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Subject: The Schlieffen Plan rss

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Jules Redmand
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At the moment my only exposure in terms of operational gaming of the Schlieffen Plan is playing through 1914 Glory's End on a few occasions and would really like to know how this shapes up with other games that cover the "Battle of the Frontiers and Beyond" period of 1914?

Other games that come to mind are The Grand Illusion, Fields of Despair, Guns of August (Worthington) and To the Last Man are just a few that I'm aware of.

Now what really interests me is the actual concept of the Schlieffen Plan and how it can be recreated in wargaming. 1) Is it best to actually follow the original 1905 plan? 2) Follow Von Moltke's update of this plan? 3) Make the infamous Von Kluck turn BUT making sure you have enough forces to screen your flank? 4) Or even doing away with the plan and going for a free-set up if the game allows this?

My experience with 1914 Glory's End gave me too many strategic options and I found myself losing corps for fortress investment etc and certainly not having enough corps to flank Paris from the west and not the east. I've yet to decide which is the best way to execute this plan or was the plan anyway too ambitious to actually work and wargames want you to actually try something a bit different?

As a study I find the French Plan XVII less interesting largely because of its looser focus but I still had fun as the French trying to execute it and then deciding when to abandon the plan to focus on the German flanking move.

Any thoughts and opinions on games related to this would be greatly appreciated and on the flexibily or lack of it they they give?
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Severus Snape
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Ted Racier's Grand Illusion, in my limited experience, has been the best at representing the breakneck tension that builds as the Germans make their sweep through Belgium into northern France. The rules are a bit dense in places, but the Allied forces seem always on the razor's edge between winning or losing. The game has excellent graphics and components.

The other games I have played do not match this one for feel and excitement.

One complaint I have is how the Dutch option is so rarely built into a design. The German player really needs to have that strategic and operational choice. And don't give me that hooey about the Netherlands as a windpipe for Germany. The Allied blockade restricted the trade of Neutrals, such as Holland, as the war progressed. And the Germans were not interested in a long war, just in winning.

goo
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Bob Holmstrom
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I'm playing Balance of Powers right now, and the game does allow the Germans to violate Dutch neutrality and I think they probably should. They will suffer some additional blockade effects but they will also get bonuses on their submarine warfare rolls.
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Severus Snape
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Strategery21 wrote:
I'm playing Balance of Powers right now, and the game does allow the Germans to violate Dutch neutrality and I think they probably should. They will suffer some additional blockade effects but they will also get bonuses on their submarine warfare rolls.


I was thinking of it more from an operational standpoint. I am becoming less enamoured with strategical level WWI and WWII games. I found The Lamps are Going Out to be a write-off, and Days of Despair to be days of disappointment.

But that's just me.

goo
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Jules Redmand
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severus 1914 Glory's End offers the Holland option but I never used it in my playthroughs and yes Grand Illusion is a game I'm really looking forward to.

I really like The Lamps are Going Out both as solitaire or with another player but I will agree that it is heavily balanced to the Central Powers. Every game that I played as a playtrough the Central Powers won, as it's easy for the Germans to knock out Russia and to get and hold all the VP's they need to win before the USA enter into the war. This could've been an even better game with more depth given to the Russians and made AH an even greater burden on the Germans. But the biggest change I would recommend is to decrease the German production points as the war goes on (as a long attritional war didn't suit them and I don't think the game recognized this) also The Schlieffen Plan lasted about two turns

Bob Balance of Power as a strategic game does appeal but I did read that it is a heavy game to learn.

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Brandon
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Dawn Raider wrote:

Bob Balance of Power as a strategic game does appeal but I did read that it is a heavy game to learn.



There is a lot of little sub-systems, but none of them are very complex on their own. So, if you start out with a small, infantry-only scenario (such as the first scenario, which happens to be about the Schlieffen Plan, "Before the Leaves Fall"), it's not overwhelming at all: no naval or air rules, only a bit of the political stuff, etc. If you dive right into the campaign, you'll have a lot more to deal with.
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Kai Mölleken
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I haven't tried it myself yet, but for exploring the various pre-war plans, To The Last Man! seems like a good choice.

The advanced rules come with 6 different historical pre-war plans for either side which the players can execute instead of the ones which were historcally chosen.
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Carel Teijgeler
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There is a game made on this.
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michael connor
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The Battle of the Frontiers scenario from Home Before the Leaves Fall: The Marne Campaign 1914 is what you want if it is complexity and realism. Mind you, this is graduate level wargaming with a mind-blowing amount of detail, not for the timid!

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Rosecrans man
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Have you considered Drive on Paris, which is a standard combat series entry from The Gamers/MMP? As I recall, the Germans are tied to the von Schlieffen Plan. I also think the French are tied to Plan XVII.



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Chris Brinker
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If you'relooking for thoroughness, nothing beats 1914: Offensive à outrance, which covers Alsace to Paris, as far south as the Swiss border and includes the entire channel coastline and focuses specifically on the time period in which that plan was intended to be accomplished.

The problem with the Schlieffen plan, realistically, was the Germans lacked at least a couple corps or it would have very possibly worked.
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Severus Snape
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xmfcnrx wrote:
The Battle of the Frontiers scenario from Home Before the Leaves Fall: The Marne Campaign 1914 is what you want if it is complexity and realism. Mind you, this is graduate level wargaming with a mind-blowing amount of detail, not for the timed!



I have this game and want very much to play it, assuming I find the time. But how does one find the space for this game? There are soooooooooo many OB charts that have to be set up. Are there practical solutions to this physical challenge that don't involve building an addition to the house? Or a new house altogether?

goo
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Severus Snape
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TDMD wrote:
Have you considered Drive on Paris, which is a standard combat series entry from The Gamers/MMP? As I recall, the Germans are tied to the von Schlieffen Plan. I also think the French are tied to Plan XVII.





This is a great game that needs to be reprinted. It is a bugger to set up because of the lack of foresight on the designer/publisher's part (the charitable explanation). There is a Dutch option but it seems a bit silly.

goo
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michael connor
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Think we're going to have to wait until someone Vassalizes it Severus.
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Severus Snape
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xmfcnrx wrote:
Think we're going to have to wait until someone Vassalizes it Severus.


By which time it will undoubtedly eat my computer.

goo
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Jules Redmand
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Drive on Paris is a great choice for me as it's the SCS system which I'm already familiar with. Offensive a Outrance I actually have and bought many years ago which was a huge mistake as it was way to complex to get into wargaming with I looked at the rule book just the other day and it still looks scary! Somebody mentioned Home Before the Leaves Fall and at 4.54 weight no way laugh

To the Last man looks interesting and interests me as much as the Grand Illusion.

Now I can only speak of 1914 Glory's End in regards to the CRT table but what I've found with that game, is that instead of constantly trying to get high odds for your attacks like 3:1 and above. Even 1:1 can work extremely well for the attacker, showing that an attritional approach is highly effective especially for the Germans that have superior units in the game to the French (something I suspect in other games as well) but just how does the CRT work in these games regarding losses? Losses in 1914 Glory's End are high which does reflect the high casualty rate I guess of the opening months on the western front, it would be interesting if other games give out huge step losses as well.
 
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Edward Pundyk
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xmfcnrx wrote:
Think we're going to have to wait until someone Vassalizes it Severus.


Your wish has been granted. There is a VASSAL module for Drive on Paris. It's available on the VASSAL site. You're welcome.
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Paul
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Sorry guys, but Drive on Paris is the definitely not the first game I'd recommend to someone wanting to learn more about the campaign in the West in 1914. I won't get into details here, as I wrote a review.
It's the only game that I've felt compelled to leave a negative review of here on BGG:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/973253/mini-review-drive-pa...

I've played two games of OaO,and as has been pointed out, it's extremely heavy and large.

I've had HBTLF since it was published, and though I like the "Death of Empires," system, it's a monster. What worked well in "The Cossacks are Coming," with 100 counters and a small map doesn't work so well with 1000's of counters.

For simpler game and playable game I do like "Reinforce the Right!. Fairly conventional, but not a bad game.

I've played 3 games of the 1914 scenario of Fields of Despair: France 1914-1918. It's a fun game with bluffing, but without any kind of real logistics or fatigue system it's only a simple representation of the campaign.

There's also March to Victory: West Front 1914-1916, which is another super detailed and colossal undertaking. I once set up part of the 1914 campaign, but became fatigued and took it back down. It's been sitting in the box for the past 20 years or so.





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Rosecrans man
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It could be my dice rolling, but both times I played the Germans, I lost. And I continued to play aggressively despite early setbacks, which is what the German player is supposed to do. It took me a good couple turns to knock out the Belgian forts and right there was my slippery slope.
 
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Jules Redmand
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Paul I enjoyed that brief review of yours for Drive on Paris and yes the only SCS game I've played is Bastogne and the exploitation rules worked great for that but I can appreciate the reservations of it for a WWI game but I do enjoy the system a lot and think that Drive on Paris is something I'd like quite a bit. Also you mention forced march, well exactly the same rule is in 1914 Glory's End where German forces west of the Meuse get to use it between turns 2 and 6 which really helps the 1st and 2nd armies get across Belgium, without it I think they would struggle early on to keep on schedule.

Rosecrans
Not sure if you're referring to Drive on Paris or 1914 GE but I find in 1914 GE that simply investing fortresses such as Namur, Antweerp and Mauberge to deal with later is asking for trouble as I tried this and really causes the loss of German strength on their right wing. Instead I'm now playing the game thru again with a different approach and that is to now knock out these fortresses as quickly as possible with siege guns with at least two or three corps and its working Which means both the 1st and 2nd armies are not really losing corps from the front line (of course if you roll really badly this tactic is not going to work but with average rolls it still works well with good attacking odds) Also on this playthrough I really do believe the Germans will carry the Schlieffen Plan through. Also as the Germans I'm determined to not let the Allies settle into firm frontlines on the Aisne/Oise or Marne rivers as this was my undoing for the Germans before on previous playthroughs but of course when I have my Allied head on I'll be trying to form that frontline
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Fred Thomas
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I agree that any game that starts before Liege falls must include the Dutch option. The 1914: Offensive à outrance rulebook quotes the German mobilization schedule:

Quote:
If by M+12 the 2nd Army is unable to open the march-routes blocked by Liège, it will march south around Liège while initiating a systematic assault using Reserve and Siege formations. The advance of the 1st Army will then ensue through Dutch territory (but only by explicit order from OHL).

I recommend downloading the playbook from GMT's site so you can fix the OOBs and schedules of the smaller-footprint games. For The Western Front: 1914 to 1918:

French 5th Colonial bde is missing, but you can use 1st Colonial bde in its place. (The 1st was part of 3rd Colonial div, so it would have been double-counting if the 5th was also in the game.)
Using the French Fayolle, Vassart, and Barbot divisions is double-counting, since they became the 70th, 76th, and 77th.
44th Mountain div and 2nd Colonial bde should be swapped out when the 76th and 77th appear, since they were incorporated into them.
Belgians get a second cavalry division late in the game.

Here's how I think the German named units translate from one game to the other:
Benzino = Bavarian Ersatz div
2nd Landwehr div = 9 Bav Lw, 53 Lw bdes
Rekowski = 39th Bav Res div
Waldow = 14 Lw, 30 Lw bdes
Wening = 1st Bav Lw div
Mathy = 55 Lw bde
Neuber = 84 Lw bde
Bodungen = 56 Lw bde
Dame = 55 Ers bde
Ferling = 52 Lw bde
Ipfelkofer = 61 Res bde (but counter says Lw)
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Rosecrans man
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Jules, I was referring to Drive on Paris. I played Glory's End (the Command version) over twenty years ago and don't remember much of it to be able to argue for or against it.
 
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Terry Lewis
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Dawn Raider wrote:
At the moment my only exposure in terms of operational gaming of the Schlieffen Plan is playing through 1914 Glory's End on a few occasions and would really like to know how this shapes up with other games that cover the "Battle of the Frontiers and Beyond" period of 1914?

Other games that come to mind are The Grand Illusion, Fields of Despair, Guns of August (Worthington) and To the Last Man are just a few that I'm aware of.

Now what really interests me is the actual concept of the Schlieffen Plan and how it can be recreated in wargaming. 1) Is it best to actually follow the original 1905 plan? 2) Follow Von Moltke's update of this plan? 3) Make the infamous Von Kluck turn BUT making sure you have enough forces to screen your flank? 4) Or even doing away with the plan and going for a free-set up if the game allows this? . . . .

Any thoughts and opinions on games related to this would be greatly appreciated and on the flexibility or lack of it they give?


Jules, after reading the many interesting replies to your inquiry [which include many games on this topic which I have], I would suggest as background for any and all of them a quickly read and highly informative book that draws succinctly on current scholarship: William D. O'Neil's The Plan That Broke the World: The "Schlieffen Plan" and World War I (2014; ISBN: 978-1-4819-5585-0).

TML [a retired professor in Oregon]
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alan beaumont
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No plan survives contact...
Dawn Raider wrote:
Now what really interests me is the actual concept of the Schlieffen Plan and how it can be recreated in wargaming. 1) Is it best to actually follow the original 1905 plan? 2) Follow Von Moltke's update of this plan? 3) Make the infamous Von Kluck turn BUT making sure you have enough forces to screen your flank? 4) Or even doing away with the plan and going for a free-set up if the game allows this?
The problem is that Von Moltke had no effective operational control over Von Kluck's Army and the exhaustion of the German cavalry meant that Von Kluck had very little idea where the allied forces were; he thought the British had run for the coast and was groping after the retreating French, which in great part explains his swerve before Paris.

Given the board players are far better informed than the participants it is difficult to see how you can recreate things without a double blind system and a referee.
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Terry Lewis
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misteralan wrote:
Dawn Raider wrote:
Now what really interests me is the actual concept of the Schlieffen Plan and how it can be recreated in wargaming. 1) Is it best to actually follow the original 1905 plan? 2) Follow Von Moltke's update of this plan? 3) Make the infamous Von Kluck turn BUT making sure you have enough forces to screen your flank? 4) Or even doing away with the plan and going for a free-set up if the game allows this?
The problem is that Von Moltke had no effective operational control over Von Kluck's Army and the exhaustion of the German cavalry meant that Von Kluck had very little idea where the allied forces were; he thought the British had run for the coast and was groping after the retreating French, which in great part explains his swerve before Paris.

Given the board players are far better informed than the participants it is difficult to see how you can recreate things without a double blind system and a referee.


Alan, even with a double blind system and a referee, what gamer today [even with only a smidgen of historical knowledge] is going to fall into a trap that those did or potentially did in France in 1914? The same goes for Tannenberg. Perhaps the best we can do is historical set ups for a whole series of critical moments in the opening campaigns, which could of course then be enhanced by a double blind system and a referee.
 
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