One of the games Mark and I were enjoying right before FtF games got cut off was Great War Commander. So, as part of our regular weekend rotation, we recently played scenario three “Chateau Fury”, with me reprising my role as the French. The French are counterattacking near the end of the Battle of the Marne, and have a mixed force of regulars and zouaves to attack a four-hex chateau in the middle of the map.

The Germans have less than half as many men, but have the only machine gun on the board, while the French get a 75mm gun as reinforcements. Both sides have the usual hidden VP chit, while the known common one is 3 VPs for the chateau. Mark set up spread in a loose line through the village on his side of the map, with one platoon in the chateau (he would have had a second in there, but he’d be out of command range, and we hadn’t yet picked up the fact that being in an objective would keep him in cohesion). I set up one big group with three leaders to go through the walled grove and rush the chateau, with a second group ready to try for a flanking action later. (I had got lucky, and my secret objective was another VP for the chateau.) Artillery support was extremely confused in the actual fight, and here there’s a a SSR that has any artillery request just draw a random hex, move to the nearest occupied hex to that, and automatically break everyone there.

For once, I started with a move cards, and advanced directly on the main objective. Mark had an artillery request… which came down next to Lt Hertzler (his commanding officer) to break him and the MG squad! (The odds were that I’d be closer to any random location on the map, but it hit his most important units….) I then moved up into the chateau, breaking off two platoons to take cover behind a wall and put pressure on his flank. Mark discarded, and I had ineffective fire, while moving up to the edge of the woods on the left. The Germans finally opened fire, getting some high command meddling, and doing reconnaissance to find out my objective, but failed to affect me, other than a sniper breaking a platoon.

I fired again to no effect, and my platoon recovered. (I worried that I should wait a while before doing that, and was proven right.) The Germans fired again, and I counterattacked to supress the platoon in the chateau (illegally; he hadn’t been activated). The Germans moved a platoon closer to the center, and I fired (on my turn) still getting no result, but Cne Fleury (my commanding officer) was broken by a sniper. The Germans advanced into his position, ambushing and breaking my platoon there, though elan and a charge gave me some hope (along with a strong roll), while the Germans were feeling unternehmungslustig, and just missed tying the melee, losing their platoon and control of the chateau.

I tried causing Hertzler to rout, but instead he and his platoon recovered, and a new German platoon moved into the chateau. Fleury recovered (along with all the men left out of cohesion by his break), but the platoon with him merely became suppressed. My right flank went on the offensive, with one platoon breaking to enemy fire (we hadn’t caught that an fire action gives a lot of potential opportunities to fire), but my ending fire broke one of his platoons, and a sniper broke Hertzler. Further fire did nothing, but activated German air support, which suppressed a platoon.

Further German fire still did nothing, but another artillery request broke Ltn Lehas (a ‘1’ leader still back in the grove) and the platoon with him. I recovered all my broken units, and advanced into K3, eliminating the broken platoon there, and more fire finally broke the German platoon in H4. German fire suppressed G5, my fire did nothing, but German sappers placed wire in J2. Mark tried recovering, but while Hertzler did, the platoon in H4 merely became suppressed. Hertzler tried moving across the road, to back up the chateau, but my fire broke the platoon he was with, and Hertzler opted to stay with him, and a sniper broke Ltn Antoine (my second leader, in charge of the left flank). I advanced into H4, and finally took out the second German platoon in the chateau.

Situation just as the first time trigger goes off. (VPs are slightly off, we didn’t catch the actual VPs for unit elimination until very late.)

During the melee, both our decks finally depleted, setting off two time triggers, and reconnaissance revealed Mark’s objective chit as +1 VP for objective 1 (A3). Mark discarded again, and I recovered, getting Antoine back, who then moved his force out into the field. Defensive fire was mostly ineffective, but Antoine was suppressed (with a really bad roll; I used my strategy card to boost it to the suppress). Some fire from the center suppressed Hertzler. Mark went on the offensive to get Hertzler out of the road, and broke a platoon of zouaves with fire from E3, and then used advance to get the broken MG platoon out of the road. I moved up on the left, but some hidden wire kept me from getting quite as far as I wanted. Mark recovered, and fired to eliminate my broken platoon, while a sniper broke Tignous (my right-flank officer).

We both discarded for a turn, and Mark advanced into K3. I used bayonets and two charges, while Mark was unternehmungslustig again, and beat me out by one point to win the melee. I had almost no hand, and therefore no turn, while Mark fired, breaking G4, and setting off a time trigger. Hptm Waldau moved back to face the chateau, and I fired with no effect only because Mark used concealment. I used artillery denied while Mark discarded, and then I used a second one to remove his phone permanently. I tried to recover, but my broken platoon in G4 only became suppressed. I then moved, getting my left into the village.

Mark fired a couple times, eliminating the broken platoon in G4. I advanced in to E3 and killed the platoon there in melee. Mark fired and broke the victorious Antoine and platoon. He then placed a runner, and I called an air assault, which suppressed Waldau in J3. That allowed an offensive to surround the building, and broke the leader and platoon despite concealment. Mark advanced Hertzler into Antoine’s hex (and the runner towards the board edge), for a melee that was closer than it should have been on a good roll for me, and we passed the initiative back and forth a bit until it settled with Mark as he got a second good roll. I then fired, and wiped out Waldau and platoon on a double-break.

Hertzler fired on G4, with no effect, but a sniper broke my platoon in C2. I tried moving up to get a big combined shot against Hertzler, but fire from him and the MG broke three platoons and Lehas, and one platoon was eliminated as it was forced to stop (by breaking) on top of another broken unit. Mark discarded for his turn, which was just enough respite, as I’d drawn a recover at the end of my turn, which rallied all my remaining units, and a sniper broke the fusiliers with Hertzler. I then fired, and double-broke the fusiliers to put the Germans to their surrender limit. (The attack was not quite legal, I forgot the ‘chained together’ bit of a firegroup—which should be second-nature to me—and the lowered amount wouldn’t have done it. On the other hand, I had an Advance to follow up with, for a 9:6 melee, so I’d probably have won that way.)


So far, we’ve seen a turn around in fortune in the middle of each game. In this case, I had a strong start, getting into the chateau without trouble. The problem was, despite a strong start, sitting out the clock was at best, iffy from a VP standpoint. And once Hertzler got back into action the MG he commanded started causing all sorts of problems, as an 11-point attack (MG=8, +2 command rating, +1 for the platoon firing with it) was too hard to survive.

I managed to keep pressure up, and got really lucky with the air support suppressing Waldau, giving me the opportunity to get rid of him. But after that, I was afraid my struggles to get further would just wear me away until I couldn’t win. Certainly, my last move had me despairing, but thankfully Mark was out of useful cards, and thankfully, I drew a Recover just when I needed it. In fact, that entire last draw was stellar, with the Fire and Advance cards coming with it.