B Company, 5th Battalion Gallipoli 1915: Churchill's Greatest Gamble

The game has been accepted for publication by GMT and is available for pre-order here. Play testing is almost complete, aiming to publish in 2017.

Gallipoli 1915 is a war game of the landings near Gallipoli on the Dardanelles Peninsula in Turkey during World War I. The Dardanelles Campaign was a Turkish victory, but in the West, especially in Australia, it is remembered as a heroic failure that almost succeeded. It could have shortened that disastrous war by a year or more. The "almost succeeded" part is what makes it so interesting and unlike the muddy stalemate in France.

Afternoon counterattack at Anzac Cove
Ottoman Counterattack stopped just short of Anzac Cove, 25th April
3rd Austrlian Brigade races the Ottoman 77th and 25th Regeiments to crest at Serafim Farm
3rd Austrlian Brigade races the Ottoman 77th and 25th Regeiments to crest at Serafim Farm

Final Streamlining before Artwork and Production

The following changes were made following another round of convention playtesting in April:

  • Step scale is doubled from 100 men/step to 200 men/step. Therefore a company has one step,a half-battalion has two steps, a picket has 1/4
  • Hiding as separate counters (a moot change - no one is hiding yet!)
  • Rallying from confused is now an opportunity fire trigger and never costs an officer point (this dumps a lot of special rules)
  • The DRM for movement is +3 for every MP, rather than +3 for the first MP and +2 thereafter (drops a line from fire DRM chart)
  • Dropped the DRM for firing at an enfiladed trench (rarely occurs, drops another line from fire DRM chart)
  • Drop the extra MP for entering assault (together with the change for Confused it means that all movement is an Opp trigger)

The results are good - the end result was historical and playtesters report that it plays almost twice as fast.

I am often asked how the orders system plays - what choices can a player have in a WWI game? After all, a game is about choices. The following video is an answer - lots and lots of choices!

Playtesting Results

In our games so far we have seen two minor Entente victories in the historical games (the Anzacs managed to take Gaba Tepe in one game, although with heavy casualties). The Free Landing Scenario is more varied - we have seen two major Ottoman victories, a draw, and two Entente major vitories. The Totoman vitories were due to over-confident Entente planning The British .landed on the beaches north and south of Gabba Tepe, looking for the shortest route to the forts at Kilid Bahr. To ensure that they landed on the correct beach Scot chose to land in the daytime. However, the Ottoman coastal defence artillery hammered them on the beaches. In the first game the British had to resign very early - they had sent a Battalion to do a Brigade's job. In the second game they were able to scrape together a beachhead, but it was not pretty. The Entente vitories sometimes used all the diversionary forces, sometimes not. The key was to land "en echoleon" and keep the Ottomans guessing as to which was the main force. If the Ottomans commit their resevres to soon then they cannot react quickly enough to a later landing. Managing the reseves is crucial.

Could it have ended differently?

If you read the histories there is always the feeling that If only the Royal Navy had not landed the Anzacs in the wrong place, ..., or If Only the Navy had not accidentally shelled the New Zealanders when they finally reached Chunnuk Bair, or If only the Marines and King's Own Scotish Borderers at Y Beach had agreed who was in command and actually fired the same ammunition, ...

For the Turks, their great regret is that they followed Liman von Sanders' plan and deployed as a defence in depth. The Turkish Army now believes that a cordon (forward) defence on the beaches would have been more successful. It was a campaign that both sides believe could easily have gone either way. The outcome teetered on a knife edge during both landings. As a game, it means that your decisions matter.

You can play three historical secaniors (Anzac, Helles, or the whole Southern peninsula), or try your hand at creating your own plan. You can even decided to forgo the faked landings at Bulair and Kum Kale, and land with twice the forces on the peninsula on day one.

Cooee Recruiting poster