We have a fantastic game of EiA game going. As a bonus, Davout (part of the evil empire) was killed in the last battle. French marching to liberate Paris from the Russians. 3rd Coalition war (entry of Austria) in the offing.
Just Start the campaign game in 1937, in our first night of play we got Spring 1940. Really fun game, one of my favorites. Never plays the same way twice.
The Allies helped the Republicans win a decisive victory against the Nationalist which took away a lot of the Axis's political cards. With no Allies, Hitler grabbed Austria, ignored Poland and attacked France in late 1939. Italy, Hungary, Rumunia, and Bulgaria sit quietly on the sidelines.
The French and English were not fully prepared for this attack but still have stopped the Axis in the low countries in 1940. Meanwhile Russia is quietly building a large Army in the East, avoided Stalin's purges, has taken the Polish Corridor, and is eyeing Finland.
Will see what happens next Friday when we play again.
and I set this game up thinking that it would take at least two sessions to finish. But that's not how it went down!
By a roll of the die, it was determined that I would be the Little Corporal and Jon would represent the paid hirelings of Perfidious Albion.
Everything was going swimmingly for me in 1805. I defeated Austria in a single battle. But then in 1806, everything went off the rails. Jon was holding a fistful of Diplomacy cards. And while I sat dumbfounded, he slammed down one card after another, unraveling the French Empire. Spain ceased to be a French ally along with some principalities. Prussia was mobilized and along with the 'Stein" card, he filled out the Prussian armies.
Discouraged, but as of yet undefeated, I looked to regain what I had lost in diplomacy on the field of battle. After all, I was Napoleon!
My plan was simple: Move on Berlin and conquer Prussia; then turn my attention to the Russian army eyeing Vienna.
I had a card that allowed me to move three separate armies in one campaign to a single objective. I would move to Berlin and destroy Prussia quickly in one knockout blow! Well, in theory anyway.
I moved six French corps into Berlin from three different directions. My six corps were stronger than his six. Victory was mine! Or so I thought. But Jon then played two more cards. One increased the strength of his units by 'one'. But what was worse, he had a 'Central Position' card. This allowed him to fight my three forces separately. All but one of my corps was eliminated; including Napoleon.
After that, it was merely a matter of Jon moving the Russians to Paris. After a quick battle my token defenders were destroyed and France surrendered.
A friend brought this over to play this morning. We played a scenario as this was my first play of this game. It is fantasy units fighting on a modular type map that can be configured numerous ways. Different types of ranged, melee, foot and cavalry units, as well as artillery/in-direct fire units. Cards with suits used to give commands. Victory points for location control and unit elimination.
Interesting game. I wouldn't buy it but I wouldn't turn down a game of it either. If I had to choose between it and Command and Colors or Combat Commander I would choose the latter's.
In this particular game using cavalry units I was able to dominate control of locations for majority of game. Eliminated a powerful unit at the end to win.
Played four turns of teaching game, as my opponent had never played before. After turn 4, I as the Soviet, had 7 victory points. I was able to score good points for Asia and Africa when they come up. When we called the game I was also dominating Middle East. He was dominating Europe.
Still have this one on my table, playing on in my Waterloo SoloCon...
Finished the Quatre Bras scenario, the outcome was close to the historical result, the French cavalry threatened the crossroads but Ney's infantry could not overcome Wellington's forces that continued to arrive throughout the afternoon. Here's how the battlefield looked at the end of the game:
The final result was close to the actual battle's, despite a lucky French dieroll allowing D'Erlon's Corps to arrive as reinforcements late afternoon - in the above picture it is moving up on Wellington's right flank through the Bois de Bossu.
The problem was getting D'Erlon into the fight. Because the SSRs give Marechal Ney (the French commander) little ability to activate formations, D'Erlon's Corps needs to pretty much activate on its own. (In the actual battle it dithered between the Quatre Bras and Ligny battlefields and failed to timely arrive at either.) But D'Erlon only has a 2 Orders Rating (meaning his corps needs a <=2 d10 dr to actually fight), so I Corps didn't actually contribute much. In the end, the French captured the Gemioncourt chateau but finished the day well short of their objective of taking the crossroads and pushing Wellington's men west towards Nivelles.
This was my first attempt at the system, and though I'm sure I made plenty of mistakes I ended up with a much better understanding of this confused and confusing battle.
Next, I took a stab at the Hougoumont scenario, an extra published in C3i by GMT. It's a small, quick-playing scenario (downloadable through BGG & GMT's websites) that has no cavalry, but requires a close-reading of the somewhat tricky Chateaux rules. Prince Jerome (Napoleon's little brother) must seize the Hougoumont complex from some Nassau troops supported by British formations including elite Guards. Here's the initial setup:
This scenario is playable in a couple of hours. It's a tough nut to crack for the French, so after a few turns in accordance with the optional rules I brought in the highly competent General Reille, II Corps commander, to take direct command from the feckless Jerome. It still wasn't enough. By 1530 the French had seized the woods south of the Chateau, but Jamin's brigade was destroyed in close combat with Maitland's Guards east of the complex, leaving Jerome's division "shaken," i.e. rendering it incapable of offensive combat. Here's how the map looks (note only the middle 8 rows are playable per SSRs):
Again, I am left with a better appreciation of this bitter and vital struggle that is part of the larger Waterloo campaign. Despite the rulebook's deficiencies, and the complexity of the system, I plan to try out some more scenarios. I like this game.
As a bonus, I managed to locate the Terrain key. It's on one of the Wavre maps:
July is a very hot month in Hong Kong. My car of wargaming was driving in a high speed. The first one was Gundam Tactical Combat - a miniature wargame for the ever popular Japanese comics. Straightforward movement and combat rules with many unique statistics of each robotic soldiers to bring about the chromes and flavor. Sort of Battletech in the East. The game is essentially a miniature system in space with a few clusters of asteroid to block line of sight. The execution is smooth and the gameplay is juicier than I expected. As the system is versatile enough to come up with any player scenarios mimic of the comic, I would love to play it again.
Next, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles – Base Set. First time to play the game for a glimpse into the system and what the fuse it is all about. Very attributes based checks all the time for your characters. Very RPG with potential to advance to the next level. The individual location cards for the adventurer sounds a lot like Anima, a game I feel transcended during gameplay. But pirates and sharks in the Caribbean? A Lady Captain in the way to avert us? I feel alienated on some occasions. Nonetheless, the other themes in the series should be more interesting and I think the gameplay and thematic richness deserves the hype.
David is visiting Hong Kong and he asks if there can be a game for his short stay. Why not taking this chance to play one of my French game newly arriving to the collection? Age of Aces has earned its name with many already. I can experiment it and see if it lives up to its name.
The result of the experiment is awesome. Age of Aces is an extremely elegant wargame on WWI dogfights. The game is built with modules synthesised seamlessly around the central concept of Resources Points - equivalent to energy amount that a plane can use to spend to maneuver out in the sky or change altitude. The whole system is concretized, well-developed and illustrated. An illuminating and ingenious gem from the French. My Holy Grail for WWI dogfights.
Maneuver of aircrafts in Age of Aces is a function of spending Resource Points (RPs). The no. of Resource Points an aircraft would have in the beginning of a turn is determined by its speed plus 1d3 (*It's not a good description but it means half the chance to get an extra Resource Point in a 1d6). Different types of maneuvers cost each aircraft different resource points according to their characteristics - some are more agile to turn, some accelerates more easily, and some climbs more efficiently by changing altitude right after certain types of maneuvers.
Overall, an awesome wargame with elegant mechanism to simulate the dynamic relationship between energy derived from aircraft's propellant engine and its speed, changing altitude with different types of maneuvers in the sky. All in the game are making sense with the law of gravity.
COIN series on Vietnam War - finally I find the series fit for its purpose and with a theme I am interested in feverishly in recent months. The basic structure is there for the four sides to compete in - you move your troops, irregulars, police around to control key cities and LOCs (to inhibit VC and NVA staging their infiltration and assaults from Laos, Cambodia and the north. Each side has their own set of COIN operations plus Special Activities and they play to maximize the advantage, going along with the events. One odd thing is that it seems there is no tracking on U.S. "political will" back home per se directly. I guess some of that should have been factored into the "Support" and "Aid" level on the COIN operations. As of now, Fire in the Lake seems to be about winning by areas control and the support of the local (Vietnamese) populace, rather than the opinion of the world (i.e. U.S. citizens).
Having finally finished off our SFB game, Patch and I did our usual round of C&C:A between big games tonight. This time was the Battle of Amphipolis from Expansion #6.
This one is different. The Athenians get points for running away. Which is to say, there's three hexes on their right that they can exit the board from, and get a victory banner per unit. The Spartans are charging out from a fortified city to stop them. As is usual for this period, this is a hoplite battle, though there's actually light and medium cavalry on each side this time (one unit each).
I had the Athenians first, and Patch started with an Order Light to sort out his line. I did the same to try and assemble a line for a Line Command I was holding. Patch Ordered Three Right, and forced my lights to evade and break the line in two. I used Leadership to bring my line into contact, and move up a leader who started unattached. We did four blocks to each other, all of his on a Spartan MH, and mine spread over two MH.
Patch used Order Medium to move both flanks up, and eliminate my weak MH, while a First Strike knocked out his weak Spartan MH, though without killing his leader. I echoed Order Medium to bring up my center, and nearly wiped out two Aux. Out Flanked put both of his leaders in motion, and killed a fresh MH and Aux. I used Counter Attack to use my flanks, exiting a Light, and managing to finish off an Aux. Patch cried "I Am Spartacus!"... to order one light and one medium (and one heavy, if there were any in the scenario), and picked off an Aux, nearly killed a MH on momentum, and forced my MC to evade.
I responded with Mounted Charge. My LC caused two hits on his light trapped against the city wall, an MH got two blocks on a fresh Spartan MH and forced it back two hexes, while my MC finished off an Aux and MC. Patch Ordered Two Center to activate the units I'd just hit, and I got a hit and banner on battle back against his light unit to end the game (he could have, and should have moved to avoid that). 6-4
For the second game, I started with Line Command to move up the entire right flank. Patch moved up with an Order Three Center, driving back one unit, and trading three blocks for two against my Spartan MH. I moved forward again with Order Four Right, and drove back three units while reducing an Aux and eliminating a MH. Patch came back with Inspired Left Leadership and drove off my LC.
Since he was sitting too close to the exit with five units, I Ordered Three Right, but only did three blocks to four, and couldn't eliminate anything. Patch Ordered Two Left, and pressed the attack to finish off a MH and trade blocks with my leader-led MH. Out of right cards, I used Double Time to slam into his center, doing six blocks to zero. Patch Ordered Mounted to eliminate my right-side MH, forcing my leader to escape through his LC to an Aux, while forcing another MH back three hexes!
I used Order Medium to get my center in motion (no Mediums were left anywhere else), and eliminated an Aux. Patch Darkened the Sky to get four blocks, three of which were on my center MHs. Inspired Center Leadership kept my compact center mass moving, eliminating an Aux, MH, MC (on leader momentum), and forcing his leader to evade off-board.
Patch Ordered Three Left to exit his remaining leader, a Light and a LC. Worse, his Aux was in range to exit next turn. As a one-block unit, I would have liked to go after it, but only a couple of lights were in range. I Ordered Three Center to go after his intact MH after cutting off its retreat, and hope he didn't yahtzee me on a battle back. I got him on the second attack, losing one block in the process. 6-5
It's a very different and very interesting scenario. There's no units in range of a one-turn exit at the beginning, but it's a real possibility, and if the Athenian player can get the right cards could probably get very close to a win without much interference. But that leaves the rest of the battle at a disadvantage in troops. Both games were fairly close, though I had a lot of good cards, even if they weren't always easy for me to use.