Showing posts with label The Great War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Great War. Show all posts

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Great War - Plus Tanks!

Gary and I had our first go at The Great War with the Tanks! expansion last night, using the Cambrai scenario. Although there are lots of new rules for the mighty machines, they aren't too complex to integrate into the game, and there are no new cards, suggesting that, to some extent, there has been some excellent design in the basic game to allow for a smooth integration of such things further down the line.

Tanks are powerful, but prone to bad luck. They have a small number of hits, but get a save-roll. Obviously you could make the saves all day and trundle all the way to Berlin, or you could fail them dismally early on and have burning wrecks on your start-line. They conceded two victory medals to your opponent as well, so it's worth not getting them killed. In addition to the save-rolls they can also bog down in terrain or if they try to move too quickly. Bogged down tanks can start up again, but it costs you an activation, and may require the expenditure of precious HQ tokens as well.

Anyway, in the Cambrai scenario only the British have tanks - two Mk IV Males and two Mk IV Females. And, yes, the rules do differentiate. They have a horde of infantry as well, trying to push through and capture two German strongpoints at the far end of the board, or move troops off the German edge.

I got to play the tanks!

Halfway trough the game. The German front-line fell very easily co a concentrated assauly by the British armour, and I'd rolled forward onto the hills beyond where I was now taking fire from the German field-artillery (another new addition) beyond. Two tanks had bogged down and one was damaged.

My infantry was lagging behind because I'd had a bad case of New Toy Syndrome and concentrated all my efforts on using the tanks.

I pushed my luck, and kept driving the tanks forward. A concentrated artillery barrage took out oe German strongpoint, which helped, but my tanks were soaking up hits from machine-guns and the field artillery, and also kept bogging down. One was destroyed. The other three were all on their last hit.

I managed to drive one off the board, to the green fields beyond (coated in white mist, as you can see).

The two medals I got for that pushed me well towards my victory level, and a few German casualties in the following turns clinched the win. But it was close. Gary had picked up a few points for the 'ticking clock', and I'd lost one tank to his shooting. My other tanks had survived well against the odds, and a second lost tank would have probably pushed the game Gary's way.

I realised afterwards that there was a rule I'd forgotten about which could have helped me - you can abandon tanks. They are removed, but don't concede points to the enemy. In that way if you overextend them (like I did) you can ditch them, and try to win the rest of the game with the infantry. And I had plenty of that, sitting around waiting for something to do.

It was a fun game, and the tanks are a welcome addition.

Elsewhere was a game of Flames of War (which I failed to photograph) and a big game of Full Thrust featuring players and their offspring and this beautiful spaceship from Geoff's collection.

Friday, 4 March 2016

The Great War And Instant Thunder

We had a low turn-out this evening, with just three of us playing. Caesar had brought along his copy of The Great War, so Ralph and I had a go at one of the Loos scenarios whilst he adjudicated. Ralph took the Germans, whilst I was the British.

In this scenario the British must really try and occupy two trench-lines. The first is a fairly easy proposition, but the second is well defended with machine-guns and there are plenty of German reserves waiting to move forward. The Germans also have artillery superiority. The Germans can win by just sitting tight for long enough as well.

I got an excellent run of cards, enabling me to push quickly into the forward trench line on my right. I was then able to reinforce my position with machine-guns, which helped hold off German reinforcements. I suffered a bit from accurate and persistent German artillery before I was able to play a reinforce card to consolidate my position even further, pushing into the second trench line. From then on Ralph was somewhat on the back foot, trying to force my troops out of their advanced position before I could pick up the victory medal for it. Once I had it in the bag I launched a fierce assault on one of his reinforcing units, eliminating it to win the game.

Caesar then took on the British, whilst I had a go at defending with the Germans. He attacked all along the line, but with an emphasis on my centre and a big push on my right. Again, I was lucky with my initial cards, which enabled me to push my reserves into the second trench-line almost from the start. This beefed up the defences of my two machine-gun positions, and a useful set of cards then enabled me to exploit them thoroughly, gaining bonus dice and extra shots on several turns. Caesar took the first trench line with ease, but never really got much further. Any unit which advanced was cut down by concentrated German firepower.A final push against my right was defeated to give me the final medal I needed for victory

The Great War is quite an intense game to play, with two card hands to juggle, plus the management of the command tokens. Terrain has strong defensive benefits, and a lot of the game is about overcoming those defences by either bypassing them or by stacking up enough combat dice that they become irrelevant. I'm not sure it will replace memoir '44 as my favourite game of this type, but it's certainly an interesting way of playing an era generally regarded as difficult to game.

We then switched to Instant Thunder, trying a small China vs Taiwan scenario set in 1958. Caesar took the Capitalist Running Dogs, with a pair of F84s and a pair of F86 Sabres, whilst I took the Heroic People's Air Force in their four MiG 15s. My planes had the edge in performance, as well as cannons against his machine-guns, but he had two planes with rockets and better pilots.

Of course I had played the game before. I explained that you were allowed to dodge when shot at, really I did, but Caesar decided that it wasn't worth it. And thus, on the first turn, his experienced pilot was shot down by a Chinese rookie fresh out of the training academy.

One of the F84s fell to another Hero of the People's Republic.

Turn two saw another F84 downed, as the MiGs showed how formation flying was done.

This left Caesar with one F86 against four Chinese planes, with six turns to go. And at the end of that time he still had one F86 and the Chinese still had four planes; we ducked and dived and dodged and weaved, but we couldn't get him under fire, and neither could he pick off an isolated target. The Chinese won a convincing victory, with two F84s and an F86 downed, including one of Taiwan's top pilots.

Next time we might try using something with missiles.

Note: If you are reading this post on then you are reading a stolen version. Please go to 'The Stronghold Rebuilt for the original posts. Thank you.

Friday, 12 February 2016

More Great War

We had another go with The Great War last night, playing a Vimy Ridge scenario (I think). In the first game Geoff took the Germans, whilst I took the British. Geoff looks bemused as Gary's arm explains a few things.

Like most games in this stable, most of your victory points come from eliminating enemy units, but in this scenario there were points to be had from occupation of the German trench-line as well as control of a hill on one of the flanks. I managed to push through the German defences quickly, and take the hill, eliminating enough German defenders that a counter-attack wasn't viable. The combined kills and terrain occupation points were enough that I then only needed a toehold in the German trenches to pick up the victory.

I swapped to playing the Germans against Caesar taking the Canadians, but had to pull out through illness a couple of turns in (part of the reason that there aren't too many pictures of anything). Gary took over, Caesar managed a lightning advance across the board, and easily grabbed all of the objectives in decent numbers. However his gains were via manoeuvre, and he left most of the German units active. This allowed Gary to prepare an effective counter-attack, and Caesar was not only driven from the hill, but took sufficient casualties to give Gary the points he needed for a victory as well.

This game obviously uses the basic Command and Colours system, but has a lot of extra rules and chrome, such as the combat cards and artillery dice. It works well for such a narrowly focused system. I admit I am still a fan of the more basic games in this series - Memoir '44 and Battle Cry, the former with as few of the expansions as possible. It's very easy to take a simple system, and then overload it with ideas to the point that you create the complicated game you were trying to avoid originally. Yes, Carcassonne, we're looking at you ... However The Great War has the advantage that the chrome has been incorporated from the start, so is relatively seamless, and it does offer the players a lot of options in what could otherwise be a fairly uninteresting or frustrating setting for a game of this nature.

As I say, illness - another migraine in fact - prevented too many photos. There was also a Flames of War game on the go, with some lovely terrain, but you'll have to take my word for that.

Note: If you are reading this post on then you are reading a stolen version. Please go to 'The Stronghold Rebuiltfor the original posts. Thank you.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Great War

Gary brought along his copy of Richard Borg's 'The Great War' this evening, the latest installment in the Command and Colours series. It's a beautifully packaged game, with the usual hex-grid, terrain tiles and cards, as well as some lovely 15mm hard plastic figures, representing British and German soldiers on the Western Front in WW1.

He and Caesar set up the first hostorical scenario, based on a British attack during the Battle of Loos in 1915. The game has scenarios covering Loos, the Somme and Vimy Ridge - three or four for each battle.

It uses the standard Command and Colours mechanisms of card play, unit activation and board sectors, but has some additions. There are now two types of cards; the normal cards and extra tactics cards which add bonus actions or events to your turn but which cost HQ tokens to play. HQ tokens are a new addition, being a limited, but renewable resource that can be spent to play certain cards or perform actions such as order artillery barrages.

Here's the British ready to go over the top. In the starter game all on-table units are infantry; future expansions will cover tanks, cavalry and aircraft. Units are basic infantry, machine-guns, mortars and bombers (which are a token added to a normal infantry unit to enhance its close combat ability).

Some of the German defenders - a machine-gun.

The British get victory medals for having units in the German trench-lines at the start of their own turn. However the Germans can 'buy' victory medals when they play a Recon card, so the British are on a time-limit to stop the Germans winning through British inactivity.

The British attack exploited holes in the wire made by the initial artillery barrage (a neat and simple mechanism in its own right).

Germans line the trenches. I forget who won this first game. Gary got his British into the first trench-line, but the Germans managed a vigorous counter-attack.

Meanwhile Ralph and Bryan played Flames of War, with a scenario involving a German attack on a British beach-head.

Ralph's tanks. Not burning.

Dave and Geoff gave Phil Barker's 'Horse, Foot and Guns' a try.

Their armies were an odd mix of available colonial figures, so a British army with Arab allies fought Zulus with Boer allies.

Apparently HFG gave a fairly entertaining game, with no real difficulty in  the rules. Sounds like it might be making a return appearance.

Then it was time for my go at The Great War. We did the same scenario, with Caesar playing the British and me the defending Germans.

Caesar managed an effective initial barrage to create a few useful openings. He then got a great run of cards in his opening moves and managed to push rapidly, and in great force, into the first German trench-line. I pretty much sat and watched him do it.

Once in he ousted the troops I had there. The game was seriously looking like a whitewash, with the Germans set to impersonate an Australian cricket team.

I rallied, consolidated and threw every useful card I could at the British. Caesar held the first line in strength, but couldn't manage an organised assault on the second line. Time ticked on, and I started to pick up victory medals - one of them purely because time was ticking on.

In the end Caesar managed to get troops into my second line on the flanks, leaving me trying to oust him with every resource at my disposal. At one stage I came within a couple of shots of picking up the last medal I needed to win (albeit that I needed some lucky rolls), but a coordinated machine-gun barrage in the centre inflicted enough casualties on the Germans to give him a narrow victory, 6 medals to 5.

The Great War is an interesting game, with some excellent ideas and mechanisms in it. The cards are quirky, and good combinations of the normal cards and tactics cards can be deadly. However deadly is what you need, as the defensive terrain - mostly trenches, obviously - is tough to take on. It's less abstract than the games I own (Memoir '44 and Battle Cry), but retains their elegance and simplicity. One we shall have to play again.

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