If you didn’t know, since late July, we have pretty much been playing exclusively World War I games. We had this great idea that during the month of August, which is the first month of The Great War, we would play 5 or 6 games on the subject and then shoot a summary video of our thoughts after the fact. Well, that is not how it went as we created a huge list of games that were resting squarely on our “Shelves of Shame” or games that we had recently acquired and decided to play quite a few more games than originally expected. Ultimately, we ended up playing 11 different WWI games. While we still haven’t shot our summary thoughts video on the overall experience, I wanted to begin sharing our experiences with each of these games and then attach our video reviews here for you to watch.
The First Three
We knew that we wanted to kick off this experience with a few of the most famous of WWI games, and at least look at some of the earliest engagements on the subject. This led us to start with a smaller game to get our feat wet on one of the most infamous of engagements in the Battle of Mons, which was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in WWI.
At Villers Cottérêts: Mons 1914 from Conflict Simulations Limited
At Villers Cottérêts: Mons 1914 is a tactical, battalion scale game on the rearguard action during the battle of Mons where a massively outnumbered BEF brigade held up 2 German divisions for an afternoon until another friendly force arrived and was able to cover their retreat.
This was an interesting and great start to our adventure as we really pushed the units involved and tried our best to beat each other up with the very interesting fire combat rules. The terrain was a huge obstacle for movement and the Germans used their fast and agile Cavalry units to attempt to sneak around the BEF flanks to slow their advance towards the crossroads. This worked well and taught us that aggressive maneuver was the key to a German victory here. The game ended in a loss for the Germans controlled by me however as Alexander was able to hold the advancing Huns back from reaching the crossroads. All in all a great first experience for us that we were glad we played as it had been on the shelf for nearly a year and once again reminded me that the best presents sometimes come in small packages.
Here is a link to our video review of the game:
Next we wanted to tackle a few strategic level games on the entire war and looked towards one of the most well thought of games on the subject out there.
The Lamps are Going Out: World War I 2nd Edition from Compass Games
The Lamps are Going Out: World War I just recently came out with a 2nd Edition copy that we just had to get our hands on and give a go as it is a very well thought of game on the subject. The game is a strategic level look at the entirety of World War I and uses cards in several very interesting ways with each faction having their own Event Deck. At the beginning of each turn, each side draws a card and then an event will trigger. These cards are pretty interesting and insert various historical events into the narrative which creates a pretty historic outcome. I also really enjoyed the technology element and how you have to build up certain advantages to realize their beneficial effects during gameplay.
This game is an instant classic and the updated mounted mapboard is pretty sweet as well. Overall, this was one of my favorite games we played during this event and I am frankly itching to get it back to the table.
Here is a link to our video review of the game:
Following our play of The Lamps are Going Out, the next obvious game for us to play was the classic Paths of Glory.
Paths of Glory: The First World War, 1914-1918 Deluxe Edition from GMT Games
Paths of Glory is widely thought to be a masterpiece on WWI and after just our initial play of the introductory scenario I can definitely see why people feel that way. Even though we just played the introductory scenario, it took us nearly 4 hours to get through 3 turns. This game is long and you generally are going to have to play this one over a long weekend to get it all in and enjoy it properly.
We are not done with this one and have plans to play it again but this time taking on the entire campaign game. But, after our play I really enjoyed the mix of historical events and the choices that I had to wage the war in a way that I felt was appropriate. But, my message to everyone who plays this game is beware of supply. Even in our short game, supply was an issue and we had to make sure we didn’t make a fatal mistake that would get us in trouble.
Here is a link to our initial impressions video of the game:
There you have it. A look at the first three games in our Guns of August WWI Event. We had a blast and are now planning our 2022 event to include many of the games that we couldn’t get played. Thanks for following and you can look forward to a similar post on the next three games we played that included Decisive Victory 1918: Volume I – Soissons from Legion Wargames, An Attrition of Souls from Compass Games and At All Costs! The Great War in the East from Hollandspiele.