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Subject: Two Battles That Shook the World rss

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! 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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Clash of Giants is Ted Raicer's operational simulation of the Marne and Tannenberg campaigns. These two battles were pivotal and each started the events that would topple the Tsar and Kaiser. I can't think of another time when two of history's most decisive battles were fought at nearly the same time. The fact that Germany lost one battle and won the other was one of the main reasons that the Great War dragged on.

Gameplay (25 out of 28): Most of the game is your basic hex and counter with supply and zones of control. The big difference is that here movement is variable according to the command track, so you are never quite sure how far your men can advance or retreat. In addition to adding tension this rule also captures friction while preventing the use of blitzkrieg tactics in a war between foot-soldiers. Like many World War I games the attacker really needs 3-1 odds to do anything. However, unlike classic CRTs the odds computation simply gives both attacker and defender a modifier, with the chance each can lose a step and the defender might be forced to retreat. Cavalry, while mobile, are not strong and cannot attack infantry nor help in sieges. After all, this is the last act Europe's once great horsemen, who stand on the edge of obsolescence.

Marne:


Operational (3 out of 5): Supplies, fortress rules, variable movement rates, and the objectives make both scenarios good, but each has a lot going on beyond these aspects. Marne is the biggest and least popular scenario. One of its problems is that it features chit-pull, but the chits are separate. So German chits are only pulled during their turn. This eliminates some of the fun of chit-pull mechanics and makes it seem a little unnecessary. Also Marne covers the culminating point of the German offensive, and from what I've sen it is a tough slog for them although it is doubtful anyone is going to commit Kluck's turn. However, the scenario features a lot of units, an Allied army on the edge of demoralization, and a battle who's outcome will change everything. In this sense Marne is just an above-average simulation. Tannenberg, with the classic situation of an army having to win it all before the defenders get reinforced, lends itself well to gaming. Also it does not have chit-pull, features fewer units, a more interesting map, and some unique replacement rules.

Tannenberg:


Accessibility (4 out of 5): The rules, at eight pages, are short, but the battle book covers the handful of special rules for each scenario. Overall not too many problems should be encountered here and this is a good game to use if you want to get beyond Memoir '44 or take a break from Paths of Glory.

Components (4 out of 5): This game came out just as GMT was filling the void left by Avalon Hill's collapse. That being said the component quality is not quite up to their current standards, but still damn good.

The Russian Steamroller:


Originality (1 out of 2): Raicer is not an original designer, something he admits or so I have read. Typically he takes other ideas and merges them together while retaining enough chrome to simulate history. This does not mean that I hold anything against him or Clash of Giants, it is just that beyond a few simple rules, this game did not have a fresh feeling. As of now I still think Grand Illusion: Mirage of Glory, 1914 is Ted's most interesting design.

The Germans Approach Paris:


Historical Quality (4 out of 5): The spirit of both battles is captured well and with variable movement, realistic victory objectives, and the combat mechanism you will not get ludicrous situations. What is perhaps the game's biggest failure is in terms of fog of war. This played a major role in these battles and it should have been here. Otherwise, these games feature solid history.

Overall (41 out of 50): This simulation really grasps the mobile period of a war known for being static. I hope this game gets reprinted and updated, because from what I've read the rules added in Clash of Giants II would take this title over the top. Well, hopefully not in the trench warfare sense.
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Matt Taylor
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Thanks for the review.

I have played Tannenberg but have yet to play the Marne. I too liked the variable movement, but that is the only "original". It fills a wargamers idea of a "filler" to an extent. Short, as wargames go, and easy, if you know wargames. I'll have to push for this next game group that has a possibility.
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Steve Herron
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Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
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I am a fan of the series. I wondered if GMT was considering any more Clash series battles? I am currently playing an old SPI game and having the worst time reading the counters. Boy I have been spoiled by the GMT counters like Clash of Giants has!
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Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.
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"At the landing, and here ever since" - Anzac Book, p. 35.
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Great review! It gives a good quick glimpse into the game. It would be great if there was a review like this for every game out there where one could come along and get a quick gauge of what the game is like.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! 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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Quote:
Great review! It gives a good quick glimpse into the game. It would be great if there was a review like this for every game out there where one could come along and get a quick gauge of what the game is like.


Thank you! I prefer these kinds of reviews myself (and as they say write for yourself) and I really can't write detailed reviews of game mechanics anyway.
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Bill Lawson
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These two games Clash of Giants and Clash of Giants II have been on my wish list for awhile! To bad the former is OOP. Nice review I want them more than ever now.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
badge
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?
Avatar
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Quote:
These two games Clash of Giants and Clash of Giants II have been on my wish list for awhile! To bad the former is OOP. Nice review I want them more than ever now.


I was lucky to get this game for $45, but I know what you mean. I'd like to see a combined volume that includes one of the mobile campaigns from the Middle East or better yet the Brusilov offensive.
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