1918– Trial Run
August 11, 2005
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I picked up an issue of Strategy & Tactics last year and finally tried out the game that came with it:
It took more than half an hour to punch the counters and about an hour to set up the game. There’s a huge number of counters that have to be set up– just about all of them! Next time I play I’ll have the thirty-odd army groups seperated out into their own zip-loc baggies or something….
There were several typos and/or unclear things in this game. The German forces seemed to be short a shock troop corps counter. (We used three divisions instead.) There was no German Headquaters #3 counter. One terrain marking was unidentifiable, but we later agreed it must be trenchlines even though they weren’t drawn the same way as the others. Some of the deployment zones were a bit confusing. Finally, there is a “DH” result that appears on the CRT that is not explained.
It took about one hour to play a turn. The Germans surrounded a French fortress, but the counter was entrenched and defended at quadruple value. The attackers were repulsed and lost some shock divisions. On the German’s second move/attack phase, they figured out the barrage table and eliminated the fortress. They scored one point for that while the allies scored 28 points because of the German casualties.
On the Allies turn, the French managed to concentrate their fire on a few lone German infantry corps. The concentrated firepower managed to eliminate three regular infantry corps scoring another 18 points for their side. The allies used their second move/attack phase to entrench their positions so that they would have double defense value for the German players next attack.
The game was really fascinating. If the Germans can break through and disrupt or eliminate the allied army head quarters and the artillery, then they have a chance to have a field day tearing up enemy units. (Units that are “out of control” get only a single move/fire phase, which means they must choose between either attacking or entrenching– being able to do both makes them nearly impenetrable.) Allies lack shock troops and must use their tanks in order to use the Infiltration CRT. The not-so-good Assault CRT is notable for its “BB” result– a bloodbath that eliminats half of both the attacking and defending forces!
There’s a short 4 turn version of the game and I look forward to playing it sometime. The various rules really make the tactics and strategies of the late WWI combat come to life. It’s very fun– and there’s no reason why a player couldn’t have nearly as much fun playing solitaire. Half the fun is watching the unindented resultes emerge from the CRT results and so forth. Still, having a good opponent to punish your mistakes is probaly slightly more fun, though. Each turn seems to take about an hour, though that might drop down to half an hour as the players gain experience.