About game:

This is another long overdue review and tribute to my favorite strategic-level wargame. There was always something more urgent to take care of or other topics to be covered. However, now the time has come so let me write about one of my favorite Card Driven Wargames of all times – Paths of Glory (PoG) from GMT Games.

It was my first GMT-published title to purchase – alongside Twilight Struggle. Since my initial contact with it in 2011 I played that game umpteen times. This was in various set-ups form shorter set-ups, through whole campaign up to the special 1917 scenario. My review will be based on those experiences.

Paths of Glory: The First World War, designed by Ted Raicer, allows players to step into the shoes of the monarchs and marshals who triumphed and bungled from 1914 to 1918. As the Central Powers you must use the advantage of interior lines and the fighting skill of the Imperial German Army to win your rightful ‘place in the sun.’ As the Entente Powers (Allies) you must bring your greater numbers to bear to put an end to German militarism and ensure this is the war ‘to end all wars.’ Both players will find their generalship and strategic abilities put to the test as Paths of Glory’s innovative game systems let you recreate all the dramatic events of World War I.

In order to achieve victory players attempt to attack their opponent’s key areas, scoring points for terrain objectives. The war escalates with time and more and more countries enters it. Be be ware – if the belligerent losses its capital it can be conquered and his armies dissolved. In the end, the ultimate goal is to force the other side to surrender and sue for peace – a feat possible only when tremendous advantage on front lines is achieved.

You will experience Bolshevik revolution, US entry into war, escalation from Mobilization, through the Limited to Total War. Each turn a tough choice will stand in front of you – how to use the strategy card – for operations, even, replacement points or maybe strategic redeployment?

Would you stand-up to the task and manage to prevail against your opponent?

Number of players:

This is one of the best 2-player wargames and fits ideally in such a set-up. Still, I played multiple times 3-players variant – with one person leading Central Powers, and respectively Western and Eastern Allies.

Playing time:

Let me start with the famous “it depends”. If you play the short, training Mobilization scenario – 1.5h is max. If 1917 scenario – probably that will be around 2.5 hours. The full campaign, 20 turns scenarios is best for two evenings to play it comfortably.


To start playing the game you really do not need a lot of time – rules are pretty straightforward and easy to grasp. The true beauty and depth of the game lays in the events which knowledge is crucial to long-term play. So you may firmly states that Paths of Glory has a moderate entry barrier but could be really hard to master!

What I like:
  • Theme – I am deeply interested in The Great War – you can easily see it in my article: My Passion for History – World War I. Paths of Glory provides and unparalleled possibility to experience World War I from it inception to the final days, replaying all major events. All game elements, from components, through special history-based events up to the additional information in Rulebook make up the great narrative and boardgame experience.
  • Cards & choices – did I mention this is one of my favorite and quintessential Card Driven Wargames? The pain of the choice you have to make each game turn is simply unbearable – shall I invest long-term and play event, or rather quickly use the operations (usual mistake of new players)? Or maybe my armies are too depleted and I should recover them? No, wait, if I do a strategic redeployment I might surprise my opponent next turn! Plethora of choices is so broad!
  • Components – as always, GMT provides a top quality experience in that aspect. Mounted map, sturdy cards, thick armies / corps tokens. All aligned graphically and aesthetically with the game theme. A feast for the eyes 🙂
  • Great replayability – the game simply shines in that aspect. There is like a couple of scenarios already in the rulebook but even more fan made (more about this below). Every session plays differently and there are some variable set-ups allowing for more balanced / less risky play. And of course each time you get different set of events which you put to play based on current map situation as well as your long-term plans. I often had situation that I wanted to restart the game just after it was finished.

  • Fans support – the game was published in 1999 and since then developed a vast group of the game fans. Multiple sides, among them banquetdesgeneraux.com/rubrique4.html provide game variants, alternative cards and set-ups. The choice what you would like to try is yours and possibilities plentiful.
What I do not like or would like to see in the game:
  • There is of course some luck in the game – you roll a dice. But let us be honest – one dice roll does not mean you lose the game. Still, some might find it as a too random factor.
  • To play the full campaign, an extensive amount of time is needed – at least two evenings in my opinion. So you need a dedicated wargaming partner to be able to bring the game to the table for campaign scenario.
For whom?

If you are pondering where to start your wargaming journey with Card Driven Games that would be one of my first choices. The game will appeal to everybody who is interested in history, appreciate well-thought design as well as very nice components and would like to learn more about The Great War – often overshadowed by the Second One. The beginner will have a lot of fun but the experienced grognard will find it interesting and engrossing too. 

More about the game:

And now let us have a look at the components – all pictures taken during my plays:

Game components – board, cards, tokens. And close-up on Western Front.
Eastern Front situation in one of our games
1917 scenarios set-up and ready to play – with overlay of borders and both sides gains (Allies – red, Central Powers – blue)
Detailed session report from one of our games



Paths of Glory will always be a special position for me. The first from GMT, the first Card Driven Wargame, a fantastic title to which I created a lot of material for session reports, be it specific map or even videos. A fantastic lesson of history, nicely prepared and very digestible, with esthetic components strenghtening the look and feel.

I can wholeheartedly recommend that title to any player interested in fast-playing and exciting strategic level wargames. You will spend many hours mastering it and thanks to multiple scenarios, will have possibility play it again and again. Highly recommended!

See you in another game review!