Fight for the trenches

The Battle of Loos was fought between September 25 and October 15, 1915. With most of the major fighting along the rest of the front coming to an end, the trenches of the Hohenzollern Redoubt became a priority, as both sides send reinforcements to the area. Desperate close fighting continues for control of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, but in the following days, the Germans manage to push the British back to their initial position.

Scenario 6 from the Great War game continues the story of Loos. The twist here is that the two sides are basically identical: the same number of units, command cards, combat cards, HQ tokens and reserve artillery. Even the first move is a coin toss. Just to make things really interesting, units start facing off in the same trench system.

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Andy took the Germans, and me the British

There is a victory medal for having an absolute majority of units in the central trench system, the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and otherwise it is kill points. First to seven wins, and the Germans start 1-nil up since they occupy the trenches in the beginning.

Andy took his newly painted Germans and I commanded the British.

Andy was tenacious and aggressive, bringing up his reinforcements and concentrating fire to eliminate entire British squads. These were shrewd tactics because while a squad with only 1 token left is fragile, it still dishes out the same damage and doesn’t count towards victory until it is gone. After some initial British gains, Andy clawed his way to a 6-4 lead for the Germans.

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Andy’s newly painted Germans. They really do look great on the table, and the gloss varnish finish leaves them robust in game play. These boys mean business.

The British were in a fragile situation, with several units down to one or two men and at least one unit caught in the open. The next moves were crucial. I tried out a card I had not used before that allowed for random extra hexes of movement. The British units went over the top from the reserve trench and dashed for the Hohenzollern Redoubt, gaining a majority of units there. The British turn ended with 5 victory medals each!

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Andy’s British

The Germans were still right in the game but had some unlucky rolls and could only destroy one of the weakened and exposed British units. Either side coult still win when I played a “big push” card. This activates a random number of units, but gives those activeated additional dice for combat resolution. The additonal fire power saw the British come out on top 6-7.

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There isn’t much to see at the end because there wasn’t much left on the board!

Winning a game of Great War takes a lot of focus. Simply pushing units forward will not gain ground or kill or the opposition. Trenches are dangerous, but forcing units out of them, or destroying them outright, takes co-ordinated effort.

Tension builds as losses mount and you try to concentrate forces and give them multipliers from the command cards and HQ resources. The hand you’re dealt is random, but seeing the potential of the different combinations is how to win.

The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

(Opening and closing quotes are from the Great War rule book)

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