All four of the combatants enjoyed the game and would play it again The game saw the emotions of all 4 of us on a rollercoaster, ranging from despair to high-5\five victory choruses!
Critical dice rolls in the game: Early clear weather. French and British recovering from being shaken so quickly. French recovering from collapse immediately. Entente rolling command unity on the second attempt. Germans NOT being shaken when NW dropped to 1. This prevented the A/H morale point penalty, which allowed them to propagate the attack on the Italians with a greater degree of ferocity. The Biggest dice roll of all was influenza. It arrived on the 4th turn (There is ~ 35% chance or arriving on or before the 4th turn) and it resulted in a blow from which the CP could not recover as it resulted in collapse of both AH and Germany. Finally the inability of the Germans to recover halved production, which crippled their ability to replace their army.
Some comments on strategies: The CP players were wishing they had attacked the Italians earlier. The Entente players were wishingthat they had fortified the Italian front line earlier (almost everything begins as entrenchments and steps were not taken to improve things as resource points were judged to be needed for the bombardment of Lille)
The CP player adopted a strategy of attack the French at all costs. This worked devestatingly well however they lost the bottle at the critical time and turned their focus instead to the Italian front. At game end the French morale was at about 70 points. That was only 9 exchanges away from total surrender Thus all attacks on the French stpped in the July I turn. Thhe stated reason for this was that they were getting concerned about the increased losses, as the French by this stage were almost all fighting within 3 hexes of Paris, thus getting a NW bonus.
The Entente adopted a strategy of nibbling away at the German forces and slowly whittlingthem down. One example of this was the terror bombing of German cities. We did this every turn for the game, scoring perhaps 15 morale hits over the course of the game. This was something that the Germans did not think was worthwhile. Thus they seldom used the Paris gun for ombing Paris and inflicting morale hits that way. It may have made a difference. Given the German strategy of attacking French only it gave the Entente great latitude with their attacks and it saw the British redced at one stage to only ~ 10 full strength divisions. We felt that the Germans should have taken advantageof the Brits at this time andattacked them – but their view was that it would have diverted their attack forces for a few turns – which was time they did not have. They also pointed out that the Brits were doing a good job killing themselves as in 1 turn the Brits had 2 attacks both at 3:1 odds and rolled AXs for both of them!
Comments on the game mechanics: We all felt that printed fortresses fell too easily. Verdun was undefendable. We belived that to take the fortresses perhaps a little more work would be required. Thus our suggestion is that defenders from fortresses should only be required to retreat when the combat roll is a DE
All up though, the gaming experinece was highly enjoyable and is recommended as there are a wealth of opportunities and decisions for all combatants!