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. You have probably already seen our first post in this series which covered the first three games played including At Villers Cottérêts: Mons 1914 from Conflict Simulations Limited, The Lamps are Going Out 2nd Edition from Compass Games and Paths of Glory: The First World War, 1914-1918 Deluxe Edition from GMT Games. In case you missed it, here is that post. We now move further into the war and make progress on our Guns of August Event.
The Second Group
Heading into the dog days of August, we played another three games on WWI and really felt that we were hitting our stride and enjoying our experience very much. In fact, we kept adding games to our list that we wanted to play and this was the genesis for the extended 3 month event.
Decisive Victory 1918: Volume One – Soissons from Legion Wargames
When we received this game in the spring, we knew that we wanted to play it to include in our rankings of games published in 2021 but also because it is from Legion Wargames, a company that we have had a very good experience with regarding the dozen or so games we have played of theirs. Decisive Victory 1918 is a new series consisting of a proposed three games that when combined will cover the entire Allied offensive in July of 1918 known as the Second Battle of the Marne. Volume One is Soissons and focuses on this major French offensive during the late war.
This game focuses on some of the major features of late WWI combat and gets away from the slogging trench warfare that we all know from history. The game is set up to mimic how a good defense force can hold tactical advantage over and aggressive offense until it grinds itself out with losses. The French player has complete surprise and greater numbers of troops and equipment facing a small German army that is trying to use the terrain to win key engagements to slow the advance down. The best part of the game is how the attacker can choose to inflict one or two losses on their enemy when winning a combat but in attacking and inflicting those losses a similar number of losses must be absorbed. It creates some real tension and tough choices for the offensive player as once French troops reach half of their original strength they cannot attack any longer. Such a great new system that really has captured our fancy and we are eagerly awaiting the follow-up volumes.
Here is a link to our video review of the game:
After a long day of gaming with a heavier Hex and Counter wargame, we decided to take a step back and play a less complex game on the subject called An Attrition of Souls from Compass Games.
An Attrition of Souls from Compass Games
An Attrition of Souls is not a deep or complex game but was designed as a light, fast-paced dice chucking experience that can be played in about an hour. It uses a unique counter draw system to simulate the movement of troops and availably of units during the First World War. Each turn, players reach into a bag and will randomly draw tiles based on your economic points gained from the control of territories and deeply them to take the action to your opponent. The combat system is very unique and basically assigns a die value to each type of unit, infantry have a 1, tanks a 2, bi-planes a 3 and losses will be taken from the same set of dice based on the unit types attacking. This makes for a very light yet fun and interesting gaming experience that can be played with anyone who is interested in history. At first, we didn’t really want to play this but after playing decided that it was perfect at what it was trying to do and wasn’t pretending to be anything else.
Here is a link to our review of the game:
Next up in our WWI marathon, was a game that I have wanted to play since it came out in early 2020 called At All Costs! The Great War in the East designed by the late Tim Taylor. I interviewed Tim in 2017 and really felt a kinship with them.
At All Costs! The Great War in the East from Hollandspiele
Another great game from Hollandspiele is At All Costs! The Great War in the East. The game is a strategic level wargame, which covers the eastern front. The game is card driven and uses cards to allow units to take various actions such as fight, get replacements and affect the course of the game with key technological, military, and political events. Players alternate playing cards and moving pieces.
The best part is how cards are purchased and units are bough. You have to decide how you will split your funds before you know what cards you are getting so you may need some units to shore up your defense you will buy less cards and more units but then find that the few cards you bought don’t allow you to initiate any combats. This really makes the player think about how they are going to use their scarce resources to keep up the pressure and prepare for the next phase. Such a great game! Supply is also very key and can change in one move and really keeps the pressure up on players. This game was a huge hit with me and I want to get it back to the table.
Here is a link to our video review of the game:
Thanks for coming back for a look at our continuing series on World War I games. In the next post, you can can look forward to the next three games we played that included Empire at Sunrise from Hollandspiele, The Great War Tanks Expansions from PSC Games and Devil Dogs: Belleau Wood 1918 from Worthington Publishing.
Thanks, that was fantastic, you really dug in! Big fan of the era. One game of this period that I really love is ‘Verdun 1916, Steel inferno’. Hope you guys one day will play and review this game. You’ll love it.
For those who are interested, the designer just mentioned on BBG that the last games in English are almost sold out: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2765987/verdun-english-nearly-out-print
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