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Thirty Years War Quad (second edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: White Mountain in the Sun rss

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Chris Rush
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In order to expand my gaming and historical horizons beyond the American Civil War and 20th century World Wars, I picked up (by which I mean "my dad bought me") this 2nd edition quad from NKG a few months ago, mainly because it cost about 1/3 of the original edition. Sure, I would probably prefer the original editions, especially the sleek classic Simonsen look, but sometimes economics play a decisive role in game acquisition. Even with the flashy color scheme (which at times threatens to interfere more than assist), this is still a fun group of games. I admit I've only played White Mountain so far, but it was decent, simple fun.

It's not a terribly complicated system, but that is an asset to me: it provides a good next step beyond the Blue & Gray quads my dad and I have been playing for the last few months, but it isn't nearly as complex as some of the recently-published games I've acquired.

From what little I know of White Mountain, the complete sum of which was acquired in reading the manual, my simple playthrough matched history fairly accurately: after a brief delaying success by the Bohemians, the Catholic League eventually worked their way into and then through the defenses. As with most games, a second reading of the rules helped a great deal, especially during the playthrough, since some of the different aspects of the game on which I thought I had a firm grasp became rather slippery when I started to move the actual counters around the map. Rallying the disrupted units was the main difference in this game; for some reason I thought you needed a leader already stacked on the unit to rally it - which didn't make sense because you can't move them until after the rallying phase, so you'd have to guess which units would need rallying next turn. A quick refresher in the rulebook clarified that misunderstanding. I'm still uncertain if rallying is mandatory or optional - at times I thought it would be better for some units to remain disrupted and retreat away from the strong enemy's ZOC, and sometimes it did not help the unit to get rallied in such cases.

The battle went rather predictably, since the Bohemians stayed essentially stationary behind their defensive bonus terrain, waiting for the Catholic League onslaught to wend its way slowly through the fog. Unfortunately for the Bohemians, I rolled a 6 on the first turn, allowing the CL to use all their movement points and make the assault much faster than it should have happened. The fog returned on turn 2 but it was clear, sunny skies for the rest of the battle. The defensive mindset for the Bohemians certainly aids the solitaire suitability for the game - I'm not sure how much fun it would be 2 players to play this, unless the Bohemian player decided to get crazy and dash into the fray. I'm not sure why it would be a smart idea, though, to give the strong Catholic forces no terrain restrictions. That would also allow the Catholics to use their artillery more effectively.

The battle raged back and forth for a few turns, and the Bohemians actually took an early lead, but soon enough the heavy hitters of the CL got into position and slowly trod through the line. By turn 7, it was simply a matter of whether or not I wanted to actually assault the Star Palace or not. The Bohemians were demoralized, had lost some artillery, and were in no position to do much of anything. By turn 10, the only thing left to do was assault the Palace, but that didn't seem worthwhile, so the Catholics just stood around and counted up the Victory Points. It was a decisive victory all right.

I haven't much comparative experience to comment on whether the scenario is flawed or anything of the sort, but it certainly had its dull moments. It took a while to get going, but when the action occurred, it was heavy and intense and decisive, leaving the last couple of turns rather inconsequential. Perhaps a different strategy for the Bohemians would yield different results, but not everyone can crowd into the Palace. Perhaps yielding the terrain for more offensive-minded attacks could give the Bohemians an edge. It's certainly worth a try, even with the apparent limitations of the scenario. Considering it's not intended to be much if anything beyond what I got from it, even with my little gripes, it was still decent-sized fun. It gave me a slightly different gaming experience, so it was all around a success. I think I will tackle Lutzen just to get a bit more experience with the system, then take a bit of a break from the quad to do some bigger things (Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage springs to mind), but I will undoubtedly come back to this quad again.
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