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Subject: Guiscard - Any Good? rss

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I spotted this being sold on the Spirit Games website. It is apparently a completely new game compatible with Cry Havoc. Has anyone tried it and is it any good?
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Martin Gallo
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Still waiting for my copy to arrive.
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Lutz Pietschker
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I have just translated the rules into German (well, not quite, but almost done). The rules are true to the original game, but consolidated, and the combat resolution tables have been chnaged from strength relations to differentials, which should make for more interesting man-to-man combat. The game also includes siege rules. All in all, it is the essence of many years of experience with the Cry Havoc game system, and the original components are fully compatible with the new game. I hope to use Guiscard to revive the game system in my gaming group.
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Thanks for your replies. Please write a review when you get your copies. I am very tempted to buy this but I don't like buying games without reading a review first but also worried there might be a very limited print run of the game. It's in stock now from Spirit Games but a bit expensive and I've already shelled out on a few games and expansions this month so would prefer to wait until after Christmas before considering this one really.
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Dan Buman
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The pre orders are just now shipping, so it should not be long before we hear some feedback. If you have played or are familiar with the Cry Havoc series, this game will remain true to the original in looks, style, and theme, while improving upon some of the original game's shortcomings. Check out the cryhavocfan site for more pictures and information. This release is a Cry Havoc fan's dream come true and will be very successful. Buxeria, the designer, has years of experience with Cry Havoc and has produced high quality maps, counters, and scenarios for this series for years. All the Cry Havoc series games that have been released through the years are fully compatible with Guiscard as well!
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Did I mention that I have not played "Cry Havoc" before, so "Guiscard" would be my first experience of the system?

Having read the reviews here I have to say, I am less tempted to buy Guiscard now unless the rules have been redesigned to make it more realistic. 3-1 odds ratios for a successful attack is fine in a "Battle of the Bulge" style of game but I don't see how it would work very well for man-to-man combat. It also seems too abstract - attack and defence values with no regard to each combatant's specific weapon and armour? I can see that being quick-playing but other than that it seems pretty boring.

Have you seen the "Skjaldborg" skirmish wargame rules by "Shieldwall Games"? I only discovered them a few days ago but they look like they are well thought out and would be very realistic. Fighters are individuals but if they have someone on each flank, or someone behind with a polearm, they are harder to hit, so there is an incentive to form linear formations. Archers can shoot at individual targets but for every hit, there is a chance that the shot will actually hit someone next to the intended target (such as your neighbour in a linear formation). Thus, formations are great in melee but make you more at risk from archery. Each individual soldier moves independently but has to make a roll first to see how far he can go. If the unit's morale is low, he's likely to stay put, or worse, retreat. If he's too eager, he's likely to charge the nearest enemy and thus break up your nice linear march order. Leaders can encourage this, to get the men to charge, but they won't necessarily charge as a mass, just as individuals breaking off from the line with others being more cautious. Leaders can also "steady" to keep the eager ones in check whilst also encouraging the more cowardly ones to stay in line and advance slowly. Attacks have different strengths depending on the weapon used and the armour of the opponent. Polearms are long but also cumbersome, so they do well in the initial clash but do worse in subsequent rounds, unless you retreat the guy holding it - but if he's seen by another unit it may encourage them all to retreat! The detail and nuances of this system are staggering and yet it seems quite simple in terms of implementation (just a few tables, like Cry Havoc).

Sorry to go on so much about Skjaldborg but I am beginning to wonder if there is really just too little meat on the bones of Guiscard for it to be a good game.
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Martin Gallo
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NappyPlayer wrote:
Having read the reviews here I have to say, I am less tempted to buy Guiscard now unless the rules have been redesigned to make it more realistic. 3-1 odds ratios for a successful attack is fine in a "Battle of the Bulge" style of game but I don't see how it would work very well for man-to-man combat. It also seems too abstract - attack and defence values with no regard to each combatant's specific weapon and armour? I can see that being quick-playing but other than that it seems pretty boring.
Just so you know, the attack and defense (and movement) values are based on how the figure is armed and armored and it is all "relative". Thus a heavily armed person attacking a heavily armored target would not get that precious 3-1. In this case the CRT works well enough. It feels a little funny sometimes, but it works because the results are designed to reflect 1 vs. 1 combat rather than massed formations.

Where the "realism breaks down" is that no differentiation in weapon type is accounted for, so that a lone attacker against a shield wall or line of pikemen is reduced to a 1 vs. 1, but this is just a game. If you want to include a drm or column shift to account for "support" then go ahead. If you want to develop a weapon type matrix to account for the effectiveness of some weapons vs some situations (bows vs leather or chain) that might be an interesting enhancement to the system.

I have not heard of Skjaldborg but will look in to it.
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martimer wrote:
I have not heard of Skjaldborg but will look in to it.


It would be wrong of me to post a link but I will just say that it's a free set of downloadable wargame rules and well worth a look even for die-hard fans of Cry Havoc/Guiscard. It's essentially a skirmish game like Cry Havoc but gives you benefits for adopting formations in some situations.
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Martin Gallo
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I found the website via BGG. Thanks for the heads up. I will try to look at it this week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday look busy and I hope I do not forget by Thursday.
 
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Lutz Pietschker
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I think between Skjaldborg and Cry Havoc/Guiscard there is a difference of one level of complexity. CH is ready-made, with very nice boards and counters, simple rules, easy status tracking of units (just flip the counter), but (therefore) sometimes lacking a bit in realism (facing etc.) To play Skjaldborg you have to invest a lot more, not necessarily in reading rules but in creating your landscape, getting and mounting miniatures etc.
CH also fits very nicely together with other systems like BattleLust.
My biggest, well, not-quite-problem is the inconsistency of CH rules, and Guiscard has removed some of that. Not all, unfortunately. But the game is what is was announced as, an entry game into the CH world that fully replaces CH but adds (large) "appetizers" for siege rules, water rules etc. I still dream of a fully consolidated Magna Charta, maybe with elements scrounged from Skjaldborg.

BTW, many seem not to have noted that Guiscard does not use the relation-of-force model anymore, it has changed to a differential model with the expressed purpose to make single combat more realistic. The column to look up is determined by (attack-defense) now (as opposed to attack/defense), with a modifier for armoured units.
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I am still undecided about Guiscard but may eventually take the plunge and add some house rules (assuming it doesn't sell through its print run first). The maps and counters do look very nice indeed.

Using column shifts for weapon/armour match-ups is definitely a nice idea for those wanting a bit more complexity. I would suggest a column shift in favour of the attacker in the following match-ups: cutting weapons vs. light (leather) armour, piercing weapons vs. medium (chain) armour, and blunt weapons vs. heavy (plate) armour. This is admittedly simplistic but not a bad reflection of reality.

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