Paul Lucuski
United States
Trenton
New Jersey
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This is an expansion for Poor Bloody Infantry. The base game is needed to play the expansion.

What you get: A rule and scenario booklet of 8 pages, a reference card identical to the ones in the base game, and 2 cards of cutout counters for infantry and markers.

Rules booklet: the booklet contains 1 page of optional rules. You can add shell holes which help the advancing infantry, extra wire and mud markers for design your own scenarios, and how to play a company level game with the added infantry counters. The main reason for buying the expansion is the addition of 7 more scenarios and the combining of both games into a grand campaign game simulating the British attack on the Somme. There are no new rules for playing the game so see the review of the base game for how to play.

Grand Campaign Game: The Grand Campaign uses 7 scenarios from the base game and the 7 scenarios from the expansion. To win the player must win at least 8 of the scenarios. All scenarios start with the same basic conditions- 45 soldiers and 16 wire hexes. What varies is the number of German machine guns, what if any special rules, whether the British get a preliminary bombardment, and what the special result means on the events table. All scenarios are 7 turns long and the same way of calculating victory is used.

History: Each scenario describes the results and there is a map showing the planned offensive. Casualties for each division are given to help determine how your offensive went.

Playing the game: There are few decisions for the player to make. As the designer states in his notes "The battle field is chaotic. Much of what happens to you and your platoon in this game is out of your hands". Once you go "over the top" the only real decisions you have to make is how fast to push your soldiers, especially if they are pinned. Trying to move a pinned soldier usually results in something bad happening.
One main decision that you have to make at the start of the game is to use your bombardment at attack the wire or the machine guns. More guns cause more casualties but the wire really hinders movement. With only 7 turns to get to the German trenches I always tried to destroy the wire.

Game as history: The designer states in his notes " If, after playing, you do not come away with a sense of profound sadness, either you experienced some extraordinary good fortune, or are simply not wired like I am". I feel that he has achieved his aim in the design of this game. The frustration builds as your soldiers are cut down as they try to reach the enemy's trenches and if you manage to get there you usually have a fraction of your starting men. I can not imagine what is took for those men to walk across a hail of bullets, wire, and bombs to almost certain death.

My results: I won 6 of the 14 scenarios so I did not win the Grand Campaign. I have included a table below so if someone wants to play the Grand Campaign and compare their results they can do so. What is interesting is a comparison of actual casualties to game casualties. You add up all dead and wounded soldiers and multiply by 170. Actual wounded about 40,000, game wounded 40970. Actual deaths about 20000, game deaths 28560. So I did worst in deaths that happened in the battle.

Recommendations: If you want to experience what an attack on a fortified trench was like and, in some cases, the massacre of your men, then this is for you. It is an easy fast playing game. But if you need to have everything under your control, making all the decisions, and not liking randomness you will feel very frustrated and probable not enjoy the experience. The expansion provides rules for a company game. You are to play the game 4 times to simulate the 4 platoons attacking. I would like to see this happening in one game. A bigger board would be needed and some way to chart the different random happenings. The other thing that I think that would really get across the idea of loosing your command would to play the game on a larger hex size map, maybe Command & Colors, and use miniatures to represent each individual soldier. Since stacking 7 or more aids defensive fire I put no more that 6 soldiers in a hex. So the miniatures would have to be sized to fit 6 in a hex.

Campaign results
Scenario Actual result Game result British men to trench
Red Hand Win Won 21
10th West Lost Lost 2
4th Liverpool Won Won 24
16th MIddle Lost Lost 11
Rangers Won Lost 13
Neville Won Won 38
Royal Scots Lost Lost 15
Sherwood Lost Lost 12
Serre Lost Lost 6
Seaforth Won Won 18
Glasgow Lost Lost 14
Ovillers Lost Lost 6
KOYLI Won Won 23
Manchester Won Won 18

Note: The Rangers was a very close game. British 37, Germans 39.
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Eric Teoro
United States
Bloomington
Illinois
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Thank you for an intriguing review; I liked the interaction with the designer's notes and historical outcomes. You have piqued my interest. I read both of your reviews. Would I be correct in thinking that the expansion raised your opinion of the game?

My Buddy and I are playing through VPG's State of Siege series and the solitaire mini-games be Decision Games. Poor Bloody Infantry could be one to add to the collection.

I like your idea of playing the entire company with individual minis.

 
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Paul Lucuski
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With the expansion you get a map of the actual area fought over in the rule book. This gives one a good idea of the "bigger picture". If you just play a scenario by itself it dose not do as good a job presenting what happened in reality. If possible I would recommend gettting both games.
 
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