LouisXIVXIV (Axis +9) defeats Epinikion. Resignation round 9. The ~ first 6 rounds were played live, then pbem.
Epi's play style is very aggressive - Barca's is very conservative; a bit of whiplash back to back. A good game, and close. It can be divided between before USA round 6 and after USA round 6.
Before USA round 6 I thought the game was very tightly matched, and I was worried that Allies might have a small advantage (~51%). I had thought deeply into my play sequence based on two assumptions: 1. USA attacks Southern OR 2. USA stacks Egypt. I was comfortable with the strategies I had come up with for those situations, and I believed I was better off if USA attacked Southern. When USA in fact attacked Southern, I thought - okay, now Axis have the 51%, sounds good. However....
Then in Round 7 USSR made a grinding attack and retreat against well-fortified Ukraine as part of an attempted KO combo against Germany. That came as a surprise and as a shock. When the dust settled I counted up what remained to see if Germany could hold against a major UK attack presence. It looked like I could, barely. With USSR and USA involved I would need to play a maximum and perfect defense to the last man, and I plotted the way for all J air to get into Europe to die.
Now, this was a shock - but was it a good move and was it a killing blow? I'm not sure, but Epi and I disagree on this point. He stands by this sequence as a game winning combo. You have to play out the ending in the case Germ does fall - USSR also falls and Japan gets in the game, so it's not so easy to say willy-nilly that Axis are dead on the spot. It depends a great deal on details - exactly when everyone dies and who is left. If UK could take Germ quickly then for sure it's a great killing blow. A mixed effort over 3 rounds with lots of casualties is less clear. The difference between these situations is a handful of German units...
Epi made a mistake in Africa around then by stacking Egypt with too many USA inf. (why we switched from Live to pbem play) We both believe that this was a mistake. He believes it was game deciding, because those USA inf would have made the difference to German collapse and victory. I'm not so sure.
The actual result in the real game -- and btw, Axis had just wonderful, almost flawless dice starting at USA round 6 --- was that Germany was going to take far too long to fall, and Russia WAS going to fall eventually. Too much Allied TUV had died in the gambit. We took a 10 day hiatus over new year and when we came back to the game Epi called it.
A great player and great sport. Always fun. Thanks for a good game Epi.