I recently purchased Paths of Glory and talked my friend Lionel into giving it a try.
We’ve played a couple of introductory games face-to-face to get the hang of the rules, and now we’ve finally gotten around to starting a full campaign game using VASSAL.
We’re using VASSAL because we’re both more familiar with than any other pbem system. Most of the others I’ve seen reports from seem to be using Cyberboard and ACTS… Anyone know if there’s anything that would warrant using one over the other? Or is it just a matter of preference?
I’m playing the Central Powers and Lionel gets the Allies (for no particular reason – we started off with those sides in our first intro game, randomly I think, and since we became familiar with the strategies involved we just stuck with them. I guess when we play again we should be ready to switch sides…)
IF we ever get to that point! Vagaries in our schedules and other factors have seen us only complete 1 full turn in a month! We plan to try to get it down to a turn a week… (Watch for future session reports to see if we do! I hope to eventually reporting 2 or 3 turns at a time, even! )
So, on to the phase-by-phase replay: (My comments italicized.)
Standard game, no optional rules or variants, CP starting with Guns of August in hand…
Mandated Offense Phase:
CP: AH(It) (since Italy’s not in the war yet, it becomes simply AH)
CP Action 1: Guns of August card played as event. (CP War Status +2)
GE 1st and 2nd armies in Liege and GE 3rd army in Koblenz activated for attack.
Flank attack declared against Sedan. Flank attack successful.
Attack die roll: 6! Loss Factor of 7 eliminates the FR 5th, and reduces the replacement corps. No effect possible on return fire.
Corps retreats through Cambrai to Brussels. GE 3rd advances from Koblenz to Sedan.
AP Action 1: Moltke card played as event. (Comment: Phew! Was afraid he was going to take advantage in the East - we've talked about the "Dance of Death" that usually develops there. I guess we're both playing conservatively...)
CP Action 2: GE 9th Reinforcement card played as 3 ops.
Metz, Insterberg and Tarnopol all activated for Movement.
GE 5th moves from Metz to Sedan. (Beefing up the push into France)
GE 8th moves from Insterberg to Tannenberg (Keeping supply lines covered?)
GE corps moves from Insterberg to take Lodz (+1 VP)
AH 3rd moves from Tarnopol to Stanislaw (to nix the DoD in case he changes his mind...)
AP action 2: Blockade card played as 4 ops
Antwerp activated for Movement.
Brussels and Verdun activated for Attack. (It costs 2 ops to activate Brussels, but doing so allows the multinational force to attack.)
BE 1st moves through Brussels to Cambrai.
BEF and FR corps in Brussels combine with FR 3rd and 4th armies in Verdun to attack Sedan. No flank attack. Attack die roll on the 12-14 column: 6! Loss Factor of 7 eliminates the GE 5th and flips the replacing corp. (Only way to satisfy the full LF)
Counter attack on the 9-11 column. Die roll: 2, for a LF of 4. Flips the BEF and eliminates the damaged FR corps in Brussels. (NOTE: Rules say had to take losses from the BEF first!)
GE corps (formerly the 5th army) retreats through Liege to Koblenz. GE 3rd retreats through Koblenz to Metz.
French MO fulfilled.
CP Action 3: Entrench card played as 4 SR. (Bringing in the reserves to reinforce the Western front)
SR a GE corps from replacement box to Metz.
SR two GE corps from RB to Strasbourg.
SR a GE corps to Tannenberg.
AP Action 3: Entrench card played as Event.
Trench created in Belgrade. (Anticipating the AH attack on Serbia…)
CP Action 4: Falkenhayn card played as Event. (CP War Status moves to 4)
AP Action 4: French 10th Reinforcement card played as 3 ops.
Grodno and Dubno activated for Movement.
Kamanets-Podolski activated for Attack.
RU corps moves from Grodno to Warsaw. (To the front line!)
RU 3rd moves from Dubno to take Lemberg. (-1 VP)
RU 8th in Kam-Pod attacks AH corps in Czernowitz. Attack die roll on the 3 col: 3, resulting 2 LF which eliminates the AH corps.
No attack back (1 col on corps table can’t damage the RU 8th…)
RU 8th advances into Czernowitz. (-1 VP)
CP Action 5: Oberost card played as 2 ops.
Przemsyl and Stanislaw activated for attack.
AH 3rd and 4th armies successfully flank attack the RU 3rd army in Lemberg. Attack die roll on the 6-8 col: 5, for LF of 5. Eliminates the RU 3rd and flips the replacement corps.
Counterattack no possible effect. RU corps retreats through Tarnopol to Czernowitz.
AH 3rd advances through Lemberg (+1 VP) and into Tarnopol.
CP MO fulfilled.
AP Action 5: 1 OPS (no card)
Czernowitz activated for attack. Pleve CC card played giving +1 DRM.
The Russian 8th (and the flipped RU corps) attacks the AH 3rd in Tarnopol, attack die roll on the 3 col: 5+1, for LF of 4 which will eliminate the AH 3rd.
Attack back on col 3: 3 for a LF of 2, which flips the RU 8th.
No retreat, since there’s no full strength Russians to advance with…
CP Action 6: Reichstag Truce card played as RP. (GE:3, AH:2)
AP Action 6: Russian Reinforcements 2 Corps card played as RP. (BR:1, FR:1, RU:1)
Attrition, Siege and War Status phases all non-applicable.
FR 6th in Paris flips to full strength. (1 RP)
RU 8th in Cernowitz flips to full strength. (1 RP)
BR Corps in Port Said and Cairo flip to full strength (1 RP)
GE 5th army recreated at full strength in Breslau. (2 RP)
GE Corps in Koblenz and Oppelin flip to full strength. (1 RP)
AH 3rd recreated at reduced strength in Budapest. (1 RP)
AH 2nd in Munkacs flips to full strength. (1 RP)
An initial thrust and counter-thrust on the Western front basically ended up with little gain for either side. Germany calls up reserves to bolster the entire front.
In the East, heavy fighting between the Austria-Hungarians and the Russians resulted in badly damaged A-H forces facing a damaged and over-extended Russian force that has captured Czernowitz.
The Central Powers are gearing up for was at breakneck pace, already set for Limited War, while the Allies have yet to increase their war status.
I’m sure we both missed several opportunities, especially regarding cutting supply lines. I was especially proud of my SRing the corps in to bolster the Western front (and forestall any allied thoughts of offensives, hopefully…) The Entrenchment in Belgrade could prove to be a nuisance, though.
All told, an exciting first turn – looking forward to turn 2 and the rest of the game!
Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
I had never used VASSAL and was wondering how easy ws it to learn how to use and if there was a cost to use it? Does it also handle dice rolling? What games did you start out with in the introductory line?
Vassal is easy to use. It's free. You can either play real-time or mail files back and forth. It runs on a Mac as well as a PC as long as you have a new enough Java. It does roll dice.