Scale of Strategy

A Great War Background is a fine example of how the scale of the game changes what the strategies and play space is all about. This element of the strategy focuses on how the scale of the game and thus what the player needs to plan about changes the nature of play and what players take away from the game. I am going to divide all these game set in the Great War by 5 categories about the scale of the decisions: 1st Person, Tactical, Logistical, Negotiation/Diplomatic and Grand Strategy. These categories often are how the roles within modern conflicts are delegated between officers, but also are a great way to remember how strategy different levels of strategy impact how we can plan in our own lives. A common reminder to not just live day to day, but step back and make sure our objectives and plan is being met by our daily grind.

Also, this is our first use of amazon affiliate links many of the games link to where to buy, since searching for these titles out on the open web proves to quite difficult with limited print ever produced too often the larger publishers pushing the more expensive versions. These links do not alter the price you pay, but do give us a little kick pack percentage to support the site.

1. 1st Person - Ace of Aces

This scale of strategy is quite common in modern video games and is quite immediate to the vast majority of wargame hobbyists. Unlike the rest of the wargaming genre this allows players to immerse themselves in the thick of a wartime experience of the personal choices, drama and action. Just as popular and thrilling as many of the war action dramas in TV in Film. But it all gets its start in a now obscure picture book game from the 1980s.

Ace of Aces - 1980 Picture Book Game might just be the first person simulation game. A fantastic game to check out. We have a copy in a family pile from when it first released. However the designer did a Kickstarter campaign for a reprint in 2012. They still have copies to sell via there website as of now in 2017, and check out the interesting simple rules:

2. Tactical - Squad Leader

Tactics is commonly mistaken being synonymous with strategy, but it is truly a popular subset. This genre is generally defined by not just the control of a singular fighter, but a company of units pursuing a defined objective. This is the major difference between the skill of tactics being about the details of accomplishing objectives, where strategy is more about the decisions of the plan. Here we focus on the major genre of hex chit wargaming within the Great War genre. Like many wargame genre, there are very popular titles and rule sets for American Civil War, or WWII, where The Great War WWI became a little overlooked by popular titles.

Tactical Game are dominated by the Hex and Counter system. Popularized by classic titles such as Panzerblitz and Squad Leader, which are game set in WWII about tank and combined arms at the unit level. 

Here are some less known titles that focus solely on WWI, many of these games you can't find on the open market, or amazon and are special hunts that you may come across on or other singular item ebay sales.

Red Poppies: WWI Tactics (2010)

A 8 scenario game forced on the Western Front, well reguarded on Board Game Geek. But this might be the only place for to find it on the web.

Infantry Attacks

Early Day scenarios for the Eastern Front between Imperial Russia and German units.

Landship! - Tactical Weapons Innovation 1914-1918 is a 1994 stand alone title that focuses on the vast array of unique weapon innovations from WWI tanks, planes, machine gun, trenches... With simple rules and 20 scenarios, certain one to check out.

GWASL I: Tankschreken! (2014)(2015)(2017)

This is a set of Great War scenario and map packs sold on paper and chit print outs for Advanced Squad Leader. You can pick them up from Critical Hit

3. Logistical - Path to Glory

Logistical makes the next step removed from combat. Here the scale of the play focuses on the product and deployment of units to which particular battles. The strategies here are far more focused on the costs and timing of objectives, rather than the skill in the technique of war. In our lives this would compare far more to understanding the scope and returns from projects, choosing what to undertake and when, and seeing if you can accomplish projects. Really the scale of management rarely practiced in daily life, but a significant part to focus on in play.

By far one of the best WWI titles out there is Paths to Glory. While this is a Point to Point style game, includes a huge map of Europe and the Near East, and hundreds of counters, cards, and a nice thick rule book. GMT Games makes a fine Campaign style game that gets deep into the battle choices and logistical details of the conflict.

4. Negotiation / Diplomatic - Diplomacy

The highest level of scope that strategy can be about, yet rarely has enough details to know what is going on. This is all about setting your own objectives as players and seeing if objective against objective can compete. Equally it allows players to very quickly over a couple of plays to see just how misguided certain plays are and how difficult particular option may be.

Diplomacy is most likely the most popular game about WWI out there. Large thanks to its designer Allan B. Calhamer designing it at Harvard 1954 to 1959 and licensing it to Games Research, Inc. Which then got bought by Avalon Hill and then Hasbro. Equally this game is immensely popular with play by mail, then play by email style play. But I’ll let Strategist Primus Explain more of that in his article on just the game Diplomacy.

Two certainly available options exist for this game one with metallic pieces and one with punch out chits.

This is a game that fits well for those who love Risk, but are looking for something with a bit more intrigue than pure world domination.

5. Grand Strategy - Axis and Allies

This is more of the mixing of several scopes into one bigger picture. Very popular and common in PC strategy as it often takes a whole series of nuanced rules to work out which is best handled by a machine. Yet a well designed game can just run on the table top sinking players into the total perspective on the war. From the top level diplomatic choices, to harden details of logistics, and to maybe event the eventual play of battle. Grand strategy sells very well on being the full weekend entertainment that can sink 2 to many players into the full perspective.

The best title out there for this, even while Path to Glory has enough of this to maybe even count, is clearly the popular Axis and Allies. A large full table kind of game that allows players to have the same kind of experience from their WWII game in a WWI setting.