Paths of Glory (board game)
Paths of Glory: The First World War, 1914-1918 is a strategy board wargame
Board wargame
A board wargame is a wargame with a set playing surface or board, as opposed to being played on a computer, or in a more free-form playing area as in miniatures games. The hobby around this type of game got its start in 1954 with the publication of Tactics, and saw its greatest popularity in the...

, designed in 1999
1999 in games
This page lists board and card games, wargames, miniatures games, and table-top role-playing games published in 1999. For video and console games, see 1999 in video gaming.-Game awards given in 1999:...

 by the six-time Charles S. Roberts Award
Charles S. Roberts Award
The Charles S. Roberts Awards are given annually for excellence in the historical wargaming hobby. It is named after Charles S. Roberts the "Father of Wargaming" who founded Avalon Hill. The award is informally called a "Charlie" and officially called a "Charles S...

s winner Ted Raicer and published by GMT Games
GMT Games
GMT Games, probably the most prolific of the wargame companies in the 1990s and 2000s, was founded in 1990. The current management and creative team includes Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, Mark Simonitch, and Andy Lewis...

. It covers World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 from its outbreak to the 1918 Armistice, or based on the progress of the game a hypothetical later ending of the war in early 1919, possibly due to exhaustion of Europe. The game is played on a map of Europe and the Middle East as the game board.


Unlike many other wargames with hex map
Hex map
A hex map, hex board or hex grid is a gameboard design commonly used in wargames of all scales. The map is subdivided into small regular hexagons of identical size.-Advantages and disadvantages:...

s, this game uses a point-to-point system, with all spaces costing one movement point to move between, difficult terrain (eg. the Pripet Marshes or the Alps) being represented by fewer links between spaces. A unit may not both move and attack in the same activation. Most game turns represent seasons, although there are a few extra turns to allow more manoeuvre in the summer and autumn of 1914. Counters
Counter (board wargames)
Boardgame counters are usually small cardboard squares moved around on the map of a wargame to represent armies, military units or individual military personnel. The first modern mass-market wargame, based on cardboard counters and hex-board maps, was Tactics, invented by Charles S. Roberts in 1952...

 represent corps and armies, counters for the latter being physically larger and attacking on a more favourable table to represent artillery support. Corps may be deployed on the map as needed, or kept in the off-map "reserve box". Armies which take losses are also replaced by corps from the reserve box, or are permanently eliminated if no such corps is available, so a player must be careful to keep enough corps in reserve. Most minor countries (except the Serbs and Belgians) have only corps-sized counters. Up to three units (of any size) may stack in a space.

An attacker attacking from multiple spaces may attempt a "flank attack". If successful, the attacker attacks first, only after which can the now weakened defender fire back - the opposite is the case if the flank attack fails. This tends to be a key tactic on the more mobile Eastern Front. Players may dig "trenches" under their counters, which besides weakening the attacker, strengthening the defender and making the defender immune from flank attacks, also allow defeated forces to avoid retreat at the cost of extra casualties, thus potentially making a densely-packed Western Front as immobile as it was in reality. Certain other forms of terrain (eg. mountains) also have similar powers to trenches. The map also contains numerous printed fortresses (eg. Liege, Antwerp, Verdun, Pryzmysl, Riga), which may be destroyed in combat or besieged.

Stringent supply restrictions - units out of supply may not be activated for movement or combat, and are permanently eliminated if supply is not restored - force players to try to keep continuous lines. Multinational attacks are subject to the restriction that one stack must contain units of each attacking nationality, so a major Anglo-French offensive on the Western Front - to achieve greater attacking strength and to spread the casualties - might require 3 or 4 operations points to activate. The Central Powers are subject to the same restrictions, but have some cards (Sud Army and 11th Army) which allow greater German-Austrian co-operation.

The game also features an innovative card-driven system where each card may be used for one of four distinct actions: operations (movement or major offensives - cards vary from 2 to 5 in value), strategic redeployment, replacement points (rebuilding units after combat losses) or special events (see below). There are three separate decks of cards (Mobilisation, Limited War and Total War - the last contains events which happened late in the real war, and also has a slightly higher average value for operations points, representing a higher level of industrial mobilisation), the latter two being added to the deck in the course of the game.

Each turn each player draws a hand of seven cards, and must take six actions, one of which must be a randomly-determined "Mandated Offensive", representing political pressure to make an attack which he might otherwise not have chosen, and which might even be quite inadvisable. For the Allies, a French or Italian Mandatory Offensive is twice as likely as a British or Russian one. After the German player has played the "French Mutiny" Event, French units are instead unable to attack (unless stacked with a US unit) on turns in which a French mandated offensive is rolled. The Central Powers are also subject to Mandatory Offensives (eg. a Turkish offensive or an Austro-Hungarian offensive against Italy), but German Mandatory Offensives on the Western Front are less likely as the game progresses and Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

 and Ludendorff
Erich Ludendorff
Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff was a German general, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg...

 (and Max Hoffmann
Max Hoffmann
Max Hoffmann was a German officer and military strategist during World War I. He is widely regarded as one of the finest staff officers of the imperial period....

 in the East) are deemed, via play of the relevant cards, to have taken control of Germany's war effort.

Special card events play a key role in the game, and ensure that many of the historical events of the First World War take place, if not necessarily in the same order as they occurred in reality. They include the raising of fresh armies, the entry of neutral countries or the descent of Russia by stages to the Fall of the Tsar, the Bolshevik seizure of power and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, mediated by South African Andrik Fuller, at Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Powers, headed by Germany, marking Russia's exit from World War I.While the treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year,...

. American entry is also determined by the play of event cards, is only possible after Russia has become a democracy (hence historically in the spring of 1917) and does not always occur. It is perfectly possible that the Tsar might fall but the Bolsheviks never seize power, or that the USA might enter the war but never deploy US armies to Europe. Countries may only enter the war (if at all) on the side which they took in the actual war, ie. Italy, Greece and Rumania (which might potentially have joined either side in reality) can only join the Allies, while Germany cannot attack neutral Holland (which is not even shown on the game map).

If a card is played for its special event, it is removed from the game, so the pack of available cards gradually diminishes as the game progresses. A player may also automatically make a single activation without the need to play a card, which may be necessary if he has played most of the cards out of his hand (eg. through playing too many combat cards), or if he is trying to retain a key card in his hand for use on a future turn. Cards with key events are also likely to have high values for Operations and Replacement points, requiring a player to make critical choices each turn in managing his hand of cards.

Other special event cards include particular key offensives, such as the Russian Brusilov or Kerensky Offensives, the German Verdun, Michael and Blücher Offensives or the Allied Gallipoli and Salonika landings. Other events include the sortie of the German High Seas Fleet (which may be defeated by play of the British "Grand Fleet" Card - statistically roughly a one in three chance of the Allies holding that card at the time) and German Unrestricted U-Boat Warfare, which prevents deployment of US or British reinforcements until defeated by play of the Allied "Convoy" Card.

Other cards may be used to affect the outcome of combat rolls. These include able generals such as Kemal, von Below, or Putnik, or new weapons such as poison gas, mine attacks, flamethrowers or tanks (the latter only available after the Allied player has first played the "Landships" card, which has no effect but represents the first ineffective use of tanks in 1916). Each side has an "air superiority" combat card, which may appear at various times during the game, reflecting fluctuations in air superiority. Whereas many combat cards are one-off events, removed from play after a single use, several Allied combat cards (tanks, mines, hurricane bombardments) may be repeatedly drawn from the pack, and allow the Allies to gain a slight tactical edge in the latter part of 1918 as they are drawn more frequently from the small number of cards remaining in the game.

Victory is determined by control of objective spaces. If the game follows historical lines, the Germans will gain objectives in Russia and Rumania, while the Allies will gain objectives in Turkish-held Palestine and Mesopotamia. The Allies will also gain a few victory points from their blockade of Germany and from events such as the Lusitania Sinking, but will still need to recapture some German-held objectives in Belgium if they are to reach their historical victory level. However the rules also suggest that in competitive play players bid to pay the highest victory point handicap for the privilege of playing the Allies, suggesting that the Central Powers, who have to juggle multiple fronts with limited resources, are in fact the harder side to play.


The game has won the 1999 Charles S. Roberts Awards for Best Pre-World War II Boardgame, the 2000 International Gamers Award
International Gamers Award
The International Gamers Awards is an award for strategy board games and historical simulation games.- Past winners :2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000- 2010 :- 2009 :- 2008 :- 2007 :- 2006 :- 2005 :- 2004 :...

, and the Games 100
The Games 100 is an annual feature of Games magazine, a United States magazine devoted to games and puzzles. The Games 100 first appeared in the November/December 1980 issue as an alphabetic list of the 100 games preferred by the editors of the magazine...

Best Historical Simulation Game in 2001.

Expansions and related games

In 2001 GMT released the add-on Paths of Glory Player's Guide, which is a 48-page booklet containing articles with tips, tactics, strategies and game variants. In addition it includes 20 new cards and a 1/4 sheet of additional counters.

The GMT game Barbarossa to Berlin by Ted Raicer covers the Second World War in Europe, 1941-5, with a very similar game system. The similar game "Pursuit of Glory" by Brad Stock and Brian Stock, covering the First World War against the Ottoman Empire in greater detail, was published by GMT Games in the autumn of 2008.

External links

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