Just a quick update on my VASSAL game of Axis Empires: Totaler Krieg! It's been a hard slog through Poland, but I finally took Warsaw in the middle of the summer. More like WW1 than WW2 in many ways. The good news is that Poland is now a conquered country and Eric no longer gets the benefit of those units. On the down side, I still need to garrison cities.
I chose not to go to Total War for a few reasons, but the main ones were a) bringing in the Americans, b) bringing in the Russian Emergency Mobilization units (a good choice as it turned out - Eric has maxed out his forces at long last, which I *think* is good). Plus a deteriorating Delay Box situation. So I went with Operation Marita for the summer, which was enough for me to take Warsaw. Now the question is whether I go for making the Poles an ally, or do I try to bring in Hungary or Rumania? A tough call. Occupation isn't that bad, especially as the Poles are not really able to come in in force right away anyway, but I'm still one hex away from the historical Nazi-Soviet Pact division line and it will take a while to push the Soviets out.
I brought in the Italians on the Axis side as well, right before Chuck attempted to Demand Cyrenaica. At the same time, he's got a pretty big army brewing down there, and one of the drawbacks of not being at Total War is I don't get the Afrika Korps units yet. At least I have two steps coming in per season with the Minors.
Of course, I am not someone who can let well enough alone. Hence Finland and Poland going Soviet early, which has been a bit of a problem. At the same time, I'm very interested to see what can happen in this game, so for my second Treaty attempt of the fall, I went for Greece. I got it, but also Bulgaria coming in for the Soviets. At least I have the Western Allied Strategic Hex in Athens with no German blood shed, and I'll be going to +4 on the strategic cities, with Minsk and Kiev in sight. Maybe. There are a lot of Russians squeezed into a very small front right now, but a lot of people don't have much in the way of card plays. Exciting.
As we stand, I have a plan for the coming year and it will be fun to see how it plays out.
As Eric has already said, "I love this game."