Paths of Glory: Player's Guide
List Price: $25.00
Your Price: $19.95
(Worth 1,995 Funagain Points!)
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The Paths of Glory Player's Guide is designed as an expansion kit for your enjoyment of this wonderful game, with exciting and informative articles featuring strategies for you to employ, new scenarios and variants, new playing cards, in-depth analysis of key features in the game, and so much more. Executive Editor Wray Ferrell has put together an excellent team of authors and Managing Editor Stuart K. Tucker's handsome layout design makes reading and utilizing the Player's Guide a pleasure.
I purchased the Players Guide at the same time as the game and as yet haven't explored the new scenarios or extra cards. I have found the strategy articles very helpful in understanding the game a little more, bearing in mind I don't play many board games. Just having another perspective on when to play different cards opens up new possibilities in play for me. It's an expensive guide, but overall I am pleased with the purchase. I can sympathise with the previous reviewer who considered the strategy articles a little bland for the more experienced player but as I stated above they have been helpful to me. I also like reading battle accounts and I suppose the strategy articles are a little similar. I think this is a cool guide and a nice addition to your copy of POG and very worthwhile for a new player. If your in Auckland and want a game, drop us a line.
As one might expect, the articles here contributed by Ted Racier are quite good: the 20 new cards and the article on pre-war options are good variants and only a couple of the new cards are obviously marginal. I recommend the option of swapping out equal-value cards (rather than going to an 8 card hand, which is obviously a rather dramatic change in the game). And the new scenarios are huge; they provide much more playable chunks, allowing you to easily play the dramatic final years of the war (the scenarios in the basic game were a huge disappointment, with only the full game being at all worthwhile).
All this--the new cards, scenarios, and the pre-war variants--are almost certainly worth the price. It's almost unfortunate that they actually included the rest of the material, which is for the most part solidly third-rate. Ananda Gupta's analysis of the Italian Front is the best of the lot, but much of the other analysis is tedious and unenlightening (where it does more than simply restate card texts) and several of the variants are rather obviously unplaytested. Ah, for the glory days of The General. As a moderately experienced player (some 5 full games, plus a few shorter ones) I found virtually nothing of substance in any of the strategy articles, although perhaps newer players will find it more helpful. Plus, much of the non-Racier material is riddled (by professional standards) with rather disturbing editorial gaffes and copy-and-paste errors.
Anyway, there is a lot to recommend here--and as I say, the scenarios and new cards are almost certainly worth the price. But if you wanted strategy and analysis, I would suggest you simply try to play the game more.
As said above, this is a mixed bag. The extra cards add a number of interesting twists to the game. Also, when adding these to your deck, playing with eight cards makes yet more sense (this being my prefered modus operandi).
The scenarios allow to play out interesting situations at various points of the war and provide for a shorter game.
These two points make it a very worthwhile purchase for those who will be taking this game often from the shelf.
The pre-war strategic options by Ted Raicer offers some nice alternative history should you wish to explore other openings. However, there are a number of rather similar articles on much the same subject and these variant (and additional card) suggestions seem often enough flawed or uninteresting. Particularly, scripting certain moves and attacks strikes me as quite boring.
Some of the additional options are quite absurd. Hence, it is suggested that you can buy an option for one VP penalty - and the benefit of this option then is that you can determine a point in the game you want that VP back! Pretty nonsensical and superfluous, to say the least.
The strategy articles: Indeed, the Italian Front article is probably the best of the lot. The cards analysis really stops short, just where the analysis you get interesting. I do see that there is only so much space, but in such a case, greater focus on the more interesting cards would have been nice.
The openings article is - I'm afraid - flawed. It argues, iirc, that the Tarnopol Encirclement can be countered, but illustrates this only in respect to the inferior variations of the move. The article conveniently ignores the - as the author puts it - Raicer refinement in his analysis to prove his point (even though he mentions it fleetingly).
Okay, I am nitpicking, but as said before, the strategy articles won't tell you much you haven't worked out yourself if you've given this game some thought and/or playing it a bit (solitaire play already gives plenty of insights).
What I would have really liked in the Guide, would have been a replay report recounting the war in game terms. It would be interesting seeing the interpretation of history in game terms and be able to compare that with your own games. Perhaps something for Player's Guide Nr. 2 ?!?