At the end of May, Mark and I returned to Great War Commander. He has gotten the first Battle Pack expansion, and we went to the 1914 scenario from that. It reuses a map we’ve seen before, and doesn’t have any new unit types, so it’s easy to set up in the current Vassal module. However, there is a bridge on the map that doesn’t exist in the scenario (by SSR), and counter for that doesn’t exist. So we just put a shellhole marker on it.

It’s a couple of weeks after the battle of Mons, and the British are falling back. At this point, the rearguard is trying to take and hold a bridge near Antwerp, while the Germans are trying to block them. Both sides are in ‘recon’ stance (the first time we’ve gotten to see that), and get one leader with four platoons. They both start off on the right side of the map, with the bridge on the left. However, the time index starts at 2, and at 3, both sides get five more platoons (including an engineer) and a better leader, and then on 4 they both get three more platoons and a third leader, with sudden death rolls starting at 8. The open VP marker makes the bridge worth 4VPs, and you can deny that to someone about to take it from you by having an engineer blow it up (leaving no one able to cross).

Mark had the British, who go first, and he started with an Air Assault, which didn’t find my troops, and then Moved out. There was then an exciting round of both sides discarding before I started Moving. Mark managed to Fire at them, and broke Lt Ruhberg, but one of his platoons broke to a sniper. We both tried to Recover, but blew our rolls before I did it on a second attempt, and Mark Advanced to get the broken guys out of the way. Fire broke a second British platoon, but it recovered (and the first one didn’t) with a Recover, and he Advanced further. I Moved towards the bridge, largely staying out of range, and occupying the farm house (objective 1). Mark Moved to cross the stream on his side, but I broke two platoons in it. Further Fire eliminated one of them, and then the other Advanced out of the stream. Mark attempted to Recover him, but failed on a 12 to get a time trigger, and I Dug In near the farmhouse.

At the end of the initial turn. Objective 5/bridge K6 doesn’t exist.

I got my reinforcements Moving first, and then ordered an Offensive for the first contingent to seize the bridge. The fire from that action finally eliminated the second British platoon, and an Air Assault let me suppress one of the reinforcements. Mark got his reinforcements moving with minimal trouble (I broke a platoon, which immediately came back with Probe) before we both needed to discard cards again. I Moved my reinforcements up to the rest of my troops just before running out of cards for the next time trigger.

Mark used an Offensive to get Perry closer to the bridge and shoot at the platoon there, but couldn’t get a result. He then Advanced the entire mass of both reinforcements. I Moved my newest reinforcements, getting them around the orchard before committing to an Offensive with everyone else. Air Support managed to suppress the stack of my highest-ranking leader, and a Sniper broke one of the reinforcing platoons, but I suppressed Maj Stone with an Interdiction event. I didn’t manage to break Lt Perry and his platoon on that turn, but the next turn, Fire broke Perry (recovered with a Probe) and the platoon. Mark continued Moving up, but a regular platoon, Maj Stone, and the engineers broke to my Fire. High Command Meddling “forced” me to recover at this point, clearing a few suppressions that had built up, and rally my one broken platoon. I then Fired and eliminated a broken platoon. Mark then Recovered, getting the engineers and and remaining regular broken platoon back, but not Maj Stone.

He also ran out his deck during this, taking us to time index 5. He then Fired to break Lt Ruhberg and his platoon, who both successfully Recovered. I Fired on Maj Stone again, but while he made his defense roll easily by rolling a 12, that put us at time 6, and the engineers broke again, and he lost Lt McBeath to Recall Leader.

Mark Recovered both his units, and Fired, breaking Ruhberg again. He then tried to Move across the stream again, getting another time trigger to my Op Fire, returning McBeath to play, and I got a Reinforcements event, which sadly did nothing (out of fusilier counters). And then he got a time trigger again, to take us to 8, and did not pass the Sudden Death check to end the game very suddenly with 11 German VPs.


The general scenario concept is good, and it was very nice to see a meeting engagement style scenario. I’m a bit concerned that it may be a little too weighted to whoever can get near the bridge first. Worse, that stream the British need to cross is just nasty. 3 movement, and it makes you more vulnerable. Once I got in range of it before Mark got to it, it was largely downhill for him as I could do a lot of damage as he tried to get close enough to the bridge to contest it.

Much of the action also pointed up the disturbing all-or-nothing nature of defensive fire. Either you don’t have or want to use a card when someone moves, or you do and the game grinds to a halt as each and every hex in a move becomes subject to fire which breaks up the normally free-flowing nature of the game. It’s also a stark contrast to the “normal” Fire Order where everyone just fires once and is done.

The sudden string of time triggers at the end was unusual, but something that has to be expected once in a while. It cut short my expected grind to six casualties to force a surrender, but also prevented any opportunity for the mid-game turn around which GWC has certainly delivered on occasion.