Austria-Hungary’s 1914 Folly

On the table for some solo gaming is Michael Resch‘s Battle for Galicia 1914, a division level game scaled at turns of two days and hexes of twelve kilometers covering the August and September 1914 campaign in Galicia. The bloated and somewhat outdated army of Austria-Hungary was trying to take Lublin while the even more outdated and clumsy forces of Russia were trying to take Lemberg.

The designer’s forte appears to be World War One, and his previous designs have been loaded with history and a tone of detail. Too much detail for many. However, this magazine game is a wee cracker because the designer has stripped everything down to the essentials and delivered a highly playable, challenging, simple – but not simplistic – game.

The game is, unsurprisingly, marred by some counter and rules errata, but not too much. For example, five counters had the wrong values printed on their reduced side. Annoying but fixable. Also, the combat examples conflict with the game tables. Oh, and did I mention that the reinforcement track has a couple of mistakes?

These issues are quickly forgotten once you start playing. The system uses mostly traditional mechanics (I go, you go) with a combat system that grinds down attackers as well as defenders and shows the importance of artillery. In this game you really do have to think about how far you can push your forces and when is the right time to pull out troops for some rest and recovery. Cavalry has its role to play, too.

The map is clean with big hexes to suit the larger than usual counters. It looks good.

Overall, a nice addition to the collection. But when oh when will Compass improve their quality control?