Over the Top
Command Decision Series

Wargame Rules Review

Over the Top, Command Decision Rules for WW2 by Greg Novak

Over the Top is a World War One variant of the operational level Command Decision wargame rules designed for World War Two. Over the Top uses infantry platoon stands representing 40 to 60 actual men, and vehicle models representing one to five wagons, trucks, armoured cars, tanks, trains, or aircraft. The rules cover WW1 campaigns on all fronts, including the colonial campaigns in Africa, operations in the Middle East, the Japanese assault on the German enclave of Tsingtau in China, even the 1917 to 1922 Russian Civil War.

The vehicle rules include bicycles, motorcycles, horse-drawn transport, cars, trucks, tractors, armoured cars, tanks, armoured locomotives, and ground-attack aircraft. Famous fighting vehicles like the French Renault FT-17, Schneider, and Saint Chamond M-16, the British Mark I and Mark V Tank series, Roll Royce and Lanchester armoured cars are covered in the same detail, as lesser-known vehicles like the German Straßenpanzerkraftwagen E-V/4 Ehrhardt/17 the Italian Autoblindo Lancia LZ, or the Belgian Automitrailleuse Minerva.


  • Title: Over the Top, Command Decision Series Game
  • Period: World War One 1914–1918
  • Type: Grand-Tactical Wargame
  • Time Scale: 1 turn = 15 minutes
  • Ground Scale: 1:1800 (1 inch = 50 yards)
  • Troop Scale: 1 platoon (40 to 60 men) per ¾″ by ¾″ stand
  • Basing: ¾″ × ¾″ infantry stands of 2 figures
  • Author: Greg Novak
  • Format: 120-page rule book
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: GDW Games, Bloomington, IL
  • Published: 1990


  1. Introduction, 1 page
  2. Basic Rules, 14 pages
    • Troop Quality
    • Charts
    • Referee
    • Playing Conventions
    • Sequence of Play
    • Terrain Types
    • Command Control
    • Movement
    • Visibility and Spotting
    • Fire Combat
    • Morale
    • Close Assault
  3. Advanced Rules, 7 pages
    • Prepared Positions
    • Artillery Ammunition
    • Chemical Warfare
    • Weather and Night
    • Aerial Operations
    • Armored Fighting Vehicles
    • Special Troops
    • Destruction
    • Special Rules
  4. National Data Section, 40 pages
    • Austria-Hungary, 1914-1918
    • Belgium, 1914-1915
    • Britain, 1914-1918
    • Bulgaria, 1915-1918
    • France, 1914-1918
    • Germany, 1914-1918
    • Italy, 1914-1918
    • Montenegro, 1914-1916
    • Romania, 1916-1917
    • Russia, 1914-1917
    • Serbia, 1914-1916
    • Turkey, 1914-1918
    • United States, 1917-1918
  5. Scenarios, 45 pages
    • Home Before the Leaves Fall (1914)
    • Last Stand at Tsingtau (1914)
    • The Western Desert (1915-1916)
    • First Blood (Mons 1914)
    • Massacre of the Innocents (Ypres 1914)
    • Steaming down the Tanga (1914)
    • C’mon Leathernecks, do you want to live forever? (1918)
    • Forty Thousand Horsemen (1918)
    • Armistice Day (1918)
    • Return to the Khyber Pass (1919)
  6. Game Reference Charts, 2 pages
  7. Designer’s Notes, 3 pages
  8. Bibliography, 1 page
  9. Order Chits, 2 pages

The layout and printing quality of Over the Top is among the best in the $12 price range, although it cannot compare to professionally layed-out and illustrated wargame rules like Fire and Fury, Shako, or The Age of Eagles, which command approximately twice the price.

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Over the Top is a complete miniatures wargame and reference book of World War One, based on the popular Command Decision game. The National Data section includes infantry, cavalry, artillery, vehicles, and aircraft of the major and minor powers involved in World War One.

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