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 MacGowan & Lombardy's The Great War by Lombardy Studios  Once again, I am playing a card-based wargame. As a child I preferred crap...

MacGowan & Lombardy's The Great War by Lombardy Studios MacGowan & Lombardy's The Great War by Lombardy Studios

MacGowan & Lombardy's The Great War by Lombardy Studios

MacGowan & Lombardy's The Great War by Lombardy Studios

 MacGowan & Lombardy's The Great War


Lombardy Studios

 Once again, I am playing a card-based wargame. As a child I preferred craps. My father owed me 100k by the time I was eleven. Instead of bedtime stories we would mostly play craps, but occasionally vingt et un or Poker. I always played five or seven card stud poker. They now call it 'Texas Hold-em' like they invented it. I never could stand 'joker' cards or getting more cards from the dealer. I guess I went off on a tangent there. Circling back, we have a card game from Messieurs MacGowan and Lombardy. If you haven't been trapped in a basement for fifty years, the names should sound familiar. Almost every one of the wargame covers that pop into your mind Mr. MacGowan has had his hand in it one way or the other. Mr. Lombardy is a game designer of great repute, or so he tells me. At some time in my life, I will get a copy of Streets of Stalingrad III and prove it to myself. That game is in grognards dreams just like Campaign for North Africa, and they both cost a down payment on a car. Here they have pooled their brains and artistry to come up with a card game that plays out the Great War. 

Some 4th graders enjoying the game earlier this year.

 This is what comes in the box:

200 poker-size cards denoting weapons and key personalities representing almost 20 nations

Rule for 2-players, solitaire, and the special expansion

Quick Play outline

1 Decks and Discard Mat

1 Battle Mat to keep track of turn winner and cumulative points

PLUS - cards and rules for a science fiction expansion with a direct link to the Great War

 This is what Lombardy Studios says about the game:

"MacGowan & Lombardy's The Great War by award-winning game designer Dana Lombardy is a simple, fast-playing stand-alone (non-collectible) 2-player card game built around important weapon systems, commanders, and other historical aspects of this unprecedented industrial-scale war. Two 54-card decks feature colorized historical images and illustrations by game industry Hall of Fame graphic artist Rodger B. MacGowan. Icons, insignias, and game text on each card eliminate the need for complex rules. (Note to collectors: Nearly all of Rodger's exceptional WW1 illustrations appear on the cards.)"

 The card Battle Board is 11"x 17" in size. Nothing really fancy here: it just has the spots to put the different decks and used cards etc. The instructions come on a double-sided 8 1/2"x 11" sheet of glossy paper sheet. The instructions type size is the same as most books. There is a Game Overview, Cards, and Glossary double-sided sheet. Next, we have a double-sided sheet with the solitaire rules. One side has the basic game, and the other side has the Bonus and Joker AI cards and usage. The science fiction expansion rules are next on a double-sided sheet. It is based on Well's War of the Worlds. This adds a nice touch and gives the game more playability. last, we have an eight-page full color booklet that has the examples of play. Then comes the most important and beautiful part of the game: the cards. The 200 cards are all small pieces of artwork of people, places, and events from the Great war. I cannot say enough about how well they look. Just to have the pictures is worth the price of the game. The components are fine and more on the useful scale other than being artwork. To me, this helps showcase the cards even more. Look at the card below to see how good they look.

 The game is interesting in many ways. I have played a few card wargames, but they were usually about just one battle or a few planes battling it out. This game you can play out the whole of World War One.

 These are the Victory Conditions:

  The Basic Game ends after 10 Turns. Some scenarios have more or 
fewer Turns. The game also ends immediately if one side is unable to draw a Nationality card when required. See Section 3.4.
 3.2 At the end of the last Turn of the game or scenario, count the Battle Points 
(BP) of all enemy Nationality cards you captured and any friendly  Nationality 
cards still in your hand. You capture enemy cards when you have the highest BP total when a Turn is scored.
 3.3 Do not count the BP of any cards in your Nationality draw deck or discard pile. Do not count the BP of Neutral or Bonus cards.
3.4 When a player is required to draw a Nationality card and is unable to reconstitute the Nationality draw deck by reshuffling their discard pile the game ends immediately.
 3.5 Compare the two opposing sides’ BP total to determine the level of victory:
 A) MORAL VICTORY:  One side has 10 to 19 more BP.
 B) TACTICAL VICTORY. One side has 20 to 39 more BP.
 C) OPERATIONAL VICTORY. One side has 40 to 79 more BP.
 D) STRATEGIC VICTORY. One side has at least 80 or more BP.
 E) The game ends in a DRAW if a player has only 1 to 9 more BP than their opponent at the end of the game.

 The game is not really hard to learn. You just have to learn how the cards interact with each other. Meaning, your cards could lower or totally negate the cards held by your opponent. 

This video done by Mr. Lombardy is the best way to learn the game:

 The national decks are all marked as a normal card deck. So, you could play Poker or anything else with these beautiful decks. There are normally ten rounds/turns in each game. Each side can be the defender or attacker. At the end of the round, each player counts up his points on all his cards as does the attacker. The higher number wins the round.

 Thank you, Lombardy Studios, for letting me review this beautiful, fun, and quick game. The outstanding artwork by Mr. MacGowan and the period photographs etc. are the most striking part of this game. Too bad my father is no longer with us. I would have enjoyed our Poker or twenty-one games that much more.


Lombardy Studios (while you are there check all of the books and other games):

MacGowan & Lombardy's The Great War: