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  Imperial Tide The Great War 1914-1918 by Compass Games   There was always a dearth of World War I games. Because of the nature of the West...

Imperial Tide: The Great War 1914-1918 by Compass Games Imperial Tide: The Great War 1914-1918 by Compass Games

Imperial Tide: The Great War 1914-1918 by Compass Games

Imperial Tide: The Great War 1914-1918 by Compass Games

 Imperial Tide

The Great War 1914-1918


Compass Games

  There was always a dearth of World War I games. Because of the nature of the Western Front trench system many players and designers stayed away from gaming the war. Oh, here and there were excellent games on the subject, but never the amount that the war deserved. In the last few years that has thankfully changed. Compass Games is mostly to thank for this change of events. They have released a large number of games, from the strategic level on down to the tactical level. These are:

 On the Strategic level:

The Lamps are Going out: World War I, 2nd Edition

Balance of Powers

An Attrition of Souls

Empires and Alliances

Europe in Turmoil, Prelude to the Great War

Tactical Games, The Red Poppies Campaigns:

The Battle for Ypres

Last Laurels at Limanowa

Assault Artillery

 Solitaire Games:

Raiders of the Deep: Uboats of the Great War 1914-1918

Zeppelin Raider

Do not forget these two that are coming up:

Western Front Ace1916-1918 - Solitaire

Death in the Trenches - Strategic

 They also carry this game from Australian Design Group:

Fatal Alliances - World in Flames game set in World War I

 This is what comes with the game:

One Rulebook

Two Counter Sheets with 216 Counters

One Solitaire Play Aid Card

One 22" x 34" Mounted Map

One Deck of 51 Cards

Two six-sided Die

There are three types of cards. These are Year, Central Powers, and Allied Powers cards.

 Sequence of Play:

Alternate card play or resource expenditure play. The first player is noted on the year card.

When both players pass without having played a card or used a resource point, the year ends.

At year end, any besieged forts are destroyed. Out of supply units surrender and are removed from play.

Put the next year card in the year card box. Zero out all resource points. Place new resource points per the new year card.

Receive the new year's cards for free and spend build points to rebuy previous cards.

Shuffle all the purchased, held, and new cards face down, deal two into two piles, and choose one pile randomly (or take the larger pile if uneven). The next turn starts.

  Let us take a look at the components. The Mounted Map is very nicely done. It uses point-to-point movement so there is not much terrain on the map except for major rivers. The terrain for each point is at the bottom of each movement box. This makes it simple with no confusion. The Map also has all of the charts on it. So, you do not have to worry about off map sheets with tables. If you have room for the map in your playing space, you are good to go. There is only one Player Aid Card and that is for playing solitaire. A solitaire 'bot' or way to play is quickly becoming a must in our hobby. The Player Aid Card is two-sided and is made of hard stock. The Rulebook comes in color and is only thirteen pages long. It is easy to read and is written so that you will be up and playing in no time. There is also a page of a play example of the first year. The last page has the Designer Notes. I, like many others, love to read the thoughts of the designer of my games. The next part up is the counters. They are color and flag coded. They have generic numbers on them for strength, and they are large. They will pop out of the sprues in a small breeze and are pre-rounded. It might not seem like much, but the other day I bought an older game and was forced to pull out the old scissors and cut apart two counter sheets of small counters. I believe I now have Carpal Tunnel in my other hand. Compass Games components are some of the best in the marketplace. After dealing with the older counters, I was just so thankful that these counters were so easy to deal with. Next up is the Cards. These are your standard game size cards and have well done pieces of art on them. They are easy to read and simple to figure out. 

  So, what we have so far is: a strategic World War I game with very good components and a short, but informative Rulebook. It is a simple to learn game that has many nuances. The rules make you feel that you are playing a World War I game and not pushing Panzers around the map. By that I mean that is does not seem cookie cutter in play. Playing either side you will be forced to deal with the realities of early 20th century warfare. Naturally, this would be as the designer sees it. This game adds in the ability of both sides to use 'Attrition Combat'. This effectively just inflicts casualties on your opponent, but also yourself. However, this was used throughout World War I as a viable strategy. The game also uses Resource Points for each country in every year of the war. The design is meant for the player to use the Resource Points as an Operational Reserve for whatever use they are needed. 

 This is some of what Compass Games has to say about Imperial Tide:

"The core of the game is the unique card re-buy system, in which players take their annual production (adjusted for U-boats, blockades, and Zeppelin bombing) and decide which cards they need for the upcoming year. Cards not only provide for reinforcements, but allow for movement, combat, and entrenchment. Which cards to rebuy is without question one of the key decisions the player must make to prepare for next year’s operations.

The game has infantry units for all of the major participants, and artillery “units” actually represent stockpiles of ammunition to be used for offensives. Naval operations are mainly abstracted, although sea movement to Salonika and Gallipoli is allowed."

   The cards for each side explain to the players what effects they will have on play. These are some of each side's cards:

Central Powers:

Poison Gas
U-boats Attack
Zeppelin Attacks

Allied Powers:

Messines Mine Attack
Miracle of the Marne
Brusilov Offensive

The Year Cards show how many Build Points each side gets, along with their Resource Points.

 The gameplay is fast but deep and gives the player a lot of different options, while still putting on him the constraints of a commander in World War I. The designer, Gregory M. Smith, also designed the game Pacific Tide. So, if you are familiar with that game the learning curve is almost nil. Mr. Smith was looking to design a fun game that was playable in under three hours, along with sufficient depth to keep the players interested. I believe he has done just that.

 Thank you, Compass Games for letting me review this game. The next game I will be reviewing for Compass Games takes us back to the 18th century. It is 'War for America: The American Revolution, 1775-1782'. 


Compass Games:

Imperial Tide: The Great War 1914-1918: