Paths of Glory was one of my first wargames and definitely the beginning of my love for the Card Driven Games (CDGs). I had opportunity to play it multiple times, including full, 20-turn campaign game. On a side note, that was a feat I will probably never manage to repeat again but I am proud from the material I created for this 🙂

Anyhow, I was so much fond of the game – but at the same time looking for new thrilling possibilities – that I started to look for other variants then full game. And I have found one – a superbly designed 1917 Scenario. What follows will be short description of that variant as well as short session report from the game I had a pleasure to play with Krzysztof and Marcin in that set-up.

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Paths of Glory

So, the general rules pertaining the 1917 Scenario are:

  • the game ends under same rules as campaign scenario and victory conditions are identical
  • the start turn is 14 – summer 1917
  • VPs are on 14 so Central Powers are ahead of Allies and more or less at the height of their might (at 10 we have draw, below 10 it is Allies victory)
  • both sides are at Total War
  • it is pretty close to Russian Capitulation – the marker is in the Fall of the Tsar box
  • US Entry entry is already in the Zimmerman Telegram box
  • There are only specific cards allowed in that scenario, majority of early war are already used
  • situation on front
    • Serbia is overrun by Central Powers
    • Romania is partially conquered by CPs
    • big part of Russia is in German hands as well as north-eastern France
    • Turkey starts to crumble under Allied offensive
    • All in all, Central Powers are in offensive
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The initial situation with division of sides (click on the image to enlarge in the new window)

Let us now look into the actual game and how did it play!

TURN 14 (Summer 1917)

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Main developments:

  • That was a turn of attrition warfare – it might not be visible on the map, but the Central Powers (Marcin) attacked Russia (Krzysztof) in multiple locations, eliminating couple of armies and many corps-size units. Still some terrain gains on Eastern-Front were made (Lutsk)
  • Similar war of attrition took place in the Romania where last units of that nation were eliminated
  • The Western theater saw unsuccessful German attack on Chateau Thierry – losses on both sides were high
  • Victory points: remain at 14, no major changes yet

TURN 15-16 (Autumn-Winter 1917)

1917_Scenario_t15-t16
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Key Points:

  • In those two turns almost all efforts of Allies were targeted at Turkey and hitting her as hard as possible – in hope of many VPs but also – if possible – to knock that Central Power country outright from the war; the first goal was successful – a great breakthrough in Mesopotamia and Palestine, but in the end the shorter front allowed Ottomans to defend themselves from the total collapse
  • Romania is completely overrun by Central Powers; also additional, limited gains on the Eastern-flank are made by the German armies
  • The Western theater saw another unsuccessful German attack – that war of attrition started to be costly for Central Powers here as they are not able to replace lost units as fast as Allies
  • Victory points: 13 – Allies started to regain the lost territory

TURN 17-18 (Spring-Summer 1918)

1917_Scenario_t17-t18
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Action areas:

  • This time it was Central Powers who focused on one area – Russia. Two-pronged attack – in the North and in the South – run through the Tsar territory, gaining multiple victory points as well as destroying significant numbers of enemy units – the Russian forces never recovered after that
  • In Asia part of Turkey Allies regrouped and gained some territory but that would be all what they can do there before Turks finally entrenched themselves in the Atlas mountains
  • Surprisingly, those two turns saw additional concentrated Allied attacks – by French in Greece toward Bulgaria (successful) and on the Western Front – mainly spearheaded by British  – on Germans occupied France (unsuccessful); and that was only taste of things to come…
  • Victory points: 15 – Central Powers are definitely winning but can they keep up the momentum once the US troops land?

TURN 19-20 (Autumn-Winter 1918)

1917_Scenario_t19-t20
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Final months of the game:

  • The clean-up in Russia is done – the Germans conquered everything what was possible and are regrouping to the more endangered parts
  • Further advances of French in Bulgaria were halted by redeployed German army
  • But the real action those last two turns – as per history – was in the Western Front; two US armies landed, multiple reinforcements / replacements for British and French were received and what ensued was a gigantic offensive, which swept not only through North-Easter France, reconquering all lost territory but went as far as taking Aachen
  • Victory points: 10 – dramatic drop for Central Powers but the game finished in well-deserved draw; another turn would see the Marcin’s forced completely crushed – despite his success in Russia
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One more look at the map – end of the game (click on the image to enlarge in the new window)

SUMMARY

That was a fantastic evening and Paths of Glory again provided many hours of fun. The game finished in a draw but we felt it was a justified score. What is more, I cannot recommend more the 1917 Scenario – especially if you are short on time and never had the opportunity to play a full game. This is good compromise – decent length (6 turns) to plan longer strategies, with all the cards immediately available – including Total War. The result is open and possibilities – due to the fact that all the key nations are in the game – countless. If you have a chance, definitely try it!

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