A tragic irony of WWI unifies all aspects of game play. For most of the war, effective command and control of tactical units required a degree of concentration which threatened their survival. In other words, the game illustrates the inverse relationship between a unit’s responsiveness to orders and its durability. So players must “form” infantry units to get them moving and then “disperse” them at the right moment to hold the ground gained. Enemy fire can force premature dispersion which must be remedied to get an attack moving again. For infantry, the formed condition represents troops arrayed for the convenience of top down command such as those deployed in skirmish line or a column-of-march while the dispersed condition represents troops spread out and hunkered down for their own survival.
The game illustrates the evolution of tactics during WWI. In time, gas wafts across the battlefield, unit statistics change to show better performance while dispersed, a new method of tactical command and control (the “blob”) emerges, mortars pop up like mushrooms after the rain, and artillery becomes more responsive. In addition to short, standalone scenarios, RPC has a “campaign” mechanism so players can link a series of interdependent scenarios to simulate battles that spanned days, and nights. During these campaigns, the results of one scenario affect the start of another so conservation of force, supply lines, and replacements all become issues. Players will get a sense of slogging forward in yards per day - at great cost – as they plot days of grinding combat.
- Complexity: 6 out of 10
- Solitaire suitability: 8 out of 10
- Time Scale: 10 minutes per turn
- Map Scale: 200 yards per hex
- Unit Scale: Companies, squadrons, sections