X Corps – what are the issues?

So how do you go about developing a card game for the WW1 combat? I believe it is possible to represent the main issues for Corps, Divisions and Brigades within what we know as a ‘card game’ format. I think I have achieved that with VIII Corps: The Somme 1916, however I want to develop the idea further………

In developing the X Corps (Somme 1916) game from the VIII Corps game it is obvious there are significant differences :

  • Both 36th and the 32nd Division breached the German Front Line because they formed up outside the British Front Line in No Mans Land under cover of the Bombardment. This meant from the off they won the race to the parapets and were able to enter the enemy trench systems before the Germans could react
  • Because they started so near the German trenches they were able to negotiate the remaining wire more successfully.
  • By getting within the German trenches with comparatively few casualties (all things are relative) they were able to capture some objectives and defend them with some strength
  • By getting into the German trenches they got some of the benefit of the 7 day Bombardment – collapsed German morale, defensive positions destroyed and communications knocked out
  • Germans brought down a strong barrage on No Mans Lands effectively cutting off any support for the units that had fought their way into the German trenches
  • The Germans essentially defended deep from the Second Line position and counter attacked immediately
  • The Germans used artillery barrages tactically within their trenches to deny areas to the British, and to support their counter attack
In terms of the X Corps game it would be necessary to reflect on these differences and the tactical problems they bring whilst keeping the core VIII Corps structure of Strategic and Tactical turns. Again there is a compromise to be made between historical accuracy and game playability.
Looking at the Terrain it again would be possible to use the 3 x 3 grid that is used in VIII Corps, there is a Front Line, a Second Line with the Schwaben Redoubt and the village of Thiepval, and then the incomplete Support line. I will make a decision not to represent the 36th’s actions north of the River Ancre in support of VIII Corps. I will keep the 3 x 3 grid because it imposes a good discipline on the game structure.

The drawing board……..I’ll be coming back to it

More later looking at some of the mechanisms required to give a good account of the action.

The Somme Series is published by Vexillia Limited.  For more details, free samples and links to Wargame Vault visit the Vexillia web shop

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