The original Schlieffen Plan called for 48.5 corps. The German army in August of 1914 simply wasn’t that big.
It is now.
I have designed a what-if scenario that balloons the German army up the size the Schlieffen Plan required. The French and British stay their historical sizes.
The name of the game is see how long the French survive.
Planning turn 1
The Germans roll over the Old Contemptibles and into the fields of France
The end of turn one the Score is high at 6 to 6. The Germans let the French have Alscace/Lorraine.
In return the Germans contested every hex on the Marne and Paris. On turn one!!!
In good news Antwerp is holding. And I have to admit. This is a ton of fun.
A BIG thank you goes out to Bootsie and Barry for this awesome surprise at Strategicon.
Some laminated business cards to help promote Fields of Despair. A handful of people took them over the course of the weekend and who knows, maybe they P-500′d as well. :)
I ran some demo games at last weekend’s con. Here are some images from Friday’s game with Glen Davis. We played the introductory scenario which begins after the German army has taken two forts in Belgium (Liege, Namur) and must decide how to attack into France, how much effort to put into securing Antwerp and what to do about the large French armies in the South.
Planning turn 1 is always the hardest with any new game. I make it a point to visit a little first and get an idea of a player’s knowledge of the First World War. Then, if needed, I explain the historical motivations and objectives of the side he or she is playing, path attempted etc. Then I sit back and let the player play.
I have yet to come across anyone who is over aggressive. Most new players take a slightly defensive approach. While this may not generate a winning Central Powers strategy, I am never discouraged to see this from a first timer. It tells me that the design has given the player a lot of choices. Defensive play is a natural result of inexperience combined with a lot of options. A solid aggressive strategy takes time to master.
This is the end of turn 1. I have taken Mulhouse in the southern area of the map. In Belgium, the German army is engaged in Antwerp and Maubeuge. The fort in Antwerp remains, albeit very weak. In Maugeuge, Glen used “Big Bertha” plus the majority of his force to level the fort. The Old Contemptibles barely survived with 2 steps left so I ran a French block up on my turn.
By turn 3, Glenn has pushed me out of Mulhouse and the city is once again Mulhausen. I have been trying a defensive French strategy and it’s simply not working.
Then disaster. This was bound to happen. Breakouts across the front. My job is to mitigate the damage. I left a hole between Rheims and Verdun. Will he take the bait?
No such luck. He pressed the bulk of the attack into Rheims and from what I can see, I forgot to flip the control marker before I shot the photo. The final score was Allies +4 due in large part Germany’s failure to take either Antwerp or Maubeugen.
The most important information from this play test came about turn 2 when a Glen’s friend wandered over and asked him what he thought. Glen replied,”I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but I really do!”
Always nice to hear.
I attended GMT West on Friday fully expecting to sit and teach Fields of Despair the entire day. What a thrill it was to arrive and see two new players already immersed in a game, not being by taught by Mike (developer), but rather by Tim Kelly. Tim had just played for the first time on Thursday and now he’s willing to sit and teach. Wow.
I decided to learn some new games, Down in Flames and Conquest of Paradise, and just check in on FoD and answer questions as needed. It was an awesome day!
Here are a few photos from Friday. The introductory scenario is being played.
First French Move of Turn 2. Looks like he’s decided he can’t hold his gains in Germany and it’s time to back up and play defense.
These last 3 are end game positions. I straightened up the pieces a bit as I am know to do while playing (just a habit). It gives you a clearer idea of the end the scenario. I don’t recall the exact score but the players said they were tied.
Central Powers point of view.
Here are a couple photos sent my way from Thursday (day one) of GMT West.
I’m guessing they are somewhere in turn 2 (below). The Allies seem to have an awful lot of blocks in the north. Is it a real threat or a bunch of 1′s and “Deception” blocks? Just another example of why I think it’s a bit tougher to learn to play the Central Powers.