Publisher: Plastic Soldier Company
Rules By: Richard Borg
Reviewer: Paul Davies
The Great War by Richard Borg is probably the first board game produced as a standalone board game, but with the figures, and additional equipment sold separately and aimed at tabletop wargamers.
So without further ado lets go ‘over the top’ and see what you get in the box for your £59.95:
- A double-sided hex gridded game board, folding out to approximately 28” x 23”
- Seven terrain and accessories boards which include 58 double sided terrain hexes depicting countryside, forest, buildings, hills, rubble, trenches, shell craters, mine craters and barbed wire sections
- 58 Command cards
- 40 Combat cards
- 8 Battle dice
- 5 Targeting dice
- Rule book with 16 scenarios
- 2 Unit and Terrain Summary sheets, and some handy re-sealable poly bags in which to store components
- 162 15mm (1/100th scale) plastic figures.
The Great War is designed for two players, but this can be increased by purchasing more terrain boards and figures. Having played the two Opening Action Great War scenarios which are designed to introduce players to the game system, I can say that the rules are easily learned after just a few rounds, but their comparative simplicity doesn’t detract from the tactical challenges or the re-playability of the game. And it wouldn’t be difficult to generate your own scenarios to open up even more gaming possibilities.
Command and Tactic cards are used to introduce variables into the gameplay which I prefer to everything being controlled by the roll of a D6 which I find too random for my taste. With the Command and Tactic cards, you don’t have total control, but there is plenty of opportunity for good generalship to be rewarded. The use of these cards is controlled by HQ cards which you collect during the game… but use them with care. Run out and your great offensive may not happen!
Determining the fall of shot from the off-table (reserve) artillery is achieved by first placing the special targeting template over the target hex. D6 targeting dice are rolled and positioned on the appropriate hexes surrounding the template. ‘Doubles’ indicate an additional hit on the target hex. You then roll the appropriate number of Battle Dice for each hex, and the results are determined depending on the images on the upper face of each dice.
The specially designed battle dice are a good idea too, as a single roll of the dice can result in several different gaming possibilities.
Victory in the game is determined by gaining Victory medals which you earn by completing pre-determined mission objectives and eliminating enemy units.
Well, firstly, you get a lot; 162 in all. The Allies and the Germans each get 48 infantrymen in six distinct poses, 3 Special Personnel bomber figures, 3 machine guns and teams comprising gunner and 4 crew, and 3 Mortar teams also with 4 crew. The figures are 1/100th scale which in this case means that they measure 15mm from sole of boot to eye level.
The casting is generally good and I must make particular mention of the British water-cooled Vickers machine gun, and the German Maxim teams.
These three-part figures make up into particularly realistic looking models.
They’re a bit fiddly to assemble, but the end result justifies the effort. If you’re intending to paint them, it will be easier done prior to assembly though. Also take care when removing the figures from the sprues; the bayonets of the British infantry can be easily broken. This isn’t a criticism, but simply the inevitable consequences of having small scale figures equipped with realistically proportioned weaponry and moulded in hard plastic.
To command your forces, and as a hint of what else PSC Games have planned, you can also buy a Generals packs for £4.50 containing 2 British, 2 German, 2 French and 2 Russians! You won’t need them in the boxed game though… but they’re nice figures, so why not buy a set anyway?
There are no artillery pieces in the boxed game because its always ‘off table’, so they’re represented by tokens.
But you can buy British and German plastic artillery model packs for just £12 each. The British set contains 5 x 18 pounder guns and 20 crew, and the German pack contains 5 x 105mm howitzers and 20 crew.
The figures would not look out of place on any wargames table, and clearly AFVs, and more troop types and nationalities are on the way, which should reassure potential purchasers that PSC Games are not going to leave The Great War unsupported. Major credit must also go to Richard Borg for the creation and development of the Command and Colours rule concept and for Great War itself, and it would be churlish to ignore Sian Fahie at The Plastic Soldier Company who was the figure sculptor.