Welcome to our discussion forum!
You are not logged in.
The War Plans are central in the variant's philosophy, as they prevent historically absurd moves for the crucial opening phase of the war. There was still one thing, however, I was not happy with, it was the possibility for the AH units in Galicia to fall back prematurely and avoid battle on the borders.
The Great War has started due to AH delusions of grandeur, and corresponding overconfidence in the Army's combativeness. AH forces in Galicia were expected to conduct a victorious drive into Russian territory. Only staggering defeat on the field made AH generals aware of the true value of their forces.
I have come up with a simple fix -the AH War Plan as it is added in the variant rules-. In addition to dealing with the above-mentioned problem, it has several other advantages. it allows me to remove as a counterpart the "Free Ops" rule for the Russian Tannenberg attack -a remainder of a former War Plan configuration- now a little parasitic: it applies only to that case and requires too much writing. I always welcome streamlining when possible.
Since AH units will basically "wait for them" during turn one, the Russians won't have to attack before the last impulses of the turn (so the ops expenditure for Tannenberg is no longer a handicap), and this is strictly coherent with the timeline: the border battles happened as of 26th of August and unfolded into September.
Rules, rationale, downloadable files rectified accordingly
(I have also added a detail on the Flamethrowers Combat Card: it must now be used against trenches)
while not mentioned in the rules there is the Guns of August card which includes AH attacks in Galicia and Serbia. If GoA is played (practically always) AH troops will be commited to attack as of action round 1 in Galicia - so where is the wait for it?
AH forces will naturally not want to fall back out of Galicia if they can help it as it contains an important fortress and 2 VP locations. The only exception is the corps in Czernowitz which is very exposed and under your latest adaptation is "dead meat" as it could only be activated for attack (if it gets that possibility at all, since the Allied player has first strike option anyhow). By all means remove the free ops for Tannenberg, but why increase the penalty on something which is a pretty delicate situation for the AH player already now?
The Allies will need 3 Ops on their first round to deal with the situation in the West (one for the FR War Plan, one to move 5th Army and one to move the BEF).
If the Allies only use a 3 Ops card, or use a fourth Ops to move to implement their "Tannenberg" War Plan (which is historically their first move), The CP could (and maybe should) fall back from Tarnopol and Czernowitz, before the Russians get a chance to strike ; and then from Stanislaw to Uzhgorod when the Russians close in - effective delaying tactics while avoiding combat, à la "Great Retreat".
As I mentioned in the rationale, none of these are realistic: the AH had orders to attack and were convinced they would sweep the Russians aside. Russian counterattacks defeated hopes and prompted retreat.
Compared to the original situation, the variant gives a slight advantage to the AH with the free attack from Tarnow. The "dead meat" corps is certainly not an exaggerated representation of the severe mauling the AH got during the historical Russian counterattacked and would then anyway cancel the AH War Plan and allow the AH to retire, now at least with some good reason to do so.