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The Invasion of Russia (1812)» Forums » General

Subject: Substantial AAR and look at the system rss

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Norman Smith
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I have made a blog entry that covers turn 1 in detail, plus the rest of the game, discussing various aspects of the game.

link http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-invas...
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B Schneider
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Excellent write up! Can't wait to get mine in the mail..
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Steve Pole

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(I've cross-posted this from the CSW site for TIR.)

Norm,

What can I say? Brilliant! Many thanks.

Your comment about the emotional response experienced by the French player watching hopelessly as his magnificent Grande Armee melts away when the problems of supply really begin to bit echoes the reaction of some play-testers when they experienced the game for the first few times. I suppose you are right, it is kind of gratifying that players become so deeply engrossed

The course and outcome of your campaign, like that of Thibault’s [CSW TIR post 614] was very similar to the initial play-tests (and, indeed, to the historical events) with the French being laid low by logistical problems during the second half of the game.

For someone coming to the game for the first time it is easier to take on the role of Kutusov; but, after a few plays, the various potentially winning strategies available to the French become apparent.

As you surmise, for the French to win they need to learn from Napoleon’s fundamental mistake and actually have a tangible objective (usually Moscow or St P) in mind from the outset; plan how they intend to get there using the most efficient route in terms of depots; advance aggressively/quickly and make use of their best commanders to ameliorate the attrition rates associated with forced marches; and, once the objective has been secured, be ruthless in converting to supply trains any depots which can be spared.

All this, of course, is easier said that done; the Russian player is unlikely to sit back and let the French player have it all his/her own way. With two experienced players games tend to be very close. The outcome of a number of play-tests was decided in the last couple of turns.

Incidentally, I’m sure you noticed that five city VPs cities are located to the west of Russia, eight within Russia itself (excluding Moscow and St P), and three each are attributed to Moscow and St P. In addition, twelve VPs relate to battlefield success. This allocation is deliberate because it means that the Russians cannot simply retreat and allow the French to take and hold Moscow or St P; the result would be a French victory by sixteen VPs to fifteen VPs. At some point, even the most defensively-minded Russian player must commit to battle.

As you say, it is the type of game where a triumph in one turn can easily be followed by a disaster in the next with the advantage swinging back and forth between the two sides. I’ve rarely seen a worse French start than your turn 1, but by turn 10 La Grande Armee probably had its noses in front. Of course, then the Russian winter set in …

Finally, and in addition to Thibault’s observations at CSW TIR post 640, there are perhaps a couple of comments in your wonderful AAR which might be misconstrued: (1) as you say, French supply lines cannot traverse difficult terrain (forests etc), but the same prohibition does not apply to the Russians [Rule 14.6]; (2) a d6 roll of one by a supporting stack does not automatically mean that the stack will “abort” and fail to provide support; (3) strictly, the Commander Movement phase [Section 12] is not a “joint phase” as the player with the most CC begins the sequence [Rule 12.2] ; and, (4) if using the Advanced Rules, Austrians can attack only if stacked with non-Austrian units [Rule 16.10].

Regards, and many thanks again for such a generous review,

Steve 24.7.14
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Norman Smith
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Thanks Steve, the problems of the French in my turn 1 actually helped the AAR because it gave an opportunity to demonstrate a wider range of possibilities.

I was surprised though to see that I had got your point 2 wrong - I took my interpretation by rule 10.4 stating that the test at 10.2 was taken, but with a new die roll applied. 10.4 seems to suggest that only difference in the test is that a different die is rolled, I can't see any mention that 'abort' does not form part of the test. What am I missing?

I think you are right that the French player has to actually suffer the winter to better understand how to prepare for it in later games.

I really like the way in my game that I arrived at St. Petersburg just 1 turn too late to set up a depot and that the delay can be traced right back to (a) Wittgenstein's delaying tactics and (b) Bagration's cavalry that cut MacDonalds and Ney's supply (c) and even further back on turn 1, when Davout fails to attack Wittgenstein and clear him out of the way. I just love all that sort of inter-action and cause / effect that goes on.

By emotional involvement, I mean it is good that the player feels or senses the pain / frustration of the real life commander, I think that is the test of a good sim. (I didn't mean that I personally got angry with the game )
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Steve Pole

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(Cross-posted from the CSW TIR site.)

Norm,

Re-reading Rule 10.4 I can understand your interpretation. However, at the time that a d6 is rolled for a supporting stack it has already been determined that the attack itself will proceed. It cannot then be aborted. Whether or not the supporting stack participates is irrelevant.

Also, of course, it wouldn't really make sense for a supporting stack to lose CCs - which is what happens when an attack aborts - which have already been allocated to and used by the attacking stack.

This said, I can see that the Rule is ambiguous and could certainly do with being drafted more clearly.

I suppose one saving grace is that it would be rare for a supporting stack which rolls a d6 and scores only a one to participate in combat, so the damage done by my clumsy drafting is probably fairly minimal.

Regards, and thanks again,





Steve 24.7.14
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Norman Smith
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Thanks Steve - The points are well taken. I will add an amendment to the AAR.

EDIT - AAR amended to reflect all of your points and they have been marked EDIT, so that there is not a mis-match with your comments here.
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