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The Invasion of Russia (1812)» Forums » General

Subject: First impressions. rss

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Severus Snape
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Pascal said, "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me."
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1) Quality of components:

Everything looks good. The image of the map shown on BGG does not do the actual map justice. Though it is small--not a surprise in that--it is of heavy stock and the artwork looks good. The counters are clear and sturdy enough, though good lighting is a must in order to distinguish the nationalities of the French forces. The rulebook is printed on a heavy stock, and there is nothing flimsy about its pages. The contrast between the print and the background is clear.

There is one flimsy component included: the cards. As in a magazine game when "cards" are included, what you find here are some tissue thin cards that add a element of historical happenings and what if's, and this from a designer who is not a fan of CDG's. Too bad, since some of the best wargames ever made are CDG's. I can imagine the practical challenge of having to make the cards thin, tissue thin, otherwise you will not be able to separate them from their base; but once you do, put them in sleeves right away or they can easily bend or get damaged.

2) Clarity of the rules:

The designer claims a number of "innovations." I would have to count them and see what the number is, based on my experience (and would that even be accurate since, again, my knowledge could easily differ from others). I do wish that he had simply stuck with calling the movement of units "movement," instead of calling it "strategic movement." All movement of your combat forces is strategic movement, with the option to force march. When I hear the phrase "strategic movement" then I think that there will be other kinds of movement like "operational movement," etc. Yes, we know the hexes are 50 km across, but, please, do not make things more challenging than they are by using terms like strategic movement. If there is only one sort of movement, with the option of forced marches, call it movement and be done with it. However, once you wrap your head around this quirk, all should be well.

Perhaps I have misunderstood the movement rules; wouldn't be the first time this has happened, and I have only read them once. But there are cards that prevent strategic movement, if played; would this mean no movement at all for the affected side?

There are some questions to post about the rules for the sake of clarification, but nothing out of the ordinary here.

3) In the meanwhile:

There are some neat ideas here. Just because you move a stack of units next to an enemy stack, this does not mean there will be combat. You have to roll, with the application of various modifiers, to see if the battle will happen. This neatly reflects the Russian ability to delay, then cut & run like stink, while dragging the French and their Allies ever deeper into Russia. If you have more than one stack hoping to attack, you have to roll for the other stacks to see if they will actually engage; or perhaps Jerome is in a tiff and he simply leaves and goes home.

The size of your stacks depends on the quality of your troops, and there are three levels. The veteran units pack more potential punch because they can stack up to six units in a hex, but your conscripts cannot have more than three, and the line infantry is sort of in the middle with four. Furthermore,there is a nice tactical touch that encourages both attacker and defender to have the Napoleonic mix of infantry, cavalry and artillery for bonus modifiers.

4) Summing it up--for now.

The design holds great promise. Given my recent interest in the Peninsular Campaign, I would like to see how this would be covered in this new system. If there is a limitation, or a hesitation, it is the size of the map; it fits so nicely in the folder, but the vastness of Russia seldom, perhaps never, seemed so small.

Still it holds much promise and I look forward to seeing how it plays.

Let me add a few more things:

Cards: there are 35 cards (36 if one counts the one with the publisher's name on it). The cards will either have instructions for both the French and Russian sides, and a card might say "R: No strategic moves may be undertaken (does this mean no movement at all that turn for the Russian side?)," and "F: CC's (combat commands) increased by one." Some of the cards only affect one side. If you use them, each power takes a card at the outset, then draws one for its turn and chooses which one to play, but one has to be played.

The cards are like the type in Pax Romana, and its kin: they do not drive the game, but they nudge it along with historical and tactical nuggets with the flavour of what did and what could have happened. They are meant to add a bit more historical realism without making the game more complex; having played with this type of card-assisted designs in the past, I am sure these will succeed at enriching the game, without tying your brain into knots.

Charts: There are two that cover the game turns, CC's and VP's, sequence of play and movement. What I wish had been included would have been Zucker-like charts that allow you to place your combat units with your leaders, thus helping to prevent the potential stacks of seven or more, when commanders are included.

Errata: there is a wee bit included on a white sheet of paper.

The Master had a hand in this: Kevin Zucker is in the credits.

goo
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Phil Garland
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Sounds good. How many cards, and, since the description says they're for the Advanced game, how necessary are they?
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Severus Snape
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Pascal said, "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me."
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OneTinSoldier wrote:
Sounds good. How many cards, and, since the description says they're for the Advanced game, how necessary are they?


Phil, you asked a good, practical, question, so I went back and edited my original piece by adding some more information; I hope it helps.

We need this movement question--is strategic movement the only movement, which amounts to operational movement but we will call it strategic movement?--clarified by the designer.

goo
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Steve Pole

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Severus,

As if by magic! I've turned on the computer for the first time today and your post popped up as soon as I tuned into BGG. I'm in a bit of a rush at the moment, but think that I can deal with your substantive point - the issue of strategic movement - very quickly.

Before doing so, can I just say (1) thank you for taking the time to write such a generous review; and, (2) Kevin did, indeed, provide some excellent advice during the course of development and was extremely generous in sharing the research he had undertaken in the course of designing his superb games about campaigns of the period. In particular, the rules obliging an advancing army to create depots, thereby reducing the number of supply trains available to move units, owe much to him. The intention, of course, is to replicate the correlation between lengthening lines of communication and the increasing difficulty of mounting operations.

Anyway, to the question in hand. You are quite correct. "Strategic Movement" is a tautology as it is the only movement of combat units which occurs in the game by virtue of Section 8. Subject to Nicola's thoughts, I hazard that should TIR prove to be popular and we apply same rules/scale to further campaigns we may adopt your suggestion and drop the word "Strategic".

You will appreciate, of course, that commanders move separately (Section 12) and that combat units can advance/retreat as a consequence of combat (Section 10 - 11). Indeed, in early versions of the rules the latter Sections were titled "Tactical Movement and Combat", reflecting the fact that combat is triggered when attacking units attempt to move into a hex occupied by enemy ones. Hence, at that point, the title "Strategic Movement" made sense for Section 8. When we decided to redact the title of Section 10 - 11 to "Combat", I failed to realise that the term "Stategic" in the context of Section 8 had become somewhat redundant.

Please forgive the somewhat garbled tone of the forgoing. As I said I'm a bit pushed for time at the moment. I do hope it makes sense.


Phil,

Many thanks for your interest.

The game can be played without cards. Indeed, we recommend that initially players should play a game using the basic rules so that these - which are very simple - become second nature, before trying the advanced rules.

Regards,




Steve
19.7.14
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Severus Snape
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Pascal said, "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me."
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"The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of."--Pascal
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Steve, thank you for chiming in and clarifying the movement rule, and explaining what was happening with the cooks in the design kitchen. I hope it does well; it deserves to do well. Besides, I want to see you tackle the Peninsular Campaign. If you do the 1805 Campaign, please give us Mack and the chance to see Napoleon dance circles around him at Ulm.

goo
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Randall Shaw
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Really hope this series develops legs; so much so it covers the entire period in playable (Basic game) and deep (Advanced game) manner. I remain optimistic more volumes will appear as everything I've seen so far (patiently waiting for Norman to post his AAR) has only reinforced my initial very favorable impression.

+1 on 1805 and Peninsular campaigns.
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Steve Pole

Winkleigh
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Severus/Randall,

Many thanks for your kind words. Whether there is a follow up game(s) and, if so, which campaign it will cover is down to Nicola. We've discussed several options, including the possibility of the Peninsular Campaign, even incorporating rules which linked it to TIR by allowing the French player an element of discretion over the allocation of units to each front.

As you can imagine, this would not be straight-forward.

If there is to be a successor to TIR I guess the natural choice would be the 1813 campaign in Central Europe. Although, as I said, the decision rests with Nicola.

Regards, and thanks again for your comments,



Steve
20.7.14
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Phil Garland
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My vote goes for 1813. One of my great-great-great grandfathers was with the Swedes at Leipzig, and I have to do my best to keep them out of the line of fire as the sainted Bernadotte did.

Kudos for the map! As a Russian historian of the period, I always play spot the poor transliteration, and from the pics, the Invasion map gets an above average to excellent from me!
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Bob James
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got mine today...move question still
I did not see response about strategic move.
If a card says no strategic move, this means no move at all for units? or commanders? at all right?, wrong?? what?

looks nice.
Peninsula,
1813/14 together
1805
1809
in that order
keep it up, looks great.
BOB
 
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Steve Pole

Winkleigh
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Bob,

Thanks for this. "No Strategic Move" means that neither Combat Units (nor Commanders) can move by virtue of Section 8. Commanders can still move independently (Section 12) and Combat Units (and Commanders) can still advance/retreat as a result of combat (Section 11).

Regards,



Steve
22.7.14
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Randall Shaw
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"Peninsula,
1813/14 together
1805
1809
in that order"

No 1807? No 1815? No Italian Campaign?

We need to add a few, in no particular order. cool
 
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Randall Shaw
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"There is one flimsy component included: the cards."

Severus wasn't kidding about the cards so I sleeved them with some old first edition cards I had hanging around from GMT's Napoleonic Wars.

Worked like a charm!

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Norman Smith
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I thought the card looked flimsy in the frame, but once cut out were sufficient for the job. regardless, I have sleeved mine, as I see a lot of play from this
 
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