I am a fan of card-driven games. The randomness of the cards ensure that you can never be sure about your plans and you need to adopt to both your own and your opponent's cards. The cards are also a great way of representing historical events and "chrome" without a lot of small special rules. I also have a keen interest in the Great War. Therefore, it is probably not too surprising that Paths of Glory is one of my all time favorite games (but I am far from an expert on it). However, the game is not without its flaws.
For starters, I think it suffers a bit from being one of the earliest card driven games on the market. Many cards are either too weak or too powerful. Associating the highest valued cards with both American entry and Russian capitulation means that once the Americans are in or the Russians out, you have actually decreased the value of your deck to the point that it is often beneficial to not pursue those goals. I also think that "yellow" events (play event and get the Ops value as well) makes for improved card play, which is something you see in almost all newer card-driven games but it was not "invented" when PoG was designed (except for a very few events). Much has been said about the entry of Italy and Romania, both of which was historically desired by the allies but not so much in the game.
The game also has seen a lot of variants to promote "historical play", to for example, keep the Germans from evacuating the Rhineland and send their armies to Italy instead, reduce the effect of the extremely harsh supply rules, prevent playing Kaiserschlacht events in Egypt or sending Bulgarians to Iraq or the west front. Some also require changes to both the map and cards as well.
After trying out a couple of different variants with various success, I decided to have a go at making my own variant rules, cards and map, which I have fiddled around with for some time. The variant incorporates many rules from existing variants, most notably several rules changes from the excellent Le Banquet des Généraux (referred to as BdG here) website and a slightly modified hypothetical Netherlands variant (found on BGG). I downloaded the color-coded map that is available on BGG and modified it for my purposes.
NOTE: This is not meant to be a variant for "professional gameplay", it is just something I did just for fun
I have included most cards from the PoG Player's Guide, and tried to reproduce the units and include them in this variant so that the Player's Guide is not required for use of this variant. Color replication is difficult but the colors are pretty darn close on my printer.
All cards, units and the map can be downloaded from here (note that there are no differences between the PDF and Word file or the jpg and png map, I just included both formats):
Enjoy the variant! As always, any and all comments are welcome!
All right, let's begin with the rules. Many of these are taken more or less directly from Le Banquet des Généraux.
4.0 MAP & GAME SET-UP
So, this is the map. I started with a variant map that has circulated on BGG for some time in different versions. I am not 100% sure who is the original creator/uploader.
The following is changed compared to the original:
- Obviously, the Netherlands. More about that later.
- VP spaces have changed. Germany gained Aachen, Koblenz, Hannover, Hamburg and Kiel. France gained Sedan, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and lost Bar Le Duc. Austria-Hungary gained Prague. Italy lost Florence. Greece gained Athens. Russia gained Pskov and Smolensk. Ottomans gained Erzurum and lost Mosul and Kharput.
- Italy has terrain, mountains in Asiago and Maggiore, swamp in Udine, Venice and Ravenna.
- Removed connection between Trent and Verona. Added connection between Asiago and Verona.
- Added connection between Strasbourg and Stuttgart.
I think this set of VP spaces allows for more historical game play. More VPs in France and West Germany means that the Defend the Rhine strategy (which I dislike a lot, but is so powerful that it is frequently used in "professional games" as well) is much less attractive. The added connection between Strasbourg and Stuttgart also adds one space to such a frontline, but has otherwise little effect on the game. Less VPs in Italy and Turkey better represent the historical commitments of the major powers in these areas. Additional VP spaces deep inside France, Russia and Germany makes it slightly more attractive to go further inland than just the immediate border regions, where the majority of VP spaces otherwise are located. Also, it is my belief that if France fell to Germany the CP would have won the war, which is the reason for adding so many VP spaces in France. Likewise the CP would have been defeated if the Allies successfully invaded Germany.
Many historical variants remove VP spaces from Venice, Ahwaz and Jerusalem, but I have decided to keep all of them. Venice was a major port in Italy and important to the Italian war effort. Also, Venice was desired by Austria, having lost that territory to Italy the previous century. Ahwaz represents the (mostly) British oil interests in Persia. With new technology emerging as the war progresses, highly dependent on oil, I decided to keep the VP there. Jerusalem's special status goes back two-thousand years, and the "Jerusalem by Christmas" statement transformed it into an important political objective.
The terrain changes in Italy better represent the actual terrain and removes the need for unhistorical trenches in the area. The connection changes shortens the Italian front from four to three spaces which strengthens the Italian positions. Also, it makes the Italians more prone to attack along the Izonso. The added connection Asiago-Verona ensures that the Allied player cannot shorten the front to only one space (Venice).
I have not included the setup on the map as it is still a work in progress. The following is changed so far:
- Add 1 AH corps (from reserve box) in Stanislaw.
- Add 1 RU corps (from reserve box) in Lutsk.
- Remove the trench from Brussels.
- Add a Lv1 trench in Strasbourg.
- The Italian armies set up (reduced) in Venice, Asiago, Udine and Maggiore. No trenches.
Most changes are from the official historical variant so there is no need to justify them. I have tried the setup from BdG where the Belgian army starts in Brussels (no trench) and the BEF in Cambrai. While both changes makes a lot of sense historically, it does play out a little weird in many cases so I decided to keep the original (historical) west front setup.
The changes in Italy mean that they start with one (reduced) army in reserve behind the lines which can be very important.
4.3 INITIAL STRATEGY CARDS
There are two versions of the Guns of August cards. One "regular" and the other representing a hypothetical initial invasion of the Netherlands which was part of an earlier German war plan. The Central Powers player may choose whether or not to start the game with ONE Guns of August card in his hand. Remove the other one from the game.
There are no Mandatory Offensive die rolls on turn 1 if either Guns of August event is played.
With the addition of new cards into all decks, players have an 8 card hand size limit to cycle through the decks a bit faster.
7.0 MANDATORY OFFENSIVES
If at least one unit of a nationality under Mandatory Offensive obligation starts an enemy Action Round adjacent to an enemy unit, and at the end of that Action Round, no unit of that nationality is adjacent to an enemy unit any more, the Mandatory Offensive requirement is immediately considered fulfilled.
I added this rule to prevent players from inflicting the harsh VP penalty on the enemy by breaking off contact with the units bound to a Mandatory Offensive, so that their attack obligation cannot be met. This can mainly happen with TU MOs, and occasionally with AH or IT. The terrain given up by the enemy would suffice as a political victory in these cases.
The cost to activate a space with a single corps is 1/2 Ops.
I have tried this a couple of times and really like it. It makes it a lot easier to move around units on secondary and tertiary fronts and make sure that you cover all holes in your front lines.
Several cards have been changed into "yellow events". When a yellow event is played, first resolve the event. Then the player also performs Operations using the cards Ops value.
9.5.2 NEUTRAL ENTRY EVENT CARDS
188.8.131.52 Neutral Entry Event Cards may only be played ONCE for OPs, RPs or SR. If a Neutral Entry Card is played a second time it must be played as an Event. It may always be treated as an unused Combat Card and be discarded under rule 184.108.40.206. Use a corps of the appropriate nationality in the Capital space as a reminder marker, as noted on the cards.
Without some sort of restriction, the card system made it too advantageous to delay as long as possible the entry of allied nations, in order to benefit from the continuous recycling of their strong card, which makes very little sense historically. I have chosen to replace the original and fairly artificial penalties concerning Italy with a simple “playable only once as a non-event”, and extended it to all neutral entries. The OPS value of Romania and Greece has also been lowered.
220.127.116.11 M.E.F. INVASION
On turns following the entry of the MEF army: if the Allies do not control the land space adjacent to the beachhead at the end of a turn with a British MO, the beachhead must be evacuated.
The evacuation takes place in the War Status phase. To evacuate, remove all Allied units currently supplied through the beachhead marker (place all removed corps in the reserve box, remove the MEF army from the game). If the MEF army was still on the map, also place one BR corps from the reserve box in the eliminated units box. Subtract 1 BR RP this turn.
It usually takes a pretty large commitment to make any significant headway with the MEF so most of the time it just lingers on the beachhead and ties up a significant part of the available Turkish forces. It can do this forever without any adverse effects which can have a large impact on the balance of forces in the Near East map. Historically, when it became increasingly obvious that the Gallipoli expedition was a failure, nothing could justify the drain of resources to maintain the operation. The stranded MEF became such a political embarrassment that 8 months after its arrival, evacuation appeared as the only viable option.
Now, if the MEF has not made any territorial gains on a British MO turn, it will be evacuated automatically at the end of the turn at the "cost" of 1 BR RP.
This change in turn is a variant of the BdG variant which introduced a time limit for the MEF to make any headway, after which there is a 1 VP penalty for the Allied player if a BR MO is rolled. It also "costs" 4 SR points to evacuate the MEF beachhead, even after all MEF units have already been defeated, to avoid any further VP penalties. I find that these changes go a bit too far and make the MEF too much of a detriment to the Allied player (which probably is historically justified but bad for the gameplay). Now the MEF still is forced to make progress or be removed later but the penalties are less severe. As the Bulgarians are no longer allowed into Turkey and the Germans are also more restrained from doing so, the Turks will have to fight the MEF off by themselves which improved the MEF's chances somewhat.
On the other hand, the restriction of having to play the MEF before Salonika has been lifted so the MEF has gained some flexibility to compensate for the additional drawbacks. A well-timed invasion in combination with a Russian advance in the Caucasus and/or an advance in Mesopotamia will put the Ottoman Empire under very heavy load.
9.5.5 FRENCH MUTINY
French Mutiny is triggered at the end of any turn when all three following conditions are met :
- The “French War Weariness” card has been played as an event, and
- It is a FR MO turn, and
- At the end of the turn, no Allied attacking unit has advanced into the defender’s space in France, Belgium or Germany -OR- no FR unit attacked this turn.
When French Mutiny is in effect, FR MOs on subsequent turns become “None”, and if any FR unit not stacked with a US unit attacks a space in or adjacent to France or Belgium, add 1 VP for the turn (not for each attack). Additionally, no French units may be Strategically Redeployed out of France while French Mutiny is in effect.
At the end of any turn, permanently cancel “French War Weariness” if in effect (no French mutiny will then possibly occur) or permanently cancel the effects of French Mutiny, if at least one FR, BR, US or BE unit currently occupies a space in France, Belgium or Germany that was CP-controlled at the beginning of the turn, and no CP unit currently occupies a space in France or Belgium that was Allied-controlled at the beginning of the turn. AUS, CND and PT corps count as BR for the purpose of this rule.
Immediately and permanently cancel “French War Weariness” if "Everyone into Battle" is played as an event.
Historically, the French Mutiny was prompted by the disastrous failure of yet another grand offensive, added to the strain of a prolonged indecisive war. In the original rules, the representation of the mutiny is very abstract, both in its causes and effects. It is correlated to no particular circumstances, so a lucky CP draw can spark off the French Mutinies as soon as Total War is triggered (frequently 1915), and even if the Allied military situation is very auspicious. The discontinuity of the effect (on the average, one turn on every three) has no correspondence whatsoever to historical reality. In reality, the mutinies completely took out the Army’s offensive capacity, until it later regained confidence due to positive changes in leadership management and the military situation. The variant approach to the question introduces “War weariness” as a prerequisite, linked to both military stalemate and war duration, and triggers the actual mutiny on the occasion of a failed offensive. Its effects will then be continuous until morale is boosted by the improvement of the general military situation.
9.5.4 COMBAT CARDS
Combat cards have the value of the card on a red background. All combat cards are now discarded after the combat.
Combat cards with a more prolonging effect have been transformed into yellow cards in this variant. I always found keeping some cards after a victorious combat and not others a bit strange.
Supplied enemy controlled spaces adjacent to one or more supplied enemy unit cost 2 MP to enter. If a unit has only 1 MP left, it may still move into a such space.
This makes it a little more difficult to blitz a unit deep into enemy territory and cut off the entire front line. Movement in friendly territory is not affected.
The written, extremely harsh supply rules "work" in a game sense that they force the players to form coherent front lines. However, they fail in that they are so harsh that they regularly decide even high-level games on small mistakes. I also find all these encirclements extremely unhistorical. This is not a WW2 blitzkrieg game where tanks run in circles around defenders, cutting their supply lines. This is WW1, where the only thing that comes close to an encirclement on a larger scale are the battles around the Masurian lakes, and even then the circumstances where extraordinary with very poor communication between Rennenkampf's and Samsonov's 1st and 2nd armies that enabled the German 8th army to defeat them both.
With this small change, encirclements are still possible - and just as devastating as before as the supply rules have not changed, but will probably have to be full-scale, in-depth operations rather than unhistorical, opportunistic raids against a momentary enemy weak spot.
Use the optional 11.2.10 rule, but keep the marker in place until there is no longer a friendly Army in that space. It is no longer neccesary to dig trenches in consecutive action rounds.
12.2.5 FLANK ATTACKS
The effects of flank attacks has been changed. A successful flank attack provides a right column shift to the attacker. A failed flank attack provides a right column shift for the defender.
I never liked the huge variability in the outcome of flank attacks. This change makes them more managable. The very few successful flank attacks in the war are better represented by combat cards.
Whenever a combat result calls for a defender’s retreat, the attacker must specify his intention to occupy the defender’s space, and which of his units will do so. If the attacker does not wish to occupy the defender’s space, or is unable to, the retreat result is ignored without penalty for the defender. This is done for each space the defender has to retreat to, sequentially.
Representation of retreats must be adapted to the particular scale of the game. It is hard to imagine troops forcefully thrown back 40-100 km (an estimated average distance between two spaces) while still retaining control over that ground because the attacker does not move forward. This is particularly true for the Great War, where distance between enemy lines tended to be quite thin.
13.0 STRATEGIC REDEPLOYMENT
The SR cost to redeploy a GE army entirely inside Germany or a FR army entirely inside France is 3, not 4.
These two nations had the best railroad grids on the continent.
Sinai : The Sinai space –3 drm applies to any attack involving at least one attacking unit in the Sinai space or tracing supply through it.
It does not get any easier to transport water and supplies across the Sinai desert once you have move beyond it.
16.1.4 WAR STATUS: TOTAL WAR
Total War status cannot be reached until Fall 1915.
Now there is a time limit on entering Total War status, just like for Limited War. 1915 roughly corresponds to the period of Limited War.
16.3 US ENTRY
The first US Army is now placed with the play of Over There. Additional reinforcements can be played on later turns.
Speeding up the US arrival makes it more desirable to play those events. Now you get the first US army after playing a 4 (Zimmermann) and a 5 (Over There), compared to the original 5 (Zimmermann), 5 (Over There) and X (US Reinforcements). Zimmermann Telegram is now also a yellow event.
16.4 RUSSIAN CAPITULATION
When checking the CP VP for the Tsar Takes Command, subtract 1 for any Allied controlled VP space in Germany or Austria-Hungary that can trace supply to a Russian supply source.
16.5 PEACE TERMS
16.5.4 Each side may only ask for Peace terms once per turn. Once a player obtains a +1 or –1 VP result on the Peace Terms dice roll he may no longer ask for Peace Terms for the duration of the game: maximum gain and loss of VP via Peace Terms is +1/-1 per game and per side.
Since VP gain / loss through the Peace Terms procedure is merely a matter of luck, it seemed fair to limit its potential impact on the game.
NATION-SPECIFIC RULES (in addition to the original rules):
- Austro-Hungarian units may not end movement/SR in spaces in France, Belgium or Turkey, nor trace supply through spaces in Turkey.
- Austro-Hungarian units may not be Strategically Redeployed by sea.
- Belgian units may not end movement/SR outside of Belgium, France or Germany.
- Bulgarian units may only end movement/SR inside or adjacent to Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Albania, or Montenegro.
- French armies may never end movement/SR in a space in Italy, nor trace supply exclusively through Italy.
- No French units may be Strategically Redeployed out of France while “French Mutiny” is in effect.
- German units may not end movement/SR in spaces in Turkey, nor trace supply through spaces in Turkey, except for one single corps (two corps after play of Berlin-Baghdad Railroad) (exception: no restrictions apply to Adrianople).
- German armies may never end movement/SR in a space in Italy or an AH space adjacent to Italy.
- British armies may never end movement/SR in a space in Italy, nor trace supply exclusively through Italy.
- Greek units may only end movement/SR inside or adjacent to Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Albania, or Montenegro.
- A Greek unit may not stack with an Italian unit.
- Italian units may not end movement/SR/advance after combat out of Italy, Austro-Hungary, Serbia, Albania or Montenegro.
- An Italian unit may not stack with a Greek unit.
- Italian MOs become “none” if Rome is CP-controlled and supplied.
- When the Netherlands join the war, place the NED army in any space in the Netherlands and the NED corps in the Allied reserve box.
- Dutch units may not end movement/SR outside of Netherlands, Belgium, France or Germany. The Dutch Army may only be rebuilt in Amsterdam. The corps may be SRd from the reserve box to London.
- If the Netherlands has joined the Allies, all instances of "in France or Belgium" also include the Netherlands.
- Only BR/NED corps may use the dotted connection between London and Amsterdam. This forces the CP to keep a small garrison there.
POLAND (introduced in the Player's Guide)
- Polish units are considered German for activation and combat (only, they may not replace GE armies).
- Polish units may not end movement/SR/advance after combat out of Germany, Russia, Romania or Austria-Hungary.
- Polish units may be SR'd from the Reserve box to Warsaw or any (legal) space with GE units.
- Romanian units may not end movement/SR out of Romania, Bulgaria, Austro-Hungary, Serbia or Russia north of Kamenets-Podolski - Vinnitsa - Belaya Tserkov.
- Turkish units may not end movement/SR out of Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, or the Near East Map.
- Turkish MO become “None” if 2 or more Turkish VP spaces or Constantinople are Allied-controlled and supplied.
- Turkish units suffer no attrition if they can trace a supply path to a CP controlled TU VP space (indicated by small supply symbols on the map). They still need a supply path to Constantinople to receive replacements.
- US armies may never end movement/SR in a space in Italy, nor trace supply exclusively through Italy.
- US corps may never end movement/SR in a space on the NE map.
Quite a bit of nation-specific rules but most of them should not be that difficult to remember as they try to adhere to history.
Much has been said about the problematic Italian situation, and how it spirals out of control with the arrival of German, French and British armies. I have limited Allied and German presence within Italy to corps, and excluded armies. (Historically, nominal armies were present on the Italian front, but these forces are best represented in-game by one or more corps. The German contingent was the largest at 5 divisions, not enough to be considered an Army in PoG.) Both Germany and France/Britain considered the Italian front to be a secondary front where Italy and Austro-Hungary quarreled over conflicted territory. Italy and Germany was not even formally at War until August 1916. Even well after the advent of Total War, German war strategy clearly indicated there was little benefit to be expected from pursuing territorial gains in Italy. The same was true on the Allied side and it was not until the Italians had lost some ground that Allied forces seriously came to their assistance.
The OPS cost of activating multi-national stacks will also work to limit the German / Western allies involvement in the Italian front until the costs are lowered for the Allies with the play of the Everyone Into Battle event.
These rules also restricts most Balkan forces to fight in the Balkans and prevents large German forces in the Near East. With the removal of BU/GE troops to assist the Turks, they have received slightly less harsh supply rules, and will also see a TU Army reinforcement already in Limited War.
Allright, I think that's it for the rules changes. Next up - THE CARDS!
I will only comment on the changed and added cards. In general, all combat cards that provide a +1drm now provide a column shift to the right on the fire table instead - a slightly more powerful effect.
First the Allied Mobilization cards.
M1/M14 - British Reinforcements
As noted above, I believe the BEF is a bit overrated. If the Allies play Withdrawal on it, it can often escape the initial battles unharmed. After this, it usually hangs around until very late in the game. Historically, the BEF was merged into the BR 1st and 2nd armies in late 1914 when they arrived in France and Belgium. A in the BdG variant, I have chosen to represent this integration with the play of the BR reinforcements. On the plus side, the second reinforcement enters the game right at the front lines if the BEF is still around when it is played.
M9 - Joffre vs Moltke
I don’t like the original "Moltke" card. It seems to be an all-or-nothing gambit harmful to the game balance. Either the CP can answer directly with Falkenhayn and propel into Limited War (bad for the Allies) or it has the potential to totally cripple the important first couple of turns for the CP in the west with the activation cost penalties.
I fail to see any interest in this card’s mechanism, nor do I see its historical justification: Moltke‘s failure to administer the Marne crisis was in good part due to the distance that the advancing German armies had covered, disrupting coherence and complicating liaison with the High Command. It is hard to figure out why Moltke would get all muddled for no reason just upon entering Belgium. On the other hand, the other possible outcome – a first-turn "Falkenhayn" opening the Race to the Sea and triggering Limited War does not seem more credible.
The German crisis – represented by the activation penalties - will only be triggered by an effective Allied counterattack and are less severe than on the original card. As a compensation the card has inbuilt combat activation for the Allies –the Marne counteroffensive-, including automatic cooperation between the French and the BEF, which is not normally allowed.
The card also gained 1 War Status point, partly to reduce the "luck of the draw" to enter limited war since there are now more cards in the mobilization deck.
M12 - Entrench
Can now only be played on the west front. No more first trenches in Belgrade, Przemysl or Grodno.
M15 - Paris Taxis (player's guide)
This card depicts one of the iconic images of the Great War. This is now a yellow event so the flipped army may immediately be activated for movement or combat.
M16 - Russian Cavalry (player's guide)
The Russians planned, but never executed, massed cavalry raids into German and Austro-Hungarian territory. This event assumes heavier use of the Russian cavalry.
M17 - British War Subsidies
This card represents Britain's traditional role of supplying economic aid to its wartime allies. If the British are left alone and have spare RPs, they can be shipped overseas instead. A hard pressed Britain (such as it was historically) will find it more difficult to utilize this card.
M18 - German Colonies Conquered (player's guide)
At the cost of a card and a short departure of a BR corps, the Allied player can commit forces to conquer the German colonies in Africa and East Asia. Since the Colonies had been a huge part of German Weltpolitik in the decades before the War, I consider the loss of them worth 1 VP.
M19 - Elan
Basic combat card representing the initial war enthusiasm in the French army.
M20 - Conrad von Hötzendorff
The war-hungry Austro-Hungarian chief of staff launched a number of poorly planned and ultimately failed offensives in the initial months of the war, both against Russians in Galizia and the Serbs. The best option for the CP player is usually to play defensively with the AH forces. Since an AH MO can be satisfied with a single reduced corps, I wanted this card to better represent Conrad's flawed grand plans.
Allied Limited War cards:
L2 - Romania / L3 - Italy
The Ops value of the Romania card has been reduced to better represent the card's actual value. All neutral entry cards can now be played for Ops/SR/RPs only once.
L5 - Air Superiority
Increased to a 3-valued card.
L9 - Cloak and Dagger
Is now a yellow event.
L11 - Russian Reinforcements & L20 - British Reinforcements
Several Reinforcements cards have been increased in value.
L13 - Great Retreat
Only rarely does the play of this event result in any actual retreat. After it is played, the CP player usually refrains from attacking the Russians any more that turn. Now, to get the War Status point, Russian units will have to pull back.
L14 - Landships
Is now a yellow event as per the optional historical rules.
L17 - MEF
To counteract the additional restrictions on the MEF, this card now also incorporates the initial "forcing of the Dardanelles" to make it a more tempting prospect for the Allied player.
L19 - Grand Fleet
Has been increased to a 3-valued card. No play of the High Seas Fleet should not mean that the Allies have to keep a low 2 valued card in the deck forever. Also, if the Grand Fleet is used to counter the High Seas Fleet, the Allied player gains the Operations as well as it is a yellow event.
L21 - Czech Legion (player's guide)
The Russians recruited slavic POWs (mostly Czechs) into their ranks. Although their impact in the Great War was not so large, they later played a greater role in the Russian Civil War.
L22 - Alpine Troops (player's guide)
Basic combat card to assist the Italians a bit.
L23 - Black Seas Fleet
As Turkey entered the War, the Russian Black Seas fleet was trapped in the Black Sea. The Turkish navy initially had the upper hand with the inclusion of the German cruisers Goeben and Breslau, but as the Russians finished building a couple of modern dreadnoughts, the advantage started to shift toward the Russians.
L24 - Russian Guards (player's guide)
Basic RU combat card. The Russian Guards were squandered in a failed offensive and never made a large impact.
L25 - Enver Pasha
Enver Pasha lauched a doomed large-scale winter offensive against the Russians around Sarikamis in 1915 with some sources claiming casualty rates of over 90%. After this disastrous loss, the Turks had to retreat past Erzurum and the defeat encouraged the British to land at Gallipoli to fight what seemed as an incompetent enemy. A simple TU MO is just not enough to do this justice.
Allied Total War cards:
T1 - Yanks and Tanks
Now a yellow event. Makes US entry a bit more desirable.
T3 - Raw Material Shortages (previous Independent Air Force)
I renamed this card as the allied Air strikes had a very limited impact on German wartime production. Much more severe were the raw material shortages that Germany suffered after several years under British blockade. The event cannot be played until 1917 when the long term effects of the blockade started to impact German war production.
T5 - They Shall Not Pass
This card can now be played after a lost battle, instead of having to be played before the outcome of the battle is known.
T6 - 14 Points
The additional VP for lack of CP presence in France or Belgium further incentivizes the Germans to commit on the west front instead of retreating into Germany.
T7 - Arab Revolt
The TU RP loss represent the Arabs starting to break away from the Ottoman empire. This card also acts as a prerequisite for the Arab Desertions card.
T8 British Reinforcements / T12 US Reinforcements
Several Reinforcements cards have been increased in value.
T9 - Over There
To encourage the Allied player to play the high-valued cards necessary for US entry, the process has been sped up. The first US Army is now placed in France with the play of this card.
T10 - Greece
This card has been reduced to a 2. CP play of King Constantine can now affect Greek entry into the war.
T11 - Kerensky Offensive
I think such an offensive is best represented by a yellow event. The OPS reduction is neccesary to counteract the penalty from Fall of the Tsar.
T12 - Brusilov Offensive
The card value has been increased to a 5. This massive Russian offensive nearly toppled the dual monarchy - German troops had to come to the rescue, and I think that it is best represented as a yellow event together with a turn-lasting bonus for attacking non-GE units. Out of the three large battles in 1916 (Verdun, Somme and the Brusilov offensive), this one had the largest chance of achieving its goal of knocking the enemy out of the war. This card also acts as a prerequisite for the War Exhaustion in Austria-Hungary card.
T14 - Allied Tank Corps
Although the British were the first to successfully utilize tanks on any larger scale, toward the end of the war the French FT17 Tanks were superior to the British tanks. This is now represented in the card, and it also makes the prerequisite Landships event slightly more attractive to play.
T15 - Sinai Pipeline
Reduced to a 3.
T16 - Allenby
This is not playable until 1917 (Allenby's Palestine campaign was launched in October 1917). An early appearence of Allenby can have devastating effects on the balance of forces in the near east.
T17 - Everyone Into Battle
The event represents the creation of the Inter-Allied HQ. It was in charge of coordinating the Allied efforts towards final victory and operated under Foch until the end of the war. I therefore chose to give this event a permanent, one-space effect similar to Süd Armee. It will boost the Allied chances to achieve the striking victories of late 1918.
T18 - Convoys
I removed the VP award because I felt cancelling the “U-Boots Unleashed” effect seemed just quite right and enough and a VP loss was disproportionate. In addition, it makes it very tempting for the CP player to withhold his U-Boots in order to circumvent the VP loss. The unrestricted submarine warfare campaign was a desperate move from the German High Command, which unlike the players was unaware of its fatal consequences. Bypassing the U-Boots Unleashed event hurts historicity, because the U-Boot campaign is the key element of a chain of events that ultimately leads to the USA declaration of war, so I don’t feel it should be encouraged. The card value was reduced to 3 to compensate for this.
T19 - Army of the Orient
The Army can now also be placed in Athens (if allied controlled) if the CP has captured Salonika.
T20 - Zimmermann Telegram
Is now a yellow event as per the optional historical rules. The value of the card has been reduced to a 4 to make the decision to bring the US into the war a bit lighter on the Allied player.
T21 - Maude (player's guide)
Maude’s series of victories up the Tigris, starting with the second battle of Kut right up to the capture of Baghdad, occurred between December 1916 and March 1917. For some reason the original card is a Limited War card, covering a period during which Maude wasn’t even in command of the Mesopotamian front. The card effect is the same but it is moved to the Total War deck.
T22 - Influenza (player's guide)
Paradoxically, the late war replacement flow can sometimes be rather abundant due to a concentration of heavy cards. If the Allied player manages to play early replacement cards, this event can hurt the CP. The CP are more severly affected by the event since toward the end of the war, food and material shortages were a reality in the blockaded nations.
T24 - The Sixtus Affair (player's guide)
The Sixtus Affair was a failed attempt by Emperor Charles I of Austria to conclude a separate peace with the allies in World War I. The affair was named after his brother-in-law and intermediary, Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma. The attempt backfired when the Germans found out about it. This card assumes that this could have different political outcomes.
T26 - War Exhaustion in Austria-Hungary
The AH military never really recovered from its initial defeats and after the Brusilov offensive almost ceased to launch larger offensive operations. I feel that the Austro-Hungarian army should not be allowed a steady replacement flow and aggressive military posture in late war.
T27 - War Weary Balkans
Once the allies made more concentrated and determined efforts to advance in the Balkans in the later stages of the war, the war weary Bulgarian army could not hold them back. Bulgarian morale and resistance soon crumbled. I have included AH troops to be affected by this card as well (although the AH historical participation on the Macedonian front was minor, it seems fairly common to see AH armies operate in the Balkans in the late game).
T28 - Arditi
These Italian "special forces" represent the Italian victories in 1918 that ultimately caused Austria-Hungary to accept defeat and sign an armistice with Italy.
T29 - Armenian Uprising
The brutal treatment of Armenians and other minorities in the Ottoman Empire caused widespread condemnation from the allies. Reports of an Armenian genocide quickly circulated in the West and escalated into an anti-Turkish propaganda campaign rivaling the anti-German “Rape of Belgium” campaign. Hence, the VP award. This card interacts with the CP Jihad event that strenghens the Ottoman army and the CP player has the option of skipping play of Jihad to avoid the VP penalty later.
T30 - Arab Desertions
After the Arab Revolt, many Arabs fighting for (or alongside of) the Ottoman cause began to desert or hold back during battle. This was not the result of cowardice in most cases, but a realization that the Ottomans were done for and that there was no point in fighting for a dying empire, especially when Arab nationalists were already in control of the holy places of Islam and marching toward Damascus. The fact that the British had already ‘liberated’ Mesopotamia doubtless played a role.
CP Mobilization cards:
M1 - Guns of August
This event now also incorporates the initial AH attacks in Serbia. The overblown military ambitions of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy were responsible for sparking off the Great War and should not be ignored.
M1b - Guns of August - 1912 plan (based of variant posted on BGG)
This is a hypothetical event depicting an earlier German war plan which called for an invasion of the Netherlands in addition to Belgium (similar to the 1940 campaign). There are no VP spaces to be had from this but it gives the Germans another route into northern France and the Dutch army is fairly weak. I thought to include this as an interesting alternative.
M2 - Encirclement (previously Wireless Intercepts)
The card has kept its original effect even though the flank effects have been revised.
M6 - Entrench
Can now only be played on a German army.
M8/M11 - Race to the Sea / Oberost
Contrary to several other variants, these are not "yellow events" in my variant. They represent the German General Staff deviating from their original plans to adapt to the current situation and thus removing important restrictions put on the German army in the early war. Turning them into yellow events prevents the Allies from having any chance to respond to the new threats.
M10 - Süd Armee
Now incorporates the initial arrival of German troops into the AH ranks.
M13 - Falkenhayn
See Allied card M9 - Joffre vs Moltke.
M16 - Kaisertreu (player's guide)
Basic combat card representing the initial war enthusiasm of the AH army.
M17 - Von Spee
Maximilian von Spee commanded the German East Asia naval squadron at the start of the war. They raided merchant ships and defeated a British squadron off the coast of Chile in the Battle of Coronel. Although only a minor setback for the British, it was the first defeat of a British naval squadron since the Napoleonic Wars a century earlier. The "spend 1 Ops or suffer 1VP penalty" represents the British having to divert attention to find and neutralize the German squadron or suffer a morale and propaganda loss. Von Spee and most of the East Asia squadron was lost in the Battle of the Falklands in late 1914 after a failed attack on the British naval base there.
M18 - Goeben & Breslau
Another naval event for the CP. These cruisers were stationed in the Mediterranean and after bombarding French positions in North Africa they were chased by superior British forces and escaped to Constantinople, where they were handed over to the Ottoman Empire (violating official Turkish neutrality). The ships were later used in attacks on Russian positions in the Black Sea, accelerating Ottoman entry into the Great War (+1WS). The closing of allied shipping through the Dardanelles caused severe material shortages in Russia, represented by the RP loss.
M19 - Netherlands Invasion (based of variant posted on BGG)
Just as earlier German war plans had called for an initial occupiation of the Netherlands at the beginning of the war, the German high command considered occupying the Netherlands at several occasions during the war as well. Even if it was not to be, the inclusion of this card gives the CP player the option of doing so.
M20 - Rennenkampf
The Russian general Paul von Rennenkampf represents the hesitation and poor communication between the 1st and 2nd Russian armies as they advanced into East Prussia and ultimately led to the destruction of both armies. This card makes it a bit easier to setup for the Encirclement card, which is sometimes very hard to do in the early war. Rennenkampfs Baltic German ancestry caused accusations of treason and he was forced to resign from his post. He was arrested and later executed by the Bolsheviks when he refused to serve in the Red Army.
CP Limited War cards:
L2 - German Military Mission (previously Liman von Sanders)
Throughout the Great War, Germany sent staff and material to the Ottomans. This card is now reusable and also a bit stronger when used on defense.
L3 - Mata Hari
No gameplay changes, just made into a yellow event.
L7 - Turkish Reinforcements
The transfer of this card into the Limited War deck is a significant change. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, the Turkish army was significantly stronger in 1915 than in 1917. Second, as the Germans and Bulgarians cannot aid the Turks to the same extent, the Turks gained one of its armies earlier as a compensation.
L10 - Libyan Revolt
This event is really strange. First of all it can be prevented by simply moving a BR corps into Libya. Second, the SN unit is of very little value. The best use from it seems to be later in the war to take some pressure off the Turks. But if the Turks were already on the verge of defeat, they would probably not have been able to support the revolt. Therefore, it can now only be played if the Turks still control Jerusalem. To strengthen the event a bit, it is now a yellow event if played before total war. 3 TU Ops in combination with the arrival of the SN unit can pose a significant threat to the British positions in Egypt.
L11 - High Seas Fleet
The German/British naval duel is abstracted in the Hoch See Flotte / Grand Fleet interaction. Under the original rules, the CP player would play Hoch See Flotte Sortie if he managed to get the card before the Allies reached Limited War, or if Mata Hari revealed it was a safe play. Otherwise, there is no reason why he should ever play it: while recycling a valuable “4” card, it would force the AP player to keep Grand Fleet in hand as a parry, effectively reducing his playable hand size by one, unless he is willing to accept the VP penalty. Withholding the German Fleet is the way to make the best out of it. In reality, once the war had reached a stalemate in the west, commitment of the fleet was politically unavoidable. The Kaiser had invested colossal resources into his state-of-the-art fleet, and staked national pride on it. Its immobility, while on land all attempts to break the stalemate had failed, was beginning to arouse much public outcry.
To prevent the CP player from capitalizing on his fleet’s shyness, I chose to apply a deadline for the use of the card, including its Ops/SR/REP functions. The chosen deadline is the Zimmermann Telegram event: the addition of America’s naval assets to the Allied coalition and the deterioration of Germany’s overall situation marked a definitive end to the German chances at sea. A later attempt to conduct a semi-suicide sortie in 1918 was thwarted by wide-scale mutinies.
The best time for the CP player to play this event will then be around the historical Jutland, in order to force the Allied player to stick to his Grand Fleet for as long as possible, before the USA join the war and the Hoch See Flotte Sortie card turns into a useless burden.
L12 - Place of Execution
Is now a yellow event, representing the Verdun offensive.
L13 - Zeppelin Raids
Although another iconic image of the Great War, the damage caused by aerial bombardment was very minor. However, the 4 RP loss can be as devastating as a full-scale B-52 bombing campaign on the British. The card has been reduced in value and the effect made more close to the historical result.
L14 - Tsar Nicholas II Takes Command
Has been reduced to a 3 to strengthen the CP deck after its play.
L15 - Mackensen
This card integrates the GE 11th reinforcement and the 11th Army stacking bonus event.
L19 - German War Industry (previously Walther Rathenau)
Is now a yellow event, and the counter for it cannot be played until 1917. I opted for a title that seemed more suitable and more directly explicatory of the card effects. Even if Walter Rathenau was instrumental in the setting up of the German War Raw Material Department (KRA), his tenure as head of the KRA was relatively brief: by April 1915 he had already been forced to resign on account of his Jewish background.
L20 - Bulgaria
As with other neutral entry cards, can only be played once for non-event purposes. Has been reduced to 1 WS.
L21 - Russian Munitions Shortage
A shortage of Russian artillery shells and rifles that threatened in 1914 became a full-blown crisis in early 1915. Russia’s pre-war industrial development was outmatched by the needs of modern war.
L22 - Polish Restoration (player's guide)
This event represents a hypothetical restoration of an independent Polish state (effectively as a German vassal) and the influx of Polish troops to fight alongside the Germans on the east front. The VP loss represents the loss of political control of Warsaw.
L23 - Stavka Timidity (player's guide)
The Russian generals became increasingly hesitant to attack strong German positions under the leadership of the Czar.
L24 - Haig (player's guide)
Just as Conrad von Hötzendorff and Enver Pasha, Douglas Haig has come to almost be synonymous with the carnage and futility of First World War battles. He was commander during the Battle of the Somme, the battle with one of the highest casualties in British military history.
L25 - Jihad
Under Enver, the Young Turks stressed an ideology that asserted the supremacy of the ethnic Turks and advocated a vision of Turks reasserting their supremacy in the Near East and Central Asia. A Jihad was called to gain support of the Arab population to fight alongside the Turks. A policy such as this was increasingly troublesome to ethnic groups within the Ottoman Empire, especially the Armenians but also the Greeks and Arabs. This policy may have helped to forge Turkish ethnic unity, but it also contributed to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire.
And finally, the CP Total War cards:
T3 - Hoffmann
Is now a yellow event if the Ops are all spent on German units on the east front.
T5 - Hindenburg Line
After the Austro-Hungarian army had been stretched to its limit after the Brusilov Offensive and Romania's entry into the war, Germany had to divert troops east. Anticipating additional French and British offensives on the west front, the German army set out to build the most extensive line of trenches yet as a precaution.
T6 - Stosstruppen (previously Air Superiority)
German air superiority was more or less lost after the failed Verdun offensive. It was only sporadically regained, while the specially trained in trench warfare Stosstruppen were becoming an increasingly prominent asset of the German Army. I therefore switched names.
T9/T10 - Von Below / Von Hutier Offensive
The cards have been turned into yellow events to represent coherent offensives.
T11 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The card value has been reduced to a 3 to promote its play. After the treaty, the Germans were able to transfer considerable military resources from Russia to the west front. The high cost in SR to move armies makes it very difficult to do so. I therefore included a large SR bonus with the play of this card.
T12 - German Reinforcements
This very strong reinforcement card has been increased to a 5 valued card, similar to how late-war German reinforcements work in Barbarossa to Berlin.
T13 - French War Weariness
The mechanichs for French Mutiny have been significantly changed, see above. This card is one of the requirements for it to trigger.
T14 - King Constantine
The Greek King Constantine was married to the German Kaiser’s sister and favored the German cause, while remaining neutral (at least the King sought not to anger the Germans, his assumption being that the Germans were likely to win). When Venizelos, the Greek Prime Minister, invited the Allies to land at Salonika, throwing Greece into the Allies’ arms, Constantine forced Venizelos’ resignation. Greece wavered between the AP and CP until the Allies forced Constantine into exile and brought Greece firmly into the Allied camp. This card represents the increased German influence in Greece if they have had success on the Balkan front.
T15/T16/T17 - Michael/Blücher/Friedensturm (Kaiserschlacht events)
All of these are now yellow events, representing coherent offensives. They may only be used on the west front (and Russia if Hoffmann has been played) and can no longer be used to take Rome or Egypt. As they were the iconic last all-or-nothing offensives lauched by the German army, they can only be played quite late into the war.
T18 - Fall of the Tsar
Reduced to a 4 and turned into a yellow event to promote its play.
T19 - Bolshevik Revolution
Turned into a yellow event to promote its play.
T20 - Hindenburg-Ludendorff
Turned into a yellow event to promote its play.
T22 - Achtung: Panzer (player's guide)
German tanks never operated on the same scale as British or French tanks.
T23 - Russian Desertions (player's guide)
After the Fall of the Tsar and the establishment of the Provisional Government, scores of Russian soldiers deserted. The situation got even worse after the Bolshevik Revolution plunged Russia into total chaos.
T24 - Operation Alberich (player's guide)
This was the codename for a planned withdrawal to shorter, more easily defended positions along the strongly fortified Hindenburg Line. This German planned withdrawal was claimed by Allied propaganda as a great victory, as it lead to unexpected territorial gains.
T25 - Prince Max (player's guide)
Prince Maximilian von Baden sued for peace on Germany's behalf at the end of World War I based on U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, which included immediately transforming the government into a parliamentary system and proclaiming the abdication of Emperor Wilhelm II. During the war, he often came into conflict with the policies of Hindenburg and Ludendorff, and openly criticized the desicion to resume unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, which he correctly assumed would lead to war with the USA. This is a hypothetical card that allows the CP player another route through the later stages of the war.
T26 - Irish Rebellion
The Easter Rebellion aimed to end British rule in Ireland and to establish an independent Irish state while the United Kingdom was heavily engaged in the Great War. This card is similar to the War in Africa card and assumes more profound German covert aid to the Irish rebels.
T27 - The Paris Gun
Another iconic image of the Great War. This card gives the CP player another reason to keep pushing on to Paris until the end of the war.
T28 - Nivelle Offensive & 10th Izonso
Similar to the Haig card, this represents the futile and largely failed offensives launched by Nivelle and Cadorna. The Allied player now has to deal with the shadows of these historical figures.
T29 - Berlin-Baghdad Railroad
This card represents a influx of German military resources into the Ottoman empire allowed by the railroad from Berlin through Belgrade-Nis-Sofia to Constantinople (it does not have to reach Baghdad).
The strategic value of the planned railroad was immense. Had it had been completed earlier, the Berlin-Baghdad (and ultimately Basra) railway would have enabled transport and trade from Germany through a port on the Persian Gulf, from which trade goods and supplies could be exchanged directly with the farthest of the German colonies, and the world. The journey home to Germany would have given German industry direct supply of oil. This access to resources, with trade less affected by British control of shipping would have been beneficial to German economic interests in industry and trade, and threatening to British economic dominance in colonial trade. The railway also threatened Russia, since the railway was expected to extend Germany's economic influence towards the Caucasian frontier and into north Persia.
However, the most difficult stretch through the Taurus mountains was not completed until the late 1930s.
T30 - Operation Albion
Operation Albion was the German land and naval operation in September–October 1917 to invade and occupy the West Estonian Archipelago. After the battle of Jutland, this was the largest naval operation launched by the German navy. Although the historical result was limited, combined with land operations the Germans did capture Riga and the German high command believed capturing the islands would outflank Russian defenses and lay St. Petersburg vulnerable to attack.
That is all enjoy the games!
Wow, good job!
If I have time this week, I will test this variant, thank you.