1914 Opening: The Schlieffen Plan v Plan XVII

Here is a better illustration of the first turn (2 action phases) of the Mobile War Scenario.  The players have different objectives to score points.  The German player scores for Schlieffen Plan objectives and the French for Plan XVII.

In the photo above, the Germans have played an "opening move" and subsequently moved first during turn 1.  The photo was taken after combat on turn one.

Now on to the narrative...

This is a game that can easily get in your head.  Is the one block across from me zero or twenty?  Is that group of 3 blocks zero or sixty?

This was a very aggressive opening by the Central Powers. A true Schlieffen Plan if you will. Everything, including the kitchen sink went through Belgium. The Allies caught a couple of HUGE breaks. First, the fort in Maubeugen defended by the BEF is still standing. This stopped a potential breakout move at a time when every hex is precious to the Central Powers. Also, inexplicably, the Antwerp is not only surviving but doing some damage giving the German army a headache they did not plan for.

Even so, from the French perspective all looks lost. Some wargamers would be complaining about now. A little colorful language. Perhaps going so far as to say the game is broken on turn one. :)

"Hard pressed on my right; center is yielding; impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent, I shall attack!" - Ferdinand Foch

Plan XVII is viable. You could, as I did in my early French plays, pull back and defend or counterattack and hope you a.) win the battles and more importantly b.) get inside your opponent's head. These attacks into Alsace and Belgium are HUGE risks. If they fail, it may well be game over.

The Central player had to feel like he was about to steamroll the French. Now it looks opposite. Amazing what an action phase can do! The Germans made the mistake of leaving the line too weak in southern Belgium. Not pictured is the fact that this weakness was discovered during the "Air Recon" phase. Aircraft are proving to be critical to good play. This is encouraging as I feared the use of artillery would far outweigh it. So far, I give an edge to artillery but if you don't keep your planes flying, all is lost.

This photo was taken after both sides moved again. The Germans decided to slow the push in the west and retake Mulhouse and stop the bleeding in Alsace/Lorraine. Unfortunately, they used too much force in Mulhouse leaving their line open just to the north where the French were able to counterattack and breakthrough.

In Belgium came a whiff of the dice and Antwerp lived another day. The fort is gone but field units remain. In Maubeugen, another whiff and the fort, down to it's last chip (garrison) is still fighting on.

This is the first scoring point in the game. The full campaign has a different scoring system than the scenario. In the scenario, scoring objectives for the Central Powers are different than scoring objectives for the Allies the same way the objectives differed between The Schlieffen Plan and Plan XVII.

For the scenario round one the Central powers score 3 points. One each for the control of Liege and Namur with an additional point for occupying one hex on the Marne River. I would have expected their score to be 4 or even 5 but Antwerp and Maubeugen stopped that.

The Allies score 6 this round, 3 points for controlling hexes in Alsace/Lorraine and 3 for controlling hexes in southern Belgium.

The scenario in it's current form has 3 scoring rounds so it's anybody's game.

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Comment by Roger Morley on September 16, 2012 at 2:59am

The way your game is progressing, you could call it "The Thin Blue Line" - but I do like "Fields of Slaughter"

Comment by Kurt Keckley on September 16, 2012 at 2:56am

Eric,

I still like "Fields of Slaughter."

Comment by Kurt Keckley on September 16, 2012 at 2:55am

Roger,

This game was solo but most games are face to face.I am lucky enough to have another wargamer in town and still another that passes through with regularity.

Some back and forths with companies but still in limbo...

Comment by Eric Walters on September 15, 2012 at 9:26pm

Okay, instead of "Fields of Slaughter: The Western Front" we perhaps need to call it "Forts of Slaughter"....

Comment by Roger Morley on September 15, 2012 at 3:47pm

Are you playing this game solo or FtF? I have to play all my games solo due to lack of opponents, and in some ways it is good, as it narrows down what games to buy, as they have to be solitaire friendly.

Did you get any positive responses from those companies?

Comment by Kurt Keckley on September 15, 2012 at 3:41pm

Thanks Roger.  It is indeed my own design.  I have no plans for self publication but have pitched to a company or two.  I am always willing to send along the rules to anyone curious enough to give them a look.

Comment by Roger Morley on September 15, 2012 at 3:29pm

Good action report, and great edited pictures to show what is going on. Is this your own designed game, and are you planning on publishing it?

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