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Paths of Glory» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Newbie Game Experience - It was awesome! rss

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Christopher Hill
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I purchased Paths of Glory several years ago as it was a part of the CDG genre which I love. I have been playing the CDG's for quite some time now and have enjoyed them all. However, for whatever reason PoG seemed a little more daunting to me and I had never got it to the table.

When I first tried to tackle the rules there were a lot of special rules and exceptions. I felt there was just too much to remember. Last week I took the game off my shelf and decided to read through the rules again. Having a lot more experience with the other CDG's it didn't seem so bad this time around. My goal was to get it on the table this past weekend, but finding a player interested enough in both a complex CDG and the First World War subject matter might be tough.

I went to my Thursday night game group session and my friend Lewis showed up. He would be perfect! Lewis has played For the People with me several times and Labyrinth once. When I asked him about PoG he told me he once had a copy of the game and sold it because he couldn't find anyone to play it with. Well, this turned out to be a lucky day for both of us. He agreed to a Saturday session at my house and so it was.

Lewis had never really thoroughly read the rules to PoG, so it took me about half an hour to forty five minutes to run through the rules. I left out a lot of the special rules and exceptions so we could get into the game quicker. I figured we could address the situations as they came up.

Setting up the game I became the Central Powers (CP) player and Lewis was the Allied Player (AP). I took the advice of many and started the game with the 'Guns of August' card in my hand and used it as the first play of the game.

In the early going we both played rather cautiously. I had warned Lewis of the negative effects of getting your units cut off from supply and so we were both very nervous about extending our lines. I started pushing the French back a bit more aggressively and as a result had a couple armies eliminated, so in turn I played some cards for reinforcements and replacements. I kept applying the pressure on the western front, but Lewis was beginning to make headway on the eastern front by bolstering the Russians.

The Russians were beating up on the Austrian-Hungary units at their border. I didn't know if it was necessary at the time, but I was seeing the eastern front collapsing and needed to stop the Russians quickly before they broke through. I stabilized the line with the help of the Germans and switched my attention back to France. With Lewis' attention on the Russian front he neglected the western front a bit and I was able to push the French back to the point where I was on the cusp of taking Paris. With a couple of the French ports still open from London, Lewis was able to aid the French with a couple of British units. This stabilized the line for him.

Other things were beginning to happen in the game. The Turks had entered the war. Lewis had seen the opportunities in the Near East for gaining some victory point spaces and started a small campaign. I was able to thwart his efforts as to my surprise fighting in the mountains was a nice benefit defensively for the Turks. I almost cut off some of his Russian units from supply on one turn, but Lewis was able to open it back up before the attrition phase.


About this time I had Bulgaria enter the war. I wanted the extra units in case Lewis' wanted to take a different approach and go after Constantinople and cut off my main supply. Seeing the Bulgarian units on the board must have swayed him against trying as he never attempted to bring his Russian units south. Maybe he was also afraid of the Austrians getting behind him and pushing to cut off the Russian supply.

By this time we had been playing for several hours, but we were both extremely engaged, so we didn't even notice the time flying by.

Lewis had hesitated on bringing the Italians into the game the first time he had the Italian entry card. The second time he had it he pulled the trigger. He needed a distraction to take their (AH) attention away from the Russians. When I saw this I was concerned. Although the Italian units are not beefy at all, my AH forces on their border were very weak. As Lewis spent some time bringing the reduced Italians to full strength, I spent some time fortifying my line on the Italian border. The time I took to do this ended up being my path to victory.

The victory points were hovering around 10 or 11 for most of the game to this point. Lewis had got it down to as low as 8 at one point and I had it up to 13 at another. Slowly, I was able to swing things in my favor toward the end of the game. I was able to cut off supply for some French units and eliminate them. I picked up a few VP's in France. Lewis had got a bit overconfident in his Russian front until I exploited a weak point in the north with a few German units. I was able to gain a couple of VP spaces there as well. By the end of turn 10 my VP total was 18.

On turn 11 I sent the AH units (I had been building up) to attack Italy. I was able to cut off one of the Italian armies as I gained two more VP's. I also pushed the Bulgarians into Romania to capture Bucharest. The three VP's gained was enough to lock up the victory!

The game was very intense. We were constantly posturing for position and trying to figure a way to gain an edge and exploit the other player. The game took us about 8 hours to play. On later review, I discovered a couple of rules errors I made, but nothing that would have swayed the game one way or another.

Lewis and I discussed afterward how great we both thought the game was. The two of us made tactical errors during the game, but it was very balanced up until the last couple of turns when I was able to get the upper hand. The good news is we will be playing again....hopefully in the near future.
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Lewis Goldberg
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I had to do a double-take on who was posting as I had also played PoG this weekend!
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Tom Gregorio
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Nice write-up. Captures that "POG feeling" that keeps me coming back.
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Christopher Hill
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Thanks Tom. I like how all of the CDG's are the same but different. I just wish I hadn't waited so long to jump into PoG.
 
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Christopher Hill
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lgoldberg wrote:
I had to do a double-take on who was posting as I had also played PoG this weekend!


Well, you are probably the only two Lewis' to play the game this weekend...did you have a different result than the Lewis I played with?
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Lewis Goldberg
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I'm playing one of my sons, and we're just getting into it. We took two weekends to get through the first turn (with learning session: i.e. Dad sits and reads stuff). This past weekend we felt pretty proud of ourselves for getting through the entire second turn in one sitting. Downhill from here, hopefully

Even more confusing that I have a son named Christopher, too, though he wasn't the one playing me.
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W. Cracker
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May I borrow Lewis? My copy of PoG has been gathering dust for want of some one to play it with as well.
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Lewis Goldberg
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MrMzchf wrote:

May I borrow Lewis? My copy of PoG has been gathering dust for want of some one to play it with as well.


I think Ohio will be a long drive for both Lewises.
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Christopher Hill
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MrMzchf wrote:

May I borrow Lewis? My copy of PoG has been gathering dust for want of some one to play it with as well.


Ha! Well, if you want to pay the expense I can ship him to you. The overnight charge may be quite high though....
 
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Craig Cromwell
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Nice write up!! You should come to Prezcon in Feb and play in PoG tourney. I was a newbie and played in PoGbtourney last year, it was a blast! Went 0-1-1 but had a great time.
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Christopher Hill
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Craig,

Would love to, but I don't think I am ready for prime time just yet. I am sure I would get laughed at in a tourney with all the dumb mistakes I am sure to make. Both Lewis and I were playing our first game so the laughter was kept to a minimum.

Anyway, thanks for the invite. I might look into it since I have a few months to practice!
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Tom Gregorio
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I've found that organized play is, by far, the best way to get up to speed quickly in any game, POG being no exception. Of course, you need to go into it with the focus on learning, not winning, that way you're sure to 'come out ahead'.

POG is great at conventions because you'll get to encounter a lot of different playing styles - playing the same person repeatedly while you're learning the game could lead to bad habits and possibly learning some rules incorrectly.

I've never seen anyone 'laughed at' in a tourney and I've been in my share. The length of the game is not for the faint of heart, especially when you have two newer, slower, players. Anyway, I've recently started playing POG at PrezCon and it's a blast, feel free to look me up if you're there this coming February!
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Craig Cromwell
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Tom, would love to play with you at Prezcon if at all possible. I know you're one of the best!! It would be an honor. I agree, I was a newbie, made my share of mistakes and nobody laughed, they were all great!! In my second game lost the entire western front by 1915 but hung on, overran Turkey, and made a game of it. Win or lose, mistakes and all it was a blast. The PoG group was a super bunch of guys at Prezcon.
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W. Cracker
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kinga1965 wrote:
MrMzchf wrote:

May I borrow Lewis? My copy of PoG has been gathering dust for want of some one to play it with as well.


Ha! Well, if you want to pay the expense I can ship him to you. The overnight charge may be quite high though....


Peanuts or bubble wrap
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Timothy Smith
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Lewis,
I run an historical gaming club for youths in Maryland. We have not yet gotten to PoG, but now that our lads are all in high school, we're moving in that direction. Can I ask how old your son is and how the game went?
Thanks, Tim Smith
Annapolis-Area Strategy Gaming Club
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Lewis Goldberg
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TimSmith wrote:
Lewis,
I run an historical gaming club for youths in Maryland. We have not yet gotten to PoG, but now that our lads are all in high school, we're moving in that direction. Can I ask how old your son is and how the game went?
Thanks, Tim Smith
Annapolis-Area Strategy Gaming Club


I assume you're talking to me. It's going well. We're still in progress. He took to the rules pretty well, but we've played Twilight Struggle, so he already understood the whole operations points vs. events thing. But you have to start somewhere, and PoG is as good a place as any.

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