Yesterday a friend and I played GMT Games’ card driven game on World War I, Paths of Glory. This was a welcome change because I finally got to go up against someone other than my son and it let us play a game that was a little deeper. I’m a big fan of Twilight Struggle and Paths of Glory had been on my short list of games to try that had been sitting on my shelf.
I went through the rules and most of it made sense although I did get hung up on a few things. You have a few more options with your cards than you do with Twilight Struggle and the other thing that’s different is each side gets their own deck that’s split into three phases. When you move on to the next phase, you get to add more cards to your deck and at times, you can have one player with the more advanced cards while the other player is stuck trying to move up.
Neither one of us had played before so we did sort of stumble along. Most of the early action took place on the East Front with Warsaw being a pivotal point. It seems like every time my opponent (who played the Central Powers) was close to taking it, I’d reinforce it enough to hold on. There were a couple of turns (which in most cases represent a three month period of time) where things were literally “All Quiet on the West Front” as neither one of us seemed to want to risk messing around with the larger forces on that side of the map.
Another interesting aspect is each side is given a mandatory offensive each turn and this was what caused me to finally open up things on the Western Front. By the time we finally called it a night, the Central Powers had finally taken Warsaw, but things looked grim for them on the Western Front. We called it a draw and while I think I would have won had we played it out, there were a few things on the map I was worried about.
There’s also a Near East section of the map but not a lot happened down there. This is also a subject of it’s own game, which is basically the sequel to Paths of Glory. Pursuit of Glory focuses and expands on that section of the world during WWI and would be interested in getting that game to try.
Other than the game being really long (we got a late start) it was a lot of fun and education to boot. The box says it has good solitaire suitability but I don’t really see it. Guess I will just have to try it out and see. What’s your favorite card driven game that’s out there? I’m curious to know.
In a lot of ways, I did board game backwards. I did cut my teeth on Risk and had some fun with that but from there, our next best options were the more complicated Avalon Hill games. Not the Avalon Hill that’s part of the Wizards of the Coast now, but the “old” Avalon Hill with their detailed war simulations. A lot of this was in the mid to late 1980s so we went from playing Risk to games like The Rise and Decline of the Third Reich. Since then I’ve reread some of the rules of those games and needless to say, we were definitely cutting some corners.
Then one summer (I want to say either 1985 or 1986), I got Axis & Allies for my birthday and for the rest of the summer, that’s all we played. If we weren’t playing ball, we were out back on the picnic table or in someone’s basement playing this game. We eventually bought some of the other games Milton Bradley put out like Fortress America (one of my favorites) but Axis & Allies stuck. Since then I’ve kept up and bought most of the recent incarnations (except the most very recent 1941 and 1942 editions) and have even bought most of the theater games.
Now for a little segue. While World War II has gotten a ton of love, I always thought World War I was underrepresented in the gaming world. We played The Guns of August but I don’t think we ever made it out of 1915 before calling it quits because it was slow and just too a lot of time. Since then I’ve picked up Paths of Glory: The First World War but haven’t had a chance to play it yet because that has it’s own time committment.
Back to Axis and Allies, that’s why I was happy when I saw this. They’re making a World War I incarnation of Axis and Allies and I’m really interested in seeing how they pull this off. Infantry was a huge part of the war but eventually tanks came into play. I’m also interested in seeing how they pull off the trench warfare on the Western Front. The good thing is, we only have a month until this game is out so we can check it out for ourselves.
GMT Games has added a few new titles to their P500 list. This is your chance to not only speed up a games progress to being printed but it also usually gives you the best possible price. This month there are three new additions to their P500 list.
First on the list is 1914, Serbien muß sterbien, a Michael Resch title that focuses on the early parts of World War 1 on the Balkan Front. It’s being billed as a great gateway game into the series because it has an affordable price point, doesn’t require a lot of space to play and it only has one map.
Next up is Combat Commander Battle Pack #6. Subtitled “Sea Lion,” this series of scenarios focuses on a hypothetical German invasion of Great Britain in World War II. You get ten new scenarios and that take you through both a German invasion and British counterattack. There’s three maps and it looks like a lot of fun play for only $18.
Finally there’s a new Richard Berg title, Genesis. There’s not a lot of information on this game but it’s being billed as similar to Pax Romana. It covers the late Bronze Age in the Middle East and all I can say is, you usually can’t go wrong with a Richard Berg game. I’ll be keeping my eye on this titel as more details surface.
What GMT titles are you playing right now? Leave a comment and let me know.