David Groves
United Kingdom
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Hi everyone

MY first game play with expansion 5 left me feeling that Richard Borg and his team have done a very good job with this new expansion. Fighting with the new decks did not over-balance what is after all an excellent game but did provide some exciting moments.

Having looked at scenario 1 in the new scenario book I was disappointed to see that it was a cavalry action. While it has some interesting sides to it, for example block removal rather than unit removal as the way to win VP, I didn’t think it would bring out the full flavour of the new Tactics deck.

So, I did a strange thing and ignored the new scenario book but choose to play a tried and trusted scenario from the base game; Waterloo. Since each player has six command cards and six tactics cards I thought it would really demonstrate how game play would go using the two new decks. I was not disappointed.

The battle commenced with a French assault against Papelotte. A French line unit used Superb Infantry Training to enhance its firepower while on the move but failed to score a hit on the DB light infantry there. The French took a volley from the DB light infantry but eventually took Papelotte from close combat. The Guard foot artillery being positioned close by to dissuade Perponcher from attempting a counter attack. Although the French were later driven out by musket fire from a unit of DBs positioned on the ridge.

The action then moved over to Hougoumont, where Reille’s horse artillery opened fire at the British light infantry at the chateau resulting in light casualties. The light infantry returned fire and all but destroyed Reille’s horse artillery. Reille then mounted a combined arms attack on the chateau by moving light and line infantry through the woods there. With the Allies having already lost Papelotte, Hill was determined to hold Hougoumont and responded by moving the Guards Grenadiers towards the chateau, supported by two units of DB line infantry together with Hill’s own British line unit. A massive struggle took place around the chateau with Hill eventually deciding on a bayonet charge against Reille. An Infantry Forward Leader was used by Hill to rush his unit three hex at Reille’s unit positioned in the woods just outside of Hougoumont. Hill’s attack failed and he lost half his command and was forced to retreat into the bargain. The struggle continued around the chateau and Hill tried to reform his unit with a Leader Reform card but that failed also. By now the Guards Grenadiers had relieved the battered British light infantry at the Chateau and threated to destroy Reille. Orders were short for the French left but the play of a Leader Bonus Order card could have saved Reille but the order was not made (poor command by me) and Reille perished along with his unit (a lesson learned there). Hougoumont was now safely in allied hands.

Now for the main French assault. Napoleon had been using the diversionary actions on each flank to build up the perfect hand. All cavalry units were brought forward and put into position. The Allied forces dallied with some Scout cards while they awaited the assault. Three cavalry units were then hurled at the British guns with a Cavalry Charge card. The French light cavalry succeeded in damaging Hill and Perponcher’s guns severely while the Guard heavy cavalry decimated Picton’s guns at the centre of the field. However, the impetuous horsemen used bonus attack to charge the British Guard heavy cavalry but they counter charged (Charge if Charged) and both units were reduced to one block each. Picton’s battered infantry tried to reform (but failed, just like Hill) but still succeeded in polishing off the French Guard cavalry. However, despite the loss of the GHC the Allied guns were in disarray and the British heavy cavalry had been heavily mauled. The French infantry were now free to move forward.
The Leader Bonus Order was finally used by the French to move Ney onto a Line infantry unit and the assault was off with both Ney and D’Erlon leading the way.

The Allies used fire and hold while the French infantry was between the two ridges and in no man’s land but with assault, forced march and bayonet charge cards in the French command hand the French line was soon across the void and the Old Guard had taken La Haye Sainte. Both Picton and Perpocher fought like devils and slowly but surely the French assault started to run out of steam. The British Rifles were stubborn at the sandpit, peppering the French with rile fire and Ney failed to dislodge them. Finally, a weakened Ney was confronted by the British heavy cavalry and forced to square. A square then destroyed by Picton’s infantry.
The battle of Waterloo was over (8 – 4 to the British).

Analysis of the new decks.

Although a number of cards failed during play others (some not mentioned above) did work and worked well. I very much like this new expansion as the tactics cards do add that extra spice to the game without over-balancing it and the new leader command cards bring the leaders into play a lot more (some of the new leader command cards were played but not mentioned above). I still have a lot more to learn about the new decks but after one play of a favourite scenario I can honestly say that I’m not disappointed with expansion 5.


Happy gaming everyone
Dave

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Jon Snow
United States
New York City
New York
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Congratulations on getting your copy and thanks for the session report. I've now played the three older Prussian Waterloo scenarios with the new Tactics Cards Deck--(Wavre, Ligny, and Placenoit) from the Prussian Expansion. We had a great time with them.

Oddly enough, when I played Waterloo scenarios back before the expansion came out, including both the normal format and even the two board scenario by Bayernkini, the French threatened Hougoumont the easy way two out of three times I played it--by simply putting Out of Supply on the initial British garrison. "C'est marveilleuse, mais ce ne pas la guerre!"

While I played most of the new GMT scenarios in order, I did jump forward at one point to Hougoumont, to please my live opponent. My French got trashed no matter what I tried, as I mentioned in another thread.

I note that a few of the CCN expansions started out with an all cavalry action, in the general sense of presenting them from easy to a bit more complex--what we used to call 'programmed learning.' Mr. Borg often uses this to introduce an expansion's newer rules gradually, so I think of this as part of that process.

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Jim Fardette
United States
Lawrenceville
Pennsylvania
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Good write up, thanks for sharing it. I've only played with the new expansion once and still haven't made up my mind. It did add some variety, but it seemed to add a lot of time to a normally quick playing game as my opponent and I tried to maneuver into the best position to take advantage of the tactics cards.
One change I really liked was the leader being able to activate a wing of adjacent units. This seemed very realistic historically and finally gave the leaders a real reason/opportunity to impact the battles. Anyone else want to share their thoughts on how play was or was not affected?
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