Posted: March 23, 2014 in GMT games, Paths of Glory, wargames
Tags: , , , ,

 It seems fitting to dig out this classic given the hundredth anniversary, that and watching the excellent bbc drama “37 days” was enough to sufficiently whet my appetite. Bear with me folks while I set the scene, this blog is nowhere near as long as it looks, the bulk just made up of mouth watering stats!

This game is without doubt one of the best war-games ever created. I’m not just saying that, until very recently it ranked as the no.1 war-game of all time on Board Game Geek. This game actually makes the First World War a playable one and an enjoyable one at that (in gaming terms).  The only flaw, a cosmetic one in that the map although beautiful to behold is printed on PAPER. Yes you heard that right a paper map”board”. Scandalous, although a “deluxe” edition with a cardboard map was subsequently published.

So onto the game, its card driven which being my first introduction to this style of game led me to being very suspicious. The cards however are the mechanics setting up each players options whether they are movement, combat, reinforcements or specific combat events or wider diplomatic ones.  This is not a review of the game per se, its going to be a narrative of the War as it unfolds, so prior to commencing hostilities while I reacquaint myself with the rules, here are the strengths of the opposing sides.  

Aug 1914 - The entire theatre of War

Aug 1914 – The entire theatre of War

Central Powers:-

Germany – Western & Eastern Fronts – 7 Armies (1 reduced), 3 Corps (2 reduced) plus 8 Corps in reserve – 1,400,000 + 400,000 in reserve

Austria-Hungary – Eastern, Balkan & Italian Fronts – 6 Armies (1 reduced), 4 Corps plus 5 Corps in reserve – 1,300,000 + 250,000 in reserve

TOTAL – 2,700,000 + 650,000 reserve = 3,350,000

Allied Powers:-

Aug 1914 Western Front

Aug 1914 – The Western Front

Russia – Eastern & Near East Fronts – 6 Armies, 7 Corps plus 6 Corps in reserve – 1,550,000 + 300,000 in reserve

France – Western Front – 7 Armies (2 reduced), 3 Corps plus 7 Corps in reserve – 1,350,000 + 350,000 in reserve

Serbia – Balkan Front – 2 Armies plus 2 Corps in reserve – 400,000 + 100,000 in reserve

Great Britain – Western & Near East Fronts –  1 Army, 3 Corps (all reduced) plus 2  Corps in reserve – 275,000 + 100,000 in reserve

Aug 1914 – The Eastern Front

Montenegro – Balkan Front – 1 Corps – 50,000 men

TOTAL – 3,625,000 +  850,000 in reserve = 4,475,000

Neutral Powers:-

Italy – Italian Front – 4 Armies (all reduced), 3 Corps plus 4 Corps in reserve – 550,000 + 200,000 in reserve

Turkey – Near East and Balkan Front – 13 Corps – 650,000

Bulgaria – Balkan Front – 6 Corps – 300,000

Romania – Balkan Front – 6 Corps – 300,000

Aug 1914 – The Balkan Front

Greece – Balkan Front – 3 Corps – 150,000

United States – None

A note on Army units – Each nationalities Army and Corps units have with a few exceptions a generic Combat, Loss & Movement factor.  So although it would appear the CP are massively outnumbered, the quality of at least half of their force is much higher than most of the AP forces.  The first number = combat strength, 2nd = loss factor, 3rd = movement. The higher the combat factor the better the chance of inflicting damage, the higher the Loss factor the better the chance of receiving lower casualties.  In essence any unit with a combat factor of 5 is VERY good, any unit with a loss factor of 2 or worse is poor

full/reduced str

GB Allied – 5-3-3/4-3-3 BEF (single unit)

GER Central – 5-3-3/3-3-3

USA Neutral Allied – 5-3-3/3-3-3

GB Allied – 4-3-3/3-3-3

FRA Allied – 3-3-3/2-3-3

BEL Allied – 2-3-3/1-3-3 (single unit)

RUS Allied – 3-2-3/2-2-3

AUT Central – 3-2-3/1-2-3

SER – Allied – 2-2-3/1-2-3

IT Neutral Allied – 2-2-3/1-2-3

GB Allied – 1-2-3/1-2-3 MEF (single unit)

TUR Neutral Central 1-2-3/1-2-2


  1. scugrad says:

    I’ve had this game for a while and have wanted to play it solo. How exactly do you play it solo given the cards?

    • simonsmrt says:

      Hi, that’s the area that’s so problematic. Some cards such as Cloak and Dagger become useless as an event. In the end I have both decks on show and try to remain impartial but of course you know what the other side has. Unsatisfactory but its the only way to play it solo. The allies had huge problems as they didn’t play Rape of Belgium and were then stuck for the duration eventually just reaching 10 points War Status (Limited) with only Salonika or MEF to play neither of which provided a strategic advantage by playing and which kept having to be played as RP cards owing to the high attrition on the western front.

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