Supermax-Moriss restart (Game stopped)

After action reports for Commander Europe at War.

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Peter Stauffenberg
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Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:22 pm

I won't say the strategy is broken on a strategic level. If you e. g. manage to kick Britain out of Britain then they will have a permanent morale loss to all units until they units back in Britain again. So losing Britain will bite hard and almost cripple the British for offensive purposes until USA and USSR join the Allies.

Again I think we should limit ourselves to plugging all the exploits that Morris is using. We've plugged a lot already and I'm sure he has several more exploits up his sleeve. I think a player like Morris can "ruin" almost every game he touches because he will always be searching for exploits.s

So please let's ignore how Morris is playing and focus on how the rest of us are playing. If we can have pretty balanced games then we should be happy. Eventually Morris will run out of players because people get tired of being faced with all kinds of "tricks" he has figured out. Most people want to play games with some kind of historical feeling.

Would you play against a person who found a bug in the game which meant he could get units for free if he built in a certain way. I can just reveal a secret that was in versions prior to GS v2.0. As you all know you would get Timoshenko for free when Russia entered the war. He was worth maybe 20 PP's. The exploit was that if you BUILT him before Russia entered then the next general in the list would be given for free. And that general was ..... Zhukov and he was worth 110 PP's. So you had actually earned 90 free PP's and nobody would know you had done it. You can't call it cheating because the game engine allowed you to do so. It was exploiting a weaknesss in the engine. This was plugged by replacing the leader names with leader indexes so I could tell in the general.txt the index of the free leaders for each year. So instead of getting Zhukov for buying Timoshenko you get nothing. So you better not buy the leaders you get for free.

I wonder if loopholes like that still exists and some players have managed to find them out without telling us about the loophole.

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Post by supermax » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:56 pm

Kragdob wrote:
supermax wrote:Let me disagree with your last part. I dont launch an offensive because i choose not to. I still have 270 + oil which would enable me to have some fun, but why would i do that? Moriss his throwing himself at me with his hordes... There is nothing to do but continue to destroy his forces. the 80+ units (close to 90 actually) he lost so far are a testament to that. We both know that the 1942 offensive is not worth it in most games if you only capture territory, because at one point of the german advance, Russia becomes un-defendable. I am just sparing the Axis from more trouble down the road.

I intend to prove you what i am saviny with the next few screen capture. There is one turn in particular that i destroy 2 or 3 german ARM, encircle 5 INF corps and destroy 2 INF CORPS as well. So, why do i need to spend oil to get to Moriss since he is getting to me???
But would you choose not to if you did not have Allied invasion and only 270 oil level? ;) I think from your current line it would be impossible for you to reach Baku (in 7-8 turns of fair weather) and if you tried you could easily end up overextended, out of oil with many step hexes conquered...

So in this game Morris is making you big favor destroying his units by himself (with your little help :) ). If only he played more wisely you (and remember this is excellent Allied play - kudos!) would be in deep trouble.

I think basis of Morris strategy is unbeatable right now (because he can loose almost all as Allies very early and still have good chances to win the game) and he is loosing only because he cannot adapt it to your wise play. If he focused on Italy and played it wisely you'd probably be fighting alone right now and fighting desperately not to let him out of the peninsula in 1942 or 1943 ...
Well.... Who am I to contradict you?

His strategy is beatable. The fact that you are saying that i am lucky that he keeps comning at me contradict the fact that he IS MORISS. He will keep attacking with no pause or concern. So why should i hink it otherwise? That what he does best

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Post by Cybvep » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:09 pm

You won't be able to fix the problem if you don't know what the problem is. I think that Moriss should simply tell you what exploits he is using.

However, previous posters brought some fair points. For example, consequences of losing Egypt and Iraq are definitely not severe enough. Few players seem to invest heavily in the North African campaign because it's too much effort for too little gain. Many adopt a defensive stance right from the beginning. If the Axis isn't aggressive in North Africa, then aggressive players like Moriss decide that it's better to move troops/ships from Africa to Europe in order to prepare for early D-Day. I agree with Kragdob here - severe restrictions are not needed, but some things need to be rebalanced. Possible solutions include: 1) more oil revenue from Iraqi/Persian oil fields 2) efficiency drops for the UK for losing Cairo and Suez 3) more Axis supply due to the "not enough ships in the Med" modifier (if the Allied presence was token, then the only limiting factor for the Axis would be infrastructure and you already get 3/2 supply in Africa).

In regard to Sea Lion, I'm neutral. I agree that a successful Sea Lion would be a massive blow to the Allies, but I also doubt that we would like to see the game being decided in 1940/1941. IMO the main problem is that it's relatively easy for the Allies to reconquer the UK and sometimes they can even ignore the UK and go straight for France, which is nonsensical. Maybe both US and UK transports should get reduced supply level in the Atlantic area when both Liverpool and London are Axis-controlled? IRL D-Day required many months of planning and deceptive intelligence actions and all that with the unsinkable carrier in place and with only the Channel to cross. With UK being out of play, an invasion of France would be practically impossible and a potential invasion of the UK would be very hard and it should be like that in-game. The only advantages the Allies should get are the overextension factor (Germany have to occupy the UK) and the PPs/oil lost during the actual Sea Lion. Everything else should be incredibly hard (but not impossible) for them after a successful Sea Lion.

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Post by leridano » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:22 pm

Cybvep wrote: In regard to Sea Lion, I'm neutral. I agree that a successful Sea Lion would be a massive blow to the Allies, but I also doubt that we would like to see the game being decided in 1940/1941. IMO the main problem is that it's relatively easy for the Allies to reconquer the UK and sometimes they can even ignore the UK and go straight for France, which is nonsensical. Maybe both US and UK transports should get reduced supply level in the Atlantic area when both Liverpool and London are Axis-controlled? IRL D-Day required many months of planning and deceptive intelligence actions and all that with the unsinkable carrier in place and with only the Channel to cross. With UK being out of play, an invasion of France would be practically impossible and a potential invasion of the UK would be very hard and it should be like in-game. The only advantages the Allies should get are the overextension factor (Germany have to occupy the UK) and the PPs/oil lost during the actual Sea Lion.
I wonder if landing operations to contested enemy coastal hexes should be only allowed if there´s a friendly sea port at 6-8 hexes of distance that would allow to properly supply the landing operation. This way, D-Day landings will be only possible from controlled UK sea ports and it won´t be possible the typical landing in mainland northern Germany until the allies control Antwerp sea port (recently map change to include cities to make it less vulnerable). Torch will be also possible because of Gibraltar port, Husky because of Malta and Tunis sea ports, Operation Dragoon because Ajaccio sea port and so on. Just a thought.


    Plaid
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    Post by Plaid » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:32 pm

    I still think game is a bit wrong about german/allied ability to replace casualties.
    If you lose german tank in France absence of this one single armour unit will trouble half of the game - you will be forced to get somewhere new armour for Barbarossa, delay date or leave some soviet border units undestroyed, maybe delay lab build etc
    While loss of 4 UK mech in France means almost nothing. They have lots of iddle time in 1940-42 to rebuild anything they want.
    I think its somewhat unfair, because with Morris' huge BEF he have little problem killing valueable german units.

    Actually huge BEF problem is much older them Morris - when allies go for hard defence in France germans have troubles with bying labs and new units, as many PP go into repairs like expensive fighter steps. By the way there is cheap trick to unload BEF after morale loss, units will not suffer at all this way.

    If you go for Blitzkrieg (with average luck, not 1-5 turns fair and not 1 turn conquest of Belgium-Holland) you also stuck at bad weather without allied morale penalty and proper air suppor, suffering serious casualties and advancing slowly. I am happy that few players use "massive BEF" strategy nowadays, as it is still super-effective and have little downside.

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    Post by Rhialto » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:34 pm

    Stauffenberg wrote:He claims it takes too much of his time to write an explanation and he feels he doesn't feel he speaks English well enough to explain. I think he expresses himself quite well. He has time to start game after game. Go figure.

    I believe he wants to keep the exploits to himself so nobody can beat him. He claims otherwise, but surely doesnt help us telling HOW he manages to get huge number of units despite horrible losses. We can only guess and we can't fix what we cant see.
    If you had the game-turn files from this game you (as designer/game engineer) can surely parse and analyze them with an editor to see the full contents without FOW? Supermax must have all the game turns in his e-mail records.
    Or do they only contain selected information that is a subset of the full save-game files?

    Peter Stauffenberg
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    Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:36 pm

    The problem is that then Germany can more easily defend against Allied landings in Britain after Sealion. It would also complicate the rules. They can then put lots of garrison units at the coastal hexes and the Allies will not get ashore at all.

    It all depends on when the Allies try to liberate France. The main benefit from having Britain is that you can have lots of air units supporting your landings. If you go directly for France then you can only use CV's to support the landing and the Luftwaffe can inflict heavy damage on the CV's. You won't have nearby ports to make repairs in either.

    There is a big difference for the Allies in invading France vs Britain. The French landing can quickly be opposed by the Germans railing reserves to the invasion area. That's not so easy in Britain because you need to sail the units to Britain first.

    Do we really see Allied long range invasions of France when Britain is still Axis? We've already added a rule where the transports lose efficiency while at sea. I suggest we try to check what happens with that before we make other conclusion.

    The only change I think we could consider is the rule that Mulberry can only be used if London is still Allied controlled. Mulberries give supply level 2 instead of supply level 1 in an invasion area supported by a surface ship. The reason is that a Mulberry would not have been posssible to transport across the Atlantic.

    Mulberries become available in 1944. Should we make that change?

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    Post by Plaid » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:39 pm

    Actually I can't understand why Morris have time to play this dozens of games, but don't have time to write about exploits, so they can be fixed without wasting his and other's time.
    Writing that he build only certain labs and units for each country and send this units in certain placed at certain date don't demand supreme english or writing skills, do it?

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    Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:52 pm

    Rhialto wrote:If you had the game-turn files from this game you (as designer/game engineer) can surely parse and analyze them with an editor to see the full contents without FOW? Supermax must have all the game turns in his e-mail records.
    Or do they only contain selected information that is a subset of the full save-game files?
    If I get the save game files from Supermax I can easily load the files and move to Morris'es turn and check his situation turn after turn. I can disable the password in the code so I can get into any game. But in order to do that I need save game files sent.

    We've looked into other save game files before without finding anything fishy in those games, but we detected the max-min strategy etc. he used. So the fixes we've made have come because we were able to analyze save games and not because Morris has told us what he did. He's very reluctant to tell us anything regarding his strategy. I don't think he's aware of our (Ronnie and me) ability to actually read all data from any game we get.

    If I really want to get nasty I could have coded so Godzilla who would spawn on my side and and move around 1 hex per turn eating units in it's way. :twisted: I could even code so I had nuclear weapons at my disposal as the Allies and suddenly bombard German cities with ICBM's. It would take me just a few hours of coding to make that joke. The simplest way is to just program a function for the key pressed n (for nuclear) and when the key is pressed the unit in the hex is destroyed and a message is created saying that hex nnnn was nuked. When my opponent would ask how it's possible to build nukes I could say that with US tech level 7 in industry you open up an easter egg in the game with the nuke at will button. :mrgreen:

    This just proves that with proper Java skill you can actually do whatever you want with a game. This is another reason why it's not a good idea having tournaments etc. in GS. As long as the source code is easily accessible then you make it possible for people to hack advantages for themselves. It has been a problem with MMO's that you can use bots to generate game XP or money by purchasing the "service" from pirates. So you can sleep on your sofa while the bot gains XP for you.

    supermax
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    Post by supermax » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:55 pm

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    Cybvep
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    Post by Cybvep » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:59 pm

    The problem is that then Germany can more easily defend against Allied landings in Britain after Sealion. It would also complicate the rules. They can then put lots of garrison units at the coastal hexes and the Allies will not get ashore at all.
    That would probably cost the Germans many PPs. Considering that they have to attack the Soviets and that Sea Lion itself is costly, I think that it wouldn't always be possible.
    The only change I think we could consider is the rule that Mulberry can only be used if London is still Allied controlled. Mulberries give supply level 2 instead of supply level 1 in an invasion area supported by a surface ship. The reason is that a Mulberry would not have been posssible to transport across the Atlantic.
    That would be sth, but I feel that it would not be enough.
    Do we really see Allied long range invasions of France when Britain is still Axis? We've already added a rule where the transports lose efficiency while at sea. I suggest we try to check what happens with that before we make other conclusion.
    Does this apply to 2.0? I'm not a beta tester, so I don't have access to recent versions.

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    Post by rkr1958 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:12 am

    Wow ... I read the latest posts in this AAR before work this morning and when I got back there's been 3 new pages of new posts. I can't wait to catch up. This is one happening AAR!

    supermax
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    Post by supermax » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:33 am

    rkr1958 wrote:Wow ... I read the latest posts in this AAR before work this morning and when I got back there's been 3 new pages of new posts. I can't wait to catch up. This is one happening AAR!
    Well, Mix Moriss and Max and it makes for an interesting potion! :)

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    Post by Kragdob » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:44 am

    Stauffenberg wrote:I won't say the strategy is broken on a strategic level. If you e. g. manage to kick Britain out of Britain then they will have a permanent morale loss to all units until they units back in Britain again. So losing Britain will bite hard and almost cripple the British for offensive purposes until USA and USSR join the Allies.

    Again I think we should limit ourselves to plugging all the exploits that Morris is using. We've plugged a lot already and I'm sure he has several more exploits up his sleeve. I think a player like Morris can "ruin" almost every game he touches because he will always be searching for exploits.s

    So please let's ignore how Morris is playing and focus on how the rest of us are playing. If we can have pretty balanced games then we should be happy. Eventually Morris will run out of players because people get tired of being faced with all kinds of "tricks" he has figured out. Most people want to play games with some kind of historical feeling.

    Would you play against a person who found a bug in the game which meant he could get units for free if he built in a certain way. I can just reveal a secret that was in versions prior to GS v2.0. As you all know you would get Timoshenko for free when Russia entered the war. He was worth maybe 20 PP's. The exploit was that if you BUILT him before Russia entered then the next general in the list would be given for free. And that general was ..... Zhukov and he was worth 110 PP's. So you had actually earned 90 free PP's and nobody would know you had done it. You can't call it cheating because the game engine allowed you to do so. It was exploiting a weaknesss in the engine. This was plugged by replacing the leader names with leader indexes so I could tell in the general.txt the index of the free leaders for each year. So instead of getting Zhukov for buying Timoshenko you get nothing. So you better not buy the leaders you get for free.

    I wonder if loopholes like that still exists and some players have managed to find them out without telling us about the loophole.
    But if you ignore 'Morris' just because he plays better does not make sense for me. If he only uses the environment that game provide I'm fine with stretching it (abandon UK if it is worth it). On the other side is if he does not want to share the real exploits it is very ugly and cheating should mean ban.

    What I'm saying is not "Rebuild GS 2.10 and turn game inside out". I'm tossing ideas so you guys can consider - I'm not that experienced so I know most things on my list could tip the balance to the other side. I keep forgetting about the efficiency loss - due to this loosing UK may be pretty well balanced for now.

    Still effects on loosing whole RN is nothing as it would be for UK in 1940 nor is loosing Egypt/Middle East.

    Maybe there should be higher limit for navy presence in the Atlantic (e.g. 50 steps of ships).
    Maybe Iraq/Persia should generate a little bit more oil (full PP revenue).
    Additional option could be Iraq upraising after e.g. you conquer 2 (out of 3) cities in Egypt.
    supermax wrote:Well.... Who am I to contradict you?

    His strategy is beatable. The fact that you are saying that i am lucky that he keeps comning at me contradict the fact that he IS MORISS. He will keep attacking with no pause or concern. So why should i hink it otherwise? That what he does best
    You are much skillful here then I am :) I'm not saying you win because you are lucky. I'm saying that Morris is making it much easier for you (by doing Soviet killing for you) and with someone who adapted to your strategy in this game it could have been much harder for you to play.

    I keep my fingers crossed for you :)
    Last edited by Kragdob on Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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    Post by Kragdob » Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:52 am

    Stauffenberg wrote:If I really want to get nasty I could have coded so Godzilla who would spawn on my side and and move around 1 hex per turn eating units in it's way. :twisted: I could even code so I had nuclear weapons at my disposal as the Allies and suddenly bombard German cities with ICBM's. It would take me just a few hours of coding to make that joke. The simplest way is to just program a function for the key pressed n (for nuclear) and when the key is pressed the unit in the hex is destroyed and a message is created saying that hex nnnn was nuked. When my opponent would ask how it's possible to build nukes I could say that with US tech level 7 in industry you open up an easter egg in the game with the nuke at will button. :mrgreen:
    You already coded Max into time loop :) He reposted the same turn twice already...
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    Post by Kragdob » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:27 am

    Do you have "efficiency loss when at sea" rule implemented in this game? If yes, then maybe the cap for max efficiency loss should be removed?
    Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

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    Post by ferokapo » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:51 am

    First of all: Sorry Supermax for going a bit off-topic here, but as usual you AAR has spawned some interesting discussion!

    I think Supermax's AAR shows something that I have been saying a while ago, and Stauffenberg now seems to agree: That you have modified the game according to the exploit-strategies of one player, and thereby rendering the game less interesting for "normal" players like me. Why? Look at Supermax's game: Highly skilled player, almost perfect execution of early game, extremely strong Barbarossa, yet no decisive success in the East. Supermax will win this game because Moriss is not a good player and wastes units and neglects research. But my point still stands: Despite focusing on Barbarossa, it seems to me that Supermax would not have been able to decisively beat the Soviets.

    I think that there are three main theaters where the Axis can focus. If they focus on one, a successful offensive there should give them a decisive advantage, because they will be struggling in the other two theaters. (Historically, btw, the Axis did not focus on any of the three, with mediocre results in all of them):

    1) Occupy the UK.
    2) Occupy Egypt, Iraq, Persia.
    3) Occupy Moscow or the Caucasus.

    I think 1) is well-balanced in the game, but 2) always was in disfavor of the Axis, and with the latest changes, 3) is now as well. The way 2) is handled in the game is historical, because I think a strong engagement and succesful offensive would not have led to significant advantages for the Axis, while a loss of the Middle East would not have been a decisive blow to the Allies. However, we want an interesting game, don't we? So maybe we should think about a boost in (oil) revenue for the Axis when conquering the Middle East. Though a-historical, it would make for a more interesting game. Regarding Russia, with the latest changes such as a more Western Supply 3 zone in 1941, it becomes impossible for the Axis to capture Moscow or the Caucasus, even if they focus on Barbarossa and neglect other theaters of war. I think that an above-average player, with careful execution, should be able to get to Moscow in 1941 IF he focuses on Barbarossa.

    So much for that, hope to read more from Supermax soon!!!

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    Post by Kragdob » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:11 am

    eisenkopf wrote:I think Supermax's AAR shows something that I have been saying a while ago, and Stauffenberg now seems to agree: That you have modified the game according to the exploit-strategies of one player, and thereby rendering the game less interesting for "normal" players like me. Why? Look at Supermax's game: Highly skilled player, almost perfect execution of early game, extremely strong Barbarossa, yet no decisive success in the East. Supermax will win this game because Moriss is not a good player and wastes units and neglects research. But my point still stands: Despite focusing on Barbarossa, it seems to me that Supermax would not have been able to decisively beat the Soviets.
    And I think this would be the reason why not to play with Morris (much). Not because his strategy is a-historical (it can be even if game is well balanced, which is close) but because it does not vary much and finally becomes boring. Even if you win with him mostly it will always be the same path. After a few plays I'd simply look for other opponents where I would have chance to e.g. be more offensive in the East or launch NA campaign because this path will be like playing with AI who is 99% predictable and there is little fun from such game.
    Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

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    Post by Cybvep » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:32 am

    However, we want an interesting game, don't we? So maybe we should think about a boost in (oil) revenue for the Axis when conquering the Middle East. Though a-historical, it would make for a more interesting game.
    Historically, Iraqi and Persian oil fields were major sources of oil. Not THAT big as today, but still very important, so I don't see anything ahistorical with it. The Axis had big oil problems IRL, so capturing the Middle East would definitely help them.

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    Post by ferokapo » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:54 am

    Cybvep wrote:
    However, we want an interesting game, don't we? So maybe we should think about a boost in (oil) revenue for the Axis when conquering the Middle East. Though a-historical, it would make for a more interesting game.
    Historically, Iraqi and Persian oil fields were major sources of oil. Not THAT big as today, but still very important, so I don't see anything ahistorical with it. The Axis had big oil problems IRL, so capturing the Middle East would definitely help them.
    Sorry, but you are wrong on that one. Iraqi and Persian oil fields were not major sources of oil. Most of Western Allied oil came from North America, and Russian oil from the Caucasus. You can check the figures easily on Wikipedia when searching for oil output in WW2. And even if they were major sources of oil, the Axis had no chance to get that crude (!) oil to refineries. Which would have to be built, too, btw. So it's historical that the Axis does not gain much from conquering the Middle East. But since it does not hurt the Allies much to lose it, there is little incentive to go there. Which is historical, but less fun. But this is now clearly off-topic. We can discuss this in one of the many threads on the Middle East strategy. :-)

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