Fresh start Fresh bananas
Ashwin in thoughtful mood
At my regular Sunday club, I managed a two player session of Western Front which is a trick taking card game based on World War One.
How to do it
There are three different types of cards included - seven battle cards for each side with values from 1-8 sides (3 is not included), five tactic cards and ten event cards.
Each turn (which represents one year of the First World War) both sides will play their battle card and try to beat their opponents score. If they manage this they 'win the battle'. If you win more battles than your opponent in a turn you 'win the Year' (represented by a year card dated from 1914-18). Win three year cards and you win the game. We ended up at 2-1 but there was nothing in the rules about this so I counted it as a moral victory.
The score of the battle cards can be adjusted by the play of tactic cards. These do a variety of things like allow you to see your opponents battle card first (arial reconnaissance) or add a bonus to their value (tunneling).
The tactic cards undoubtedly add more variety to the game. The basic rules say you get one tactic card each in the first year and then add an extra tactic card each year (providing you won at least two battles in the previous year). Personally I would play from the off with the five tactic cards, they made the game far more unpredictable and fun. This is suggested by the publishers after players are more familiarised with the cards.
The final layer of unpredictability is given by the event cards. There are ten in total and one is drawn every year. They will add a special effect that will last the whole turn.
Did I like it?
I have to admit that, on face value, this game was a very simple one and I was unsure how much fun I would extract from it. My tastes are for fairly heavy wargames. I had seen it at the Games Expo at Birmingham and after a quick rules explanation, decided to pass.
However recently our club was contacted by Tom Lee, who runs Little Bighorn Games which publishes the title and we were asked to accept a free copy to give it a run out - which I did - and I have to say, I'm glad I did.
The cards I really liked. The graphics are nicely done in charcoal and chalk and look very thematic. In terms of durability, you might want to sleeve them but they are pretty standard quality - comparing them to most wargames I have played with cards in them. The rules are very straightforward and the game does deliver a reasonable amount of tension as you mull over your choices. There was genuine pleasure when I out thought my opponent and managed to 'win a year' for the first time. The first two had ended in stalemate. At £8 plus shipping I also thought this was a well-priced little number.
A couple of things I might have changed was to not make the tactic cards effectively identical but to make them a little more asymmetrical. I also thought that this game could have survived a little more complexity than it has but that probably wasn't the designer's intention and I understand that.
If you have an interest in WWI, or just want a simple themed card game to act as a filler between longer sessions, this is a good candidate.
(Photos by BGG user Jonathan Warren)
- Last edited Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:27 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Oct 9, 2016 10:41 pm
I'm the designer of the game and welcome any customer feedback.
After Jim's review and other players feedback I would like to add the following rules additions.
Players are welcome to use them or not.
Auto win card
This can instead be used as a blank tactic card (to confuse your opponent further)
It can be played just once a year, like the existing tactic cards OR
The player gets the card back after a battle, to use in future battles that year.
Players can decide before playing which option they prefer.
Currently a new event is revealed at the start of each year.
This can be changed to whoever wins the last battle can opt to change the current event card.
The player can remove the current event card and put it to the bottom of the deck. They then pick the next event card from the top of the pile.
In effect the event card could change many times in a single year, adding another layer of strategy i.e. use the cards it applies to before I lose that ability.
At the end of the year all event cards are re-shuffled and the top card revealed.
Any questions/queries please don't hesitate to get in touch.
just reading through the rules cards in preparation for trying it tomorrow.
Does each battle consist of 1 card on each side? And how does scoring work? Defence vs Attack/Neutral? I'm slightly confused about the whole scoring battle cards.
I want to give it a good trial run tomorrow, but want to get it right
I was able to play your game with Iain at Lanarkshire Gamers yesterday.
Really enjoyed the fast fluid gameplay, but we had some queries on the aesthetics?
Why pick the pre-1801 Union Flag? Why choose the Liberty Tank?
Really enjoyed the game though and will play it again.
Each year there are 7 battles.
For every battle each player uses one battle card and one tactic card if desired. These cards are placed face down then revealed. Whoever has the highest score wins the battle. However event cards may affect the battle cards or card value so take this into account. Event cards may effect attack or defence cards.
If its a draw its stalemate just like the war and no one wins. Proceed to the next battle. Once you have all 5 tactic cards to work out your total score its the battle cards value, take into effect the event card, then apply the tactic card.
Hope that helps.
Many thanks for the feedback.
The pre-1801 Union Flag is my error and I have to take full responsibility for it. Of course it should be the current union flag, unfortunately it was missed. This will be corrected in the next production run.
In terms of the Liberty Tank, being my first game my funds were limited, so I used some images of the internet and the images selected, although not perfect, were the best I could find which were similar.
Like everything in life it's a learning curve.
For my next game I've hired a professional artist, so hopefully the aesthetics will be much improved.