In Mark and I’s regular tour of WWI battles, we went over to The Great War as they have one not covered by Great War Commander. The Battle of Loos is broken up into five scenarios, and we tried the first one, covering a British diversionary attack on 25 Sep. The Germans have three trench lines, with half their force in the rear one, so the British start with local superiority. The British get an extra banner for having units in the first two trench lines (each).

I had the Germans for the first game, and the initial bombardment was about as light as it could be, generating two gaps in the wire. Mark led off with Assault Center with a Machine Gun Barrage, which let him get three units into the wire (one in the gap), and reduced the two forward German Infantry units by four figures. Direct From HQ let me command four units, and I managed to knock out an Inf hung up on the wire completely, but lost the weaker of my two front Inf to a Surprise Ambush. Mark went Forward, getting his center into the first trench line, and did another figure to the remaining front Inf who fell back a hex. I laid down a Barrage with my two MGs (using Probe Centre to order them), and knocked both leading Infantry down to one figure, but Replacements brought them back to 2 and 3 figures, and they headed for the British right flank.

Probe Left did nothing, while Recon in Force got a Bomber into the left wire, and one unit on the right got into the first trench, and reduced my weak infantry. Probe Right let me hit the Bomber, but Body Armor negated it, though he still retreated off the wire. Recon in Force got an Inf into the second trench line and the Bomber back onto the wire, and knocked out my weak Inf. Attack Left and Machine Gun Barrage let me reduce one of the Inf in the first trench, but had no other effect. Artillery Bombard targeted my third trench, and reduced a Bomber, Mortar, and Inf by one block each. Out Flanked got all my heavy weapons in action, and finished of a British Inf in the first trench line, and forced the Bomber to retreat again. Recon Right got another Inf into the first trench. Attack Right forced the Bomber back to the British trench, and did two figures to an Inf in the open.

Assault Right let Mark get to close combat with one of the MGs, reducing it to one figure, but Butt & Bayonet let it do two hits to the attacking Inf. Attack Center lost me the MG when it failed to do anything in CC, and Butt & Bayonet wiped it out. Mark Attacked Right to follow up, and back off the damaged Inf. Infantry Assault let me get the third line reserve up to the second trench without spending lots of time in the open, and a Bomber wiped out the lead (undamaged) British Inf. Storm of Fire thankfully didn’t amount to more than one loss on a Bomber. Probe Left let me finish off the only British unit in the second trench, but a Strike First cost me two figures on the same Bomber.

Assault Right didn’t do anything, but Storm of Fire did a figure to Mark, and forced two units back a hex. Recon in Force with Mortar Barrage also failed to get results, while I started advancing on the first trench, doing one figure damage with Probe Right. Attack Centre and Reposition let Mark get a MG into the first trench, and another into one of the pre-game shellholes, while Forward let me finish off an Inf and Trench Raid let my weak Bomber get into the first trench, where he drove off an Inf (he was then going to go back, but I don’t recall what we judged prevented that). Counter Attack and Machine Gun Barrage got my Bomber, though it took a couple of tries. Storm of Fire reduced an Inf to one block, and drove British Bomber back to his own trench again. Probe Left advanced him again, and an Inf got into the first trench line, reducing one of my Inf, and I Returned Fire to reduce the Bomber two figures. Direct From HQ let me command four units and get to close combat with a weakened Inf to eliminate it. 6-5

In the second game, the opening bombardment was more effective, knocking out three hexes of wire, and generating four shellholes in front of it. I opened with Probe Left, and Mark’s Probe Right let him get a hit on my lead Inf. Recon in Force should have gotten him into the trench but Trench Foot kept him in place. A center Infantry Assault let Mark get three units into his second line from the reserve, while Attack Left got me onto the wire and eliminated a hex on the left flank. Attack Centre got a hit on my forward Inf, and I went Forward into the first trench with two Inf, and did five figures across two units, driving one Inf back two hexes.

Probe Centre got the retreated Inf into cover, Forward (again) got me a little further, with some artillery doing a figure, and close combat finishing off the remaining front-line Inf. Lost Messenger largely cancelled Storm of Fire, but still finished off my Inf. Probe Centre started another Inf forward, while Attack Left with Messenger Pigeons let him start swapping out his damaged Inf and did a figure to one of mine. Attack Centre did nothing, and Recon in Force reduced my Bomber to two figures. Assault Centre got a figure on a German MG, and Counter Attack with Trench Raid reduced the Bomber to one figure, and did two figures to an Inf.

Short Supply forced a German Bomber to his baseline, while Probe Right got me a hit on a MG. Artillery Bombard failed to have any effect, while Attack Right with Reposition got my MG into the first trench, with the Mortar into shellholes. Assault Centre got an Inf hit, and Attack Right with Mortar Barrage knocked out a MG, and did a hit to an Inf. Another Artillery Bombard got a hit on my other MG, while Probe Left did a figure to the remaining German MG. Storm of Fire failed to have an effect (not for lack of trying), with Probe Right doing a figure to an Inf. Out Flanked also failed to have an effect, and Probe Right got to close combat with a one-figure Inf, and failed to have a result, and my Inf took a hit and retreated two hexes from Butt & Bayonet.

Big Show ordered three units and finished off two of mine. His last shot did nothing, and Return Fire finished off his weak Inf. Attack Centre got a MG up, but had no other effect. Attack Right drove off an Inf with a hit to that and the MG. Recon in Force let me pull out a weak Inf and do a figure to an Inf. Probe Left saw artillery take out a section of the first trench line, but thankfully did nothing to the MG there. Whistles & Bugle Calls let me move up on the right, but did no damage. Storm of Fire knocked out my center MG. Forward did nothing, and Infantry Assault let Mark reshuffle his defenders, while my Infantry Assault let me try a direct assault on the defenders of the second line (in the open) to try and get the last banner, but the first attack did nothing but lose me a full unit from Butt & Bayonet and the second did one figure and forced a one hex retreat (I should have ‘gained ground’ into the trench, but didn’t think of it). Recon Centre put his Bomber back in the trench, and then finished off my Inf in close combat. 5-6


That last charge of mine was a bit premature (I really needed a unit that had taken a loss or two to attack), but I was wearing down fast, and only saw things continuing to get worse. I certainly was having no luck getting anyone to the second trench line.

Great War suffers a bit with lower dice totals and and lots of protective terrain. So battles drag on a bit compared to C&C: Ancients. But, the high protection, low damage, makes it feel like WWI combat. The combat cards add some nice variety to things, and managing the HQ tokens can be interesting (we nearly ran out for a bit in the middle of the second game, with me short of them, but Mark eventually found better uses than hording them).

The subtle differences of the Bombers makes them noticeably more effective. Things really turned around when I got my Bombers into play in the first game, and impressed us both with them. The British only have about parity with the German forces and are on the attack. But the Germans have everything in reserve, so they can get in, and take parts of the trenches for a win. If they miss that chance, they’ll like lose as the Germans get organized.