Billy Riley, 16 November 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay
I am a new convert to card driven games (CDGs). Years ago, I bought an old 1st Edition copy of Combat Commander: Europe – and I didn’t fall in love with it. I didn’t see how it could be played single player knowing what cards both sides had…and I was a dice thrower – I loved throwing dice and that was part of the love of boardgaming. Part of the tactile appeal. So it was shelved.
Fast forward to now and I had come across Fields of Fire and Point Blank: V is for Victory – and fell in love with CDGs.
It was a browse through my “local” gaming shop and I stumbled on Great War Commander. I’d heard great things about it before…lots of people giving it love. Personally, when it was released I thought it wouldn’t fit the game mechanics. But – here it was – staring at me.
Now understanding I had a love for CDGs, I decided to have a look on Board Game Geek (BGG) and sure enough, there were the scores – not to be dismissed…over 80%.
In the basket it went – and here it is.
A nice big box. Nice black and white art showing what looks like French troops going “over the top”.
click images to enlarge
The back of the box has all the relevant information regarding the components and with some blurb on the setting
The Rule Book
The rule book is nicely laid out and makes sense. It’s glossy paper and written in 3 columns…but very readable. There is a nice bit in the rules that says:
“IMPORTANT: In Great War Commander, the motto “a rule means exactly what it says” should be the order of the day. In other words: “Do not infer or imagine more to a rule than is stated in it. When in doubt, interpret strictly”
There’s a thin playbook that has details of the Random Generator – a way of creating even more scenarios to go with the 16 that you already get. It also has an Example of Play – though I’d loke for it to have some images – it’s purely text based.
Player Aid Cards
There are 3 player aid cards.
There are 3 sets of cards – one for the Americans, one for the Germans and one for the French. They contain Fate Cards which are the main driving force of the game and Strategy Cards as well as some information cards. There’s also Initiative cards with one having the Germans on one side and the French on the other and the other Initiative Card having the US on one side and the Germans on the other.
The counters pop out the sprue very easily – though they do leave those difficult to remove nubs half way along the sides. Also, they are small…but surprisingly clear. The only trouble I really have is with some of the names for the officers.
These are excellent and very clear. I prefer this to a booklet. There’s 16 in total.
There are 6 double sided maps on decent paper. They are also beautiful and represent the era very well.
That’s it. There is a lot in the box and it’s all high quality components…which I’ve come to expect from Hexasim. They are in a similar league to Lock ‘n Load and GMT.
I have actually played the first scenario. Initially I was bemused by the size of the map and the movement allowances of units. That seemed to be indicating a pretty short game. I needn’t have worried. The scenario went on for quite some time with the Victory Track moving to and fro…eventually settling on the French for the win. It was an excellent intro to the game and just made me thirsty for more. I immediately bought the BEF expansion…unboxing to follow.
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In the cozy Armchair Dragoons’ den,
Unboxing new wargames began.
With excitement they’d tear,
Through cardboard and air,
War stories unfolding, again and again!