CP#25 Hoch See Flotte Sortie
Originally HIGH SEAS FLEET. The German/British naval duel is abstracted in the Hoch See Flotte / Grand Fleet interaction. Under the original rules, the CP player would play Hoch See Flotte Sortie if he managed to get the card before the Allies reached Limited War, or if Mata Hari revealed it was a safe play. Otherwise, there is no reason why he should ever play it: while recycling a valuable “4” card, it would force the AP player to keep Grand Fleet in hand as a parry, effectively reducing his playable hand size by one, unless he is willing to accept the excruciating VP penalty. Withholding the German Fleet is the way to take the best out of it.
In reality, once the war had reached the impasse, commitment of the fleet was politically unavoidable. The Kaiser had invested colossal resources into his state-of-the-art fleet, and staked national pride on it. Its immobility, while on land all attempts to break the stalemate had failed, was beginning to arouse much public outcry.
To prevent the CP player from capitalizing on his fleet’s shyness, I chose to apply a deadline for the use of the card, including its Ops/SR/REP functions. The card may only be removed by being played as an event, since it may never be discarded, not even at the end of the Fall 1916 turn as per 16.6. If the fleet is not committed, it will become a dead weight in the CP hand, in effect reducing its size by one card. The chosen deadline is the USA Declare War event: the addition of America’s naval assets to the Allied coalition and the deterioration of Germany’s overall situation marked a definitive end to the German chances at sea. A later attempt to conduct a suicide sortie in 1918 was thwarted by wide-scale mutinies.
The best time for the CP player to play this event will then be around the historical Jutland, in order to force the Allied player to stick to his Grand Fleet for as long as possible, before the USA join the war and the Hoch See Flotte Sortie card turns into a useless burden.