Bruce hosted me in a game of Fields of Despair on Tuesday. This is a WW1 operational game on the western front. The eastern front and broader political situation are abstracted using some of the tracks on the left side of the board
I played the dastardly Hun and we join the conflict after the initial invasion of Belgium. Momentum is with the Kaiser at this point so I pushed hard into northern France. I should have pushed harder towards Paris instead of towards the channel but, well, first game and all.
I managed to blow open a pretty good hole but the fortress at Verdun was a real pain in the ass. Bruce pushed back hard in southern France, which was rather distracting.
The arrival of British troops helped to shore up the northern front and Bruce managed to reform a roughly historical line while I was desperately researching poison gas and reducing Antwerp. Interesting mini-economic game is played at the beginning of each turn allowing choices.
At the end of three (or maybe four) turns, we called it for the night. It was pretty much a historical outcome with the Germans starting to stall in 1915 and the tide starting to turn towards a more even game as manpower gave out for the Germans.
Overall, pretty interesting. The first turn was slow as we worked through the mechanics. Then the game speeded up and I think you could play one turn every half hour or so. The political and economic game is nicely tied together with the battle mechanisms. We're going to give it another go this week. The full war would be probably a five-hour game and I was happy to not have to invade through Belgium on our first go (outcome is obvious).