Monday, January 12, 2009

The Great War in the Near East review

The issue game in Command Magazine No. 37, The Great War in the Near East, is an add-on module for The Great War in Europe, which appeared in Command No. 33. It’s also playable as a standalone game. Like the parent game, the core standard wargame supply, movement and combat rules take up only five pages of the 20-page rule book. The balance of the rules describe the special rules needed to account for the special conditions of the Great War’s secondary fronts in the Caucasus, Palestine and Iraq.

Also like the parent game, the draw of chits provides the main engine for the game’s events. Unlike the earlier game, however, where players had some input into the pace of chit events because they paid resource points for them, in this game chit draws are automatic. Resource Points are so rare that players would never spend them on chits.

The map is compatible with the Great War in Europe. The Caucasus and Iraq maps are considered “East” maps and use the same 20-22.5-mile hexes as the parent Game’s Eastern Front. Palestine, on the other hand, is a “West” map, and uses the 9.5-mile hexes and double movement allowances of the French and Italian fronts in TGWIE. Unlike the parent game, where most units were divisions, this game also has many brigades and even some battalion- and company-sized units.

Fittingly for a secondary front, events in this game are driven in large measure by factors outside the player’s control. On each front, both players try to make do with minimal resources in supply and troops and make some headway. The game system ensures that the game follows history closely, and it is not easy to make dramatic departures from the historical script. Each front has only the most tenuous connection to the others. Even the Ottomans, who are the common belligerent on all three fronts, will find it hard to redeploy forces to take advantage of his interior lines.

The Allied objective is the force the surrender of Turkey by capturing “surrender towns.” During victory check turns the allies add the number of captured towns to a die roll, if it is 11 or more, the Allies win. The Central Powers win by avoiding a loss, except if the Army of Islam chit is drawn, in which case they must also capture the Russian city of Baku.

The Central Powers can optionally take six German shocktroop divisions in 1918. If they succumb to that temptation, they have to capture three Allied Victory hexes to win.

As a standalone game it takes about 20 minutes to set up and can be played in a long sitting. While there are potentially more than 50 turns, many will go by with little or no activity.

When combined with the parent game there is not too much of an addition in playing time for the same reason, although the combined game will certainly work best for team play, if for no other reason than coping with the mental adjustments needed to play, essentially, SIX simultaneous wargames!

There’s some minor overlap in the orders of battle, the duplicate units are marked with an “X” and set aside. The chit pool is also adjusted. There are some chits from each component game that are not used and several new ones specifically for the combined game that are added. Units from TGWINE are identified with a diagonal slash. Units used only in the combined game have the slash in red.


(Yes) For Wargamers: Primarily if one has The Great War in Europe. As a standalone game TGWINE is probably only for players with a special interest in one of the component campaigns.

(No) For Collectors: Nothing remarkable.

(No) For Euro gamers: No, no, no.

1 comment:

  1. Note that this game is (more or less) incorporated into the recent GMT release "The Great War In Europe Deluxe". The more recent game's rules are organized so that the rules for each individual game, as well as the combined game, are all in one folio with indicators when the rule changes from the original GWiE rule. To the best of my knowledge, there are very few changes from the original in terms of rules, although the map and counter art is completely new.