Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
Well, I knew it. A week has gone by and no new blog post until this evening...er, this morning. Did I have nothing to write about? I didn't think so. I'm not sure I do now! But, I'll endeavor to try and be a more regular correspondent. We'll see...
Eastern Front Games Experiment
BGGer Darillian proposed that we and a mutual friend or two conduct a kind of experiment about East Front wargames, using this blog as an outlet for our findings. The games under consideration for our experiment are GMT's No Retreat! The Russian Front, GMT's Stalin's War, and Columbia's EastFront II. Each if us will "champion" a particular game. I will champion No Retreat!, mutual gaming friend E.S. will champion Stalin's War, and Darillian will champion EastFront II. (As a champion, it simply means that's the game we know best and will be the one to teach it the others and will write about it.
The purpose of the experiment is to compare the games against one another. Is one easier to learn? Easier to teach? Fast- or slow-playing? A better model of "history?" Each of us has a half-dozen or more plays of our choice title under our belts. By comparison, we have only a few plays—if any—of the other games. We will be both teaching a game we know and learning a game we don't.
We have no schedule for performing the experiment, so plays may be fleeting or furious depending on our level of interest and commitment.
All three games seem to be pretty different from one another, so I'm rather looking foreward to it. I'll be certain to let folks know how it all goes.
I had a had a chance to play A.S. in four rounds of the Salamanca: Attack on the French Left scenario of Commands & Colors: Napoleonics this evening. I took the first match, 12 banners to 9. A.S. took the second, 11 banners to 9.
As we played and swapped games, we each made mental note of the best opening attacking and defensive plays for the both the British and French sides. It appears to be finely balanced, but the British won three games out of four.
As the French, I tried to get the artillery into position early to begin banging away at the British and Portuguese infantry. I also tried bringing up the cavalry as early as possible and to hold the infantry group on the left flank in a defensive triskelion until I felt confident to move forward.
As the British, I also tried to bring up my cavalry and artillery as quickly as possible, though the French overmatches them. A strange ace-in-the-hole for the Brits are their Rifle Light infantry. If they can get them on the outcrop along the ridge of their own left flank, they can command the likely approaches and positions for the French Infantry and Artillery. But if the French are in position first (and it's not hard for them to do) then they will have to remain well behind the crest of the ridge to sweep them when the French finally come pouring over.
As the Brits, I was a sucker for getting the Rifle Lights into that sweet spot to cover the French guns. One time it worked: I was able to plink the battery away eventually. The other time, it didn't: the French brought up cavalry and artillery into a combined arms assault that eventually forced them away in a badly weakened condition.
The last game of our series was especially close: Playing the Brits, I nearly lost the game when my Rifle Lights were chased away and my regular Light infantry mauled to death by cavalry and infantry on my left flank. This enemy swarmed into my rear area and threatened ruination. I was lucky to draw both First Strikes one after the other and so was able to blunt the French advance and eventually throw it back.
But the game saver was a an epic Cavalry sweep performed by the Portuguese heavy cavalry. They managed to press into the French line and pin three units into square. Careful moves with British Light cavalry to maintain the pressure eventually found the cavalry rolling up weakened French infantry, pushing the enemy artillery back over the hill (where they were of no further use, and running amok in the the French back row.
There was certainly much bad dice rolling, by both sides: a five-die cavalry charge that missed on every face. A seven-die combined arms attack against a two-block unit that only inflicted one hit. An attack on a weakened infantry unit that rolled all artillery faces. We each had the game winning move before us, and each found ways to piss away our advantages. It was a great relief to finally win, as either one of us could have at any time.
I finished the 1965 BBC Sherlock Holmes series from 1965 that featured Douglas Wilmer. 11 sterling episodes. I enjoyed each and every one of them. Wilmer is a great Holmes. Nigel Stock as Watson was also played extremely well.
I think, like the earlier series with Ronald Howard, this particular show had a cast of players where the extras played one or two other roles throughout the series. It bothers some people when shows do that, I know, but I actually enjoy it.
I'm very sorry Wilmer felt at the time it was better to leave the show than to continue with the second season that was offered to him. I understand he balked at trimming the rehearsal schedule and that's when Peter Cushing was offered the part. I'm going to track down the second series and give that a shot.