Home for Christmas

Around the middle of last year the Kickstarter landed for the joint Plastic Soldier Company-Richard Borg game The Great War. By September, Andy and I had painted our armies and played our first game. We were hooked, and met as close to fortnightly as our schedules allowed to play.

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The start of mission 18 as the Canadians attack in July 1916; the action starts with the Canadians surging forward following mines blowing in the German lines

A bit over a year later, we have played the last of the 16 missions that came in the box plus the two bonus Kickstarter missions. The war is over.

This was a very fun project: painting, learning a new game, building in skill and getting regular games. This was a highlight of my gaming year.

My initial assessment of this game has not changed much. It captures the grim calculations that a commander would have to make to achieve their goals in trench warfare. To win you have manage your resources well, and be willing to build a plan from the cards you are dealt (that is, deal with the fog and friction of war). Using the secondary Combat Cards and HQ resources can create force-multipliers for units and  are pivotal to achieving your goals. The game can be very static, it is trench warfare after all. But the need to manage resources and build your force ready for the attack (or break-up  the enemy concentrating for one) keeps both players at the table as tension builds.

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The German defense and counter-attack destroyed the Canadian right flank

Our games were mostly close. I think attackers may have a slight edge on defenders, although this is often at a terrible cost, and you need to be careful. Take too many casualties and you loose. It is no good taking ground if you don’t have enough soldiers left to defend what you take. Overall, the missions are all pretty balanced leaving both sides with a chance to win. Walkovers are rare, even desperate  situations can be turned around with some well placed artillery or a sudden counter-attack. However, luck is not a plan, so you need to keep focused and stay flexible.

The missions are an important and integral part of the game. Between the range of missions and large number of cards across two decks, there is plenty to learn and keep you engaged.

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Mentioned in dispatches are the bombardier squad who took the second trench for the Canadians and went on to destroy a German MG nest to secure a narrow win (7-6) 

Not all my friends like The Great War, and I can understand why. It requires more effort than Memoir ’44 to learn the rules, and is less fluid. However, if you like a bit of challenge and are interested in the first world war I recommend this game.

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The British Are Coming

I’ve completed the other half of the miniatures from my Great War board game, the British forces. The Germans are here and my first game here12182996_1646466885601110_6564853086038948751_o

While the mix of miniatures is basically a mirror of the German forces (the same number of MG, bombardiers, etc), the poses are different. In particular, the poms have bayonets fitted ready to go over the top and get stuck into the hun.

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Based in the same way and otherwise with a similar palette, the two sets will look OK together on the board.

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Detail of the backpacks

There is an extension focused on tanks on Kickstarter at the moment. It is good value and the models look like they will be the same high standard. But, you read it here first folks, I’m declaring my first world war collection finished.  Given the number of other projects I have on the go, I’m content with the base set.

cheers,
D.

Oh! What a Lovely War

There is an embarrassment of riches here at Faith and Steel, with not just one but three packages landing within a week! I picked up some partizans from one of the many sales at Black Tree Designs that I think will be perfect for delivering lots of theme in smaller Bolt Action games. I also took advantage of Warlord Games buy a rule book, get a box offer. More on that later.

The biggest parcel, coming at 3.5kg, was the arrival of the joint Richard Berg-Plastic Soldier Company Kickstarer, The Great War.

GW14I suspect that this game will be a worthy addition to the Command and Colours family. It improves on the high production values of the Memoir ’44 series by including a nice range of 15mm hard plastic miniatures from Plastic Soldier Company to accompany the nice looking, full-colour cards, map and tokens.

Inside the box- oo, shiney

Inside the box: oo! shiny

Straight from box

Straight from the box

The cuts are clean and the pieces come out easily

The cuts are clean and the pieces come out easily

The hex board is double-sided and the terrain will make for flexibility and easy expansion, just like Memoir ’44

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The funky dice are used to resolve combat. This is very abstract but makes for fast, tense games.

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There are 8 dice; this shows the proportion of the symbols

The highlight for me are the new miniatures from Plastic Soldier Company.

One of the three German spues

One of the three German sprues

The British have the same mix but different poses

The British have the same mix but different poses

For board gamers the naked plastic will serve quite adequately. However, I think taking the time to paint these will make quite a spectacle.  My friend Andy converted me to this point of view when I first saw his Memoir set with painted 20mm plastics. It makes for a visually stunning game. So this means washing before getting some paint on (it’s too windy to head out to the backyard to prime, so things will have to stop here for a wee while)

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Here is my first niggle. I love it that the Brits have fixed their bayonets ready to get stuck in, but you need to be very careful removing them from the sprues or you will break bayonets and even barrels.  The Germans did not seem subject to this, so I don’t know if the different colour has different properties or it is the pose itself. Whatever the cause, clippers and patience are required.  Apart from that there is no real clean-up required, the models are pretty much ready to go.

Being Kickstarter there were some bonus material:

GW15Some bonus scenarios (always useful), sets of German and British artillery (that don’t appear directly in the base game but do look very nice) and a set of metal generals:

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Perhaps indicative of future releases, even if not useful on the board.  I’m personally looking forward to the Turks:

GW12I haven’t played yet, but the rules look like they will capture the challenges of trench warfare pretty well. Machine-guns are going to be very dangerous and I cannot see how to cross no-mans land without enormous casualties.  So, the title of this post is ironical, just like the musical I pinched the title from. But it does look like it will be a lovely game.

D.