Tag Archives: Unconditional Surrender!

How to Win at Unconditional Surrender! (Three Basic Tips, #8)

When you have just learned a shiny new board game, especially one which is a bit longer and more complex than others, it’s nice to have some strategic direction. That’s what I aim to provide with my series Three Basic Tips – strategy advice for beginner and intermediate players that is easy to remember and yet gets you places.

Today’s game is Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games). With its 56-page rulebook and a playtime of 50-100 hours for a full campaign, the game can look a little daunting. Worry not! It’s a surprisingly beginner-friendly system – in fact, it was the first classic hex-and-counter game I ever played, and I turned out just fine. (My mother had me tested!) Follow the recommended learning path of playing the four tutorial scenarios (along with the rules reading each requires), and you’ll be all set up.

While this article is about improving your chances to win, remember that winning is not everything – particularly not in a game that can take this long. In my current two-player game (online via boardgamearena.com), a combination of suboptimal play and bad luck on my part made it clear early on that I was unlikely to win the game. Nonetheless, it’s been a fun experience, and I always look forward to the weekly meeting with my opponent. Remember what the designer himself states as the objective of the game: “Have fun playing” (rule 1.1.1).

Without further ado, let’s get into the tips – one operational, one strategic, one grand strategic.

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Half-Year Gaming Report, 2021

2021 is already halfway over! At least the period of January to May felt like the longest five months ever. Yet now summer is here, COVID is retreating where I live, and so we get to enjoy some of the things we love best again. For example, board gaming in person. So far, I’ve only been visited by a friend for some board gaming once this year, but I do plan on stepping it up! Here’s what I played so far in the first six months of the year.

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Board Game Geek War Game Top 60: #30-21

Welcome back to the fourth part of the series on the top 60 games in BoardGameGeek’s war game list! We enter the upper half of the top 60 games, and there are some excellent games in today’s package. You know the drill from the first, second, and third part – I give a few thoughts on each of the games, and then you add yours in the comments. Without further ado, here are games #30-21 of the list.

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Unconditional Surrender! (USEAAR, #31)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) . However, the document is not fictitious – this was the Act of Military Surrender signed by the German High Command at the end of the war. All I changed is the date and the some of the names of the Allied generals present and witnessing (to better reflect the developments on the fronts in this after-action report).

ACT OF MILITARY SURRENDER

  1. We the undersigned, acting by authority of the German High Command, hereby surrender unconditionally to the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and simultaneously to the Supreme High Command of the Red Army all forces on land, sea, and in the air who are at this date under German control.
  2. The German High Command will at once issue orders to all German military, naval and air authorities and to all forces under German control to cease active operations at 2301 hours Central European time on 12th July 1943, to remain in the positions occupied at that time and to disarm completely, handing over their weapons and equipment to the local allied commanders or officers designated by Representatives of the Allied Supreme Commands. No ship, vessel, or aircraft is to be scuttled, or any damage done to their hull, machinery or equipment, and also to machines of all kinds, armament, apparatus, and all the technical means of prosecution of war in general.
  3. The German High Command will at once issue to the appropriate commanders, and ensure the carrying out of any further orders issued by the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and by the Supreme High Command of the Red Army.
  4. This act of military surrender is without prejudice to, and will be superseded by any general instrument of surrender imposed by, or on behalf of the United Nations and applicable to GERMANY and the German armed forces as a whole.
  5. In the event of the German High Command or any of the forces under their control failing to act in accordance with this Act of Surrender, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force and the Supreme High Command of the Red Army will take such punitive or other action as they deem appropriate.
  6. This act is drawn up in the English, Russian and German languages. The English and Russian are the only authentic texts.

Signed at Berlin on the ⁠ 12th⁠ day of July, 1943

VON FRIEDEBURG              ⁠KEITEL ⁠           STUMPFF
On behalf of the German High Command

 

IN THE PRESENCE OF:

CARL SPAATZ
On behalf of the
⁠Supreme Commander
⁠Allied Expedtionary Force

KONSTANTIN ROKOSSOVSKY
On behalf of the
⁠Supreme High Command of the
⁠Red Army

⁠At the signing also were present as witnesses:

F. DE LATTRE-TASSIGNY
General Commanding in Chief
⁠First French Army

KENNETH ANDERSON
General Commanding in Chief
Eighth Army⁠, United Kingdom

You can see the current state of affairs in the game in the Twitter thread:

Letter from Pyotr Ilyich Stoyanov to his wife Anastasia Sergeyevna Stoyanova (USEAAR, #30)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Berlin, June 22, 1943

Beloved Nastya!
You will have noticed from the top of this page – I am truly sending this letter from Berlin!
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Diary entry by Amalie Eichler on her flight from Munich (USEAAR,#29)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Tübingen, May 21, 1943

Finally, we are in Tübingen! Frieda has taken us in – of course she has, what else can you do when your sister with her children stands before you and you know they have no way to go? Of course, there was no guarantee she would still be here. The war has changed everything. Yesterday’s certainties are today’s gambles. In any case, she seemed happier to see us than she is worried about having to feed another four mouths. Continue reading

Report of Evelyn Sandringham, Alpinist with the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division (USEAAR, #28)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Verona, March 07, 1943

To the Chief of Staff

Sir,
my investigation of the avalanche which has buried the freight train with supplies for and cut the railway link to the 24th (Gibraltar) Mountain Corps has been completed with the following findings:

  • The avalanche has not been caused naturally, but rather through setting off an explosive. The remains of said explosive have been found on the eastern slope of mountains next to the Adige valley. That the avalanche coincided exactly with the time the supply train was passing through compounds these findings.
  • Inquiries after the activities of pro-Nazi partisans among the ethnic Germans in these parts of South Tyrol have been inconclusive. The intelligence officers of British Army in Italy are aware of such partisans, but deem it unlikely, yet not impossible, that they have the amount of explosives required to conduct such an operation. It is, however, conceivable that the attack has been carried out by other groups.

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Diary entry of Roza Shanina (USEAAR, #27)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Kufstein, January 25, 1943

Haven’t seen any combat for some time. We just held our part of the line at the Austrian pocket in the end, and when it collapsed, we rushed through the mountains as fast as we could – after all, we wouldn’t want the forces in the north to get all the glory in defeating the fascists! And as they are on the outskirts of Berlin already, we need to hurry to do something that can hold up against it.
However, today we saw something much more exciting than combat: British soldiers! Continue reading

Diary entry of Josephine Lefèvre (USEAAR, #26)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Brussels, December 21, 1942

I know I should not be euphoric. We have been liberated before. Continue reading