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Best WWI Board Games

World War I was a horrendous turning point in human history. The strife and turmoil of the entire war raging across Europe touched nations around the world and forced us kicking and screaming into the modern age of mechanized conflict, industrialized slaughter, and total war. 

Today we’re looking at some of the best WWI board games.

🏆 Our Top Picks for WWI Board Games

In a hurry? Take a quick peek before you go.

Best EPIC

Der Weltkrieg: The Grand Campaign
  • Kit designed to link all 12 games of the Der Weltkrieg series...
  • Includes rules for economic warfare, production, varying length...
  • Includes 840 counters, 2 full sized & 2 half maps

Best Short

The Grizzled
  • Beautiful Illustrations - The art by Tignous powerfully...
  • Work Together - The Grizzled is fully cooperative. Players will...
  • Quick Challenge - Each round can be very tough to survive. It’s...

Best Overall

Best WWI Board Games Featured Image

“The lamps are going out all over Europe: we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

— Edward Grey, On his famous remark, in August of 1914, about the impending outbreak of the First World War

#1. Paths of Glory 

Paths to Glory Board Game Box and Map

Paths of Glory is a massive undertaking. It’s everything you would expect from a traditional war game, but its use of an innovative card system breaks down the complexity into manageable stages.

It’s a war game classic and after over 20 years, it still stands out in the crowd. In the box, players can recreate all the famous battles of WWI with all the hindsight of modern experience.

Will you be able to succeed where the greatest military minds failed?

“Two armies that fight each other is like one army that commits suicide.”

— French solider Henri Barbusse, in his novel “Le Feu”, 1915

#2. Der Weltkrieg: The Grand Campaign 

The Grand Campaign isn’t necessarily a game by itself. It’s the keystone to the Der Weltkrieg series of WWI games designed by David Schroeder.

The series takes players in-depth into every aspect of WWI, but the crowning achievement is when all the games are combined with the Grand Campaign. The Grand Campaign links all the game maps together and adds in the economic machine that was created during WWI.

The huge amount of resources and manpower necessary to sustain the war on all fronts was a major concern for all sides during WWI and as calvary became mechanized, oil and raw resources would go on to win the war. 

The Grand Campaign edition completes the series and creates a massive game that covers all aspects of the war. 

Der Weltkrieg: The Grand Campaign
  • Kit designed to link all 12 games of the Der Weltkrieg series...
  • Includes rules for economic warfare, production, varying length...
  • Includes 840 counters, 2 full sized & 2 half maps

“We are not going to lose this war, but its prolongation will spell ruin for the civilised world, and an infinite addition to the load of human suffering which already weighs upon it.”

— Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, The Daily Telegraph, (29 November 1917).

#3. The Grizzled

The Grizzled Board Game Box and Cards

Taking a break from the massive maps and bucket loads of counters, The Grizzled is a simple cooperative card game

The Grizzled follows a group of soldiers stuck in the trenches and the goal is simple: survive. Players have to work together to play all of the cards in their hands as well as the draw pile before time runs out.

What stands out to me about The Grizzled is that the game isn’t about winning the war. It takes an individual human approach to the winning criteria by having players simply try to protect their friends and make it home alive without too much trauma and damage.

 It’s easy to pick up and enjoy and it’s rather refreshing to have a World War game that doesn’t require a tremendous time commitment to play. 

The Grizzled
  • Beautiful Illustrations - The art by Tignous powerfully...
  • Work Together - The Grizzled is fully cooperative. Players will...
  • Quick Challenge - Each round can be very tough to survive. It’s...

“World War I was the most colossal, murderous, mismanaged butchery that has ever taken place on earth. Any writer who said otherwise, lied. So the writers either wrote propaganda, shut up, or fought.”

— Ernest Hemingway

#4 Le Grande Guerre 14-18

Le Grande Guerre 14-18 is a French board game, but don’t worry, there is an English set of rules now. 

Le Grande Guerre takes an overall view of the war from beginning to end. That alone is ambitious, especially for WWI. In the beginning, officers of the French army were on horseback and still had sabers. As history podcaster, Dan Carlin likes to say, you could look at a painting of Napoleon’s army, and the French army at the beginning of WWI, and you would see very few differences. 

Le Grande Guerre takes this into account and separates combat into two different rulesets. The first half is set as the world is still learning modern-day warfare. Retreats are common and casualties are still relatively low. 

When 1915 hits in-game, that’s when trench warfare is unleashed along with the new combat ruleset. Retreats are no longer viable and casualties begin to climb in staggering numbers. Le Grand Guerre offers an immersive experience with technology, the fog of war mechanics, and its portrayal of the shift in the war that happened historically as nations became more mechanized and warfare became more brutal. 

“All this madness, all this rage, all this flaming death of our civilization and our hopes, has been brought about because a set of official gentlemen, living luxurious lives, mostly stupid, and all without imagination or heart, have chosen that it should occur rather than that any one of them should suffer some infinitesimal rebuff to his country’s pride.”

— Bertrand Russel, British Philosopher

#5. Axis & Allies: WWI 1914

Axis & Allies took a step back from their traditional WWII games and revamped their iconic system to try and simulate WWI. 

The combat rules have been changed to simulate trench warfare, and even designer Larry Harris notes, Axis & Allies 1914 is going to be a slogfest as troops fight over yards of territory. It will feel like it as well. Axis & Allies 1914 takes approximately 8 hours to truly finish a game. 

It’s a great rendition of WWI but there have been complaints about the production value. If you’re a fan of other works by Avalon Hill, however, and want to try your hand at trench warfare, Axis & Allies: WWI 1914 does deliver a rather authentic experience. 

“…I could hear these shells coming over I really began to know what fear was…”

Quiren M. Groessi, Company F, 5th Wisconsin Regiment

We hope you found something fun to play. We know there are many WWI games out there. If you’re favorite didn’t make the list, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you. 

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Looking for other War Games to play? Check out our video below:

SHARING IS CARING

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