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Author Topic: Great Escape Gamesí 1914 rules  (Read 2672 times)
Leman
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« on: 16 May 2018, 11:17:08 PM »

These certainly do what it says on the tin. The rules are designed for the opening months of the war on the western Front, i.e. France and Belgium. They are based on  a brigade v. brigade level, although with an increase in table size and additional players they can expand to division, and possibly even a small corps size.

For some reason GEG have decided to manufacture and sell brigade size army packs in 12mm scale - currently there are four: France, Britain, Belgium and Germany, and they are identical, i.e. four infantry battalions, five machine guns, one cavalry regiment and two artillery pieces (one battery in the rules), plus four brigade command figures, such as a couple of generals a courier and a guard.

At the start of the game, and the start of each turn, your force receives a number of command tokens (GEG have some MDF ones made for the game) which are allocated to your troops. The command gets two or three, depending on the army, and then each unit gets one. The remainder are then distributed as you see fit, depending on which units you think will be busiest this turn. The tokens are then placed on the units on your army list, The attacker takes the first turn by activating a unit, using up a token and placing it with that unit. A dice roll (usually 3+) activates the unit which can then move, move and fire, just fire, assault, take a morale test, call in reserves etc. Should you wish to activate that unit again the token already on the unit means you now need a 4+ and so on. Now you have to start deciding if the risk of wasting the token is worth it.

When casualties are caused the unit receives morale markers - 4 will remove a base (eg 4 infantry bases in a battalion equals four companies, or four squadrons in a cavalry regiment). The morale and reserve activations can remove morale markers, thus extending a units Ďlife.í
 
Hidden unit markers can also be used in the game to produce the fog of war and spring a surprise, but there are rules for spotting and cavalry reconnaissance.

There are also rules for off table heavy artillery and on table indirect artillery fire. Artillery has no ranges in the game, but indirect firing is less likely to be as destructive as direct line of sight firing. Machine guns can also be pretty deadly, but being heavy they cannot move and fire, neither can they fire other than straight ahead, so changing target and firing will require the use off two command tokens.

The crux of the game is reaction by the non-active player. This can take the form of reacting to morale, falling back, returning fire and, if a six is thrown, seizing the initiative and becoming the active player. Again reacting costs command tokens and as a turn does not end until both sides command tokens have been used it is a good idea to judge when you have done enough in a turn and hand initiative to your opponent while you still have some command tokens left with which to react, otherwise your opponent will be all over you like a rash if you have used up all your tokens and he still has his full complement to play with.

And then, to add a further layer of spice there are the cards. At the start of the game you will have a hand of four cards which you can play at any time to discomfit your opponent, eg. extra intelligence, a sudden onslaught on the enemy (particularly if you are French), or if you are Belgian the sudden appearance of Franc Tireurs.

The rule book includes three generic scenarios, which can be tweaked in various ways and also used to help design your own scenarios. There are also infantry brigade and cavalry brigade lists for each of the four protagonists, plus downloadable QRS, blank army sheet for placing tokens on and an errata sheet (the French cavalry brigade list has been given German characteristics by mistake).

These bits also raise some interesting questions, particularly do GEG have plans for an Eastern Front expansion, and, as a cavalry brigade has up to four cavalry regiments, and some of the scenarios have more than four battalions, will they be releasing unit packs rather than just brigade packs? Not a question that bothers me as such as I will be using the 15mm armies I have had sitting around for several years waiting for a set of rules I can relate to. I do get the impression that these may well become a competition set, but as I belong to a club that does not have that style of gaming in its DNA then again that is not something which overly concerns me.
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fred.
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« Reply #1 on: 17 May 2018, 07:36:11 AM »

A very useful write up, thank you.

Iím looking forward to these arriving now. The activation mechanics sound good.
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Smoking gun
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« Reply #2 on: 17 May 2018, 01:11:34 PM »

This part sounds very similar to Iron Cross also from GEG.

"At the start of the game, and the start of each turn, your force receives a number of command tokens (GEG have some MDF ones made for the game) which are allocated to your troops. The command gets two or three, depending on the army, and then each unit gets one. The remainder are then distributed as you see fit, depending on which units you think will be busiest this turn. The tokens are then placed on the units on your army list, The attacker takes the first turn by activating a unit, using up a token and placing it with that unit. A dice roll (usually 3+) activates the unit which can then move, move and fire, just fire, assault, take a morale test, call in reserves etc. Should you wish to activate that unit again the token already on the unit means you now need a 4+ and so on. Now you have to start deciding if the risk of wasting the token is worth it."

And,

"The crux of the game is reaction by the non-active player. This can take the form of reacting to morale, falling back, returning fire and, if a six is thrown, seizing the initiative and becoming the active player. Again reacting costs command tokens and as a turn does not end until both sides command tokens have been used it is a good idea to judge when you have done enough in a turn and hand initiative to your opponent while you still have some command tokens left with which to react, otherwise your opponent will be all over you like a rash if you have used up all your tokens and he still has his full complement to play with."

I've enjoyed playing Iron Cross and our group have managed 3-4 players per side, so this looks like it would be an easy transition.

Martin
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Leman
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« Reply #3 on: 17 May 2018, 06:02:37 PM »

It would appear to be a very similar engine driving both games and a straightforward way for those who play the WWII version to get into the WWI game.
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fred.
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« Reply #4 on: 17 May 2018, 07:44:04 PM »

Isn't Iron Cross a skirmish game?

Interesting that the activation system is similar, it sounds a bit like Epic, and a bit like Mayhem both of which are mass battle.
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Leman
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« Reply #5 on: 18 May 2018, 01:24:00 PM »

I suppose itís a bit of a half way house, as it is aimed at a scrap between brigades, not really mass battle but ideal for the small actions that took place between the Mons and the Marne, or across northern Belgium. From my reading it would appear that quite a few of the larger battles at the time were actually linked smaller engagements.
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« Reply #6 on: 18 May 2018, 05:41:34 PM »

Isn't Iron Cross a skirmish game?

Interesting that the activation system is similar, it sounds a bit like Epic, and a bit like Mayhem both of which are mass battle.

Yes, Iron Cross is a skirmish game but with a little tinkering it will work with larger forces.

Martin
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Dave Fielder
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« Reply #7 on: 28 May 2018, 10:49:01 AM »

1914 is perhaps the most interesting part of WW1, although from spring 1918 when the German offensive, US intervention and UK/Fr breakouts occurred. The more manoeuvre the better.
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Leman
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« Reply #8 on: 28 May 2018, 06:33:48 PM »

To play some of the historical scenarios from the Great Retreat you need a fair few cavalry on both sides. Without digging out a book I think there were five or six German regiments and three British regiments involved. The superior training and professionalism of the British really paid off in this engagement.

I also agree about 1918. There is an artists rendition in one of my books of Australian cavalry chasing down a German rail mounted gun.
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fred.
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« Reply #9 on: 09 November 2020, 07:06:53 PM »

Finally looking at playing a game of 1914.

But online support seems very limited, so I will ask here.

How does the Brigader stand do things in the game? I canít see any reference in the rules to this, other than that they get 2 or 3 orders per turn. There seem to be no rules around movement, command range, what happens if they are engaged, etc. Iím not even certain how they spend their orders, it seems implicit they can give them to any of the units under their command, but Iím not sure?
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« Reply #10 on: 09 November 2020, 08:20:14 PM »

1914 is perhaps the most interesting part of WW1, although from spring 1918 when the German offensive, US intervention and UK/Fr breakouts occurred. The more manoeuvre the better.

On the Western Front that is.
But there is some much more interesting 'war of manoeuvre' action on the Eastern and Southern Fronts - which we tend to forget about.

Will these work with 20mm? I have a large Brittania Miniatures early war matched pair of BEF and Germans and it would be good to get them out and on a table-top once Covid permits.

Cheers
Mark
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fred.
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« Reply #11 on: 09 November 2020, 08:44:03 PM »



Will these work with 20mm? I have a large Brittania Miniatures early war matched pair of BEF and Germans and it would be good to get them out and on a table-top once Covid permits.


I donít see why not, standard base size is 50mm x 25mm and represents a company, which would fit a decent number of 20mm figures on.

That been said, Iím planning to play with 30mm x 30mm bases, as that is what my WWI figures are based on. I canít see much in the rules that makes base size important.
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kustenjaeger
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« Reply #12 on: 09 November 2020, 09:29:49 PM »

Iím wondering about using 2 30mm square bases (for GWSH) per unit - 60x30mm in total.

I am also thinking about Russians for Tannenberg etc. 

Regards

Edward
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fred.
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« Reply #13 on: 09 November 2020, 09:40:50 PM »

Iím wondering about using 2 30mm square bases (for GWSH) per unit - 60x30mm in total.

I did wonder about doing this, but it seems a bit fiddly, and Iím not sure makes any great difference from a game play perspective.

Anyway, not wanting my query about Brigadiers to get totally lost:



How does the Brigader stand do things in the game? I canít see any reference in the rules to this, other than that they get 2 or 3 orders per turn. There seem to be no rules around movement, command range, what happens if they are engaged, etc. Iím not even certain how they spend their orders, it seems implicit they can give them to any of the units under their command, but Iím not sure?
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