As chance would have it a war gaming friend just “had” to return some items of mine which, of course meant he “had” to deliver them. I couldn’t swing by his house oh, no, defiantly not. Annnnd, since he was here anyway, he might as well stay and play a turn.
The German action phase for turn 2 was all his. This is a great time to take over because the Germans had some tough choices to make.
Brett chose to move a couple of blocks to the coast. I left Dunkirk empty so it was no brainer. If I could go back in time, I’d split the British up. He left his center strength in Maubeuge and in a unsurprising move turned his forces still in Germany south (instead of pressing through Belgium). I guess the French attack in the South has given the conservative German commanders pause. 🙂
More to come…
I printed and assembled the latest map this week. There are still a lot of counters to be made but I wanted to get in some testing before the weekend got busy.
Here’s the situation after turn 1
The BEF held in Maubeuge. The fortress there is down to one and the British have 2 total steps remaining. On the far right you can see the French are aggressive. I can’t help myself. It’s a little reckless but once the BEF held I felt like I had a chance to cause havoc.
It’s a solo test but I think the French move would really get inside the head of a less aggressive German player. It’s 1914. Germany must push. What would you do?
What you can’t see is that economically, the Germans have invested in logistic points. One use of these points is to rail a limited number of steps forward to the front ahead of the normal game phase. The French attack would hopefully divert the move south.
Reflecting on the situation facing both sides, I do have the fear that first time players may become unnerved by the tough choices. Either side could come away feeling like the game was un-winnable. Either side. I do think that’s a good thing. However, if players play their power historically, with Germans aggressive and the French defensive after and initial attack into Alsace, the results tend to be historical.
Mike put up some nice photos of his play test copy here.
Fields of Despair is officially on the P500 list for GMT. My family is super excited! I wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has helped Fields of Despair: France 1914-1918 get this far. I couldn’t have done it without all of you.
Here is a link the the GMT page. The banners are awesome and Gene’s comments are very humbling.
Here is a the play test map I’ve been using for some time. It’s functional but an odd size at 20×30. Costco prints 20×30 for about $9/map. You can’t beat it.
Recent feedback suggested I give a go at cleaning the map up. I’ve also sized it to the traditional 22×34.
It’s hard to tell from the image above but the map is actually larger which means the hexes have a little more space. I’ve also dramatically toned down the fort symbols in a hex and have colored the campaign objectives red. Though I notice now Luxembourg is red and should not be.
To get a real feel for the differences you need to click on the map images.
The new map has some useful space to the right on which to place the turn and scoring tracks as well as the naval war. With some work, the Eastern Front tables may also fit. All that will come later.
This weekend I’ve been solo play testing an alternate history scenario. It’s 1914 with a free player set up.
At set up I was able to closely mirror the look of the historical set up while concentrating the Germans in the South. I think for players it will be pretty easy for paranoia to creep in at set up. With the historical game you know what your getting turn one. Free set up all bets are off.
I set the French up historically which is a pretty good defense.
In the photo below you can see Germany respected Belgian neutrality and attacked directly into Eastern France. As a result Belgium stays neutrality which in turn reduces the urgency England feels to help the French.
The photo is 3 action phases in. In Germany Mulhausen fell and was promptly renamed Mulhouse but is about to be renamed again. In France, the fortified city of Nancy fell thanks in part to German siege artillery.
Feedback long ago taught me that using “The Schlieffen Plan” as my game title simply wasn’t going to work. I’ve had a running list of new names for about a year now. It took some time but I narrowed the list to 10 and finally to one. I give you the new title with some mock-up cover art…
This is a famous painting by Richard Jack. I believe the work to be in the public domain for the USA and Canada. I’m not sure if I’d be able to use it on a game box
This is an awesome photo by Frank Hurley. I believe use of this is okay as long as I let you know it is courtesy of the State Library of New South Wales.
I have a lawyer friend of mine looking into what it would take should I ever want to use either as art on a box cover or rule book. If you happen by here and that is your area of expertise, I’d love to hear from you.
One design goal was to have an easy set up. Today I timed my set up. Obviously, my time would be faster than the average bear but should closely reflect set up by experienced players.
After dumping the components on the table and putting plexi over the map I started the time. I set the Allies up first.
Allies 1914: 4 minutes 33 seconds
Entire game including naval war, Eastern Front: 11 minutes 14 seconds.
Granted the timer was highly motivating but I am confident that set up for 1914 should be no more than 20 minutes. If I can find a couple of willing participants at Strategicon, I may try this again with new players.