1210
51 Inf: 0807

French

8 Inf, 44 Fort: 0702
7 Inf: 0704
Res2 inf, 43 Fort: 0604
12 and 17 Inf: 0506
20 Inf: 0606
9 Inf: 0707
24 Fort: 0908
Col Inf, 42 Fort: 0909
10 and 18 Inf: 1110
1 DCR, 2 Sp: 1210
3, 11 Inf: 1211
4 Inf, 2 DLC: 1313
4 DLC, 41 Fort: 1411
3 SP, DLM, Prioux: 1413
1 Motor, 16 Inf: 1617
4 DCR, 23 Inf, De Gaulle: 1511
1 DCR, 19 Inf: 1509
1 NA Inf: 1712
2 DCR: 1909
1 SP: 1813

As you can see after the units are deployed, I put most of the variable AA units in position to oppose the advance by German GA set-up units. On turn two, when everyone can move, evacuate the Maginot Line with as much as you can spare. These units will go and form a reserve line of defense elsewhere. I like to pull out the 8, 12, Col, and Res 2 Infantry units and send them west to defend Paris.

Sacrifice the Low Countries without mercy. After all, they are monarchies and France is a democracy! Seriously, you lose no PP for the loss of Dutch and Belgian units. I always pass on evacuating the Royal units. You have an equal chance of either gaining or losing a PP. I'd rather use them as a one-step combat unit to absorb a loss.

Once the Huns/Boche/Bad Guys are in France proper, make sure your units are double-stacked. Don't advance into Belgium unless you absolutely have to (in order to make your Turn One Br/Fr attack, for example). Meet the invaders at the border and make sure your units are always stacked when they meet the enemy. You don't want to give them cheap kills, and a lone unit can be obliterated far too easily. You can trade space and preserve your army, but keep in mind you get PP for controlling ports and Paris after a point, and the longer you can do this the better to aid the cause.

Don't be afraid to attack exposed German units — a reckless and overconfident opponent will give you plenty to choose from. Your cause isn't hopeless by any means. Still, secular France rediscovering its Catholic faith is not a bad idea!

More 'Strange' Options

I love variants. Designing variants to existing games is what eventually lead to my own career as a designer. Here are a few more for Michael Perryman's game:

Militant Luxembourg

The Grand Duchy actually did have a standing army. It amounted to a 200-man infantry unit and 14-man cavalry troop. In 1940 they engaged in "passive" resistance to the Germans. Let us assume their resistance took on a more militant form. The unit begins in Luxembourg (0911).

Kleist

Germany gets von Kleist as a Panzer Leader. He begins play with a Panzer unit in the GA set up group. He can affect any Panzer unit (including those in GB set-up) but cannot be stacked with either Rommel or Guderian.

Paris Garrison

On turn two the Paris garrison and the military governor, General Hering, enter play at hex 1909 as a reinforcement. They cannot leave Paris unless forced to do so as a retreat from a German attack, or if Paris is declared an Open City.

You can download the new counters here.