This is the second game that I was able to play with regards to this particular battle. The first being the 'long-wood' Simmons series that started further development into Napoleon and Gettysburg. The other is this game presented as a folio game series from DG.
As I have already commented on the M and S series rules in my previous review at Stone River, I shall not discuss it here too in-depth-ly.
Suffice to say, I have brought the updated standard M and S rules and it's errata and merge part of it with the Quickplay rules and it's errata, into a system that is more involved and yet not too simple in its execution and retains some Chrome that comes with it.
Another Folio game of the Musket and Saber rules set. The scenario specific rules set is also included, of course. A glossy, standard sized, poster map is drawn with flavor from the 70s. White hexes, light/dark green forested hexes, blue for rivers and the time/turn chart, rounds up the map.
Half inch counters are of standard type used by most hex and counter games, with a slight exception........it's glossy. Not a complain here, but I've been an old AH fan. Their counters were always functional and Matte based, that's the way I usually like it as these old counters do not reflect night lights too much. (My eye-sight has taken a beating these years) Austrians are white and the French are blue. Gun silhouette, faces of leaders and battle lines of units are depicted on the counters. A red line across the counter usually denotes a single step unit or a depleted side of a combat unit.
The usual numbers on these counters, are presented in a format : attack-moral-movement for line infantry and leaders (though as a modifier). Attack-defence-movement: for guns.
Please take note that you may not have enough 'disruption' counters, thus I suggest you make some, yourself. Estimated, you will need about 10 for each side. You may want to make a few more 'squares' counter, as this game has quiet a few cavalry units involved.
The game play
A summary would be helpful here. (A more in-depth look at the MnS rules could be found from my review of stone river.)
The updated standard rules is merged with the Quickplay rules for used in this game. They are both downloadable at DG website on folio games. You will definitely need these updates to even play your first turn.
Similarly, I have used the Quickplay rules as a foundation and selectively added some standard rules into it. I have notably left the tactics and FOW rules from this system. I felt they do not add value to the gameplay and/or are too gamey for certain reasons, respectively.
With the other rules added on, the CRT feels right and all elements of combat could be accounted for. From leaders, to disruption, to ammo usage, night rules, march movement, recovery, etc.
With these rules, the game play is fast. A complete game could be done in less than 2 hours, inclusive of set up time. A game turn could be as short as 5 minutes.
I must comment that this is one game that does not start with a Big Bang....
The French are scrambling to form a defensive line along the stream, anchoring at Marengo. Not much to begin with, especially when the artillery units were next to useless. The best bet is to pull all these artillery back and wait for that few turns to consolidate into a better combat unit. As for the units upfront, it time to dig in and form battalions to assist in the defense.
While the Austrians come marching in, one after the other. I must say, they are sloooooow. In fact, it's so slow that by the time your Austrian artillery units are in position, it was already half way through the game. Much is left to be said about the marching infantry units as well. Your best bet is to ride the cavalry into combat positions quickly.
So each game, the Austrians look like a vanilla ice cream on a blue French waffle cone. The Austrians would march in and start to spread out while the French builds up a defense line with reinforcements coming up the vineyard roads.
With only a few units getting involved in the first few turns, the gameplay is really fast. Once you have played this game second or third time, your subsequent game will play out in a lightning fast sequence. (We managed 1 game within an hour....)
I believe this is one of the fastest MnS folio game in the series. With approximately 35 units pre side, and only half of that actually starts the first few turns, the game moves on in a lightning fast pace.
This is a very respectable design on quickplay/low counter game. The design is sound with respect to its components. The standard rules leaves lots to be desired and harvest a frustration in your initial game play with it. The Quickplay rules are clean and fast.....a bit too fast actually......just using the Quickplay rules itself, you CAN play the game, but it will turn out lacking in a lot of flavor and gamey in all aspect. Your units will move and fight like Panzer divisions. Leaders and artillery will be invulnerable.
I have invested a significant amount of time to merge the 2 rules set. With that, it actually works pretty well. (I must admit, there are some small house rules added. Eg, only infantry can add replacements. Cavalry and artillery once destroyed could not be brought back.) I like the rules whereby disengaging units are limited in movement. This way, we could not pull units out of line and slot them back in at lightning fast pace. Like I said, this is not a panzer grenadier unit!
Try this game out. For what it is worth. Simple napoleonic engagement. Not a full simulation, but a worthy, light, evening game session folio experience.
Like the game says : morning defeat (read the rules), afternoon victory (play the game).
Do you have a doc with your merged rules?
Hi. I don't have a written full document of it. But what I used is written on my review of stone river.
Basically, just combine the quick play rules with the standard. Throw away the FOW and tactics part. That's basically it. Anything related to tactics or FOW will he ignore.
Some house rules apply. Like replacements only for infantry, etc.