Battle of the Somme: Over the Top, July 1st 1916 is a 46-page, full color, illustrated book containing a complete solitaire World War I wargame that puts you in command of a single British platoon going “over the top” early on July 1, 1916, at the Somme. Your goal? Lead your men (approximately 45 strong platoon, each counter representing one soldier) across No Man’s Land and into the German trenches, to dispatch any defenders. Of course, this is easier said than done (even given your preliminary bombardment), as the game system uses German machine guns and wire emplacements to keep you from your goal. The game has a strong “role play” (or "experience") element built into it, as you nominate one of the soldiers or officers to represent you; to win, you must not only clear the enemy trench, but survive.
The game has simple mechanics, and is designed for solitaire play. The map is a hex grid, with opposing trenches on opposite sides, separated by No Man’s Land. The standard scenario (“Red Hand at Thiepval Wood”) represents one platoon from A Company, 14th Royal Irish Rifles (Belfast Young Citizens), which is part of the 109th Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division, northwest of Thiepval, making the assault. Incredibly, 60,000 British soldiers fell that day (including about 20,000 killed), so don’t expect a walkover. Many historical scenarios are provided (for list, see below), and rules for linking these together to form a Campaign game. To play the game, you will need to separate the counters, select a scenario, nominate the individually named officers, lance corporals and men from among those provided to form your platoon. You'll need access to a standard deck of playing cards, and a six-sided die, which act as randomizers during play. When the whistle blows, it’s up and over the parapet for you and your unit, and off toward the German line. The rat-tat-tat of defending machine guns soon will become apparent, the wire entanglements in front of you daunting, seemingly random artillery shells falling into your midst unexpectedly. If you make it that far, the tension of the final jump into the enemy trench will certainly be gripping, the tension palpable. Will you and your pals make it? Will you survive the deadliest day in the history of the British Army? Battle of the Somme invites you to try.
Importantly, this new edition includes Advanced Game rules, providing for individual soldier ratings, and a set of Advanced, individual soldier counters, containing these ratings. This version adds complexity to the design while retaining Minden's hallmark of high playability. This edition also provides additional optional rules and scenarios, historical commentary, and is presented illustrated, in full-color.
Battle of the Somme is a solitaire game, but may also be played by almost any number of gamers, each “controlling” the action of a single man during play. Game Scale: Individually named soldiers. Map Scale: Approx. 30 yards per hex. Time Scale: Each game turn represents several minutes of real time. Play Time: About 45 minutes. Optional rules: Optional rules cover fire lanes, shell holes, differences between Regular, Territorial, and New Army units, rewards for valor (winning the Victoria Cross is a rare achievement, but possible), and more. Battle of the Somme is an updated revision of Poor Bloody Infantry: Somme, published in 2016. The book was designed and written by Gary Graber.
Game components (map, counter sheets, Reference Card) come within the pages of the book. Simply scan the components, print and cut apart, and you are ready to play. For those preferring physical game components, these are made available separately (see below). A total of 549 individual infantry men are included (57 officers, 63 lance corporals, 429 privates), meaning creating any number of your own, unique platoons is indeed possible.
Just how well do gallantry and courage stand up to crossfiring machine guns? Play a few scenarios, and you will arrive at your own conclusions. But courage and honor do play their part; shame on you if you decide to "go to ground" and let your chums lead the advance on the enemy trench. There's no rule against this sort of behavior, but it says something about your character and courage if you resort to such a tactic, even in a game. There's not a lot of time to reach the enemy trench, so calculated risks will be in order if you plan of occupying it. Good luck.
Put yourself into the boots of those going over the top that fateful morning by playing Battle of the Somme... and feel for yourself (and your pals) the experience of walking towards an uncertain destiny.
Battle of the Somme
Battlegame Book #3
BATTLE OF THE SOMME
46-page full-color illustrated rule booklet
seventeen historical scenarios
campaign game; classroom game
680 uncut counters in books pages
8.5" x 11" mapsheet
designer's notes & historical commentary
Historical Scenarios Included
(N.A. = New Army "Pals" formation)
Red Hand at Thiepval Wood
(1st Platoon, A Company, Belfast Young Citizens, 109th Brigade, 36th Div., N.A.)
10th West Yorks at Fricourt
(2nd Platoon, A Company, 10th West Yorks, 50th Brigade, 17th Div., N.A.)
Advance of the 4th Liverpool Pals
(1st Platoon, B Company, 4th Liverpool Pals, 21st Brigade, 30th Div., N.A.)
16th Middlesex at Beaumont Hamel
(2nd Platoon, A Company, 16th Middlesex, 86th Brigade, 29th Div., Regular)
Rangers at Gommecourt
(2nd Platoon, B Company, 1/12th London, 168th Brigade, 56th Div., Territorial)
Sacrifice of the 1st Newfoundlanders
(1st Platoon, A Company, 1st Newfoundland, 88th Brigade, 29th Div., Regular)
Nevill's 8th East Surreys
(2nd Platoon, A Company, 8th East Surreys, 55th Brigade, 18th Div., N.A.)
Royal Scots in Sausage Valley
(1st Platoon, B Company, 15th Royal Scots, 101st Brigade, 34th Div., N.A.)
Sherwood Foresters at Gommecourt
(1st Platoon, A Company, 1/7th Sherwood Foresters, 139th Brigade,
46th Div., Territorial)
Accrington Pals at Serre
(1st Platoon, B Company, Accrington Pals, 94th Brigade, 31st Div., N.A.)
Seaforth Highlanders Advance
(2nd Platoon, B Company, 2nd Seaforth Highlanders, 10th Brigade, 4th Div., Reg.)
Glasgow Boys' Brigade at Thiepval
(2nd Platoon, A Company, Glasgow Boys' Brigade, 97th Brigade, 32nd Div., N.A.)
2nd Middlesex at Ovillers
(2nd Platoon, B Company, 2nd Middlesex, 23rd Brigade, 8th Div., Regular)
9th K.O.Y.L.I. Through the Gap
(1st Platoon, B Company, 9th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 64th Brigade, 21st Div., N.A.)
Manchester Pals Toward Mametz
(1st Platoon, A Company, 5th Manchester Pals, 22nd Brigade, 7th Div., N.A.)
Ulster Volunteers West of Thiepval
(2nd Platoon, A Company, 9th Royal Irish Fusiliers (Armagh, Monaghan & Cavan Volunteers), 108th Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division, N.A.)
Disappearance of the Hampshires
(1st Platoon, B Company, 1st Hampshires, 11th Brigade, 4th Div., Regular)
BATTLE OF THE SOMME COMPONENT SET
(currently out-of-print, but available in PDF format)
Available for purchase separately is the Battle of the Somme Component Set. This set contains all the components published in the book, but as separate components. Included is 8.5" x 11" map, Reference Card, and all game markers and counters included in the book, including Advanced counters.
In addition, we've included an Advanced Game Rules folder, containing all the rules necessary to play the advanced version of the game. This means that if you have Poor Bloody Infantry: Somme, and wish to upgrade to Battle of the Somme, you can purchase this set an receive the Advanced version of the game as well.
This means you can Upgrade to the new edition (with new counters, Advanced rules, advanced counters) by ordering this set, if you already own PBI: Somme.
However... While upgrading may be good for some, we definitely believe the new book version contains enough new material (two new scenarios, a few new optional rules, and several sections of historical commentary, maps, and designer's notes), that we feel you would be well served to buy the new edition, which is the definitive edition of this game system.
What's included in the Battle of the Somme Component Set: One map*, one Reference Card**, Counter sheet 1*, Counter sheet 2*, Counter sheet 3*, Counter sheet 4**,
Advanced Counter sheet 5**, four-page Advanced Rules folder**.
* = components from PBI: Somme ** = new components in this edition
For gamers desiring even more, we are making available this Battle of the Somme Extra Counter Set. This set includes 170 brand new Advanced soldier counters (officers, lance corporals, and privates) plus all the men forming two additional historical platoons (4th Manchester Pals, 30th Div. and 1/6 Royal Warwicks, 48th Div.) and two new scenarios involving them. These historical platoons are also rated for Advanced game play as well.
Overall, this set includes 260 brand new men, and 70 game markers, and the two new scenarios (but no rules). If one adds this set to the regular game component sent, you'd have over 800 individual infantry men, and 200 game markers for the system. (Just think of all the unique, individual platoons you could create?)
This set includes: Advanced counter sheet 6, counter sheet 7 including Advanced 1/6 Royal Warwicks counters, Advanced 4th Manchester Pals counters, folder including two new scenarios.
(currently out-of-print, but available in PDF format)