Game of the Week, Jul 8 to 14

Hi everyone,

Well the sale is over, and we are back to celebrating Game of the Week.

This week’s Game of the Week is First World War Campaigns – France ‘14.

The First World War started on July 28th, 1914, 110 years ago this month. The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand resulted in Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, beginning World War I. Between August 2nd to 7th, 1914, Germany invades Luxembourg and Belgium. France invades Alsace, and British forces arrive in France. These latter events are covered by First World War Campaigns – France ‘14.

First World War Campaigns – France ‘14 is the latest 4.04 version, released a few weeks ago, and our product description encapsulates this campaign well:

The Great War exploded in the summer of 1914 as Germany marched into Belgium, sweeping aside Allied forces in pursuit of the crushing victory they expected with their finely tuned, but heavily modified, Schlieffen Plan. The German army then pushed on into France and as its columns closed in on Paris, victory seemed a foregone conclusion. However, defying all odds, the weary French and British made an about face and counterattacked along the Marne, defeating the Schlieffen Plan and halting the German advance.

There are 33 Scenarios, 5 Campaigns and 3 Grand Campaigns included. Below is a list of the major engagements included many with multiple scenarios:

  • The Ardennes
  • Mons
  • Le Cateau
  • Guise
  • 1st Marne
  • 1st Aisne
  • 1st Arras
  • 1st Ypres
  • Sorties out of Antwerp
  • Assaults on Liege and Namur

Campaign scenarios consist of:

  • The early German invasion of France up to the reversal at the Marne (158 turns)
  • The "Race to the Sea" where both sides attempted to outflank each other in a great meeting engagement from the Aisne to the English Channel (246 turns)
  • The entire Flanders campaign (190 turns)
  • A campaign covering the entire 1st Battle of Ypres in all three of its phases (190 turns)

Three Grand Campaign scenarios designed to be played with the other releases in the game series, which are intended to establish context and allow the player to influence the outcome of the war across many different scenarios (118 to 206 turns)

The master map (151,512 hexes) covers North-East France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, and Germany.

First World War Campaigns – France ‘14 includes the aforementioned playable scenarios, and campaigns, as well as a Getting Started scenario to introduce new players to the game system. The included scenarios are a good mix of small (division), medium (corps) and large (army) engagements.

Of the three included Order of Battles, the largest includes over 8,700 units from the German, French, Belgian, British, Commonwealth and Austro-Hungarian forces that participated in the campaign.

We included a lot of historical documentation and notes with this title, you can review each by clicking on the links below.

Getting Started Guide

Designer Notes

ORDER OF BATTLE-France '14 (early)

ORDER OF BATTLE-France '14 (late)

ORDER OF BATTLE-France '14 (mobilization)

Planning Map-Race to the Sea

Planning Map-Early

Planning Map-Flanders

There has been a range of books covering the early battles in France. Following are some representative books for anyone that would like some more background on the campaign. You can click on the book images below to be taken to the Publisher or Amazon, if applicable.


August 1914: France, the Great War, and a Month That Changed the World Forever. This is a fascinating book covering the social impact that the sudden onset of war had on France and draws on many individual accounts.

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War. Max Hastings needs no introduction on his history prose.

1914: The Year the World Ended. Another great general history to understand the genesis of the first world war.

1914: The Early Campaigns of the Great War by the British Commander. John French led the British Expeditionary Force during 1914, this is his view of the events.

The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World. The battle that saved Paris and quite possibly France.

The Guns of August. Barbara Tuchman’s masterpiece:

If you have never listened to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, then you are in for a treat. Dan has a range of his podcasts up on Spotify, but the series that details World War I can be bought directly from his website below. With over 24 hours across 6 episodes this is a thought provoking and unique presentation.


Now for video content:

Smart Wargames has reviewed France ’14, here.

Following are some in-game screen shots of what to expect. Each image can be clicked for a full-sized view.

As mentioned, the build we are making available today is a new 4.04 version that was released in last couple of weeks. A range of new features are included, and you can read the Changelog here. All new purchases will be this latest version.

If you already own First World War Campaigns – France ‘14, please note that you will have a new installer available in your store account. There will not be an update available for existing First World War Campaigns – France ‘14 installations.

Beginning with the recent Squad Battles updates, then Panzer Battles then Musket & Pike updates, Civil War Battles and now on to Panzer Campaigns - we have been requiring a complete clean install of your games to get the new version. There's a variety of reasons for this - core changes to file formats (moving to PNG files in some cases), new infrastructure for future A/I enhancements, Windows 11 compatibility changes and the enormous size many of the updates have grown to be. Regarding that last point, many of the updates were retaining backwards compatibility with ancient installers, in some cases back to the HPS days! This required inclusion of a huge number of files, and in some cases an additional Batch file to reorganize everything into the new file structures. It was getting problematic on several points, not the least of which was some security software packages were blocking the batch files from running.

So, these fresh installs will resolve all of those problems in one fell swoop. You uninstall your existing copy of the game using the built in Windows "App Management" feature in the Control Panel. You then do a clean install of the game, and everything is in its proper place. 

We will be doing this for every game series we publish, in time - if all goes well during the course of 2024. Once the new "base line" is established we will begin to offer incremental updates again on the site. These will only include files changed since that new baseline for that series. With that said, you can ALWAYS do a clean install at any time, and the installer linked in your Store Account is the most recent version.

So, again, how do you get these new versions? 

You must go and login to your Store Account to download new full installers. 

Notes regarding Store Accounts.

  1. If you go to login using one of the above links and it tells you "no account found" - don't worry! - just send us an email at the Help Desk and we will locate your records. It's just a matter of completing the account setup process.
  2. When you login you will see all your orders listed there. Under each order number is the word (Downloads). If you click that it will take you to a page where you can do a new download of the game and it will also display your serial number. Again, each of the installers is fully up-to date with the latest patches already included.

If you don’t already own this title, what are you waiting for? You can buy it directly from the dedicated product page.

We hope you enjoy this week’s, Game of the Week. We thought it was important to showcase this title on the upcoming 110th anniversary of the start of the first truly world war.  Like all WDS titles, there is a lot of game play included at a very attractive price.



1 comment

  • Jens L

    An Amazing game. Mammoth in scale, as i love. The ability to pair together Prussia and Serbia to make the start of WW1 is Great. It also gives you a small impression of the killing that went on then. The casulty numbers just the first few turns on the west front is appalling compared to other games. Again a Great Game. Buy it.

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