Games that Cover the 1914 Campaign in the West
Paul
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Hello,

1914 campaign in the West seems at first glance to be a popular subject-starting with AH's 1914 over 40 years ago. But are the choices as varied as it seems?

I'd like to see your list and suggestions/recommendations for someone wanting to play this campaign.

Paul
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1. Board Game: Home Before the Leaves Fall: The Marne Campaign 1914 [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:8568]
Paul
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I'll throw this one out first, and play a bit of devil's advocate devil


Home Before the Leaves Fall: The Marne Campaign 1914--Clash of Arms Games, 1997.

I bought this when it first came out and built a special table to play it. I started the rules, and after a few weeks put it (and its 2000 counters) back in the box and it's sat in storage for the past 15 years.

The game undoubtedly is magnificent in its detail, but for me (even being a WW1 fan,) it has remained an unplayable monster. I'd like to hear from someone who has actually pushed the counters around on this one.

Designed for "the serious student of history." I'm would consider myself a pretty serious student of history but I rate this one an unplayable magnificence.

Paul
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2. Board Game: The Western Front: 1914 to 1918 [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:4729]
Enrico Viglino
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Eugene
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Started out as only The Schlieffen Plan, and still includes
that as a strong scenario. Models WWI accurately, without
a tremendously detailed ruleset. There is a cost though -
in terms of a lot of mechanical complexity. But this is
certainly tolerable for the scope of the '14 campaign.
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3. Board Game: Drive on Paris [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:4892]
Paul
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Drive on Paris (DoP)-The Gamers--2000.

A Standard Combat Series title covering the 1914 campaign. The rules are pretty straight forward: Standard rules 8 pages, DoP rules book 24 pages, 6 pages of actual rules, the rest OoB, notes and charts.

I can understand the wide appeal of this game. The components are well done, and the system fast and easy to learn. The situation is interesting though, and simple rules do not always mean an "easy" game. This was born out in SPI's "Great War in the East" system as well.

The game moves along pretty quickly, lot's of movement and combat, both side having the chance to attack--the Germans in implementing the Schlieffen Plan (or some player-derived variant) and the French through Plan XVII.

There are a few rules I don't like here. "Emmich's Assult Force" IMHO should be eliminated and an alternate rule implemented for the fall of Liege. The force that went up against Liege consisted of green and untried troops, not some 1914 version of 1918 Stosstruppen.

I understand the purpose of the "French Doctrine Line" but I tend to bridle against "shaping" rules like this on principal.

Overall not a bad game. I'm not convinced the SCS system isn't better suited for WWII, but maybe I have to concede it works in the mobile 1914 campaign.

Paul

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4. Board Game: March to Victory: West Front 1914-1916 [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:9340]
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March to Victory: West Front 1914-1916 by GR/D (1997)

Another monster that marries up with "Over There" to cover the Great War in the Western theater (including Italy and parts of Africa and Mexico/US.) Part of the The Great War Series.

Included for the portion that covers the 1914 campaign.

This is another monster I have to confess to owning and not having played. Being a "Europa" veteran and having actually played "Fire in the East," I wasn't phased when I picked this up. I would think the chance of me playing this are much higher than HBtLF.

I would really like to hear from someone who has played this.

Paul
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5. Board Game: Grand Illusion: Mirage of Glory, 1914 [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:3667]
Gordon Watson
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The only game I've actually played on the topic - Clash of Giants sits on the shelf as yet unplayed.

I really liked Grand Illusion it's easily accessable and therefore very playable. Quite innovative as well the board has large hexes, really hex areas, rather than a hex-grid, and combat is within hex, i.e. opposing units occupy the same hex.

I mostly play wargames to capture the feel of the history rather than to replicate it in detail and for me GI it provides that, but others, who like a more purely historical feel, might think it unrealistic, whatever that means.

Worth a look - particularly as it's usually not that expensive.
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6. Board Game: 1914: Offensive à outrance [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:4881] [Average Rating:8.03 Unranked]
Paul
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1914: Offensive à outrance (OaO), GMT, 3rd Quarter 2013.

OaO is Mike Resch's streamlined version of the 1914, Twilight in the East system covering the fighting in the West from August-November 1914.

According to the publisher here are some details:

Time Scale: Game turns vary between two and four days in length.

Map Scale: Eight kilometers per hex.

Unit Scale: Division/Brigade.

Number of Players: one to many (well suited for four players).

I am really looking forward to this one. A real effort to make a "playable monster," that should be a very comprehensive treatment of the campaign. I really enjoy TitE very much, so I'm pretty excited to see this title come out.

Paul

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7. Board Game: Guns of August [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:7267]
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Guns of August by Worthington Games, 2011.

Added on Wade's suggestion. I have to admit I thought this was a remake of the old AH "The Guns of August" I played when I was a kid. I see that I was wrong.

Description from BGG:

"The GUNS OF AUGUST simulates the first three months of WWI in the West, when mobility reigned and the fate of France hung in the balance. Game mechanics compensate for players’ 20/20 hindsight to encourage historically accurate play that makes “sense” in game terms while avoiding a “straight jacket” of special rules to force irrational play. Players maneuver corps and divisions through 9-mile wide hexagons in turns that span three days each. Chit pull activation, along with modest movement point allowances, generates a highly interactive game. Combat uses artillery and rifles to reveal the comparative strengths of the opposing armies. Optional rules for variable set up and fog of war counters shroud the game in uncertainty and increase replay value."

Thanks Wade for pointing that out--one I certainly had missed!

Paul
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8. Board Game: 1914: Glory's End [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:7530]
Jeff S
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This is one the very good games that came out of Command Magazine. It is highly playable with a good feel for the period. GMT currently has it on pre-order for a new edition.
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9. Board Game: Bataille de la Marne 1914 [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:12036]
Paul
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Bataille de la Marne 1914 by Descartes Editeur, 1982.

Tipped by a French wargamer--another one I'd not heard of.

Description from BGG:

Battle of the Marne River - 1914

French, British and German units, most of the which are divisions and artillery groups. Each country uses its own Combat Result table
Scale is about 2.5 miles per hex.

Un grand merci à Serge from STRATEGIKON. Not strictly covering the entire campaign, but surely worth a reference.


Paul
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10. Board Game: Reinforce the Right! [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:7990]
Paul
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Reinforce the Right! by Decision Games, 1996. From Strategy & Tactics magazine #180.

Another title I've not tried--just bought a copy, so I look forward to giving it a play.

Get's some great reviews and comments.

Here is a link to a detailed review:

The Schlieffen Plan in review

Paul
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11. Board Game: 1914 [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:12063]
Paul
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and the grand daddy of them all...1914, AH, 1968.

Two opinions of the game:

1) 1914 was a sales success. Unfortunately, it was a lousy game. The mapboard, though innovative for its day, was an unplayable monstrosity and the rules suffered from being incomplete. Perhaps it was too good a simulation in reflecting the trench warfare of World War One because it sure wasn’t much fun to play. Convinced that it was losing them long range customers, the game was discontinued despite continuing relatively strong sales.

2) I strongly beg to differ with the above 'opinion' and will provide my own. Consider the above statement one players opinion. You can certainly find the above criticisms echoed over the years but I strongly doubt the majority of this originates from contemporary players writing in the games prime. The above commentary evinces this by implying that the simulation may be boring because it simulates trench warfare. 1914 is not about trench warfare. It is easy to tear apart a game design in retrospect especially if you haven't actually played it.

While not an easy 'game' to play, 1914 is a rewarding simulation both innovative for its day and enjoyable to play. The game is neither incomplete nor any more unclear than most other games of the day. And the map is beautiful and works just fine. While this game is very different from other games from the period and has a couple of faintly tedious mechanics it is worth the effort and can be quite exciting to play. By today's standards we would like to see forced march and some command hurtles for the over extended Germans but one could say something similar about most old games.

This game does not allow players to ramp up a decided combat advantage from a god's eye point of view. No individual combat is decisive and one can only manage this not overcome it. The game needs to be played with all its bells and whistles and when one bothers to do this they find an intriguing game of deception where planning pays off.
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12. Board Game: Clash of Empires: The Battle for France 1914 [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:7600]
Paul
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Clash of Empires: August 1914, 3W, 1986.


Another one I've missed.

Description from BGG:

This game, first published in The Wargamer Magazine (#58), is a simulation of the beginning of the Great War. Basically a two-player game where one person controls the French and the other, the Germans (a third player can be brought in to control British forces).

The game is open-ended... it continues until one side of the conflict has achieved its victory conditions or a stalemate is reached. To win as the German player you must capture Paris and cut it off from supply for two complete turns. The French must capture two German supply centres to win. Either player may declare a Stalemate if the game lasts longer than 12 turns... a 'marginal' victory may then be calculated based on city control and strength losses.

Thanks to another French colleague for pointing this one out.

Paul
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13. Board Game: The Marne: Home Before the Leaves Fall [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:11100]
Paul
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The Marne: Home Before the Leaves Fall, SPI 1972.

Another older title. No review--I've not played this.

Paul
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14. Board Game: 1914 [Average Rating:5.17 Unranked]
Paul
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Man, there are a lot of games on this campaign...

Another "1914" by Casus Belli, 1984.

From BGG page:

This game is about the first 5 months of World War One, the only part of the war that feels like World War II, not a static war: German offensive in Belgium and France. This is a very simple game (4 pages).

Paul


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15. Board Game: 1914: Opening Moves [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked]
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1914: Opening Moves by Minden Games, 2001.

"1914: Opening Moves is a simple solitaire game where the gamer plays the German, and the game system plays the allies. The object of the game is to get enough victory points (VP) to win. VP can be gained by holding VP hexes on the western front (on the map, vs. the western allies), and through rolls simulating developments on the eastern front (vs. Russia). The gamer sets up, moves, and conducts the German offensives as he chooses. The game system handles the allies, who are generally on the defensive. Specific rules will instruct allied units about when/where to attack, how to retreat if a retreat occurs, and general movement directions. The game lasts a total of five turns, representing mid-August to early September, 1914, the most fluid period in the west during the Great War."
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16. Board Game: Clash of Giants [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:3608]
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Clash of Giants (I) by GMT, 2001.

Covers the opening campaigns in both the east and west.

Paul
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17. Board Game: Teutons!: Assaults on the West, 1870-1940 [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked]
Karsten Engelmann
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Springfield
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I have not played this yet. But since it covers all three assaults in the West, to include 1870, 1914, and 1940 I thought I would include it.


Anyone played this yet?
 
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