The Great War 1914 - 1918
by Charles S. Roberts Award winner
R. Ben Madison
NOTES FROM THE DESIGNER
Kaiserkrieg is a solitaire game that takes about 3-4 hours to play the entire campaign from 1914 to the end of 1918. You play the Central Powers (Germany/Austria-Hungary/Ottoman Turkey). It is more than a beer-and-pretzels game but is still fairly simple with 16 pages of rules, lots of chrome and mechanics that resemble some of my previous games. (Anyone familiar with the games that I have designed will see Kaiserkrieg as fairly typical of my designs.) For example, if you've played my American Civil War game Jeff Davis, you'll grasp the naval "blockade running" system of Kaiserkrieg immediately.
The key to this game is the ground combat system which is a revolutionary leap from the original "States of Siege" (tm) family of games pioneered by the brilliant Darin Leviloff. In a nutshell, where SoS games show enemy forces closing in on you along clearly defined lines of advance, Kaiserkrieg changes this to six static "Countries" surrounding you, the Central Powers. In this case they are Belgium (essentially the British sector of the Western Front), France, Italy, Serbia (the Balkan front generally), Ukraine, and Lithuania -- the latter two being the Tsarist Russian Empire. In each opposing Country, enemy Entente forces grow in strength and it's your job to keep knocking them down to size before they achieve critical mass and threaten a breakthrough against you. But the general SoS principle (draw a Turn Chit and see how many enemy forces move/appear this turn) still applies. The mechanic is incredibly simple but is still packed with tension, especially when you are losing the war at sea and your economy starts to unravel. An even simpler set of rules governs the "sideshow" war in the Near East and East Africa, but still generates plenty of historical narrative.
The game has a variety of land, sea, and air aspects including Zeppelins, British and German bombers, and of course the Red Baron without whom no WWI game can possibly be any fun. Special rules cover French tanks, the French Mutiny, border forts, trenches, the Berlin-Bagdad Railway, Romanian war plans, Mustafa Kemal, the Gallipoli operation, poison gas, the Allied Army of the Orient at Salonika, Armenian Genocide and Armenian resistance, the Siegfried Line, East African Askari troops, Krupp artillery, American intervention, the Hindenburg-Ludendorff dictatorship, German U-Boats, the growing anti-war Socialist movement across Europe (especially Russia), the Siege of Kut, the Senussi Revolt, growing unrest in German and Austrian cities, and the disintegration of the German home front as you crack down on the constitution, the rule of law, and the free press in an effort to centralize power, eradicate opposition and remove all domestic obstacles to winning the war.
We hope to have the game available in June.
R. Ben Madison
"I have had a blast playing Kaiserkreig. I really enjoyed it, and as soon as one game finished, I wanted to play again. I enjoyed the early turns especially as there were some really tough choices to make...(the game) provides an enjoyable, stimulating, and well-developed challenge." - Charles D.