During December, Mark and I returned to Great War Commander, and tried out the first scenario from the British expansion. It (and the next two scenarios) are set during the battle of Mons on 23 August. It features a German attempt to take a critical bridge over a canal from a British covering force. It’s by far the most lopsided we’ve seen so far from a number of troops standpoint: fifteen German platoons to six British.

But the British have a trench and two foxholes plus a machine gun, and two “2” leaders. The Germans get a pair of machine guns as reinforcements, but have to make do with bodies and three “2” leaders until then. Also, the Germans have possible artillery support, but the British have none. An interesting SSR is that one of the British leaders is effectively immobile in a railroad station, and can’t participate in normal fire attacks, but can attack on his own with 0 firepower and 4 range, but treats one enemy unit morale as “0”, meaning that his attacks start from a base of 0 offense vs 0 defense, with modification for cards and terrain. A couple final notes: The German surrender limit is quite high (13), and the game starts on turn 5, and goes to turn 11(ish); this generates a six turn game that is highly unlikely to go overtime once sudden death rolls start on 11.

I had the defending Brits, and of course clustered around the bridge with a foxhole in that hex (I think that’s legal…?), and a trench with the MG in the hex behind it. The other foxhole went a couple hexes away, another platoon was in the rail station, and the last platoon was behind the rail embankment. Three of the five victory hexes are in the fairly limited British area, with one being the bridge (4), another the rail station (5), and a third being a road leading off the British side of the map (3). The public objective gave one VP for a crossroad on the German side of the map (2), while mine was one VP for the rail station, and Mark’s was two VP for the bridge.

The Germans only get one hexrow for their setup, and have enough platoons to have one per allowed hex. Mark put the inferior five platoons of Landwehr on the east side, and the leaders were distributed to control everything. He led off with a Move to bring the west side forward and through objective (1) (Obourg village itself), and then Advanced the center section. For my turn, I Fired at his leading troops, and a poor roll caused Mark to re-roll and pass the Initiative to me. However, they broke anyway, but a second shot at the same unit did nothing.

Mark immediately Recovered… which failed, and then called for Artillery, which was accurate on the bridge… which still meant it drifted off-target where no one was. He then tried a second Request (using the FAO instead of his leader), which was inaccurate to end up near where the first one went. He finished up the turn by Advancing the east-edge troops. I passed, and Mark Recovered to rally the broken platoon. He then Moved the bulk of his center, and my OpFire broke Waldau (his ranking officer) and three out of eight advancing platoons (the Maxim right behind the bridge was being very handy). Moreover, the final defense roll was a ’12’ for a time trigger.

After that, Mark called in more Artillery (from the FAO), which was accurate, but drifted two hexes in one direction to break my platoon behind the railway embankment, but miss everything else. He then Fired on my forward platoon, but had no result. I had had Command Meddling during that, which turned out to be an Artillery Request (I have no artillery…), which ate up my turn. Mark Recovered again, but only rallied two platoons, leaving one and his ranking officer broken (yes, rolled over ‘9’ twice). And one of those was another time trigger to take us to turn 7. He then had another Artillery Request, which went inaccurate to land at the south edge of the board.

I discarded for the next two turns, with Mark discarding too. He then Recovered, finally rallying the last two units, and then Moved his center again, getting lead units up to the bridge, while I could do nothing. He then generated a Runner, and Fired with a platoon who hadn’t moved, but had no effect. We both discarded again, and then I Recovered to rally my broken platoon. The Germans had more Artillery, which landed next to the rail station this time, but my units all made their defense rolls, and an event got me a Hero (who went in the forward foxhole). He then Fired on the bridge again, and almost broke my platoon there, but I used my strategy card to boost the roll by and and make it a suppression. Another Fire play generated another attack on the bridge which had no result.

I activated everyone to Fire, and had a poor roll (3) on the main group, and so passed the initiative back to Mark (got an 11 on the reroll), and broke Waldau, his accompanying platoon, and the runner. I also broke his adjacent unit in G7, but couldn’t get any double-breaks to kill anything. Also, during that, I rolled time trigger to take us to turn 8, and the German MGs arrived. Mark Recovered, rallying Waldau and his platoon, but failing on the runner and the forward platoon. Also, he got a sniper, who broke my platoon in H8, and a time trigger to take us to turn 9. He then went on the Offensive, bringing his middle forward again, and I OpFired to break five platoons and Waldau again. Other cards flew thick, with a Go to Ground generating shellholes in F6 (they still broke…), a Hidden Wire stopping his secondary leader… for the few seconds needed for an Engineering Works action, and the initiative card going to me for a defense reroll, and then went back to Mark to keep my MG from jamming. And the final defense roll from Mark was another time trigger to take us to turn 10. After all that, his attacks didn’t have any result.

I discarded, and Mark Recovered, rallying everything but the runner and one platoon, and getting an event to reveal my objective. He then Moved his MGs. As they came into line of sight, I OpFired, and Mark used Intersect MGs (which reduces an enemy fire attack if you have two MGs with LOS on the source of the attack… never mind that those MGs are what’s currently moving…), but the entire stack still broke.

He then had another Artillery Request, which was accurate, and ended in G8 – hitting four hexes where I had troops, and one where he did (and two canal hexes, which couldn’t be reduced). His first attack was against his own broken platoon… and rolled a time trigger to end the game (well, it needed a sudden death roll of 1o or less, which happened).


So, all the turns ended passing very fast, and didn’t really give Mark any time to get things done. Final VPs were 10 for the British. In fact, we had no real casualties, though Waldau breaking three times sure slowed him down a bunch.

My frustrations all came down to having a hard time doing anything. I had to discard several times because my hand was clogged with useless cards. Any time I did break something, I couldn’t get another fire attack for a double-break. Given time, the weight of German fire should have broken me and started crumbling the defenses.

Mark’s problems came down to a fast game, and the artillery generally going off-target, even when ‘accurate’. That final attack had the possibility of doing a lot of damage, but the game ended before it was resolved.

Overall, it looks to be an interesting situation, but this play doesn’t show it off at all.