Reviewed by Chris Kovac

QUARTERMASTER GENERAL: 1914 (PSC Games/Griggling Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 180+ minutes; $59.95)


Quartermaster General 1914 is the third game in the card driven light strategic Quartermaster General series by Ian Brody after Quartermaster General (featured in the Summer 2015 issue of Gamers Alliance Report) and Victory or Death (Fall 2016 GA Report).  The theme is the World War I battles in Europe and the Middle East in which you are playing as one of five Great Powers on either the Central Powers side (Germany, Austria-Hungary/Ottomans) or the Entente side (Russia, France/Italy or the United States/Great Britain).

The board shows a map of Europe from Moscow/Middle East West to the Atlantic coast ignoring Spain, Switzerland and the Nordic countries (greyed out) and is subdivided into areas.  Some areas have objective stars which give you points during scoring round and those objective stars with a bar show a powers home area. Each player chooses a power which comes with a number of military pieces (armies, navies), a deck of action cards and a player aid for the specific power outlining how many action cards of each type are in the specific powers deck. The initial armies and navies are positioned on the board as per the rulebook setup chart.  The game round marker starts on turn one while the victory point markers for both sides are put on the zero on the victory point track.  Finally, deal out ten cards from your powers deck, choose seven, and put the other three at the bottom of your draw deck.  Turns are done in the following order – Austria-Hungary/Ottomans, Russia, Germany, France/Italy and finally the United States and Great Britain – with each turn consisting of the following five steps:

  1. Draft Step – You may discard two cards from your hand to take one build army or build navy card from your deck showing to the other players before adding it to your hand.
  1. Play Step –You may play one card from your hand as an action. There are five different types of cards in a player’s deck (each deck has a unique mix of these cards).  These cards are:

    Build cards (army or navy) – These cards allow you to build specific units in supplied spaces (units in supply trace a clear line of hexes back to a friendly objective hex).

    Attack Cards (army or navy) – Move the specific supplied unit into an adjacent hex with an enemy unit and eliminate it.  The enemy can use prepared defensive cards (described in step four) to nullify the attack and in turn the attacker can use his prepared cards in response to the defender.

    Event cards – These cards allow the player to affect the course of the game by doing things like eliminating enemy units, gaining additional units or objective markers or having an enemy player discard cards from there draw decks.

    Economic Warfare cards – These cards force enemy powers to discard cards (symbols on the card tell you which powers are affected and how many cards must be discarded).

    Status Cards – Give you special abilities for your power and/or side for the rest of the game.

  2.  Attrition Step – Discard a single prepared card (see step four) to use its attrition symbols (on the bottom of the card) to force or more opposing powers to discard cards. Discards can come from hand, prepared cards or your draw deckquartermaster-general-1914-card-economic-warfare
  1. Prepare Card Step – Place one card face down in front of you or pick up one face down card and put it back into your hand. The text on prepared cards are ignored and only the symbols and text in the attrition box at the bottom of the card can be used.  You use these prepared cards to defend against enemy attacks or to enhance your own attacks.
  1. Draw step – Draw back to seven cards.

If your power runs out of cards during the game and cannot draw back to seven cards every turn your power plays, your side loses one point.  (The same happens if you cannot discard enough cards from a player’s attrition attack.)  At the end of rounds 3, 7, 11, 15 and 17, there is scoring. 

Each side games a number of victory points equal to the number of objective stars their side controls (including those from event or status cards).  If one side is ahead of the other by 14 points or more, they win instantly.  Otherwise the game continues until the end of 17 rounds. Then the side with the most points wins with ties going to the central power.

 In order to win at this game, you need to understand how many cards of each type you have in your deck and how best use them as the game progresses.  Good card management including knowing when to prepare/unprepare cards coupled with good knowledge of your power’s strengths and weaknesses is key to winning the game.

Quartermaster General: 1914 is well produced and the rulebook well written with good examples of game play.  This is by far the most balanced and, in my mind, most enjoyable game of the series so far.  It is a gamers game which will appeal to those fans of asymmetrical gaming or who enjoy Risk and/or Diplomacy but prefer a shorter playing time and more strategic gameplay.  A definite 8.5 out of ten for me. – – – Chris Kovac

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