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. Our 2nd post in the series focused on the next three games we played including Decisive Victory 1918: Volume One – Soissons from Legion Wargames, An Attrition of Souls from Compass Games and At All Costs! The Great War in the East from Hollandspiele. You can read that post here. We now move further into the war and make more hard earned progress on our Guns of August Event. In this post, you can can see the next three games we played that included Empire at Sunrise from Hollandspiele, The Great War Tank Expansions from PSC Games and Devil Dogs: Belleau Wood 1918 from Worthington Publishing.

The Third Group – Trench Foot has Set In!

I am not going to lie. By this point in our event, I was starting to lose interest in this process. Not that the games had not been good, but simply that I felt like I was eating the same thing for each meal. The games were still engaging, as well as interesting to see each designer’s take on the subject, but I was starting to develop trench foot and felt like I was going to need some R&R….but we persevered and pushed ahead with the next three games.

Empire at Sunrise: The Great War in Asia, 1914 from Hollandspiele

I have never really heard of many games set in the Pacific Theater of World War I but in 2021 John Gorkowski’s Empire at Sunrise was one that I experienced. Empire at Sunrise deals with the struggle for control of Pacific sea lanes during the opening months of World War I. The game mainly deals with naval operations but also has some ground combat as the Germans invade Tsingtao which leads to some maneuver and land combat for a few key VP hexes. The really interesting and unique aspects of the design is the use of three different telescoping scales using three different playing surfaces on the map, representing the area around Tsingtao at six miles per hex, the fight over the Asian Pacific at 240 miles per hex, and the entire Pacific Ocean at 1,440 miles per zone. This game had a lot of really interesting things about it but I didn’t like it as much as Alexander did. I thought the naval combat seemed a bit too tough and then the ground combat was almost decided before the dice were rolled. All in all though this was a great entry into an entire theater of the war that should be gamed.

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

With our next game, we wanted to play something light with a system that we really enjoy and that was well implemented in The Great War from PSC Games. We had the Tank Expansions including Tank Expansion (2015) that has German and British tanks, Whippet Tanks Expansion (2015) and French Tanks Expansion (2018) sitting on our shelf of shame and pulled them out to get the “toy factor” with the great models.

The Great War: Tank Expansions from PSC Games

What is not to like about the Commands & Colors System? It is a fantastic yet simple system that deals well with all types of conflicts including The Great War. The various Tanks Expansions add a new element to the game as players have 1-2 massive plodding tanks that are heavily armed and armored but that move slowly across the board and can become bogged down quite easily. The Tank Expansion pack contains 6 highly detailed pre-assembled 1/100th scale World War One British and German tank models, 2 German artillery pieces and 8 crew figures. The Whippet Tanks expansion pack contains 3 Whippet tanks that can be used together with the base set and the Tank Expansion to add some more mobile but less armored units to move around the battlefield and finally the French Tanks Expansion contains 2 assembled and basic painted 1/100th scale (15mm) tank models. One each of the St. Chamond and Schneider varieties. They can be used together with the base set, the French Army, and the Tank expansion.

Our experience with the tanks was that they were best used to not attack other tanks but to focus on foot units to destroy them and score victory medals. All in all, a few very good expansions for a game that we will play at anytime.

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

Next we found probably one of my most favorite games we played to date on the subject by John Poniske and his son John, Jr., the infamous Devil Dogs: Belleau Wood 1918.

Devil Dogs: Belleau Wood 1918 from Worthington Publishing

I love Multi-Use Cards in a game and this one uses faction specific decks that can be used in several different ways. The combat system is also quite unique as hits are not calculated by a die roll and reference to a CRT but by the combat strength of the units attacking determined by the play of a card and then in what terrain the targets are hiding. The best element of the game though was having to play a card to each sector on the map without knowing what your opponent will play and then seeing how you did. Really interactive and interesting game and this one was a big hit with both of us! Although the rules were a bit challenging in their format and presentation but nothing that we couldn’t handle after a few turns into the game.

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

There you have it. A look at games 7, 8 and 9 in our Guns of August WWI Event. Thanks for following and you can look forward to the final post in this series on the final two games we played that included Red Poppies Campaign: Volume 3 Assault Artillery! from Compass Games and Europe in Turmoil from Compass Games.