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East Prussian Carnage: The Tannenberg Campaign 1914 by Three Crowns Games    The Second Battle of Tannenberg in 1914 is usually referred to ...

East Prussian Carnage: The Tannenberg Campaign 1914 by Three Crowns Games East Prussian Carnage: The Tannenberg Campaign 1914 by Three Crowns Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

World War I

East Prussian Carnage: The Tannenberg Campaign 1914


Three Crowns Games


 The Second Battle of Tannenberg in 1914 is usually referred to as the first victory of the Hindenburg and Ludendorff duo. The actual truth is that the battle was won long before they stepped off the train in East Prussia. The Chief of Staff of the German Eighth Army was a man by the name of Carl Adolf Maximilian Hoffmann (usually just denoted as Max Hoffman). Hoffmann had devised the plan to attack both the Russian Armies that were invading East Prussia. The slowness of the Russians, the terrain, and the German railroad lines would allow the Germans to strike one Russian Army at a time. Unfortunately, Hoffmann was given no kudos, outside of the German Army, for his plan. Hindenburg and Ludendorff had become the heroes of Germany using Hoffmann's plan to virtually destroy the Russian forces.

Max Hoffmann courtesy of Wikipedia


  The fear of the Russian hordes by Helmuth von Moltke the younger, the German Army's Chief of Staff, is usually credited with the failure of the German Army on the Western Front to defeat France because he sent reinforcements to the German Eighth Army from the German Western Army. In actuality, due to Hoffmann's plan and its success, the German Eighth Army was in no danger. However, the Schlieffen Plan, not a real plan just a thought exercise, against France was never going to work. The German Western Army was nowhere near strong enough, even without the missing troops, to actually complete its envisioned defeat of France.

 The next question is why it is called the Second Battle of Tannenberg when it didn't really take place near there? This was because the Teutonic Knights were effectively crushed in the first battle by an allied army of Lithuanians and Poles. The German psyche needed to try and wipe that stain away. All three, Hoffmann, Hindenburg, and Ludendorff took credit for naming the battle.    

 So, Three Crowns Games has given us a game about the 1914 Tannenberg Campaign. While the German forces are outnumbered, you can use the above-mentioned factors in the Germans' favor to offset this. This is what comes with the game:

- A full color A1 map

- 16 page rulebook

- 143 high quality, 15mm die cut counters

- Front and Back cover with game aids, charts and tables

- Sturdy 100my ZIP-lock bag

 This is what Three Crown Games says about the game:

"East Prussian Carnage is a two-player game that recreates the stunning German victory over Russia at the beginning of World War One. The Germans must use superior command control, interior lines, and the mobility provided by railroads to stop the large but lumbering Russian army. The Russians must try to pin the Germans down and bring their superior numbers to bear."

Part of the game being played.

 I have reviewed a few of Three Crowns Games, although some were published by different companies. I did review their 'Tolling of the Bell', and I will put a link to the review below. Their games come in ZIP-lock bags instead of boxes. However, this also means that the shipping costs from Sweden to other areas is cut down immensely. It does not take away anything from the actual games. Sometimes, a grognard just wants to play a smaller game and not have to reach over the table to move a stack or does not have the space at the moment for a large game. 

 The map is a little over 23" X 33" in size. The hexes are large in size. The map goes a little bit west of Thorn and Danzig on the western side to one hex east of Bialystok (The producers anyone?). The map colors are somewhat muted. The rivers also go along hex sides. The Turn Record Track and some other tracks are on the map. The counters are both thick and wide in size. They use the usual NATO markings on them. The numbers and the other information on them are nice and large. This is just what an old grognard wants to see. There are two Player Aid Cards. They are both one-sided and made of thick card stock. The Sequence of Play and any other chart or table you need are on them. They are also in full color and the writing is large enough to read without a problem. The Rulebook is sixteen pages in length. It is mostly in black & white with colored sections of Historical, Designer, and Game notes. The print is again of a nice easy to read size. The components are certainly up to snuff for a lower priced game. 

Some of the counter artwork.

 The game map represents 10km for each hex. The game is powered by a chit pull system for both the Russian and German Player. The Turn Track specifies how many German and Russian Command chits are used in each turn. There is also one German Special Command chit. The game uses Zones of Control in a pretty standard pattern. They block lines of supply, and you have to lose a step if forced to retreat in an enemy ZOC among other rules for them. The game also comes with a few optional rules. These mainly affect the German Player and his use of the Hoffmann counter. There are two scenarios in the game:

The Campaign Game of sixteen turns.

The Battle of the Masurian Lakes from turn twelve to sixteen.

 This is the third iteration of this game designed by Magnus Nordlöf. The game is the first one in Three Crowns Games Collison of Empire Series of games. These are to represent battles and campaigns from 1870 - 1920. 

 The first thing about the game you should know is it is no lightweight. It comes closer to a simulation than just a beer and pretzels wargame. The one thing that sticks out is its Random Events Table. Every single turn has different events that could happen. These even include a player getting points for taking a specified hex. This amount of randomness in both the chit pulls and the events means that the game does not get stale. Each time you play there are going to be differences compared to your last time. 

 I am just as impressed with this game as I have been with the other designs from them that I have played. Both the Russian and German player have a chance for victory. The German player must make use of his interior lines to deal with the Russian hordes. The Russian player must ponderously try and use his elephant to stomp the German lion into the ground. It is a good nail biter of a game.

 Thank you, Three Crowns Games, for letting me review East Prussian Carnage. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and the amount of history that was put into it. Please take a look at their game, but also the two that Revolution Games has published of theirs:


Across the Narva


Three Crowns Games:

East Prussian Carnage: The Tannenberg Campaign 1914:

My review of Tolling of the Bell:

  Death in the Trenches The Great War 1914-1918 by Compass Games  'The Great War', 'The War to End All Wars', these were epi...

Death in the Trenches: The Great War 1914-1918 by Compass Games Death in the Trenches: The Great War 1914-1918 by Compass Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

World War I

 Death in the Trenches

The Great War 1914-1918


Compass Games

 'The Great War', 'The War to End All Wars', these were epithets that have been used to name the First World War. This war was a first for many reasons: aerial bombardment, poison gas, tanks, and masses of machine guns were used in it. Death and destruction of civilians was not a new thing. It had been happening since the dawn of wars. The First World War just took it to a new and frightfully unprecedented level. The western countries have always looked at it from the mostly static trench lines in France. The Eastern Campaigns usually had more freedom of movement and only stayed in one place for at most a year and usually not even that long. Four great empires were dissolved by the carnage of World War I: the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and the Ottoman empires all fell. The horrific loss of life led straight to the devil-may-care 1920s. All of the soldiers who escaped this abattoir were scared by it, whether mentally, physically, or both. In this game the designers have tried to put you into the shoes of the Entente or Central Powers from a strategic viewpoint. You will be in control of your forces across the globe, whether it be in the sky, on the ground, or at sea. 

 Compass Games has once again produced a game about World War I. As I mentioned in another review, they seem to be on a roll as far as games taking place during it. So far, their batting average has been excellent as far as each game goes. Let us see if they can keep this streak going.

 This is what comes with the game:

1 34×22″ map covering Europe and the Near East – Mounted

3+ countersheets (9/16″) of military unit counters, markers and chits – total 400 (double sided)

1 rules booklet (Game System and Random Events included)

6 8½ x11″ color player aid and display sheets

10 six sided dice

1 full-color box and lid set

 This is the hex size and turn length etc.:

Complexity: Medium (about 6 out of 10)

Playing Time: 10+ hours

Solitaire Suitability: Excellent

Time Scale: 1 turn = 3 months

Map Scale: 1 hex = approximately 80 miles

Unit Scale: Army and Corps

Designers: R. Ben Madison and Wes Erni

Artist: Jonathan Carnehl

 This is a blurb from Compass Games that I believe is worth reading:

"Death in the Trenches is a strategic-level World War I game covering the entire war, from the opening shots in Serbia and Belgium to the final defeat (or victory!) of Germany and its allies in 1918. The map, executed by Jonathan Carnehl, is designed to give you a feel for 1914 by using textures and colors featured in atlases of the time. It stretches from the Pyrenees to Moscow, and from Norway to the Sudan, covering every square inch of territory in Europe and the Near East which saw combat from 1914 to 1918, in a manageable 34×22″ format. Colonial battles around the world take place on an additional 8½x11″ map showing Germany’s empire.

The game also features 456 beautifully-illustrated counters depicting all the national armies that fought in the war – from the Germans, French, British and Russians all the way down to the Persians, Montenegrins, Armenians, South Africans, and a host of specialized units (French Foreign Legion, Gurkhas, Italian “Arditi”, Cossacks, Tyrolean Kaiserjäger, Zionists, Bavarians, “Dunsterforce”… even China may send a small expeditionary force).

For the World War I buff, the game’s simple off-map system of Allocation markers fills your world with historical detail: Tanks, Alpenkorps, artillery barrages, flamethrowers, poison gas, Krupp guns, Mustapha Kemal, the Royal Air Force, French elan, Rommel’s mountain tactics and Galliéni’s taxicabs… while the great wartime leaders all leave their mark (good or bad!) on history: Bruchmuller, Haig, Hoffmann, Mackensen, Hindenburg and Ludendorff, Rennenkampf and Samsonov, Sarrail, Von Francois, Foch, Brusilov, Nivelle, Plehve, Putnik and Yudenich. All this detail is added without forcing you to remember special rules.

What other WWI games make ruthlessly complex, Death in the Trenches simulates with elegant simplicity. Face-up units are entrenched; face-down units aren’t! Simple as that. Emphasis is on the fun stuff rather than the boring stuff; there is no bean counting of production points, supply rules and strategic redeployment are easy, and in combat there are no complicated terrain modifiers to memorize – those are baked right into the combat die roll."

 Let us first take a look at the components. The heft of the box is pretty good. However, now that so many games, this one included, come with mounted maps this is no longer a variable denoting gaming goodness (it actually may never have been). We grognards were always sucked in by large and heavy boxes. 

 The map has been judiciously set up to give the player the entire European and Near Eastern areas where campaigns took place, and more, on one normal sized map. That the designers were also able to include the turn record track and some other tables, and a subset map of India, is even more impressive. The map, while appearing plain, has an innate beauty, at least to me. The major cities that did and could have been a part of the campaigns are included. It would seem from the amount of area squished into the map that it would lose something in the conversion. However, at eighty miles a hex it seems just perfect for a strategic view of the area. Naturally, with this large of an area depicted you do not get much of the tactical obstacles, or benefits. The map's muted colors seem to match the somber tones that should accompany this war. There is a one sheet mounted map that has the areas in the Pacific, German East Africa, German Cameroon, and German South Africa that were also fought over during the war. This game is one of the very few that depict these areas. 

 The Rulebook is in full color and is twenty-eight pages long. The type is a bit on the small size. The rules go out of their way to explain that this is not your father's wargame. The game rules etc. have been based on Wes Erni's calculations and his WESCOM (the Warfare Equivalency System and Combat Operations Model). I will have more to say about this later in the review. The Events Book is twenty pages long and has a little color but is mostly in black and white. The first few pages are for the game setup. The next few pages are a complete catalog of what is in each hex. I do not remember ever seeing this in a game before and it is a nice touch. The last eleven pages are of all the events that can take place in each year. The game comes with six hard stock Player Aids. There are two fold out Omnibus Markers Track sheets. One is for the Entente and the other for the Central Powers. Then we have two Special event sheets, one for each side, that both have twenty-five events on them. Then there is a Battle Board and an Attacker Battle Chart. Some of the printing on this is also on the small side. Next up, we have four countersheets. These are adorned with the owning country flag on them. They come pre-rounded and easily come out of the sprues. These would be the most colorful part of the game. A few of them also come adorned with ships, artillery, and planes. The package on the whole is one that your game table will be calling for. 

 Now we will have a blurb from the Rulebook on WESCOM:

"WESCOM (the Warfare Equivalency System and Combat Operations Model) was created by Wes Erni, for the game Absolute Victory (designed in the 1990s but not published until 2016 by Compass Games; the first edition of Death in the Trenches was actually published first). It has been used in several other
games. The principle behind WESCOM is to engage a player’s personality in the Battle system, so that a player’s own level of aggression, or timidity, is vividly expressed in the way that player approaches each individual battle. The key to the WESCOM system is the infamous “Overroll”, where the player rolls as many dice
as he wants to, trying to achieve a die roll as high as possible but without going over a limit; if you go over the limit, you achieve nothing! In this way, the aggressive player constantly risks disaster. While critics who don’t understand the system complain (“What do you mean I rolled all those dice and did no damage?!”), thoughtful players of these games enjoy the emotional roller-coaster that the system forces them to ride. Firepower is essentially an index of offensive power, and takes into account morale, equipment, low-level commanders, and national temperament.

Fortitude is essentially an index of defensive strength, and takes into
account morale, equipment, low-level commanders, and national temperament.

In DEATH IN THE TRENCHES, Fortitude ratings are a little hard to decipher as they have been abstracted to show vast disparities in unit sizes. But the effect is to make every Division worth “one” on attack and defense, which enormously simplifies Battle mechanics for the player compared with the First Edition. Players should note that while Firepower seems like an “offensive” quality and Fortitude seems like a “defensive” quality, both ratings are used by both sides
in a battle, because Battle is simultaneous. While most games have a simplistic "I attack you all along the front, then you attack me all along the front” system, WESCOM accurately represents the intricate ballet of forces on the battlefield."

 Per the above, I hope that I am seen as a 'thoughtful player'.

 This is from the designers describing their thoughts on each country's relative strength:

"The basic unit of force in the game is the “division,” abbreviated “Div”. The exact size of a Div in the game is a mathematical
abstraction, but conceptually you can think of a Div as equaling approximately this many men: AH 20,000; USA 19,000; Russia 18,000; Italy 17,000; France 16,000; Turkey 15,000; Britain 14,000; Germany 11,000. Those numbers are not trivial! The Battle and logistical systems in Death in the Trenches are driven by Wes Erni’s finely tuned mathematical calculations. For game purposes, for instance, an Austro-Hungarian Division is nearly twice the size
of a German Division. This means that an Austro-Hungarian Division has a Battle advantage over a German Division, if only on account of its enormous size. The effect in the game can seem bizarre at first glance – Austrian units actually perform better on attack than Germans do! This is only because they are so much
larger. The flip side of this, however, is that Austrians are much harder to replace, because their casualty rates are so much higher. While this may feel like the Austrians are hard-to-replace ‘élite’ units while Germans are below-average ‘grunts’, the per capita effect is exactly the opposite. Just be aware that this entire system is extremely counterintuitive and takes some time getting used to. "

 Precisely because the system is so 'counterintuitive' is why I have decided to post the designer's words in full. On the outside this game seems like a cross between Axis and Allies and the old Avalon Hill game 'Guns of August'. While the ideas are simple, they do seem to be completely different than almost any other wargame. Most wargames battles are still based on a CRT and a set of modifiers. In simple games it will only be a few modifiers while in others it will be a list as long as your arm. Having a game based upon how lucky or belligerent a player feels means that you get a game where you can have battles like the Somme or Verdun. The battles can be absolutely brutal as far as casualties go. 

 Another interesting concept from the game is Reserve Divisions. These can be used by the player for:

Strategic Redeployment

Building Armies

Special Event Loss

Destroyed in Battle

 I must admit having been taken in by the look of the game. I was not expecting the game to be anywhere near as deep as it actually is. The game mechanics also help with the counter clutter. You do not feel as if you are a God that is using a tweezer to negotiate the buildings of the Manhattan Skyline. The designers have actually gone with a KISS style to the game. The only thing the player needs to do is to open himself up to new ways of thinking about wargames and their rules. Without, hopefully, beating a dead horse, they are counterintuitive. However, they work and work very well to simulate World War I. The game is listed as being as either one or two players. It is also given high marks for playing in solitaire mode. I can agree wholeheartedly with this assertion.

 Some of the Events are:

Achtung, Panzer - Germany's lumbering clumsy A7V tanks attack. This gives +7 firepower to any German attack in a clear hex.

Bruchmüller - Artillery genius, great for surprise attacks. This gives +30 firepower to any German attack

Strosstruppen - This gives +10 firepower to any German attack.

Foch - At the start of any EP pulse, you may "unflip" one stack of French Armies.

Voie Sacrée - At the start of any EP pulse roll three die. The French may add that many Divisions to Armies in any one hex in France.

Smith-Dorrien - At the start of any EP pulse, you may "unflip" one stack of EP Armies (at least one Army must be British).

 This is the Sequence of Play:

2.1 First Random Events Phase
1. Draw one chit to determine what Random Events occur (see 3.0).
2. Divisions are now added to Reserves/Armies by the Events just drawn (3.1).
3. The EP player may now transfer Fleets from Sea to Sea (8.2).
4. The CP player may now transfer Fleets from Sea to Sea (8.2).
5. Players may now challenge Naval Supremacy (see 8.3).

2.2 CP Logistics Phase
1. Each CP unit in a CP Units Holding Box may be built, or rebuilt, by the CP
Player (5.3). You may leave units in the Holding Box if you choose. Armies built at this time may also be reinforced by attaching Divs from Reserves (as in step #3 below).
2. CP may transfer Divs from one unflipped Army to another unflipped Army of the same nationality within 3 hexes (marching distance).
3. CP may transfer Divisions from Reserves, to unflipped Armies (Rule 6.4). This includes the transfer of Minor Forces (4.3) from the Minor Forces Reserve Box to the map.
4. CP may now transfer Divisions from unflipped Armies, to Reserves (Rule 6.4). This includes the transfer of Minor Forces (4.3) from the map to the Minor Forces Reserve Box.

2.3 EP Logistics Phase
The EP player repeats the preceding steps (2.2), using his own Armies and Divisions. Both Players can do this simultaneously if they trust one another.

2.4 Pulse Phase (see 6.0 and 7.0)
[2.4.1] During the Pulse Phase, play proceeds by a series of alternating pulses, kind of like chess moves. First one player goes, then the other player, and back again, alternating until both sides either have nothing left to move, or don’t want to move anything.
[2.4.2] The player who moves first in the turn is indicated on the Turn-Record Track next to the turn number (CP on Turns 1, 2, and 3; EP on Turn 4, etc.)
[2.4.3] During a Pulse, the player who is moving (“the phasing player”) moves one stack of units as explained in Rule 6.0. If this results in the moving stack entering an enemy-controlled Hex occupied by enemy units, the Battle occurs, as explained in Rule 7.0.
Certain Special Events (3.4) are done during, or instead of, movement.
[2.4.4] A player may also “pass” during his Pulse, and hand the right to move to his opponent. If both players “pass” consecutively, the Pulse Phase ends. (So be careful – don’t give the other Player a chance to end the Turn unless you’re prepared to live with the consequences!)

2.5 Unflipment Phase
1. All Armies on the map which were flipped, now “unflip” and return to printed-side-up.
2. Spend Divisions to Repair forts (8.4).
3. Roll for Armenian Massacres (14.2).
4. Surrender Checks (12.0); check Russian “Hammer and Sickle” cities (13.2).

2.6 Second Random Events Phase
1. Draw again for Events, as in 2.1 (every turn).
2. Divisions are now added to Reserves/Armies by the Events just drawn (3.1).
3. Put all Event Chits back into the cup for use during the next year (Fall turns only: see rule 3.0).
This concludes one turn. The cycle repeats until one player resigns, or Fall, 1918 has ended (see 16.0).

 As you can see, deciding to when to 'Pass' during the Pulse Phase is an important decision on the player's part. 

 Another interesting rule is 'Reds' (Partisans). If any Great Power Surrenders (except Russia), the victor places two Reds Armies in the territory of the surrendered nation. These will be commanded by the opposite player. So, if France surrenders, the Reds would be under the control of the Central Power Player. The Russian Revolution has its own set of rules. 

 Thank you very much Compass Games for letting me review this great addition to World War I games. The most important thing about our hobby is to learn things, at least to me. This game does not really teach you that much history, you should already know all of that. It does make you open your mind to learn a new way of thinking toward playing and understanding wargames. A day without learning something is a day wasted. I have really enjoyed playing this game.

 Please remember that Compass Games Expo is coming up on November 10-14, 2022. This will take place at the beautiful Comfort Inn & Suites in Meriden Ct. I hope to see you there.

 It is also that time of year again. Compass Games yearly sale is in full swing. Please take a look.


Death in the Trenches: The Great War 1914-1918:

Compass Games:

Compass Games Expo:

  Death of an Army Ypres 1914 by Revolution Games  "The Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders was the most notorious and dreaded place in a...

Death of an Army Ypres 1914 by Revolution Games Death of an Army Ypres 1914 by Revolution Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

World War I

 Death of an Army Ypres 1914


Revolution Games

 "The Ypres Salient in Belgian Flanders was the most notorious and dreaded place in all of the First World War, probably of any war in history. Typical was this British infantryman's reaction on being told that his battalion was to go there: "I mentioned Ypres and he cursed the place. Rumors of what waited ahead of us had disturbed everyone." This was said between men who had just gone through the ordeal of the Battle of the Somme, where more than 50,000 British soldiers became casualties on the first day.

 From the autumn of 1914 to the autumn of 1918 Flanders was, in effect, a gigantic corpse factory. Hundreds of thousands died there for ground where gains were measured in mere yards. It was where, in 1914, the British professional army was virtually annihilated, though it had stopped the German drive to capture control of the English Channel." (Winston Groom in 'A storm in Flanders')

 The Battle of Ypres in 1914 has many times been described as the 'Death of the British prewar Army. The actual name of this game should be 'Death of Armies'. This is because the German Army was also bled white here. The Germans have their own mythology about the First Battle of Ypres. This is called the 'Kindermord', roughly the 'Massacre of the Innocents'. On November 10, 1914, the Germans attacked the town of Langemarck (hex 0813 on the map). The story that was told was that eighteen-year-old German soldiers clasped arms and sang the German National Anthem while they marched to their death. While the actual history has found this to not be correct, the battles for Ypres did turn the area into an abattoir for the German reservist troops. As an aside, the British troops called it 'Wipers'. This is a game I have been waiting to have in my hot little hands for a long time.


 This is what comes with the game:

22" x 34" Map

Exclusive Rulebook

Series Rulebook

2.5 5/8" Countersheets

3 Player Aids

1 Scenario Setup Sheet

Box or Ziploc Bag

1 Six-Sided Die (Boxed Version)

 This is a blurb from Revolution Games about the game:

"The Battle of the Marne signaled the failure of the Schlieffen Plan and of German hopes to win a quick, decisive victory. In turn, this triggered the Race for the Sea as opposing armies attempted to outflank each other. Then, in a final bid to gain the upper hand, both Allied and German Armies clashed in the First Battle of Ypres. On these fields, the British Expeditionary Force, the professional army of Britain, and the strongest on the Continent, was bled dry.

Death of an Army, Ypres 1914 is a brigade/regiment level simulation of the First Battle of Ypres. Players assume the roles of the commanders of the German and Allied troops as they desperately fight for this valuable position in the line."

 The map shows us exactly why this small patch of territory was fought over for four years. These small ridges, 200' or so in height, are the only high ground to be found in Flanders. With their control of them, the Germans were able to see everything going on in the Ypres salient. Not only that, but their guns were able to target the area, thus turning the salient into a deathtrap for the French and British troops that were stationed there.

German Counters

 The Map is nicely done even though it is mostly made up of clear spaces. There are some important features, such as the canal and the ridge that is almost in the center of the map. The area was also sparse as far as woodlands. The towns and woods that are there are mostly named and will be remembered by people who are familiar with the later battles such as Polygon wood. The map also has the turn record track on it. It is made of the normal glossy paper that we have come to know over the last few decades. The scale of the Map is 1,350 yards per hex. The counters are large and are easy to read. They use the NATO symbols. The counters might look a little busy to some. However, I didn't mind them at all at 5/8" size. Two of the Players Aids are exactly the same. These have The Combat Results Tables on one side and the Terrain Effects on the other. The third Player Aid is one-sided and has a Markers Reference sheet on it. The Scenario Setup sheet is double-sided and has the information for the game's three scenarios on them. The Great War Battles Series Rulebook is twelve pages long and is in black and white with large type. Last but not least, the Exclusive Rulebook is only four pages long. The components some might complain, are Plain Jane, but they are infinitely better than what we used to play with. They also help to keep the game's cost down. You may not get all the bells and whistles with them, but all of Revolution Games productions I have played do come with a lot of gaming, which is really what we are after anyway.

Allied Counters

 As mentioned, there are three scenarios. These are:

Battle of Langemarck  - October 20th until October 24th

Fabeck's Attack - October 29th until November 4th

First Battle of Ypres (Campaign Game) - October 20th until November 12th

 The game plays out in daily turns so the Campaign Game is 24 turns long.

 This is the Sequence of Play:

First Player Turn

The first player is the phasing player and conducts the following events in sequence.

Coordinated Combat Phase: the first player may conduct 
coordinated combat with his units against opposing units (see 6.0).

Movement Phase: the first player may move his units (see 7.0).

Hasty Combat Phase: the first player may conduct hasty combat with his units against opposing units (see 11.0).

Surrender Phase: the first player checks whether any of his 
isolated units surrender (see 12.4).

Second Player Turn

The second player becomes the phasing player and conducts 
the same sequence of events as described for the first player.

Markers and a few more German counters

 So, what is the verdict? Just like any other Revolution Games effort I have played, this game is a winner. Not only if you are interested in the game for its history, but also if you are looking for a great gaming experience. This is early in World War I so air power and even air reconnaissance is in its infancy. You do not have to worry about tanks or poison gas either. This is a straight of battle of king of the hill. One thing a player has to keep in mind is that casualties will mount up and usually mount up quickly. This is the maneuver battle that all of the generals were hoping for after the trench system was built. Artillery is king of the battlefield, as it remains for the rest of the war. You can attack without artillery, or not enough of it, but be prepared to pay the cost. All of the Victory Conditions in all of the scenarios are based on the capture or defense of the high ground. It is a simple concept, and they are right there for you to see. Your problem is getting control of them. It is a rough and tumble affair that simulates the horrific blood loss of the year 1914. One thing really good games have is an ebb and flow to each side. The reinforcements that come in for each side at different times help greatly with the 'what happened, I was winning last turn', feeling that you get in this game.

 This is a blurb from the Designer Notes:

"For Ypres 1914, I wanted to create a simple, fluid game that moves quickly -- sort of a Napoleon at Waterloo for the First World War. Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way - simple, perhaps, fluid, not quite. There aren’t many innovative rules per se but one significant departure from most games is the reversal of the movement and combat phases. The decision to begin with a combat phase was intended to capture the general flow of the battle of the Great War. Most attacks were planned overnight and started at dawn of the next day. Generally, troops were positioned accordingly, often in plain sight of the enemy. After the initial attack, communications would falter, and the original plans would disintegrate. It then fell on the initiative on individual commanders leading smaller units to carry it on, with limited artillery support. The former reflects the co-ordinated combat and the latter the hasty combat procedure."

 I cannot wait for more games in the series.

 Thank you, Revolution Games, for allowing me to take this game for a spin. I will admit I was expecting a lot from the game. The books about the Ypres battles are some of my favorite reads. I was immensely happy that the game played out historically, and all of the outcomes were entirely plausible. While you are at their site, please take a gander at the rest of their games it is definitely worth it.


Revolution Games:

  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

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

World War I

 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:

 March on the Drina WWI by Princeps Games  Just as envisioned by Bismarck, a great Europeans war did occur because of "some damned fool...

March on the Drina WWI by Princeps Games March on the Drina WWI by Princeps Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

World War I

 March on the Drina WWI


Princeps Games

 Just as envisioned by Bismarck, a great Europeans war did occur because of "some damned foolish thing in the Balkans". The Austria-Hungary grab of Bosnia Herzegovina is where it really started. By foolishly adding more Slavic people to its domains, Austria-Hungary had started the clock on a time bomb. There were two wars in 1912 and 1913 in the Balkans. First between the different Balkan kingdoms and Ottoman Turkey, and then between the Balkan countries over the spoils of the first war. Serbia had close ties to the Russian Empire and had always been at loggerheads with Austria-Hungary, especially after their grab of Bosnia Herzegovina. The bullet from Garolav Princep set in motion a slow starting and moving avalanche that soon crushed all before it. Three empires and their rulers would be swept away by the tide of World War I. Only after the greatest conflict up to that time had taken place did the dust somewhat settle. Many historians now classify the Second World War as just a continuation of the first. Did the freedom fighter/assassin (depending on your view) have any inkling what he had started in motion after he shot?

 The Drina River is 215 miles long and was the western border of the Serbian Kingdom and the Austria-Hungary states of Bosnia Herzegovina. The Austro-Hungarian General in Chief Conrad von Hetzendorf believed that a part of his army could conquer Serbia very easily and then get on trains to fight Russia. This was actually in his timetable structure of the war. The Austro-Hungarian Army and Conrad were in for a very rude awakening. The Serbians fought like lions and not only defeated the Austro-Hungarian attacks, but also pushed some of their forces behind their starting lines. Serbia would not be conquered until Germany, and Bulgaria decided to help the Austro-Hungarians. Even then, the Serbian Army stayed together and helped defend Salonika (in Greece) after they were pushed out of Serbia proper. 

 So, this then is the game. You can either take control of Serbia or the forces of the Central powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria) against her. The game can be played with two to four players. For a four-player game, both Germany and Bulgaria have a player, and for three player, Germany/Bulgaria is played by one person. This is what comes with the game:

Mounted Game Board


4 Player Cards

13 General Cards

42 Luck Cards

4 National Military Capacity Chart


Minimap Sheets

24 Control Markers

18 Albanian Orders

45 Military Capacity Units

31 Infantry Units

18 Cavalry Units

15 Artillery Units

13 General Units

84 Tokens

84 Counters

 The game components are definitely a mix of a wargame and a Euro game. The mounted map is beautiful, and nice and large for the play area. The map hexes have either clear, city, or impassable terrain. There is no benefit/penalty between a city or a clear terrain hex. The Rulebook is set forth very well and it is easy to follow along, or to look for a particular rule, etc. It is only twenty pages long. Then there another eleven pages of pictures of the fans who helped make the game possible. The nicest touch is that the pictures of these fans were put right on the counters. The unit counters are rectangular and are meant to set into small round stands. This is another part of the Euro game feel to the components. There are small round magnets that can be added to the troop stacks (no more than two per stack). 

  The Sequence of Play is:

 It is played in rounds, with each country's turn as follows:





 This is from the Rulebook:

"Each round is played as follows:

• The Calendar is adjusted to the next period.

• Players apply the effects which that period brings.

• Players play their turns at the order listed above. At the end of his turn, a player collects MCU (Military Capacity Units). When his turn comes, a player decides whether he will move all units, some units or no units. A player decides whether he will engage in combat or not. After that phase is finished, a player collects as much MCU as it is shown on NMCC (National Military Capacity Chart) and in that way he finishes his turn. When all players finish their turn, a round is over, The Calendar is adjusted to the next period and a new round begins."

 The rules for the game are simple. Each unit can only have three strength points assigned to it. Only one unit at a time may attack. So, you cannot try for a two or three hex attack on one hex of the enemy. The Luck Cards mean that you can only guess at your actual attacking and defending strength. A Luck card is drawn by both the defender and attacker. Their value goes from zero to plus three. With its simplicity and the fact that there is no terrain benefit or hindrance the game may put off the real grognard players. This is a shame, because this is a great game to have around to play with newbies to the fold. The game mechanics of building up your forces or rebuilding them is deceptively deep. So, there is some meat there for grognards to chew on. I think the game is a nice change of pace from playing a really in-depth game with hundreds of counters etc. I believe Princeps Games have done a wonderful job on their first game. It introduces players to a very overlooked part of World War I and does it in a simple and easy way. The components are really well done and definitely catch the eye when you open this large box for the first time. 

 Princeps Games second game has been released. It is called 'Downtown Chase'. It is not a wargame, but from what I read it is a good game night Euro game. Links will be below.


March on the Drina:

March on the Drina - Princeps Games

Princeps Games:

Home - Princeps Games

Downtown Chase:

Downtown chase - Princeps Games