The Great War: Verdun, Disposable Heroes / Price of Glory, 28mm
We hadn’t played a First World War game for ages, despite building a set of Verdun terrain boards for a display game we put on last year. The real impetus was the Price of Glory, the First World War variant of Disposable Heroes, the Second World War skirmish system. We decided to stage a trench assault – with the outnumbered French holding the line against a wave of Germans. The game was set on the summit of the Côte de L’Oie (Goose Hill), next to Le Mort Homme.We’re used to Second World War platoon organisations, so this set-up takes you a bit by surprise. For instance, the Germans divided their platoon (zug) into three sections (each called a korporalschaft), and each of these had two 9 man teams, led by a sergeant. In other words, a German platoon had over 60 men in it!Of course, once the French machine guns started chattering you realised that no unit could be small enough. In the end we captured the first trench line, but took something like 50% casualties in the process. Clearly the assault had stalled, and we lacked the reserves to push through to our real objective – the French reserve trench line. Still, it wasn’t all machine guns and massed rifles – when the Germans reached the trench it came down to grenades, bayonets and entrenching tools. I just wish I hadn’t left my flamethrowers in the box.. Well , not only was this the First World War, but it was Verdun, so we expected a bloodbath. we certainly got it, and I think both sides were a bit shell-shocked by the end of the game. It certainly made me yearn for green fields, waving flags and blocks of brightly-painted troops – a little mud, blood and machine guns go a long way…As for the rules, this was the first time we tried Disposable Heroes for this period, and despite the carnage we all thought the system worked fairly well. We’ll certainly try it again, but we might opt for the sandy wastes of Palestine or the savannahs of German East Africa before we return to the depressing moonscape of Verdun!