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Subject: Mons 1914 - Introductory Scenario Session Report rss

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Steve Carey
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Introduction: Guns of August appealed to me on a variety of levels (see below), so I wanted to introduce it today to two other veteran wargamers to get their initial reactions to the system.



There hasn't been a lot of 'buzz' surrounding this newer release, but it has very short rules (6 pages) and a variety of scenarios (Mons, Marne, and Ypres), plus the full campaign game. I've also been working on a new States of Siege solitaire design (for Victory Point Games) covering the same period (the first 3 months of the war in the West), albeit at a much different scale. So I wanted to 'compare notes' and see how another designer tackled the same subject (it turns out we share very similar perspectives).



So on we went to Mons 1914, a 'quickie' (3 turn) introductory scenario; the BEF has only 4 units (2 Infantry Corps, 1 Cavalry Division, and an HQ) against the entirety of von Kluck's German 1st Army (including a Cavalry Corps and an HQ), save for one Infantry Corps.



I played the BEF in both games, and used the exact same defense. I stacked the BEF HQ and one Infantry Corps in Mons, setup another Infantry Corps to the south-east at Maubeuge, and finally anchored my left flank with Allenby's Cavalry behind the river. Since the British Cavalry unit is only a Division, it does not have a ZOC (only full-strength Corps do), so this was something to be mindful of.

Note that the Fortress unit of Maubeuge is not included in the scenario's printed OOB, but we included it anyway for historical chrome, and to also give the BEF a slightly better fighting chance (Forts don't have ZOC's, but enemy units must stop upon entering their hex).



Game One: The German 1st Army at Brussels moved down and made a full frontal assault at Mons, and what a sledgehammer blow it was. The 1st BEF was sent reeling back having been reduced (flipped to its weaker side), while Allenby moved his horse around to protect the rear flank.

The Germans then likewise slammed into the 2nd BEF and reduced it, while eliminating the 1st Corps. Allenby's Cavalry went unmolested again.

In dire straits, the BEF regrouped on the Victory Hex of Le Cateau and awaited the final Hun assault. On the last turn, last roll, the BEF had ony its HQ and Allenby left holding the town, but it was just enough to win the game (but at a very high cost).



Game Two: von Kluck tried to stretch the BEF's line by hitting the BEF Cavalry Division hard, and eliminated it.

With their left flank compromised, the two British Infantry Corps and HQ fell back to a secondary line.

The next turn saw both sides stalemate, but the the BEF was in danger of being entirely surrounded (out of supply units lose half their artillery and rifle values). They opted to leave the 1st Corps out front as a delaying unit, and dropped back into Le Cateau with the 2nd Corps and HQ.

The Germans suffered two Exhausted Corps in the aforementoned attacks, and weren't able to recover until after a turn's delay (since the adjacent and now reduced BEF Corps has no ZOC, both Exhausted German were able to restore themselves to fresh).

The Germans destroyed the 1st Corps and made a flanking attack on Le Cateau that forced the BEF to retreat. A desperate, long-odds British counter-attack to eject the Germans from the town nearly succeeded, but in the end it was the Huns who held Le Cateau so victory was theirs.

Conclusion: This is an ideal introductory scenario, quick-playing and very accessible, and it offers an intriguing little tactical puzzzle to both sides.

There are some interesting nuances to the system (e.g., combat consists of two separate rounds, artillery and rifle), and it is a real "players" game, not a heavy simulation.

I am cautiously optimistic to see how it will hold up under the (much) heavier load of the larger scenarios and the campaign game. It's time for a brief rest, and then this title is going to see a lot of time on my gaming table in the upcoming weeks - all three of us liked what we saw at first glance.



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Steve Herron
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Had you played Grand Illusion: Mirage of Glory, 1914 Steve? I wondered how the two stacked up against each other? I guess GI is more of a simulation. Good luck with your game. I have been tempted to get GoA.
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Steve Carey
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sherron wrote:


Hi Steve, no I have not played GI yet (good obs, I am more of a gameplayer than a simulation guy).

I've got 1914: Glory's End with me now and it will be next in line, but I do plan on taking GI out of storage soon to give it another look.

The opening campaigns of 1914 are really quite fascinating to me, and as I continue to conduct research, there are even more titles that I want to take a look at.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Personally, I remember finding Grand Illusion very clunky mechanically. It's been a while since I've played it, but I do recall that we had a real hard time getting through it. I'd be interested in your opinion when you do get around to it, Steve. Hermann
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Steve Carey
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HORST324 wrote:
Personally, I remember finding Grand Illusion very clunky mechanically.


That was my impression as well - perhaps there is a 2nd edition rulebook available?

I also have Clash of Empires: The Battle for France 1914 (both the 3W and MDG versions) to take a look at, also (I recall that one being rather fun).
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Peter Rich
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As the second player that Steve was kind enough to introduce to the game last Sunday (we had plenty of time to try out the nail-biting Lord of the Rings card game as well), I would recommend buying a copy, as I did (Worthington throws in "Red Baron" if you buy from its website; BoardgameGeek has some well-priced copies available too.). Plays quickly but with plenty of options to invite replays, solitaires well, quite nice graphics for my taste, and not overpriced by today's standards. The two-step combat is an excellent touch. Hexes are a bit hard to see at first, but this actually makes the map more attractive.
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