About game: Having played almost all scenarios – including some of the tanks related – in base game and expansions I think I am ready to write a review of this second , French expansion to the The Great War – touching a little on the whole game also.

Although not in the actual name, this is of course Commands & Colors game, just published by PSC not GMT. And I would see this as a new generation C&C game, where we have two decks of cards and some unique features – like Special Personnel – allowing for great replayability.

Still, the basic concepts of building your hand, attacking with well prepared strategy, where you do not just have one great card for the section but some assets to follow-up, are in place.

There are no leaders – their influence greatly diminished with history since Ancients times – but there is very neatly introduced concept of Reserve Artillery.

The expansion brings thematically some of the most famous battles of the war – I will probably not be wrong saying “the most famous of all so far published in that series” – Verdun.

So, can you lead the Germans to their ultimate victory, breaking French lines? Or will you rally the Allied troops and as historically, repel the invader attack?

Number of players: 2 – two is perfect – this is of course typical two-person wargame; however fan-made variants for solo play plus combination of two scenarios to play something resembling EPIC scenario with 4 players exists.
Playing time: Those scenarios takes on average 1.5 hours, significantly more the Ancients, slightly more then Napoleonic.

There are usually large 6-8 banners scenarios, where you play with two decks which slightly prolongs the game but give more strategic choices.

Complexity: I would say medium-complex C&C game, only Napoleonics being slightly more complicated. However, in comparison to other Wargames, this is definitely light position.
What I like:
  • Special Personnel – this is for me the most tremendous an significant change to base game, which enriches the depth of the game enormously.
  • Significantly broader array of possibilities to create Combos: with command cards, combat cards and special personnel. This in comparison to other C&C games but also to base version of this game.
  • Replayability – not only No-Man’s shelling creates different board each game, but now Special Personnel can really enhance your forces that or the other way.
  • Improved minis – yes, I explicitly write improved as soft plastics is much better for me as baordgamer. Maybe for modelers the hard plastic is the default solution, but for the ease of play this is huge difference.
  • Again, for me, this is simply something which seems impossible – First World War game (trenches!) being quite dynamic and well reflected in C&C system.
  • Tons of scenarios in expansion plus retrofit of Special Personnel into the Base Game, allowing for tens of hours of additional fun!
What I do not like:
  • As far as expansion is concerned – and I see this also in Napoleonics – tendency to divide one battle into so many scenarios. I will be quite honest, that after 6th or 8th scenario with Germans attacking at Verdun, I really wished for something else, and French counter attack scenario was kind of fresh experience here.
  • In essence, although there is 18 scenarios, only two battlesVerdun and Nivelle Offensive are covered.
For whom? Of course, first and foremost for C&C fans. You should not be afraid of new system and new company in this area. The First World War game-play is perfect (thanks to Richard Borg!) and PSC learnt a lot after first edition of the game. They really took to the hearts all the feedback and the new edition of Base Game plus expansions make it a great position for all Wargamer!
More about the game:

And now let us have a look at the components – all pictures from my session reports.

First, the cards:

The Great War Cards – improved edition (click o enlarge)

Figures with special personnel:

Dynamic action next to MG nest (click o enlarge)

 

The board:

French storming the German entrenchments (click o enlarge)
Germans ready to storm French positions (click o enlarge)

VERDICT:

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The French Expansion pushed The Great War in my personal ranking of C&C games to the second position, just behind the Ancients. It is tremendous change – both in quality of components and in the rules /special personnel / new terrain features / etc. What is more, it refreshes and re-energizes the base game scenarios thanks to possibility to introduce SP figures. I am really glad that such fantastic expansion was produced and can’t wait for future ones!

Great job, thanks!

See you in another game review!

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