Pevans's Perspective

This was the title of my board games column in Flagship magazine, so I thought I'd resurrect it, 8 years after Flagship's demise. The idea is to get down my musings in a more contemporaneous way - expect things to appear later in To Win Just Once (www.pevans.co.uk/TWJO) in a more considered form. Now, can I manage a less formal style?
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Paul Evans
United Kingdom
UXBRIDGE
London
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After a suitable quarantine period, nephew Tom came round for a day of games. Well, game. We're both Commands & Colors fans and our choice this time was The Great War. Starting with a Tank Expansion scenario from the battle of Cambrai: No 29, Graincourt. This particularly attracted me because there's not a trench in sight.

The way The Great War works is that attacks are powerful, but troops are usually protected by the trenches. In open terrain the effects should be devastating. The set-up has the British advancing across the open towards the village of Graincourt, where the German troops have the shelter of the buildings. However, the British have tanks. But the Germans have field artillery in fortified positions alongside the village (the first time I've used these units).

Here are the opening positions from the British side of the board. We're using the second edition models, in a less brittle plastic, hence the rather bright appearance of the brown British pieces. The German figures are a pale grey - except for the darker field artillery pieces which are from the first edition.
From gallery of Pevans

The British gain victory medals for occupying the village (as well as eliminating enemy units). However, they're also "racing against time": the German player can gain a medal by playing a "Recon 1" card.

I drew the British and advanced cautiously, making sure my tanks didn't break down. I carefully manoeuvred the flanking tanks into the centre, so I could use all of them with my "Assault Centre" card. Tom stymied this with a "Lost Messenger" Combat card, damn him!

So my advance proceeded more slowly, the tanks drawing fire while the infantry advanced behind them. Here's my left flank tank taking on the field artillery - and being attacked by some brave German infantry. I'm hoping that I can move my infantry through the woods to outflank the village.
From gallery of Pevans

The field artillery turned out to be less of a threat than I expected, my tanks rumbling up to the guns and trashing them. Then I moved up my infantry to take the village - the union jack counters are victory medals from occupying the village. And there's a one-figure German unit making a desperate assault to try to finish off the one-figure British infantry next to the tank.
From gallery of Pevans

That was a win by 7 medals to 3. Switching sides, here's the initial view from the German perspective with the British already advancing on my right. The German forces look very sparse.
From gallery of Pevans

Tom took some risks with his tanks, but got away with advancing faster than I did. The field artillery didn't do any better this time - both batteries have gone in this photo. On my left there's a tank versus machine gun duel while the British have started occupying the village.
From gallery of Pevans

I made a fight of it, though, moving around the village to deprive Tom of medals. Right at the end, one of the tanks bogged down (indicated by the large cardboard counter in the photo below), but this made no difference at this stage. Tom and I got enough hits on the tanks that, statistically, we should both have had a couple of successful damage rolls - potentially knocking out a tank, which would have had a significant effect on the result.
From gallery of Pevans

This time it was a win for Tom (looks like a scenario the British will usually win), but I'd managed a couple more medals than he did as the Germans, so that was 7 medals to 5. The aggregate score was thus 12:10 to me. The difference was that I was able to play a couple of "Recon 1" cards to gain "time pressure" medals.

Next up was a French army scenario, but I'll report that separately.
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