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Wellington's Victory: The Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815 (second edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Still no game review? rss

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Frank Burgo
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Im still trying to find a game review for this game, from someone who has played it. Im not referring to a review on what the game is about, or the rules that need correcting, but an actual game played review.
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Freddy Dekker
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You and me, it's to expensive to simply go buy it 'blindfolded'
 
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Frank Burgo
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sagitar wrote:
You and me, it's to expensive to simply go buy it 'blindfolded'

Exactly. Kind of strange that there isn't one. No Video reviews by any of the Game Reviewers. Nothing at all. That's not saying much for this game. Damn shame because I like scale, and monster size of this game. Besides im still looking for my first Waterloo game, and apparently this won't be it.
 
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Andrew Taylor
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There are some after action reports and such on Consimworld. There are a number of issues with the rules which if I read the comments properly have been corrected by errata included into the rules on the Decision Games website. There are also some counter errors but again these have been identified and will be corrected in due course. Due to the size of the game it might be some time before a sensible review comes out and the game designers tend not to do video reviews for such big games.
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Freddy Dekker
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counter errors?soblue
at that price I'd expect every issue to be solved before the put it on the market, so that means I'm out.
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Stephen Owen
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Hi Freddy

I believe you are being a little premature here. The counter errata are trivial and a JPEG of them are available on consim. Decision probably published early to try and catch the 200 year anniversary but are good at sending out these errata when they think all have been caught. This version is significantly different from the original. It benefits from 40 years of hindsight, a better OOB, a simplified combat and shock system which incorporates both step losses and morale checks in a single roll of dice and has 4 much improved maps. There are no step counters which means many more combat counters. You will find no other game system that produces such a focussed detail on Waterloo using battalions & squadrons. I suspect there are no full replays yet as, unlike other recent big releases such as Day of Days or Beyond the Rhine, the only scenario, apart from learning ones, is the whole battle or variants thereof.
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Freddy Dekker
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Okay, I shall delay the final verdict till after the review
 
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Frank Burgo
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steveowen wrote:
Hi Freddy

I believe you are being a little premature here. The counter errata are trivial and a JPEG of them are available on consim. Decision probably published early to try and catch the 200 year anniversary but are good at sending out these errata when they think all have been caught. This version is significantly different from the original. It benefits from 40 years of hindsight, a better OOB, a simplified combat and shock system which incorporates both step losses and morale checks in a single roll of dice and has 4 much improved maps. There are no step counters which means many more combat counters. You will find no other game system that produces such a focussed detail on Waterloo using battalions & squadrons. I suspect there are no full replays yet as, unlike other recent big releases such as Day of Days or Beyond the Rhine, the only scenario, apart from learning ones, is the whole battle or variants thereof.
This definitely helped a lot.
 
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Hoss Cartwright
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The counters suck. They look like the old school SPI 1970's Napoleonic artwork.

People want Silhouettes of Infantry and not counters with just numbers.

Thats why nobody is buying it, nobody is playing it, nobody is reviewing it. And nobody is three different people
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Freddy Dekker
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than my name must be nobody cause I don't feel inclined to buy counters with just numbers.

I've got a vivid imagination, but as you say I like to see units on counters.


p.s. that's not your real name is it?
yes I watched Bonanza...
 
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Stephen Owen
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Name any other Waterloo game with anywhere this level of detail that has figures on the counters. A more cogent argument would be for colour coding to facilitate unit affiliation recognition (as per Fallen Eagles) although this would rather spoil the overall effect. I believe the designer wanted to retain some of the feel of the original with the counter choice although did change the cavalry to a triangle to help in identification. All the leaders have prancing horse icons if you like that sort of thing. The uniform on a counter approach of La Bataille looks great but makes unit ID a nightmare!
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Hoss Cartwright
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Pa always preferred icons on the counters. Aesthetics are important.

I live on the Ponderosa with my brothers and hop sing BTW
 
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Freddy Dekker
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Yeah.... sure laugh


oops! hear that? I think one of your armed guards just fell off the roof.
 
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Paul Hoff
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Just signed up here, not sure will do a long post for my first.
Played original WV in the late 70s, always loved the big and complex games. Even loved DNO for any old timers. Got this new one now that I've time to play again. (I mostly play solo, good at switching mind sets)

It is 14:15 game time for me so far (playing full scenario which starts at 11:00 in 15 minute turns) and overall am having a blast again. ( each turn takes me about 3-4 hours)

What I like best so far: seems like a very accurate representation but with an easier rule set implementation. Able to explore outcomes if Napolean doesn't keep beating the French heads against Hugoumont, moves out quickly against the allies in case the Prussians get there too soon, and works hard to amass coordinated battery fires. Still managed to slaughter an incredible numbers of troops against both Hugoumont and La Haye Saint even though trying not to be too focused on them until had artillery in place. The Fortunes of War rules are awesome. When in a great strategic position and something goes well it can cascade effects almost like fear and panic was really spreading amongst the troops. Balance across infantry, cavalry and artillery works well. Could go on and on, but my bottom line is am having great fun where there are surprises every phase but the overall outcomes are realistic and make sense.

What I must say don't like: have about five pages of my notes on rule inconsistencies and lack of clarity. While the intent seems great, the actual printing wasn't ready for publication. Am going to wait until I finish this first battle and decide my own answers before looking for any DG rules errata. This is my first experience with DG and am sure will buy more since they have the updates to my old favorites. But this first printing simply wasn't proofed adequately.

Am going to finish out to 21:00ish, so must be enjoying.
Hope this helps some.
Feel free to ask any questions.
And if in the Tucson area would be great to connect.
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Freddy Dekker
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playing solo and switching mind sets, that's what I do.

at least that way you can play when you want.
sofar found only a few games you really can not play solo.

as for DG, from what I've read over the past few days it seems they have a habbit of producing games that are not really ready.
that's so annoying, ofcourse we can figure things out and make houserules, but if you're spending that kind of money you expect a finished product.

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M St
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AAR's of test games played by the designer were posted on CSW with photos and showed essentially completely ahistorical deployment of troops as there is no command control in the new game. No need to keep reserves for reaction means everything is piled into a long meandering front line. Looked more like WWI than Napoleonics to me.
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steveowen wrote:
Name any other Waterloo game with anywhere this level of detail that has figures on the counters. A more cogent argument would be for colour coding to facilitate unit affiliation recognition (as per Fallen Eagles) although this would rather spoil the overall effect.
I'm not a great fan of figures on counters but companies like GMT and Vae Victis have managed to combine figures of counters with clear colour coding for decades to great public acclaim from those who like figures. Seems like DG still has a few decades to catch up here.
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Stephen Owen
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Don't hold back Marcus!

GMT used the approach you mentioned for their Battles of Waterloo game and I understand the general consensus was that they were virtually unreadable.

Have you tried playing WV2?
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Hi Steve!

I'm one of the harsher critics of those counters, but I think they were not unusable because they used figures, they were unusable because even the figures were completely drowned out by the heavy-handed, inconsistently placed, (and therefore) facing-hiding flag patterns. Oh yeah, and the two-legged horses. Way to go for easy visual distinction...

Concerning playing it, I've been watching out for this game for years. I have seen the discussions it has unleashed on CSW. I've seen the playing style it engenders even when the designer and developer are playing (usually one of the most revealing things since they should be most immersed in its historical context). I've concluded I have better things to do with my time.
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Barry Kendall
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I've been refraining from commenting, but given that there are few remarks so far from people who've actually played WV II, perhaps this will help.

As background, I've been wargaming since 1969 (first game: Anzio; first owned game: AH Waterloo). Own the original WV, which at first I wanted to love to death but which I concluded, with some regret, was badly flawed. This isn't the place for that discussion. I've done playtesting for somewhere between a dozen and twenty published wargames and a bit of design/development work, some credited, some not.

After contacting Chris Perello a while ago, I headed a four-man playtest group for WV II. We worked on testing for more than a year. The testers were all veteran wargamers, two were miniatures guys as well as boardgamers, one a Bonapartist, another an Anglophile.

WV II is very different from the original WV. Gone are the "smoke screen skirmishers." Gone is the possibility of leveraging the Turn Sequence to sneak Cavalry into contact while entirely avoiding any chance of receiving Artillery fire.

Gone are the Cavalry regiments--Cavalry is now depicted in Squadrons, a welcome change in focus given the historical employment of that arm in the period.

Gone are the Strength Markers--no more slipping a counter under the unit, removing it to flip or replace each time the unit takes a loss, ad infinitum. Battalions and Squadrons are represented by multiple counters, back-printed. The Player chooses among these to take losses, flipping or removing as necessary. This also removes the need for Extended Line markers for large battalions--a given battalion may occupy more than one hex (this is often a good idea if one is being studied by a 12-pdr battery commander within range).

The Morale system has been completely overhauled. Division Commanders and HQs now become important centers-of-gravity for rallying and re-organizing subordinate units affected by combat.

Added to the maps (there are still four) is an important delineation: the "muddy ground line" (our term), the lower-ground side of which hinders Movement by Cavalry and Artillery for a significant portion of the early-to-mid-game (and graphically shows why a "left hook" by Napoleon, while possible given the map area provided, would have taken a long, long time and spread the AdN dangerously.

The Prussians are now committed to one or more "approaches" using an off-map display. The French Player does not see this, and has no idea, until some Prussians begin to appear, which of four main avenues of appearance might have been chosen. The roads to Waterloo are restrictive, and the Prussians take some time to arrive in force no matter which approach/es are chosen. Choose unwisely, and the Prussian relief forces might be in the wrong place at the wrong time to put pressure on the French right before the Anglo-Allied army breaks.

The terrain analysis is better, we believe, than in original WV, and the map, while clean and relatively simple in presentation, is far easier on the eyes than the old bright-yellows-and-browns of original WV.

There are still Artillery crew markers, but no more Skirmisher "breakdown" counters. Instead, Infantry battalions generally have one (sometimes more than one) component counters with an "S" on the face, indicating the Flank companies are represented in this counter (which may have higher Morale than its Line company siblings). These "S" units have certain abilities reflecting Skirmisher tactics/employment, but they do not dominate the game the way old WV's skirmisher counters could--they also do NOT negatively impact the Morale of their associated Battalion when so used (I always considered it absurd to impose a Morale reduction on Infantry battalions when their Skirmishers were out-of-hex performing their assigned roles).

Cavalry charges and counter-charges are often dramatic, require "careful timing" (I can still hear Christopher Plummer delivering that line!) and do compel careful reading of the rules.

The rules . . . ah. My copy of the game is on the way (today or tomorrow) and I have not seen the "production" rulebook. But I will say that "rules lawyers" will likely not care for it, but those who play for the vicarious experience, for re-creating an epic battle with its dramatic events both large and small, and for whom "winning" (in terms of Victory Conditions) is not the only reason the game is on the table, will (most likely--I can only say this based on our experience on the test team) will find them accessible (especially with the Examples of Play now included, which we didn't have at testing onset) and capable of reflecting the history.

As to the comment above about "putting everybody in" with no reason for reserves . . . I don't even see how that's possible, given Command/Activation rules and competent opponents. We found that Reserves are vital both locally and at the "battle" level.

One reason for this is another new feature of WV II, markers for Hidden Deployment of entire formations. Using the full-game rules, the Defender, in particular, can conceal significant portions of his force behind the ridges. There is a whole game-within-the-game which concerns probing to discern just where the true troop concentrations are located, even with the Historical Deployment scenario. One commits to a heavy advance in a given area, without some attempt to discern enemy dispositions, at one's own risk.

These rules are optional; the game can be played without them and still be very absorbing and fraught with surprises.

Although it has been suggested, at least on CSW, that little playtesting was done, all I can say is: You weren't where we were. We played and played, noted and noted, sent in questions and suggestions. In many cases, we found that our questions were actually answered elsewhere in the rules and we'd simply overlooked the connections (I am hoping that the final rules do provide more cross-reference case citations to help with this). But by no means were even the original playtest rules "broken" or haphazardly presented.

WV II is, obviously, a big game, which attempts to represent the distinctive circumstances of Waterloo in ways which both reflect the history and the desire to make this a "manageable monster" that is fun to play, not just an exercise in self-discipline, and we have found that it achieves these goals. It's not "Mont Saint Jean" and doesn't try to be, but it also is not original WV, and to me, that is a very good thing. The game allows for historical tactics, and also permits some experimentation (hint: a 12 pdr battery makes a great "nutcracker"--I'll just let it go at that . . . .).

Our own greatest gripe is the graphics. The original playtest counters were printed with the numerical values as well as black rectangles arrayed as Cavalry Squadrons or Infantry Companies in field columns (there are Formation markers, of course; these were simply the counter graphics). We found these looked great on the map and gave a sense of an eagle's-at-altitude view of troops on the battlefield.

We were appalled when the fuss arose on CSW about the graphics and people started posting demands for counters with silhouettes on them, etc.

A couple of us didn't so much mind the "X's and /'s" in white on the counters, reminiscent of original WV, but for a pretty dang serious game on Waterloo, the cartoony mounted Leaders look out of place (btw, I count FOUR legs on the horsies, not two). I wish DG had stuck to their guns on the graphics; apart from a few hues lacking strong color saturation on the playtest counters (which we were assured would not be found in the production edition), they were easy to read and identifiable at a glance re arm-of-service. I might even play the production version with them. Those crossbelts leave an afterimage on my retinas.

No published game can meet every player's expectations, nor every hobbyist's interpretation of actual events. But I have to say, I think most gamers with a strong interest in Waterloo at the battle level will be happy with WV II.

Finally, in the interests of full disclosure, our group has a complimentary copy of WV II on the way, but that's it, so no filthy lucre is involved in motivating my comments here.


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Barry Kendall wrote:

The rules . . . ah. My copy of the game is on the way (today or tomorrow) and I have not seen the "production" rulebook. But I will say that "rules lawyers" will likely not care for it,
Way to go to insult those who want a clearer rulebook.

Quote:
but those who play for the vicarious experience, for re-creating an epic battle with its dramatic events both large and small
Certainly the rule discussions on CSW have been epic with dramatic events large and small.

Quote:
As to the comment above about "putting everybody in" with no reason for reserves . . . I don't even see how that's possible, given Command/Activation rules and competent opponents.
Perhaps you should take it up with the designer who played the game I referred to. Post some pictures of your games, and we'll see if they look better.

Quote:

Our own greatest gripe is the graphics. The original playtest counters were printed with the numerical values as well as black rectangles arrayed as Cavalry Squadrons or Infantry Companies in field columns (there are Formation markers, of course; these were simply the counter graphics). We found these looked great on the map and gave a sense of an eagle's-at-altitude view of troops on the battlefield.
I agree on that point, actually; another strike against the published game in my view.

Quote:
A couple of us didn't so much mind the "X's and /'s" in white on the counters, reminiscent of original WV, but for a pretty dang serious game on Waterloo, the cartoony mounted Leaders look out of place (btw, I count FOUR legs on the horsies, not two).
That comment was a response to Steve's comment on The Battles of Waterloo.
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Barry Kendall
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Marcus, thank you for your responses.
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Jason Loftiss
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Just play the original! Find it on ebay regularly for alot less than $160.
Ney vs Wellington is a classic that can be found easily. I have three copies. Wish more battles were produced with this system.
I will not buy decision's remake. The original is the onento get.
 
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Freddy Dekker
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three?

why?
 
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Nolan Hudgens
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Here's a corrected version of a partial AAR I originally put up on consimworld, and Steve was kind enough to post here, though under the TSR edition. It shows the details of a cavalry charge at the outset of the short scenario for the charge of Travers' brigade. (More action follows the charge with the arrival of Somerset's British heavy brigade and the rest of the FR 13 Cav Div.)

WV2, Scenario 32.0, Travers' charge

Here's a slice of the action in the Charge scenario, involving the first turn attack against the hapless Luneburg battalion. The Hanoverians are in hex 2246, in Line. (one battalion with two counters) The French 2/13 brigade (corrected ID, assuming the errata is OK) is all in 2745, 4 squadrons in Close Column led by Travers.

1) The cavalry sends one 1- SP squadron to 2446, so as to exert a Reaction Zone west of the infantry and thus intercept any retreat that didn't lead out of the play area. The other 3 squadrons (the 2-SP ones on top) and Travers move to Charge the Luneburgers. All the cavalry is still in Close Column, and makes its oblique move to address the target before it comes adjacent. (The attack force uses its Leader bonus to reach its attack hex.) The cavalry places a Charge marker when it finishes moving, and the top squadron makes a Morale Check to initiate the charge. (passing on a dr of 4)

2) The infantry soils its pants, and rolls to form square as a Reactive Formation Change. That calls for 3 Morale Checks: 2 for the change itself and one more because the cavalry is charging. A roll of 5/3/2 causes no step loss (it's not a combat roll) and one failure, or D1; the battalion changes to Square. Because it's treated as a single "unit" [multicounter infantry battalion, see 6.1] both counters are in square without the bottom counter needing to roll separately. Only the top counter is affected by the D1 result.

3) The infantry then makes Return Fire. It gets only 2 dice: 1 for firing; 0 for size advantage [the cavalry is a 6, using its morale rating (incl the leader) as a strength because it makes no fire itself, and the infantry is 4]; +2 for CCol; -1 for Sq; -1 for D1; and +1 for range. The roll of 5/4 has no effect.

4) The cavalry, being in Close Column, can use Wave Attack. The top squadron starts the ball by rolling 5 dice. +1 for Primary; +2 for size advantage [remember the special factor of 8, plus a 2 leader]; +2 for the CCol; -3 for Square; +1 for better morale (total of 6 with the leader); and +2 for charging. The result is (5/4/2/2/1). That causes a step loss and two failures, for a total D level of D3, all taken by the top counter. Since it's in Square, the infantry doesn't retreat as it would ordinarily with a D3 result. (the unit is marked D2) The first French squadron, having failed to dislodge the defenders, becomes D2 and goes to the bottom of its stack. Travers passes his Leader Loss roll with a 1. That brings up the next squadron, also a 2-5-4 Cuirassier.

5) The second wave attack is much like the first, and the new top squadron makes a morale check as it begins. A roll of 3 is plenty. (failure wouldn't prevent the charge, but only D1 the top unit) The infantry's return fire is reduced to just one die by its D2 condition. Its roll of 5 is ineffective. The shock roll is (4/4/3/3/3). That's enough for another step loss, and causes FIVE failures. (the top counter is a 4, reduced by its D2 status) That looks very grim. However the LUN is a multicounter inf btn, and so can assign the step loss to the bottom counter. That means the moral failures ALL apply to the top counter. It surrenders, which takes 3 of the D results. The other two D results have no effect. Since the top unit is NOT eliminated by the step loss (captured instead) the rule assigning leftover results down the stack [13.7A; B] doesn't apply. That leaves the bottom counter alone in the hex, but not D'd and still in Square. The attacking squadron is also D2 because it failed to clear the hex. The Surrender gives the French player 2x Fortunes of War (FOW). The French player can use these to rally his D2'd squadrons, or force morale checks on the remaining Luneburgers. He chooses the morale checks. Each FOW gives the doomed Hanoverians two dice, for a total of 4. (the morale of the remaining, step reduced counter is only a 3) Results of 6/4/2/1 give the infantry a D2 status. This type of check cannot cause step loss.

6) The last of the French Squadrons (a 1-5-4 Cu) then makes the third wave attack, also passing its initiation morale check. Its special factor is only a 5, but with the leader (+2) and the prior D2 on the defender it easily has the same strength and morale advantages as the others. The defenders roll a 6 in the return fire, making the squadron D1, but it does the infantry no good. Travers again passes his Loss Check. The shock's 5 dice tell the tale: (4/3/3/2/1). That's enough for a step loss, so that the doomed Luneburgers are eliminated. The French player decides to advance only with that single squadron. That leaves the other two -with Travers- free to Withdraw at the end of the shock sequence, using the supporting squadron to give them hexes adjacent to it as Safe Hexes.

[EDIT] Chris has ruled that the entire French stack must advance, since all units in a Close Column are treated as a single Unit for stacking. (it's a requirement to form the CCol to begin with) Thus the only squadron not in the stack is the 1-5-4 one dropped off earlier in the move. If the Allies had other units within the Cuirassers' charge zone (and i think that's viewed before entering the defender's hex) the French stack could Pursue, attacking them with the same procedure used in the initial charge. The stack could also Recall by rolling against the top unit's recall rating, to avoid unwise pursuit. (5 in the example) The stack(s) Pursued need not be the same one involved in the primary combat. That stack gets to finish its retreat before Pursuit begins. (NA here since the Luneburgers were destroyed)

That shows how vulnerable even units in Square can be if not supported by other friendly forces. Remember that eliminated steps and counters can rejoin the game through the use of FOW's, command points, replacement steps, and reorganization. Hence the Luneburgers aren't really dead. Not yet. (the POWs are out of the game) Call them zombies.

The infanty might well have been better off had it remained in Line. That would have given it effective Return Fire and thus a good chance of inflicting losses on the attackers. (6 dice: 1 for shooting, +2 for Line; +2 for CCol target; and 1 for close range. Remember this choice occurs after the cavalry has moved adjacent, and the absence of formation change precludes the morale checks for that) Naturally it would also have made the shock better for whatever cavalry survived the fire. (It's a gamble; 6 dice even give a decent chance for 2 hits, which is bad news for a wave attack by 2- step squadrons in CCol since each squadron attacks -and takes Return Fire- separately.)
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