If you would like to learn more about the game and concept, please reach to interview with Clint Warren-Davey which we did recently:
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Werwolf is a COIN-inspired, alternate history wargame with 4 totally different factions. Here, we take a closer look at the Allies.
The Allies are the American, British and French military forces occupying Germany from 1945, as well local German police forces loyal to the new regime. In historical terms, this is the Allied Military Government of Germany, which existed from 1945-1955 and had direct authority over the Western half of the country. In the game’s timeline, many things have gone differently. The D-Day landings have been disastrous, and the Allies have fought their way into Germany while suffering millions of losses. Then, the occupation of Germany has turned into a bloody and protracted counter-insurgency against the numerous and well-organised Werwolf and Edelweiss guerrilla movements. The Allies are trying to rebuild the country and make Germany into a stable democracy as a bulwark against the rising power of the Soviet Union. But the people back home in the democratic West are running out of patience for the war and the occupation. There is a serious possibility that the troops will all be brought home and Germany will be handed over to Werwolf, Edelweiss or Soviet tyranny.
As the Allied player, you are NOT refighting World War Two. The Panzer divisions are flaming wrecks, Berlin is a ruin and the American flag waves over cities like Hamburg and Nuremburg. But the enemy has gone underground and now strikes from the shadows with terror, assassinations, ambushes and roadside bombs. You are fighting a counter-insurgency against Nazi fanatics and Wehrmacht veterans while German civilians watch anxiously from the ruins to see if you can deliver on your promises of order, security and democracy. Your victory condition is mainly based on Total Allied Loyalty – which reflects how much the German people see you as a legitimate authority. Hollywood, Coca-cola and cigarette rations will all help your image, but the most important thing is restoring order and rebuilding the shattered cities and towns of a war-torn nation. Luckily, you have more resources than any other faction, total control of the skies and lots of powerful actions and event cards to help you towards victory.
Your broad strategic goal as the Allies is to take control of the most populous cities and provinces, occupy them with both troops and police, and spend resources on reconstruction to build them up towards Allied loyalty. This is easier said than done! A single underground Werwolf or Edelweiss cell in any space can undo all your expensive work with a single action like terror, so you need to be hunting down guerrillas to allow your reconstruction efforts to take full effect. The search action is the usual way to do this and should be done as a high priority to reveal guerrillas in your high population cities and provinces. Reinforcement, patrols, air lifts and redeployment can all be used to shift forces to where they need to be and ensure strong garrisons in all Allied territory. If you have Allied loyalty and at least 3 cubes in a space, all guerrillas marching into it will be revealed as the populace report on their movements. This can help protect the civilians that have joined you. In the image below from a playtest game, the Allies have built up loyalty plus military and police forces in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Bonn and Nuremberg, making them fairly safe. There are still hidden Werwolf guerrillas (lying down = underground) in some of these cities though, which will need to be rooted out before they can use terror against the pro-Allied civilians.
Aside from total loyalty, you must also keep morale high to win the game. Allied morale reflects the willingness of civilians back home to support the war as well as the motivation of soldiers at the front. It can be raised by sending troops home, destroying enemy bases and some event cards, but usually it will be decreasing due to casualties. Every 2 Allied troops killed will lower morale by 2, giving the insurgents every reason to target your blue cubes with attacks, ambushes, assassinations and even “wunder-waffen” strikes from Werwolf. Note that the Allied “Available Forces” box has a separate space to keep track of casualties:
You need to avoid exposing your troops to losses and there are a few tricks to do this. Commando raids can kill a single guerrilla even if it is underground – a neat way of getting rid of insurgents who have snuck into West Berlin or other high population cities. If you reveal a large concentration of guerrillas, hit them with an air strike to destroy them without losing any men. The drawback is this will shift the space towards resistance (hurting you and helping Werwolf), so you might need to assault to avoid falling behind in the battle for hearts and minds. If you do assault, it is often worth using air lift to get your men and equipment out of there before the survivors can strike back. Luckily, the event card deck also provides some great ways for the Allies to destroy insurgents – if the cards come up. Here is one of the best:
Of course, you could just let the Soviets handle the dirty work of killing piles of guerrillas – but they will happily take control of the space and push themselves closer to victory! This leads to another important mechanic – Cold War tensions. Every time you and the Soviets step on each other’s toes this track will go up. If you trigger World War Three with Stalin, the game could end with both the Allies and the Soviets losing – handing the game over to Werwolf or Edelweiss. Tensions can also increase the cost of your actions and paralyse your forces. You must keep an open dialogue with the Soviet player at all times to negotiate, but also know when to actively target them. Grab research tokens (top Nazi scientists and the remnants of Hitler’s “wunder-waffen” programs) before the Soviets whenever possible, as you are locked in an arms race from the very beginning. Your reconstruction efforts can remove communist sympathies as well as Nazi resistance, so it is possible to take control of Soviet cities and bring them over to Allied loyalty to hurt the Reds. You can also deliberately park your troops or police on the roads leading out of East Germany – blockading the Soviets by using Cold War tensions against them. If you get desperate, throw some cash at Edelweiss or Werwolf and let them wreak havoc in Soviet territory.
Finally, there is the important issue of key events, unless you are playing the short scenario. Both Allied key events are very powerful but require some setting up. First is Manhattan Project. This requires 4 research, which you should be trying to pick up early in the game whenever you do a search action, even if only to gain the research advantage over the Soviets. If you can pull it off, this card can double your victory total as you get +4 morale and all passive loyalty flips to active loyalty: the pro-American population are happy to be under the protection of a nuclear armed superpower! This event does push up tensions though, which may require some negotiating to bring down. Then there is Marshall Plan Aid (pictured below), another fantastic event which massively boosts Allied loyalty. To play this card you need to be fiercely competing with Werwolf, as total Allied loyalty must be higher than total resistance. This will require some work – try to remove resistance in highly-populated spaces like München and also build your own loyalty there.
This post should give you some idea of how the Allies play in Werwolf and how you can win with them. Thanks for reading!