Mark came over on Sunday for a day of gaming. He’s been busy lately, and this was arranged on a fairly ‘last moment’ basis, but we had a good time with Paths of Glory, which is on the list of ‘familiar with, haven’t gotten a good feel for it’. We’ve both played Pursuit of Glory, so we know the system (with occasional lookups to make sure the two don’t do one particular thing differently), but he hasn’t played PoG at all, and I just have one partial game with Jason under my belt.

But things went very smoothly, and we got through 5 1/2 turns in one day with neither of us being familiar with the cards, or what we could expect from turn to turn. Mark wanted the Central Powers, and lead with the standard Guns of August opening.

When I played Jason (also as the Allied Powers), he suffered from shifting his focus around too much. He started trying to crush Serbia, and I managed to keep generating crises on all the other fronts that kept him shifting troops around and never finishing off any particular project. Mark did not suffer from this, but I’m not sure any coherent direction ever emerged.

The main action tended to be on the Western Front, but I would guess that with more activity and determination, this could have turned into quite a problem. Certainly, the first turn ended with destruction of the BEF and a flipped Belgian army retreating from Brussels. But I had made sure I had an Allied RP, and the Belgians moved back at the beginning of turn 2, soon followed by the British 1st Army. The “shot trap” of Sedan has proved quite deadly indeed, I pushed Mark out of there twice, nearly destroying a full stack in the process the second time.

Meanwhile, he had more luck at the southern end of the line. Belfort fell midway through the day, and Nancy a turn or so after that. Of the initial fort line, only Verdun remains. At least it is the site of my only successful entrench attempt, and so has a level 2 trench.

Meanwhile, the Russians had been steadily pushing on the Eastern Front. I had been trying to keep Mark somewhat off-balance and worried about RPs, but the Germans just generate RPs too easily (especially now that he’s played Rathenau). So I’ve been slowly sliding over to a policy of trying to drain the Austro-Hungarian army. The Russians advanced into Czernowitz fairly early, and played Romania early to extend the front line. After taking Lemberg and advancing into Przemysl (haven’t managed to destroy it in two siege phases so far), Mark finally reshuffled the entire AH army, abandoning Cluj, which I had been threatening to cut off for some time. As it is, AH is still thin on the ground, and is out of reserve corps, with 9 corps and 3 armies in the eliminated pile.

I got Italy on turn 4, and had quite a decision to make. Mark was not making particularly fast time towards Total War, and I contemplated burning it for 5 Ops and trying to cycle back to it in a hurry before going to Total War myself. However, this being Mark’s first time, there was nothing on the borders beyond the at start AH corps. So I played the neutral entry and besieged Trent and Trieste. A German army was hurried down and kicked me back out of the former, but Trieste has been taken. The GE 6th Army may become a major problem, but so far he can’t advance for fear of being out of supply.

And that’s about where things stand. I’ve copied everything over to Vassal, and we plan to continue in on-line sessions every Wednesday.