Please note that this is a DTP (Desk Top Publishing) game designed on a desktop computer and all components, including the counters which will have to be cut and mounted, are printed on paper. These are designed by some very well-known designers and are a low cost alternative to today's professionally produced games. On rare occasions, some of these games are reproduced by other companies with higher quality components including die-cut counters but most of them are not. If you believe this game to have a professionally produced version, please contact us with your inquiry and we will help you to locate it if it does indeed exist.
Distant Foreign Fields: The Great War 1914-1918 is a division-scale wargame covering the First World War on all major fronts. Seven maps can be used together to play the entirety of the war from 1914 until its completion. Or, one map can be used to play a smaller scenario covering one important battle.
Included in the game are eleven 11x17-inch map sheets divided into seven maps. These seven maps do not need to be placed together in any order, allowing for wargamers with even the smallest of tables to play the entire war. These seven maps are the Western Front, the Eastern Front, the Balkan Front, the Trans-Caucasian Front, the Middle-Eastern Front, the Italian Front, and the Germany Map. Also included in the game are 3,600 mounted counters in easy-to-cut strips of individual rows of 10 counters. In your game package you'll also find 54 event cards, two 10-sided dice, a Player Aid card, a Scenario Guide card, and a 60+ page rulebook that contains all the rules needed to play as well as a detailed Order of Battle, Event Card listing, scenario and Grand Campaign setup guide, and an Example of Play. All of the game components are beautifully designed by graphics artist William Jhoslien, with the maps printed on glossy high-quality paper and the Player Aid and Scenario Guide cards printed on stiff cardstock.
The maps are designed to allow the terrain dictate the game and not the game to dictate terrain. River-valleys, mountain ranges, forests, plains, and rail lines are presented geographically accurate to give the viewer the feel of the true nature of the terrain. All the important towns and cities are presented in the pain-stakingly designed map. The scale ranges from 15 to 45 kilometres per hex depending on the map and the maps, not the units, dictate movement ranges. In addition, real black-and-white photos from the First World War are included on the map to give the real feeling of the conflict.
Accuracy in the order of battle was a top priority, and all divisions that fought in the war are identified and included in the game. Units include infantry and cavalry divisions, headquarters units that double as artillery batteries, tank units, fighter, bomber, and reconnaissance squadrons, individual historical aces, supplies, trenches, fortifications, and gas units. Land units are either 2 or 4-step units while air units are 2-step units. Each counter face has two steps on them and thus 4-step units consist of two counters. All of the great historical aces like Manfred von Richtofen and Billy Bishop are included in the game, and these powerful units rule the sky until they are shot down. The 3,600 counters include all of these combat and non-combat units as well as informational counters.
The 54 event cards are used in several ways. Some of the cards announce certain events, such as the declaration of war by a nation or the increase or decrease of the National Morale levels (the measure of production capacity) of the various nations. Other cards are secret cards that are only played at certain points during the war, allowing the purchase of special units or giving units special abilities. The Scenario Guide is used to aid setup for the scenarios, which use only one map each and only a certain part of the maps. The Player Aid card allows quick reference for important information and is a quick guide for the various steps of each turn.
And these steps are the following: Weather Phase, Supply Phase, Air Phase, Offensive Phase (including an Initial Combat stage, an Active Defense stage which allows the defender to counter-attack, an Attacker Exploitation stage, and a Non-Combat Movement phase), Movement Phase, Reinforcement Phase, and National Morale Phase. In this last phase, the events of the turn are used to determine whether the National Morale levels of the warring nations increases or decreases. The other phases are mostly self-explanatory for the seasoned wargamer. In Seasonal Turns production is taken care of.
There are some aspects to the game which aren't so apparent in the phase titles. In the Supply Phase, supples and HQs are moved across the game maps along rail lines, over terrain, and by rivers. In the Air Phase, aside from reconnaissance and combat flights, units can be used to attack these supplies or bomb the front lines, and Aces and fighters duke it out in the skies. During the Offensive Phase, combat takes place one front map and one alliance at a time. Thus, the Central Powers player would use an offensive, for example, on the Western Front and conduct his attacks there. Then, the Allied Powers player would use an offensive on the Eastern Front and conduct his attacks there. Then, the Central Powers player would use an offensive on the Eastern Front as well, and so on and so forth. There are three types of offensives, Assaults, Amphibious Assaults, and Attrition. In these offensives, nations are encouraged to conduct "Big Push Offensives" of four hexes or more and are penalised for not undertaking them in the period of a year. Players can also fight over "Symbolic Objectives", hexes that have no intrinsic value but gain value from the constant combat that takes place within the hex. In the First World War, thousands of men would die over valueless acres of mud, and this is represented by the "Symbolic Objectives".
This game has a medium complexity but should be easy to learn and grow accustomed to after a few turns. The smaller scenarios also help players grasp the basic elements of the game before engaging in the Grand Campaign. These small scenarios include the following: The Battle of Messines Ridge and the Third Battle of Ypres, The Brusilov Offensive, The Battle of Caporetto, The Battle of Sarikamish, The Battle of Megiddo, and The Offensive Against Serbia. Some, like The Battle of Caporetto take up the entire front maps, while some like The Battle of Messines Ridge and the Third Battle of Ypres use a smaller portion of the map but many units nonetheless. And all scenarios include a brief historical description of the battle represented.
With beautiful artwork, a fun system, and all major fronts and units represented in the game, Distant Foreign Fields: The Great War 1914-1918 is the perfect game for all who are interested in the First World War and those interested in a challenging and great-looking wargame.