Players: 2-5 Ages: 13 + Game Time: 90 - 120
Quartermaster General: 1914 takes into account logistics and supply rather than machine guns and trenches in this variation of war themed board games. I am not one for this style of game normally, BUT we were sent this by Ares Games ( https://www.aresgames.eu/) for review and I was pleasantly surprised by the tough decisions I was faced with during this game! This game is a part of the critically acclaimed Quartermaster General series, designed by Ian Brody, which pits the Central Powers against the Entente Powers. Based on the popular Quartermaster General system, this card-driven wargame reflects the military, economic, and political intrigue of the time.
You are the General Commander of each of the different world powers, each with their own unique deck of cards and strategies. Will you play as the cunning Germans, the mighty British, or perhaps the formidable Russians? The choice is yours (unless playing two-player, you play them all, do not do this for your first game)!
With each card in your deck having dual uses, one when played and another when prepared, strategic decisions abound. Every turn presents an opportunity to not only play a card, but also prepare it for future use. Will you unleash an offensive, or hold back and build up your forces for a decisive strike later? The power is in your hands.
But beware, as "digging" too quickly through your deck in the early game can have consequences. Depleting your resources too soon may leave your armies vulnerable in the final rounds, and one wrong move could spell disaster. Risk it all for a chance to capture Berlin or Paris in 1915, or play it safe and strategise for the long game. The stakes are high and it is these decisions which are tough throughout the course of the game, especially when first playing for the first time; mistakes were made and we (Henry and I) had to play the game again from scratch!
In the game you can play as the Central Powers : Austria-Hungry & Ottoman Empire, Germany & and Entente Powers : Russia, France & Italy, United Kingdom & The USA (in two- player you use them all and have multiple hands to manage, unless your a seasoned gamer I would avoid doing this for your first game).
The turn sequence typically follows these steps:
Play a card: On their turn, players can choose to play a card from their hand, which represents a strategic action or event. This allows players to execute various actions such as deploying troops, initiating battles, or utilising special abilities. Each card has its own unique effect based on the power that player is representing.
Prepare a card: After playing a card, players have the option to prepare a different card from their hand. Preparing a card makes it ready for use in a future turn, providing players with strategic flexibility and allowing them to plan ahead.
Draw cards: At the end of their turn, players draw cards from their respective power deck. This replenishes their hand, ensuring they have cards to play in future turns.
Draft troops: Players have the option to spend cards to draft additional troops onto the game board. This allows them to reinforce their armies and expand their presence on the map.
Attrition: Players may also choose to use cards to subject their opponents to attrition, forcing them to discard cards from their hand. This can be a tactical move to weaken opponents and disrupt their strategies.
End of turn: Once players have completed their desired actions, their turn ends, and it's the next player's turn to follow the same sequence.
The game comes to an epic conclusion after 17 rounds of intense ( I mean intense, IT WAS soooo close!) gameplay, or sooner if one side gains a commanding lead ( 10 points if i remember correctly).
One thing I really noticed with this game is the well designed cards that depict iconic military units, historical events, and strategic actions with incredible detail that really make you feel a part of the game. The game board itself is a relic of the scenes in movies where you see epic maps of Europe sprawled across large tables ( and while the map isn't that big it is reminiscent of this style), so the map really inspires the strategy element of the game!
But it's not just about looks of the cards and map, the components are of high quality, providing a tactile and immersive gaming experience. I only wish the pieces were a little bit bigger. Overall, I feel Ares has really come close to perfection with the production of this game ... IF it hadn't been for the linen finish on the cards (arrgghhhh I hate that type of finish so much).
So, let's break it down for you in our key areas:
The game that offers endless replayability, keeping players coming back for more thrilling battles on the tabletop. One of the key factors contributing to its replaybility is the unique decks of cards for each power, which provide distinct strengths and strategies.
The game features high-quality components, including beautifully designed and detailed cards that depict iconic military units, historical events, and strategic actions but, like I mentioned earlier, I just wish the wooden meeples be slightly bigger.
The game delves into the strategic and logistical challenges faced by the different powers during this global conflict, providing players with a deep and engaging thematic experience.
While the game rules are relatively straightforward, with simple mechanics and easy-to-understand actions, the strategic choices and decision-making can be challenging and thought-provoking. It is the strategy which might put players off this type of game... I am not at all a tactician and I genuinely enjoyed the game, the cards and attrition play options take away some decisions to be made, which in turn do speed up the game (eventually).
These are designed to be accessible and easy to understand, allowing players to quickly jump into the action and start commanding their armies. However our first game we struggled to determine whether we had a separate hand for each "Central Power" or one hand made up of all the powers available which meant we had restricted options for the armies during the game and a second game was need to be played to experience the game correctly, I am not sure if this was an oversight on our part, but this was the only unclear element of the rules.
The game does stand out as a unique game that offers a fresh and distinctive gameplay experience. One of its standout features is the asymmetrical powers, where each power has its own deck of cards, strengths, and strategies. I would have never thought I would reach for this style of game BUT I am excited to play it again, thanks to Ares for putting it in my hand (literally)!
It does offer great value and replayability, which in my book is incredible DUE to the fact I normally dislike this style / theme of game.
A five from me, never thought I would score it this slightly BUT this has converted me to now liking this style / theme of game! The slightly unclear wording for the rules and the linen finish is stopping me from scoring this a six. I am gobsmacked and humbled by the game and thankful to Ares Games to sending this to us!
Your DoaLG Founder