Some further thoughts on
the Great War Spearhead rules from author Shawn Taylor
Scale of the game
I have had many people ask me why I moved away from platoons and went to companies for Great War Spearhead. Well I can only tell you that given the scope of game I was hoping to create, the platoon just didn't work. I wanted to have something more than a brigade attacking a spot on a hill, and have that without over complicating the entire process. The initial 6 months of play testing was with platoon level and everyone just found it awkward. So I jumped to company level. Very quickly it became apparent that this was where the game should be and the flow and feel soon became exactly what I was trying to achieve. Yes I had to let go of some concepts that many want in a WWI game (trench raiding being a large one), but the overall feel as a Corps Commander works well. There are some who tell me that having the pivot rule is over doing it for the Corps commander and although there is some truth to that I think it is a necessary part of the difficulty of coordinating masses of humanity with limited communications.
Playing a scenario or one off game is a great way to have some fun and enjoy the period through the rules. But I have found that a campaign adds an element that increases the drama and feel to the period. I was hoping to have included the campaign rules in the original rules but I ran out of time so had to add it to the website after publication of the rules themselves. You may find that the campaign system is just too clunky for your likes and if so use something else. The bottom line is this - TRY A CAMPAIGN!
When I ran the Lemberg campaign it was both exciting and not just a little nerve wracking. You have only so many resources to cover off just about everything and it gives a good indication of what it must have been like at the army commander level. It is not enough to win a great victory against a limited objective if it means that you have left you flank wide open and the enemy has now trapped you away from your supply source (this happened to one of the Austrian
formations). The ebb and flow on the campaign board means that the battles you fight on the table now take on a special/specific influence and
this causes you to not think. Now you have to concern yourself with a number of issues not just one battle on one day.
There are a ton of campaigns that can be run using GWSH campaign system (or others) which come quickly to mind.
Race to the Sea
The BEF initial contact
French 5th Army 1914
1st Battle of the Marne
Plan XVII (Battle of the Frontiers)
The Nivelle Offensive
The Brusilov Offensive
to name just a few.
Taking a bit of time to set the stage can give huge enjoyment in return. Keep it as simple as possible so you don't lose the initiative of a campaign or the intensity. Don't be afraid to bathtub it if you have limited resources, but the bottom line for me is give it a go. I think you will find it is well worth the effort.