Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Der Weltkrieg: The Battle of Tannenberg, September Turn 3 (September 9-12, 1914) and Post-Game


The Germans are now caught in the vice they so desperately wanted to avoid. Centered around Allenstein, the Russian First Army is pushing from the north, and the Russian Second Army is pushing from the south.

German Turn

German move, September 8 - 12, 1914 (click to enlarge)

German move, September 8 – 12, 1914 (click to enlarge)

Troops are shuffled around to close gaps in the line since the Russians are so close to overrunning Allenstein. The 8th Cavalry Division is pulled back from the Vistula to defend the southern outskirts of Allenstein.

The Germans attack in three locations, mostly out of desperation to drive the Russians away from Allenstein.

The first attack, in the north, 14 German combat factors attack 5 Russian combat factors. The Russians get the benefit of defending in the woods (-2 DRM attacker, +1 DRM defender).

The Germans inflict 2 combat factors of damage, causing the Russians to retreat, but because of the retreat, the Russians only lose 1 combat factor. This casualty is the cavalry division in the stack.

The Germans suffer only 1 combat factor in casualties as well, taking it from the 34th Landwehr Brigade. The 1st Infantry division advances.

Combat resutlts, German turn (click to enlarge)

Combat resutlts, German turn (click to enlarge)

On the west side, the Germans attack with 38 combat factors against the Russians 7 combat factors. The Russians also defend in the broken terrain (hills & such), giving the Germans a -1 DRM. The Germans inflict 3 combat factors in damage, forcing a Russian retreat (reducing casualties to 2 combat factors), but they inflict 2 combat factors on the Germans as they withdraw.

The Germans advance, coming in contact with both the Russian 2nd and 10th Army headquarters.

The final attack is a push on 2nd Army from the north. The Germans attack with 13 combat factors, facing 10 combat factors from the Russians. The Russians are defending in the woods (-2 DRM attacker, +1 DRM defender).

The Germans inflict 2 combat factors (no retreat) and the Russians inflict 7 combat factors in damage during the counterattack, and the Germans are forced to retreat

I kinda had a feeling that would happen.

The Germans have expended all of their supplies. It is now a matter of time before they collapse.

With that, even though there is one turn remaining, I am going to call an end to this game. The Russians win the battle.

Post Game

Der Weltkrieg is a fairly simple game to learn and play. It does not have the wealth of detail and complexity that The Great War series does, but that’s okay.  The Great War (currently March to Victory/Over There) has a tendency to get bogged down in that detail, in my opinion. Too much bookkeeping for my taste, plus around 200 pages of rules in 5 separate rulebooks. Der Weltkrieg, by contrast, keeps the rules clean and streamlined, at 24 pages, and a separate booklet for forces and scenario specific rules. The rules do not attempt to address every situation.

In The Tannenberg scenario, I think it would be better for the Russians to have the first move of the game. This way the Germans can react to what is happening, rather than the other way around.

The handling of supply is critical in Der Weltkrieg. I’m sure that as the game progressed, there were times I forgot to subtract expended supply from whichever army, which is why the Germans ended up running out of supply long before the Russians did. It is difficult, but critical to keep track of how much supply can be expended during the course of the game. Both sides start with 100 supply points, but the Russian supply is split between two armies while the Germans have theirs stockpiled in a single location.

Headquarters units have to be protected at all costs, and not allowed to be attacked. If a headquarters unit is forced to retreat (or is destroyed), all supply they currently have with them is lost. The enemy doesn’t capture the supply, it just gets destroyed.

The key for the Germans is to surround one army or the other while they are separated. I was not able to do this, in part because as the Russian player, I was anticipating that happening and kept moving the Russian Second Army around in order to prevent that kind of disaster.

Of course, there were artillery units in the east. They just were not included in this game. This was an introductory game. I’m sure they are included in the eastern front game (which I am looking forward to).

As posted elsewhere, I do have the games covering the Western Front, as well as the Ottoman Front (Gallipoli, etc). The last two games of the series cover the Italian Front and the Eastern Front (Russia, Serbia & Greece). There is no mention of the African campaigns at all.

The Der Weltkrieg Campaign Maps (click to enlarge)

The Der Weltkrieg Campaign Maps (click to enlarge)

The thing I don’t like about the series is the maps. Don’t get me wrong. The maps are very good looking. There is a lot of information on them. But a large section of France is missing. England is non-existent, except for a small portion of Kent. A large swath of Turkey is missing. Certainly, there may be a whole lot of nothing out there, but I prefer the option of being able to fight and move across the waste (which, admittedly, is unlikely to happen).

Another contrast to The Great War Series is that concepts such as naval warfare and air power are handled abstractly. Honestly, it helps not having to be distracted by these things, but it also seems that something is missing. I’ll have to see how it is when I actually play it.

I have to catch up on the posts for the Battle of Stalingrad that has been dragging on for well over a year due to my negligence, but the battle rages on. I am also going to mess around with both of the other Der Weltkrieg games that I have, and try to learn them before posting. I think I have the basic rules down, and have taken some notes as a quick reference.

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