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User Rating Comment Status
Alvin Slatton
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
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10
Jul 2006*
Very enjoyable game. I look forward to playing this one again.
2006-07-12*
Owned
Peter Franke
Germany
Unspecified
Unspecified
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9
Nov 2004*
Very good game - great graphics, fast and unpredictable. For a historical game it has a short playing time.
2004-11-03*
Andrzej Fiett
Poland
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9
Jun 2008*
Fast, easy to learn, but unexpectedly deep.
2008-06-05*
Owned
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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9
Jun 2010
A very solid game, which despite being about World War I, is not overly scripted but still presents realistic options to the Allied and Central Powers players. The best path to victory for the Central Powers is to try to win big in Italy when that front opens.
2010-06-16
Jean Lannes
Germany
Zirndorf
Bavaria
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9
Dec 2010
Nice little combat simulation for beginners.

Fast play.
2010-12-13
Owned
Nuno Gonzalez
Portugal
Estoril
PORTUGAL
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9
Apr 2015
I just love it! Probably the Ted Raicer hidden masterpice!(And neither he must have awareness!) A very simple wargame and ... A GREAT SIMULATION OF WW1 at strategic level!!

Great with two players and a Blast with four! And very solo friendly (without the dummies units).

I Would have given a higher note (10) was not the enigmatic rulebook and the gaps with the Brest-Litovsk Treaty.

As a POG player I rate this title as a much better simuation of WW1.

And I must be of the few that agree with the horrific surrender rolls (Hey! this is WW1! and (S)hit happens!)

2015-04-28
Owned
Daniel Val
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
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8.5
Feb 2009*
I think this game does a wonderful job at briefly making the whole WWI playable from a grand strategic point of view. It's really a unique design and system, which still manages to catch the atmosphere of the conflict and reflects lots of the decisions each power faced. I don't really understand the low ratings here on BGG!
2007-10-27*
Owned
Want To Play
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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8.5
Jun 2010
Fun, easy playing WWI war game. Interesting game turns as players are forced to balance armies across multiple fronts. Good for two players, excellent with four. The surrender die rolls are scary which makes for a tense game.
2010-06-06
Owned
Blazing Apostle
United Kingdom
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8.5
Mar 2011
Bit of a grail for me
2011-03-15
Owned
Peter Thorngren
Sweden
västra Frölunda
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8
Oct 2005*
Very simple but still nice
2005-10-08*
Owned
Ananda Gupta
United States
Columbia
MD
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8
Oct 2005*
Many of the negative comments don't "grok" the game, I feel. This game is all about bluff and using your dummy armies as fake reserves. You always want the +1 drm in combat for having more armies than your opponent, but how long can you keep turning over a new piece that's a real army? Your opponent has to guess -- or take the offensive and force you to reveal your dummies on that front. Yes, the dice play a role, but this is a short game so I think that's ok.
2005-10-26*
Owned
Denis Tan
Singapore
Singapore
Unspecified
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8
Nov 2005*
Plays well with 4 players. The starting east-west balance for deployment of troops is critical for the Germans aka "Do I need to rush my troops back to defend Tannenberg?"

Very enjoyable, fast game. Elements of some WW1 issues can be discerned. At the very least the game did not devolve to a German game with a tack on theme. Its POG "very lite"!
2005-11-03*
Owned
Don Smith
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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8
Jan 2010*
I've played Paths of Glory and War in Europe. I've played Ra and Caylus. I like The First World War by Ted Raicer!!

There's more depth to this little gem than just rolling dice and whining! The first game where we got into 1916 shows the tough decisions and suspense in this fun little system.

My only critique is that the surrender rolls are too easy to achieve. Our house rule is to force a surrender only after TWO failed surrender rolls. This allows most games to go well past 1916... I also like the variant where surrender rolls cancel out.

A really great game for an evening when you don't have the 12 hours to play Paths of Glory.

Recommended.
2006-01-27*
Owned
Dave Sokolowski
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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8
Mar 2006*
A neat lite war game by the master of WWI... sure, it's not POG, but when could you finish a game of POG in less than two hours anyway?
2006-03-14*
Owned
Jay Stainbrook
United States
Seattle
Washington
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8
Jun 2006*
I really like this game solo. Only played it with opponents once and it stunk.
2006-06-20*
Owned
Garrett Potvin
United States
Brooklyn Park
MN
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8
Jul 2006*
Quick and light strategic journey. Great components and fast game play. This game does a good job of creating a system that allows you to play the entire war in one evening (sometimes more than once if a quick surrender is acheived). The ending can be kind of anti-climactic, but otherwise a solid game.
2006-07-05*
Owned
PJ Pletter
Netherlands
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8
Feb 2008*
Suffers from being a war-themed game with Euro-mechanics. Yet, this game of opportunistic bluffing combined with long-term strategy offers plenty of agonizing decisions in not so much playing time. A truly underrated gem, if somewhat hindered by the fact that four factions need to re-setup every year of the game, which generally takes a bit too long. However, creativity prevails in this game, contrary to the "processive" feel that many eurogames invoke - and that makes it stand out from the lot.
People complain about the seemingly luck-laden surrender rule, but there are plenty of variants to mitigate for that should one feel to change it. Otherwise, one could also approach the game in such a manner that leaving a front unattended is simply not an option, taking strategic precautions to prevent such a situation from occurring, and this is entirely possible to do.
This is pretty much strictly 2p, as the 4 different playing parties are not equally matched (although the 2 opposite factions are). This makes it much more interesting to play one of the bigger (Western Allied or Germans) parties than one of the smaller. People tend to be put off by this and (unrightfully) dismiss the game for it - do give it a try with just 2.
It should be noted that newbies often don't really know where to place their armies/dummies, which prolongs the game excessively. This is an annoying feature that is difficult to solve, since the "historical" setup is not that great, and subsequent placings will still take their time.
If you are able to get over this in addition to the absolutely horrendously written rulebook, you'll find a true gem underneath some of the blabber stated above - I'm glad I did.
2008-02-20*
Owned
Jur dj
Netherlands
Leiden
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8
Apr 2007*
Finally played - got my arse kicked! Fun though to have WWI over with in a few hours. But in the end, I want something in between this and Paths of Glory
2007-04-06*
Owned
Roger Hobden
Canada
Montreal
Quebec
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8
Jan 2008*
Scores as follows:
Must Play: 10 or 9
Should Play: 8 or 7
Could Play: 6 or 5
Should Not Play: 4 or 3
Must Not Play: 2 or 1
2011-01-03
Owned
Luigi54
Italy
Milano
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8
Apr 2008*
Game mechanic is very easy and it's very easy to... loose! You have to be very prudent and not to try to make onslaught on one front, beacuse this is the first and not the second wrold war... unlsess you use the surrednder variant posted here at BGG.
Anyway the fact to play on three different maps is very nice and fun. I'm now trying to find more game of Ted Raicer, designer of this game, still on 1° world war... I got more interested in this period...
2008-04-05*
Owned
James Nolan
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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8
Sep 2008*
Great part set and original layout. I agree with those folks who believe this game really captures the essence of WW1 at the strategic level. Introduced it to nephews (who have played Axis and Allies, War at Sea and Tide of Iron) who liked it and also enjoyed the theme.
2008-04-23*
Owned
Michael McFall
United States
Manhattan
Kansas
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8
Jan 2013
Strange game... I like it!
2013-01-12
Owned
Mikael Lells
Sweden
Malmö
Skåne
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8
Dec 2014
A fun first world war game.
becuse you kan play the whole war in one sitting.
2014-12-16
Owned
Want To Play
Alexandros Masmanidis
Greece
Kallithea
Athens
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8
Dec 2013
A really underrated game.

2013-12-26
Owned
Paul Marlow
United Kingdom
London
Unspecified
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8
Dec 2009*
Its a lot of fun and we are still playing it. Lost two marks cos there was no Near Eastern Theatre, the rules were initially a bit hard to understand until we got going, and the map lacked a few useful labels. These minor niggles aside, its a great game, with a lot of playability, and has some fantastic artwork.
2009-12-28
Owned
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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8
Jun 2010
So trying to win as the Germans in France is not really practical, but this is a simple and challenging game that can fulfill your Paths of Glory fix when time is not on your side.
2010-06-13
Fabian Mainzer
Germany
Bonn
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8
Feb 2011
The Great War stripped to its core. The system abstracts a lot but in the end here we have a both very playable (!) and plausible simulation of WWI. If you are looking for any historical chrome, forget it, you ain't gonna get it. Play PoG instead. If you wanna experience the ressource management on the brink of disaster in 90 minutes, this is your game.

Also see my detailed game review.
2012-01-06
Owned
Jason Wiebe
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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8
Mar 2013
Excellent simulation of the first world war without blowing your mind. The surrender conditions are the only problem I have with the game itself.
2011-11-14
suPUR DUEper
United States
Villa Hills
Kentucky
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8
Sep 2014
Great light treatment of WWI. If you like 1812 Invasion of Canada or 1775, you will probably like this. A bit more wargamey than those two titles but about the same cognitive load.
2014-09-14
Owned
Philippe Sergerie
Canada
St-Jean-sur-Richelieu
Quebec
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7.9
Oct 2005*
A very enjoyable and quick game. Interesting choices to be made. Components are top notch: counters are 1", thick and look nice. There's a neat little FOW element. The game can end abruptly because of a bad (or good roll, depending on the point of view) during the victory check phase, due to surrender points.
2005-10-18*
Owned
Ubergeek
United States
Camas
Washington
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Be Happy in your Game!
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I spent 100 Geek Gold and all I got was this lousy overtext message!
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7.8
Dec 2005*
A good Euro-wargame on WWI that plays fast yet retains the back and forth feel of that war. Certainly not for grognards but a good game to cut a new player into both Euro and War games. Up to the usual excellent Phalanx quality of components.
2005-12-02*
Owned
Thumis Dalidalisa
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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7.5
Jan 2006*
Great components. Tense game play. More fun as the Germans, I think (lots of strong armies) and a little fiddle in the rules.
2006-01-02*
Jan van der Laan
Netherlands
Leeuwarden
Friesland
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7.5
Aug 2007*
Easy to learn and fun to play. Nice components and a marvellous gameboard. PLays within 90 minutes.
2007-08-27*
Owned
Piero
Italy
Florence
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Life and death come and go like marionettes dancing on a table. Once their strings are cut, they easily crumble.
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What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror. Then we shall see face to face.
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7.5
Nov 2011
Nice little game!

It has some interesting choices but the Central Powers need to be a little lucky to fare through the war and achieve a victory.

Surrender rules are brutal but realistic.

I believe this is a very light and nice little wargame, a keeper for me.

I'm very eager to play again!

UPDATE
Neat game of WW1, yet I'd prefer something different if there was a chance.
2014-04-03
Prev. Owned
Jack Stalica
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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7.5
Dec 2014
WWI on a severe complexity and time budget. Nevertheless succeeds at what it attempts to accomplish - giving a great WWI feel in a short time. Neat little package.
2011-11-28
Owned
Want To Play
Demis den Boer
Netherlands
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7.5
Jan 2012
Less abstract than at first sight; simple, but unusual game mechanics; some dosis of luck (dice); game board is actually a series of fronts; plays quickly; nice bluffing element because of dummies
2014-05-07
Owned
Benny Bosmans
Belgium
Mechelen
Antwerp
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7
Oct 2011
Updated. Played the game five times now. In reading the rules I was sceptical. Game seemed dry, but in playing it the first time, all the rules came together.
Characteristics: short playing time (no more than 2 hours), a LOT of player interaction, hidden units, dice are used but strategic game play is possible, long term planning (resources)is needed, easy mechanics, no dice fest.
In short a perfect blending between a simple wargame and Eurogame. I would even describe the game as a wargame since it IS linked to an historical flow and feeling. Components are first class.
Ted Raicer was known to put WWI back on the wargame scene, now he showed that he's more than a wargame designer. While the game doesn't have the same potential as that other golden Phalanx game (Age of Napoleon), it DOES show that a marriage between wargames and Eurogames is a new trend with great potential.
Finally, it scales good between 2 - 4 players.
I hope the game does get some coverage as it certainly deserves it.
In Essen it was kind of hidden on the shelves of 999 Games which was a sad thing.
It will certainly not have a lot of FAQ as the rules are written clearly and far better than Age of Napoleon (I only have the German rules though). English version should be out in december.
One negative remark: dummy counters are difficult to handle and turning those counters each turn IS a core. But game is unique in that it plays WW1 in just under 2 hours.
2004-11-05*
Owned
I legally own hundreds of polyhedral assault dice!
United States
Austin
Texas
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7
Jul 2009*
After one play... I admit, I approached this game with some trepidation: I feared yet another needlessly complex and picky treatment of an epic war in Europe. But what a great, compact, thematic, and thoroughly satisfying recreation of war along the three great, European fronts this is! The elegant and refreshing combat system recreates the war of attrition that plagued WW1 in Europe while also allowing for a bit of bluff and manuever-- all with with a 2.5 hour play time! Easily replaces SPI's "First World War" as amy favorite Great War title. A wonderful example of a true Euro-wargame!
2008-01-09*
Owned
Simone Fantini
Italy
Milano
Unspecified
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7
Dec 2005*
From the same genius of Ted Raicer a very well done and very funny game about World War I. Incredible funny if played at 4 players. Allied players (CP and AP).....are not very allied and this is one of the best thing of the game. You can play a couple of games in a evening session. For those who thinks AHungharians not competitive...I have won couple of times with them.
Fun fun !!
PS Ted, why are you not interested on world war II ?? :-)))
2005-12-16*
Rob Winslow
United States
Rochester
New York
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7
Jan 2006*
Good game. 4 players is best here, and while luck does play a role, so does skill and bluffing!
2006-01-05*
Owned
Daniel Ryan
United States
Austin
Texas
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7
Aug 2006*
Played twice, although the game ended on surrender rolls in Turn 1 both times - so will need further playing to confirm impressions. Found it a good game, very brittle situation. I don't know that it bears tremendous resemblance to the First World War as it is very abstract. For all that, worth playing again as it is very quick and tense.

Later.. more games down and now I'm hooked. It is doable in two hours if all players know the game. Highly replayable, highly recommended.
2006-08-21*
Le Warpozio
Belgium
gent
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7
Mar 2006*
The Dutch rules are badly constructed... It took us (2 experienced gamers) about 90 minutes to get them (and I still think we missed some points).
But it plays nice and I would like to play it again soon !!
2006-03-18*
Ben Vögel
United States
Golden Valley
Minnesota
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I've been on this site for 10 years now, and I'm far from sick of games, but I think I am, to some degree, sick of learning too many new games. I'm also tired of playing 4+ hr multiplayer games, but I'll still happily play really long games 2 player.
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7
Jul 2006*
[5 plays] This will likely always play with a high level of luck dependence. However, it is fun and well paced. I liken the level of emotional investment I place in this game to Battle Cry or Memoir '44 style games. A player can influence their fate only to a light extent, and then the rest is up to the dice.

It is a beautiful game, although the compartmentalized map is off-putting when first experiencing the game. I enjoy the theme, the bluffing, and the ability to play out a simplified version of WWI in less than 2 hours.

Most recent plays 12-29-09 with Garrett.
2009-12-30
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
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7
Jul 2006*
Reshaping the images/ memories of WW1 from Ted Racier.....Ah..the map, I like this map...a real World War 1 map in the hands of the General.
2006-07-14*
Owned
Francois Petitclerc
Canada
Verdun
Quebec
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7
Nov 2011
A macro strategic game which might just become a template for a series of games treating other campaigns. The object here is to replay a conflict in a couple of hours. In that sense it is far more abstract than the more involved Paths of Glory, but it is still an interesting challenge to see of tight a rope you can walk. Much is in bluffing astutely and picking your fights where you can do the most damage. Fast-paced and intriguing in the sense that any given strategy depends on how much the opponent lets on. Will get this and play it again for sure.
2006-05-07*
Prev. Owned
Andy Daglish
United Kingdom
Cheadle
Cheshire
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7
May 2006*
I would not not rate The First World War highly as published, but it clearly has potential to be a very good simple multiplayer and solo wargame, if slight rules modifications are made to their best advantage. We just need to find out what these are.
2006-05-11*
Michael Barnes
United States
Decatur
Georgia
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7
Dec 2006*
Unfortunately, this game is going to take a critical beatdown because it's a)not PoG and b)there is a dice element involved. It's sad, because this is a good, accessible and quick-playing wargame that won't scare off new players or board gamers. It's a game of bluffing and managing forces to attack or defend on different fronts without exposing vulnerabilities. Luck is a big element (just like it is in almost all wargames) but as usual, judicious and smart play will mitigate bad rolling. There's some really smart ideas here and the decisions and strategies are much more compelling than the last 10 or 15 Knizia/Kramer games to be cranked out onto the market.
2006-12-15*
(Mr.) Kim Beattie
United States
Rocklin
CA
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In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
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7
Apr 2011
I like this game. A "Euro-wargame" covering WWI in Europe. The game system is simple but the game is not. Ted Racier has designed an accessible treatment of "The Great War."
The only "fly in the ointment" is the Surrender rule which just doesn't sit well with me (or many other players). The Surrender rule can make the game seem futile (hmmm, a comment on the war perhaps?) and a number of alternate Surrender rules have been proposed... Despite the Surrender rule, this is still a fun and interesting game on World War One. Recommended.
(October 2005)
2008-04-29*
Owned
Walter OHara
United States
Burke
Virginia
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7
Jun 2006*
Ted's final wargame? Who knows? Apparently that's what he is hinting at in a recent CONSIMWORLD posting.

I finally got this. It's far more streamlined and simple than other Racier designs. plays fast and well.

Traded it off (2006) it wasn't getting played.
2006-06-29*
Michael Ward
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
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7
Jul 2006*
11/02/05 Received. The publisher says it takes 1.5 to 2 hours to play. Well, that's an average. It might take as little as 30 minutes or as long as three hours, depending on in which of the six turns someone surrenders. The map is an extremely murky dark brown. But then its largely irrelevant; only the front separators and the cities are of any import to actually playing the game. The one inch counters and combat chits are beautiful (standard for Phalanx). The seven pages of rules are all there, but I didn't think they were arranged as well as they could have been. The player aid card was merely OK.

The dummy armies lend a nice touch of fog of war. Yet there should have been some difference in their front/back artwork. For you can tell if you look closely whether they're face up or face down due to the bevel of the counter sides. So if your opponent accidentally places them face up it nulifies the fog of war.

The rules for the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk are a can of worms, generating endless questions that, as of late 2009, have never been adequately answered. My view - just leave the treaty out of the game and save yourself a headache. Frankly I can't see a Russian player accepting it in a face-to-face match. I mean, who wants to basically sit there and do nothing for maybe an hour. With your fate totally in the other player's hands.

The surrender rules drive some crazy. I'm fine with them. I think those that dislike them want to force the game to go on for many "years" just because the real war did. They forget in 1914 almost all experts expected a short war. And it could very easily have turned out that way.
2009-11-30
Owned

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