Friday, February 10, 2012

Board Games Night: Paths of Glory

Two Thursdays in a row have found me at the local board games club playing Ted Raicer's Paths of Glory, published in 1999 by GMT games. I'm hooked,

The last time I posted here about a boardgame, Trajan, I said it was a clever game but not an informative simulation. PoG is both.

So much to like about this game. The card driven sequence of play not only drives strategic events but also determines operational possibilities and allows players a limited palette of choices each season or turn of play.

As the Central Powers player in the first game I hammered my mate Tyler on the Western Front and while we bled each other dry, my focus West meant abandoning opportunities in the East. In our rematch, as the Allies I strengthened the line in the West, then ignored it and flooded the zone in the East with the Russians. That diverted most of Austria-Hungary's forces and several precious German armies to stopping me and allowed me a narrow win in a shortened scenario ending in 1916.

Other mechanisms, including combat, operational movement, supply, strategic redeployment and replacements are clean, simple and workable.

I would be happy to play this game again, maybe taking a whole day to play 1914-18. I might even buy a copy if I can find one somewhere. A great game and a great simulation.

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  1. Mike, it's an outstanding game and gets better the more you play. One of my friends said that it was the only game he'd ever played which had made it difficult to sleep at night with all the various stratagems going through his head. The interaction between cards and the board is really sublime - an evergreen classic. The Players Guide to Paths of Glory which came out with additional cards is well worth hunting down - I'm not sure if GMT reprinted, but I think it was on the P500 list. The Middle East "partner", Pursuit of Glory, which came out in 2009 is worth playing, but it's a lot more chrome-y and complex. Paths of Glory is just, when all's said and done, a wonderful game!

  2. I have a few boardgame-geek pals at the club that are going crazy with this game. I prefer playing miniatures, but as a WWI aficionado I have been several times tempted to fall to this one.

    On the other hand, Adam (Sidney Roundwood) is an authority in this period and if he says it's good, surely it is :-)

  3. Thanks for the comments, gents. In noodling around on the internet I discovered many glowing testimonies to this game. Sid, I can see why your friend stayed awake thinking about strategems. I experimented with some options in my second play, using an event card to land three British corps at Salonika when the Bulgarians were being pesky. I was able to capture Sofia and divert the Bulgarian army, but was forced back and lost most of my gains. Strategically still a coup because it diverted these enemy units, but what if I had reinforced more? One can see why Churchill was so seduced by the possibility of landing at the Dardanelles. Anything to break the Western front deadlock!

    Indeed a wonderful game. But right now one night a week is all the boardgaming I want to do, don't want to cut into my painting and playing with miniatures!


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