A Little Taste of Trench Warfare

A Little Taste of Trench Warfare

Disclosure

I’ve mentioned before that my absolute favorite type of game is a category known as “abstract games“. Think of games like checkers or chess – each side has the same pieces and typically wage war on a board or table. It truly is the classic type of all games, one in which you aren’t trying to be the first to the end, score the most points or answer the right trivia question. These games are all about capturing or eliminating your opponent’s pieces and ultimately being the last person standing.

If you think about it, this is very similar to war. A battle usually has soldiers from one side surviving, while wars are won by eliminating the forces from the opposing country. Games have always been an individual’s playground for all of us wanna-be generals.

This past Christmas my brother introduced me to a game series that was issued in the early 2000’s called GIPF. The GIPF Project was a series of abstract games that built upon one another and could also be played individually. I liked them so much, he gave them to me for my birthday this year. What a great surprise!

Around the same time I was researching the GIPF Project (I am still missing one of the games that was issued and replaced with another one), I happened across a video about a new game that had been exhibited at the 2013 Nuremburg Toy Fair called Trench. Just one look at the board and I had to know more.

Trench is the brainchild of Rui Alípio Monteiro who created the game in 2009. The basis for the design is to simulate the trench warfare style of battle common during World War I. Soldiers would dig long trenches in which they would practically live, giving them a decided advantage over any approaching enemy. This technique translates very well in Trench, which uses a unique mechanic not seen in any other game.

Because Trench was created in Portugal (and manufactured there), we did have some issues understanding the English-language rules. After reading (and re-reading) the rulebook a number of times, we finally determined what the author intended and proceeded to wage war on each other.

Art meets strategy in this abstract board game based upon the warfare ideas of WWI. Trench from Wise Games must be in your collection. - SahmReviews.com

The game is actually quite simple to understand. Each piece is a different height, representing the ever-increasing ranks of an army enlistee. From Soldier through General, the height of the piece is congruent with the maximum number of spaces the piece may move in one turn. Each piece also has a limitation on the direction they may move, which is conveniently printed on the bottom of each piece.

Art meets strategy in this abstract board game based upon the warfare ideas of WWI. Trench from Wise Games must be in your collection. - SahmReviews.com

But if you look closely you’ll notice something different from your normal chess/checkers board. In Trench, the board and pieces are oriented diagonally. And across the middle of the board the squares are divided up into smaller triangles – this represents the ‘trench’ and when your piece in placed there, special things happen.

Art meets strategy in this abstract board game based upon the warfare ideas of WWI. Trench from Wise Games must be in your collection. - SahmReviews.com

A piece in the trench cannot be attacked by the opponent from the front nor from another piece inside the trench. However, it can be attacked from behind (flanking). If your opponent sneaks up behind you, your only escape is forward or sideways, as you cannot attack him from the trench if he is in your territory.

Art meets strategy in this abstract board game based upon the warfare ideas of WWI. Trench from Wise Games must be in your collection. - SahmReviews.com

So what is the advantage of the trench? Other than being safe from forward-attacking forces, there is one very powerful feature that is not available to pieces anywhere else on the board. When in the trench, you can attack forward and keep moving/attacking forward the maximum number of spaces your piece can move. In theory this would allow your General, who can move 5 spaces, to capture up to 5 pieces in one move! Anywhere else on the board you can only attack one time per move, stopping your movement where the capture occurs.

Art meets strategy in this abstract board game based upon the warfare ideas of WWI. Trench from Wise Games must be in your collection. - SahmReviews.com

Trench is definitely a game you have to play to really get a feel for the strategy needed to be successful. Your first game will definitely be about learning how the pieces move and interact with the trench (and each other), but once you have a grasp of it, you’ll be ready to take on the world.

I would be remiss in not mentioning the main thing that drew me to this title. This game is beautiful. There aren’t many games you would want to leave out on your table when not playing except for maybe a very nice chess set. Trench has an art-deco look that will stand out in any decor, and the pieces and board are of a quality that you’ll be proud to exhibit. It truly is an art piece disguised as a game.

Art meets strategy in this abstract board game based upon the warfare ideas of WWI. Trench from Wise Games must be in your collection. - SahmReviews.com  Art meets strategy in this abstract board game based upon the warfare ideas of WWI. Trench from Wise Games must be in your collection. - SahmReviews.com Art meets strategy in this abstract board game based upon the warfare ideas of WWI. Trench from Wise Games must be in your collection. - SahmReviews.com

Although Trench has been around in some form for a few years, we are seeing the excitement build in recent months. It is slated to be on the cover of Game Nite Magazine next month, which will certainly help increase awareness and demand for this title. Right now they are looking for a publisher to be able to bring it to the U.S., but you can email directly to find out when you might be able to get a copy. Follow Trench on Facebook to see when it’ll hit stores in your area. I wouldn’t hesitate at any price, this game is sure to be a classic.

Scott

About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as SahmReviews.com, GiftCardCollector.com and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

33 comments on «A Little Taste of Trench Warfare»

  1. Jeanette says:

    This looks like a totally different game than I have ever seen. Looks fun! My hubby is not a big game player, but I bet a few of my friend’s would love to play this.

    1. Hello Jeanette!

      Thank you for your comment! I’m very happy that you enjoyed theTRENCH game.
      TRENCH has an innovative design. Interestingly the women liked it very much. 🙂 TRENCH looks great in the living room…
      But TRENCH has also been praised for its strategy. Everyone likes the trench in TRENCH.
      I’m sure your husband and your friends will enjoy playing TRENCH. They only have to try … 🙂

  2. harriet says:

    Looks like an intense kind of game. I am thinking that it helps develop a lot of skills.

    1. Hello Harriet!

      Yes, TRENCH helps develop a lot of skills. Is an excellent educational as well as pedagogical tool.
      It has the potential to help develop intellectual and psychological skills, as well as concentration and memory abilities. It may also help develop many other cognitive and spacial skills: imagination and abstraction, space and peripheral vision, planning and decision making, calculation and logical reasoning, organizational and mental discipline, etc…
      TRENCH is a success in the classroom. It’s a game with simple rules but complex on the strategy. It is very intuitive and therefore children learn easily. It is inspired by the World War I, and so students still learn History …

  3. Heather says:

    Sounds like a cool game, seems a little bit like Chess or checkers to me, which j think would be great stratagy games for kids.

    1. Yes, Heather, kids liked TRENCH!

      TRENCH is an abstract game but has a theme. Is inspired by the First World War. The board represents two battlefields and diagonal lines symbolize the trenches. The pieces represent two armies, from the soldier to the General (represented by the pyramid of power).
      The children loves the concept, and the children learn a little about History. Perfect for use in the classroom.

      The rules are clear, intuitive and concise, making possible a whole universe of different strategies…

  4. I bet Tyler and Rob would love playing this game. I’m not a big gamer myself but this game has even sparked my interest.

    1. Hello Terry!

      I am very happy and honored that you enjoyed the TRENCH! Effectively TRENCH has the particularity to please everyone. 🙂
      I’ m sure you will enjoy playing the TRENCH because its rules are very simple and intuitive. And the strategy comes next, with practice …
      Unfortunately TRENCH is not yet available in the US but I can send a copy of Europe …have a nice day!

  5. Blogger says:

    I always come here to find the best games! And this one does not disappoint. I love games like this where you must plan, plot and strategize. Great find!

    1. Oh, thanks a lot! I am very honored that you liked my game!
      I’m also very grateful to Scott for the excellent review! 🙂

  6. Rosey says:

    Black and white is supposed to enhance learning too, yes? 😉 I like to play games with hubby that are a bit old for the kids. Right now we’re on a Jeopardy Game Board kick. 😉

  7. katrina g says:

    that looks really neat. i’ll have to look at getting this, i bet my daughter would live this but i know my husband would love it lol

    1. Dear Katrina,
      if you want a TRENCH game we sent you by post from Portugal…perhaps a souvenir for your daughter and/or your husband… 😉

      Our contact: geral.criacoesasolo@gmail.com

  8. Sinziana says:

    Hello Scott! What an interesting game…I like his features and I like the Black/White design. I must introduce this game to my husband…he likes to play games like chess and I think he will love this one…and then I will have to play with him :D…I am more like PC MMORPG games kind – WoW is my favorite lol.
    I really enjoyed reading this article.
    Regards,

  9. My hubby would LOVE this game! He’s a very tactical thinker… I just get frustrated!

  10. This looks like a fascinating game. It is certainly well designed and attractive. I would think that it would take a while to learn, but it would be a cool game to play once you’ve developed the skills. Thank you for the fascinating reviews with photographs.

  11. So cool! I love your gif image! I would totally love this game!

    1. Thanks a lot Amy! I’m very glad that you enjoyed my TRENCH! 🙂

  12. That certainly does seem to be an obscure game to play. Definitely a Scott Brady game. I had never even heard of this before coming across this page.

  13. My husband would love this game. He’s a thinker when it comes to games plus he was in the Army

  14. Trisha says:

    This looks like an interesting game! Not something I would typically play but I have a friend who is really into abstract games. I’ll have to ask him if hes heard of this one!

  15. thelesleyshow says:

    This game looks really fun… Cant wait to play it with the family!

    1. Thans! if you want a TRENCH game we sent you a copy by post, from Europe… 🙂
      Our contact: geral.criacoesasolo@gmail.com

  16. I’ve never really been into war games if I’m honest, but I think my brother would love something like this.

  17. Lois says:

    This game looks so interesting! I have never seen this game before but it looks like it could be a lot of fun… once you get a hang of the rules! 🙂

  18. This looks hard. I am a fan of chess and checkers but this looks intimidating. Kind of reminds me of battleship but with checkers.

    1. Hello Zulema!
      If you’re a fan of Chess and checkers you’ll like the TRENCH. TRENCH is a complex game but their rules are simple and intuitives. You have to try it! 🙂

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