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.