It’s a process. Learning new games always is and my first attempt at the campaign game for 1918: Storm in the West was no different.

My understanding of the rules and mechanics were sound but after playing nearly half the game, I realized that the Germans would not be able to avoid an automatic forfeiture at the end of Turn 9. How could this be? I pushed them to the limits, and despite having some major adverse results on the CRT, I felt as if the Germans had to be in a better place. Turns out, it was all in the setup. While I had my Stosstruppen corps concentrated at the center of the front, they were still too diffuse to maximize their offensive capabilities. Close but not close enough.

The broader lesson here is that despite knowing the rules and subcases, you can still miss the forest for the trees. And if a game is not ‘behaving’ in the fashion you expect, it could very well be user error.

Good news though- the second campaign turned out better and was more historically aligned with actual ending of the war in Europe. By stacking the Stosstruppen and leveraging the ZOC and supply rules, the Germans pushed towards Paris and fell back when the Americans arrived in force. From there, the attritional Allied attacks wore down the Germans, who did not have the replacement steps necessary to stanch the bleeding. Much better game not only in terms of history, but more importantly, playability.

Full review coming soon.