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James C
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A HARD LOOK AT A GREAT GAME: RISING EAGLES - AUSTERLITZ 1805
An “Eagles of France” Game System Review

PREFACE

I set forth this review of the Eagles of France (“Eagles”) game system generally, through the lens of my experience with “Eagles Rising: Austerlitz 1805.” Austerlitz is the second game in the series thus far, with the first game being “Waterloo 1815” and the third being “Ligny 1815.” A fourth title, “Quatre-Bras 1815” is due to be released later this year. All four games share the same living rules / series rules, available on its publisher’s (Hexasim’s) website. (Of course, each game comes with a printed copy of the rules as well, but these could be outdated.)

This review is lengthy. Those wishing to get right to the point should jump to the highlighted paragraph (which summarizes my impression of gameplay) and the review’s last paragraph (“Conclusion”).

BACKGROUND

By way of background, I’ve been a gamer since the 1980s. Back then, I cut my teeth on the classic Avalon Hill hex-and-counter games (along with, primarily, Dungeons & Dragons, and Axis & Allies). Although I enjoy many types of games, I lean toward war-themed games. Over the last several years, I’ve gotten back into gaming after quite a hiatus, taken a liking to Battle Cry, Memoir ’44, 1812, 1775, Hold the Line, Command & Colors Ancients, Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear, and Advanced Squad Leader (Starter Kit 1).

I have long wanted to acquire and play a Napoleonic era wargame, but was not thrilled with the titles currently available. Some of the ones that caught my eye were out of print (such as Napoleon’s Triumph), and as such exorbitantly expensive. Most were two-player only, and I wanted a game that could accommodate multi-player possibilities. I looked closely at the La Bataille system but was, to be frank, frightened away by its daunting complexity and the time commitment it entailed (not only to study the rules – which I already did! – but simply to play the game).

I had not heard of Hexasim, and missed its first title, Waterloo 1815. I came across Austerlitz 1805 while perusing GMT’s catalog. It seemed to check all the right boxes for me: (1) moderate complexity, (2) multi-player potential, (3) historically accurate (within reason), (4) beautifully produced, and (5) enjoyable to play.

To find a copy was a quest in itself, as it was sold out everywhere I looked. It was being offered on eBay for $95, but I could not justify this. Finally, I found a reasonably priced copy via the BGG market from Gamers HQ, in Germany. With international shipping costs included, I paid $80 total for the game. I’m still smarting from that, as it’s more than I wanted to pay for a game that retails at $65 full price. But, given how long I had pined for a game just like this one, and given how I learned that games really can disappear, not to re-appear for several years later, I didn’t want to take any chances.

COMPONENTS

Everyone who has reviewed the game has remarked upon how well produced it is.

I agree that the game has been well produced. It’s pretty much state-of-the-art with regard to a game of its kind. Meaning, there aren’t wooden blocks or plastic miniatures, or any chrome along those lines. What comes in the box are paper maps (semi-glossy and well illustrated), unit counters (on nice, thick cardboard, with clear text and vibrant colors), and a few semi-glossy sheets of player aids. The cards are a tad flimsy, but they get very limited use and as such should hold up. The full-color rulebook is printed on quality, glossy-ish paper, and contains a number of helpful illustrations of gameplay. Unfortunately, some of the colored text in the rulebook was blurry throughout – not in the way of being smeared, but in the way of being misprinted. An odd quality-control issue.

To me, the gold standard of production value with regard to hex-and-counter games has been set by Academy Games with games in its “Conflicts of Heroes” line: thicker, larger counters, and map art that is positively sumptuous. On the other end of the spectrum, harkening back to the Avalon Hill titles of yesteryear, comes Multi-Man Publishing’s Advanced Squad Leader title, with maps and counters that are purely functional (devoid of any genuine artistic merit). Eagles fits comfortably between these two poles.

The player aids are essential, setting forth charts, tables, and other critical information. A player aid setting forth an annotated turn sequence and some key rules would have been a welcome inclusion. This was included in the Waterloo game, but not in Austerlitz. I’m not sure whether anything like this is included in Ligny or will be included in Quatre-Bras.

Although, as mentioned, the components are high quality, a couple of drawbacks ought to be noted.

First, the die-cut unit markers are frequently stacked, with as many as five occupying one hex. And during gameplay, additional marker counters are regularly placed on top of these stacks. Although I have small and somewhat nimble hands, I could not prevent these stacks from falling over from time to time. That’s actually a fairly big deal, as the board can get crowded, and one toppling stack can get mixed up with an adjacent stack. Further, when manipulating stacks, it’s not uncommon for a chit or two therein to squirt out. Again, this could land on another stack, and the problem repeats itself. But this isn’t merely a matter of inconvenience; the unit markers are double-sided, with one side indicating full strength, and another indicating reduced strength. On more than one occasion, when a stack fell apart, my opponent and I weren’t 100% certain how to reassemble it: was that artillery unit really at reduced strength? Didn’t that infantry unit take a reduction in strength? That was frustrating.

Second, as with all paper maps, there are creases. These creases exacerbate the problem of stack collapses discussed above. This can be remedied by a plexiglass overlay. That set me back an additional $40, adding almost 50% to the cost of a game that, as mentioned, is already a bit pricey.

In the modern era of Board Game Geek / social media gaming, I would be remiss in failing to mention that this is definitely a niche gaming system. As such, it does not enjoy the popularity or following of other wargames, ranging from ASL to Command and Colors to Wings of Glory to Axis & Allies. Consequently, Eagles does not enjoy the kind of support that gives rise to much helpful, player-generated content – from player aids, to additional scenarios and variants, etc. I’m generally not a fan of variants, but, as mentioned earlier, some high quality player aids would be very helpful with this game.

Finally, before moving onto the rules, there is one criticism that I’d like to raise regarding the overall rulebook / components assembly. Opening the box can be a bit discombobulating. There are a lot of cardboard chits, charts, and tables, and how they all fit together is not necessarily evident to a newcomer. The rulebook could have done a better job identifying each player aid / counter, and its appropriate use. This can all be figured out, but it takes a little bit of work. An inexperienced wargamer would, I fear, be a bit lost.

In a similar vein, the game’s designers seem to assume a fair bit of knowledge on the part of the game’s players. For example, there are special scenario maps for Scenario 1, 2, and 3 included in the Austerlitz box. These maps actually have certain critical text cut off (such as where some of the supply hexes are located) missing altogether. One has to figure out that these special scenario maps are simply magnified versions of the larger game maps, and next figure out where they fit in within those larger map. Once that’s done, a player can piece together the missing text and information. Not the hugest obstacle to overcome, but an unnecessary obstacle nonetheless.

Finally, there are some confusing bits of information on the unit counters that’s not ever really explained. For example, each “formation” is denoted by a particular color band. Each “formation” also has a unique name (such as “III” or “IV”). Consequently, one would expect that each color band would correspond to a unique formation’s name. Not so: some “formations” (designed by color) actually consist of multiple “formations” (designated by name). Again, this is not a big deal – it’s just unnecessarily jarring and a word of explanation somewhere in the rules and materials would have been very helpful.

Another nit would be the lack of any mention of how to track captured flags and scoring throughout the game. This is a rather basic piece of game logistics that every other single game I’ve ever played has covered. Yet there’s nary a mention of it in the rulebook, nor any sort of victory point tracker among the components. Of course, pen and paper will do just fine, and this doesn’t impact gameplay much at all. But again, one would expect this to be addressed in the rules (this is not an issue so much with the full-day, grand battle scenario, where most the of scoring is done at game’s end, but it is an issue with regard to the smaller scenarios which need to be scored at the end of each turn).

RULES

I am not going to explain the rules in detail, but I will necessarily summarize them here in order to paint a picture of how the game plays. For, at bottom, any game can really be only as good as its rule set. Indeed, although I am quick to fall for a beautifully produced game, I am forced to ultimately admit: rules are the game.

But first, I must comment on the rulebook itself. It is well written. It’s organized logically, generally clear, and lacks significant errata. There aren’t a ton of examples, but enough are provided. And they’re quite helpful. Some important material is, in my opinion, hidden away and not readily available where one might expect it to be. But that’s by far the exception, not the rule.

There are a number of ambiguities that have come to light in the course of playing the game. For although the rulebook is indeed well written (in that what’s covered is done so in a manner that’s readable and clear), it does not cover every potential situation and rules interaction that might possibly arise during gameplay. And there is at least one legitimately confusing section of the rules (regarding cavalry retreat) that appears to conflict with another section. But, to his well-deserved credit, the game’s designer, Walter Vejdovsky, has been an active participant in BGG’s rules forums. As such, there are, to my knowledge, no outstanding rules controversies demanding resolution. Indeed, every single rules inquiry I posted on BGG was answered by Walter, or some other player, within 24 hours or so. Very impressive.

The issue flagged above is not due to lack of effort: the rules are moderately voluminous. The core rule book clocks in at 24 pages (the scenario book not included). I’ve attempted to distill the rules down to a minimum for references purposes, and even that could not be reduced below six very dense pages (my effort is available as “Eagles of France Rules Summary and Reference” at https://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/159705/eagles-france-...). It took me several reads to get the rules under my belt. And with each successive game over the course of my first few game plays, I recognized a rule or two I had missed or misunderstood, and periodic gaps in the rules’ coverage.

The rules are not, however, terribly complex. There aren’t too many exceptions to exceptions to keep in mind. In fact, the rules are rather straight forward once one gets the hang of them. It’s simply that there are a lot of different things players can do, a lot of potential consequences to consider, and a fair amount of material to keep track of. And this takes a rules set of considerable length to cover. Of the games I’m familiar with (mentioned above), the Eagles of France rules comes closest to, perhaps matching, Advanced Squad Leader (Starter Kit 1) in terms of complexity.

GAMEPLAY

Now, to gameplay. Each game features the French army on one side, and those allied against it (the armies of the Coalition) on the other (in Austerlitz, that would be Russia and Austria). Each game has a limited number of turns before ending, and the side with the most victory points upon the game’s conclusion wins the game. Each game turn represents one hour of battle. Victory points are earned by seizing certain map locations (as per one’s scenario instructions), and, depending upon the scenario and circumstances, by destroying enemy units.

During each turn of the game, the different sides alternate activating their units. Activation is the means by which units may be moved and ordered into combat. More on that later.

The combat rules cover virtually everything that one would expect of a Napoleonic-era wargame:
• terrain modifications and limitations;
• cavalry charges, cavalry retreats, and cavalry fatigue;
• separate tables to account for melee combat versus fire combat;
• separate tables taking into account the ferocity of artillery fire;
• zones of control and flanking attacks;
• retreat, rout, and rally ;
• morale and leadership;
• weather

During the active player’s move, defending players don’t just sit on their hands, but may have an opportunity to engage in defensive fire, opportunity fire, and counter-charges with their cavalry. Again, all the bases that most of us would want to see covered are covered.
All of this is, of course, rather familiar to a wargamer. It’s difficult to say that Eagles does a better job with this than all the other games out there, but it certainly does this as well as the good games do it. The game feels right, in that the results one sees in combat mirror what one would generally expect under the historical circumstances. It takes into account all the factors that need to be taken into account without bogging gameplay down. There’s a difficult balance between realism and playability; between making a game feel like work versus offering an enjoyable experience. This game seems to get that balance correct. And that’s not surprising, given the research that went into the combat tables and odds calculations by the game’s designer.

As engagements are resolved via dice, there is, of course, an element of luck. And as such, one’s best laid plans can go astray due to the whims of chance. But, with careful planning, one can influence the odds, adjusting them to one’s favor. Nevertheless, an irreducible minimum of randomness persists, and that may annoy those who prefer a more deterministic method of resolving combat. But I cannot fail to recall at this moment a quote from the Emperor himself regarding an officer: “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?”

Stopping here would make Eagles a solid game system, and a fine addition to anyone’s collection. But what sets Eagles apart, and pushes it to the very heights of gaming excellence, are (1) its orders system, (2) its activation system, and (3) it’s hidden units/fog of war system.

FORMATIONS, ORDERS, ACTIVATION, HIDDEN MOVEMENT, AND FOG OF WAR

Before discussing these three appealing features, first a word must be said about Eagles’s formation system of unit organization.
In Eagles, every unit belongs to a particular formation. Each formation will have its own particular leader (an officer, such as D’Erlon or Mouton). Each side, therefore, will have multiple formations comprising its army.

At the start of the game, each player must give each of its formations an “order.“ These can be either geographic or defensive. A geographic order commits a formation to march toward a particular location on the map / gameboard. It permits the formation to engage enemy units in combat at that location or along the way thereto. A defence order (to my fellow Americans: that’s not a typo, it’s spelled “defence”– Hexasim is a European company), conversely, basically orders a formation to hunker down and defend in place. When attacked, the formation under a defence order enjoys certain bonuses. But it’s ability to maneuver and attack is sharply circumscribed. Units may go rogue, and attempt to undertake “independent movement” whereby they act in ways outside of their formation’s order, but this requires a “quality factor” check and is accompanied by certain penalties.

Critically, orders cannot be changed willy nilly. Rather, only a limited number of orders can be changed per player turn. This gives the game an incredibly realistic feel, in that players in Eagles are not omnipotent. Formations, once ordered, will not so easily be re-oriented to a new end. Just as messages on the battlefield don’t travel instantaneously from commander to officer to troops, there is a delay in getting one’s formations to reverse course in Eagles.

Another excellent feature is the activation system employed in Eagles. As indicated, when it’s a player’s turn, he takes action via a particular formation of units that he chooses to activate. However, each formation may activate only twice per turn, and formation activations alternate between players, so prioritization is essential. Will you activate a formation with orders to seize a particular hill, in hopes that it will get there before the enemy? Or will you instead activate a unit essential to better defend an exposed flank? You can only choose one, before giving your opponent an opportunity to activate a formation of his own. This generates extreme tension. Further, if you activate a particular formation early on, in quick succession, it’s now generally spent for the entire turn, and extremely limited in its ability to react to battlefield developments for the remainder of the turn (because of the 2x per turn activation limit).

Further, formation activation is not guaranteed. When a player wishes to activate a formation, he must attempt to do so by making a dice roll against the initiative rating of that formation’s leader. These attempts will not invariably succeed. Failure means that you cannot activate the formation in question at that time, but instead must attempt to activate another. If a given formation is responsible for a particular objective, and if you're under the pressure of time (typically the case), this can be highly problematic as you and your opponent activate other formations, possibly again and again, before you finally succeed in getting the one of your primary choice to act(ivate) by passing an initiative check. Thus, players need to be careful in how they use and rely upon formations under the leadership of lesser, inferior officers.

Further still, the two activations mentioned above is also not guaranteed. After each activation (or pass – players may elect to temporarily pass rather than attempt an activation when it’s their chance to do so), an “end of turn” check must be performed. This is a dice roll to determine if the turn ends prematurely – that is, before every formation has had an opportunity to activate twice. The odds for passing the end of turn check varies from turn to turn, depending upon the scenario. Thus, there is a very real possibility that a turn may end before a player’s best laid plans for all his formations can be executed. This really keeps a player on his toes!

The harshness of the “end of turn” checks is softened, somewhat, by the fact that (1) units that did not get to activate during a turn do have an opportunity, at turn’s end, to engage in some limited movement, and (2) there are actually two “end of turn” checks that must be failed for a turn to definitively end, a “first check” and a “second check,” and those checks aren’t made one right after the other. Rather, the only thing that happens when the first “end of turn” check is failed is the flipping of a marker indicating that the first check failed. This puts players on notice that the end (of the turn) is near. Everything proceeds as before, with activations being attempted by the players in sequence. It’s just that after all those subsequent activations (or passes), another (a second) failed turn check definitively ends the turn. In short, players get a little bit of warning before the curtain comes down on them, and can adjust accordingly.

The activation system heightens the game’s tension considerably, as a player never knows with certainly that (1) his officers and their formations will act when needed to act, and (2) which of his officers will respond to the call of duty on a given turn. As per the game’s odds, most officers will indeed activate, at least once, on most turns. But that’s not a certainty. Again, this adds to the realism (and frustration!) that an actual commander in the 19th century must have experienced.

The game system incorporates hidden unit movement, via the use of special “decoy” counters. Pursuant to this, in some scenarios, certain formations are not set up on the game board at start of play. Rather, only their officer’s counter is placed on the map, along with a pair of matching decoy counters. All of these counters move along the game board simultaneously as per their movement point allotment until within “visibility” range of the enemy. At that time, decoy and/or hidden units are revealed as such. In the case of decoy counters, the counter is simply removed from the map. In the case of the actual hidden units, the formation is now placed on the map within a certain number of hexes of the officer’s counter as per the game’s rules (and any remaining decoy counters for that formation are discarded). This very simply creates a delicious fog of war.

Finally, for even more fog-of-war goodness, stacks of units cannot ordinarily be inspected. Rather, only the stack’s leader and artillery components, together with any leader, are viewable (unless the stack is adjacent to an enemy unit). So players never really know what’s coming at them unit it hits them!

FULL-GAME VERSUS SHORTER SCENARIOS

In light of the preceding, one important caveat is in order: the features highlighted above (the (1) its orders system, (2) its activation system, and (3) it’s hidden units/fog of war system) are only fully available in the full-blown, all-day, grand-battle scenario. That’s the one that takes an estimated 10 hours to complete. The other three scenarios included in the box do not fully utilize all these features, but only one here or one there. That’s a little bit disappointing, as these features are, from my perspective, major selling points for this game.

At least in Austerlitz, each of the three shorter scenarios was a bit more complicated than the previous. I’m not sure that this was intentional, but each did seem to build upon the previous one, and evolve logically, step-by-step, to the final, full game, ultimate scenario.

All that said, the shorter scenarios are indeed quite enjoyable to play – I don’t want to give the wrong impression here. I’m very glad they were included. Each focuses on a particular aspect of the battle, covering only a geographic and temporal portion thereof. This is nice, as it also familiarizes the players to features of the battlefield that they’ll revisit again when they get around to playing the full battle scenario. Further, had I not played through each of the three shorter scenarios, I don’t think I would have been ready for the full game experience, as set forth in the final (full battle) scenario.

Regarding the final, full battle scenario, all I can say is “wow.” All the game’s bells and whistles come together wonderfully. I’m not sure how the main / full battles in the other Eagles of France titles play out, but in Rising Eagles: Austerlitz 1805, the battle unfolds masterfully. The best thing I can compare the experience to is a fine piece of classical music. It starts off smoothly and gradually, as the hidden units and their decoy markers are moved into place across the board. Then, the silence is punctuated by the clash of sporadic but limited fighting, as the first formation or two encounters an enemy counterpart. The action builds steadily, as additional formations come online and are brought into the fray. Then, out of what appeared to be pure chaos, the shape of each general’s grand strategy begins to come into relief. What started out as mere squirmishes here and there builds into larger, more intentional engagements. No longer are mere stacks duking it out, but entire formations – nay, entire combinations of formations crash together across the battlefield. Battle lines take form, patterns of combat emerge, but nothing becomes entirely predictable. Like the movements of a Mozart sonata, momentum shifts periodically, keeping the experience fresh and engaging. The action eventually reaches a crescendo, with furious fighting across most of the battlefield. Frustration mounts as players, at times, confront feckless officers – who will not activate when called upon, or who remain wedded to an order given at the battle’s commencement that can’t be readily changed. Then, with the inevitable attrition of units, the ferocity of artillery bombardments having taken its toll, and the proliferation of units routing from the field, the action finally ebbs. A few last, desperate, heroic attempts are made to seize key locations – or to stave off the enemy’s attempt to do the same. You can almost hear the shouts of men, the thunder of guns, and the stampede of cavalry.

In short, the full game delivers a truly incredible wargaming experience. Although I imagine that games as good as this exist, I haven’t personally come across them. And, moreover, my imagination does not allow me to envision a game better than this.



GAME LENGTH

Unfortunately, I typically don’t have the time for a game that takes longer to play than the actual battle took to be fought! Thankfully, all of the Eagles games feature, in addition to a main scenario (in which the entire battle is played out), a number of smaller, related scenarios as well. Some of these smaller scenarios can, according to the publisher, be played in a about an hour. I found that a bit unrealistic, and would suggest about two hours (at least for someone new to the system). But that’s extremely manageable for a game of this depth.

The full battle is listed as occupying about 10 hours of play time. Based upon my own personal experience, that is probably a fair estimate for experienced players. But players should expect almost twice that time for inexperienced players or anyone with analysis paralysis.
And of course, if you do have 10-12 hours to spare, you can indeed get your fill of a grand, tactical battle game by playing the full scenario.

MULTIPLAYER POTENTIAL

I like to play games with high player counts, typically from 4 to 6. As such, it was important to me that Eagles / Austerlitz be able to accommodate that. It does quite well.

To me, what makes a multiplayer war game enjoyable is real responsibility and ownership over a given set of troops. The color-coded formation system employed in Eagles lends itself excellently to that.

At the start of a multiplayer game, players simply divide up the various formations (along with their accompanying leaders) amongst themselves, with each player taking responsibility for one or more formations depending upon the number of players. It’s really that easy, and works great. The various officers on the field pretty much come to life as your teammates at the table!

Certain players will have to also take responsibility for their army’s “commanders” as well. Commanders are figures such as Napoleon, Ney, and Wellington who are not attached to a particular formation, and have special abilities that can be used to rally or order any particular unit within their army.

Someone will have to take on the overall responsibility of assigning and changing orders (I’d suggest the individual who’s playing Napoleon for the French team...) as that occurs throughout the game, but this does not pose a problem.

One of the reasons I opted for the Austerlitz title, over Waterloo or Ligny, is the fact that it contains a greater number of formations (about a dozen) than those other games (as far as I was able to discern). This lends Austerlitz to higher player counts. In theory, you could easily play and game in the series with as many players as there are formations! The drawback to this is, of course, the downtime between a player’s chance to act. This is somewhat compounded by the fact that, as discussed above, certain formations might not even get to act on a given turn because its officer never passes his initiative test, and/or the turn ends prematurely. Giving each individual player multiple formations to command largely dispenses with that unfortunate situation: there’s a much greater chance that on any given turn, at least one of that player’s formations will, in fact, activate. (Personally, I’ve never been too concerned about downtime during a serious, somewhat-heavy wargame. I thoroughly appreciate the time to think, plan, and strategize.)

SOLO PLAYER POTENTIAL

In Austerlitz, the full game includes the fog of war elements set forth above, reducing its solo playability. None of the shorter scenarios include the hidden movement fog-of-war element, and make for fine, solo-player simulation experiences.

VALUE

Value is particularly subjective. The retail price of $65 for this game does seem high though. There’s no chrome, and the components, although quite nice (as discussed) are all cardboard (except for two small plastic dice). The maps are illustrated nicely, but they’re not mounted – they’re simply shiny paper. As such, it seems to me as though this game should come in under $50 or so. Consider that Command and Colors Napoleonic sells for $63 on Amazon – with free shipping; that’s for nearly 6 pounds of high quality components: wooden blocks, mounted board, custom dice, etc. And because of supply issues, I’m not sure we’ll see discounts on any Eagles games in the system. So, is it worth “overpaying” for this game? I thought so, but my situation may be unique: I was looking for a very special kind of game, and Eagles checked all the right boxes. I’m also not getting any younger, and at this stage of my life, I’m generally willing to pay a little more for exactly what I want (I’m not fond of compromising anymore, if I can help it). For anyone who is not similarly situated, they may wish to consider what else is out there for $65 + shipping costs.

CONCLUSION

I had very high hopes for Rising Eagles: Austerlitz 1805, and the game did not disappoint. Many who have reviewed the Eagles of France games have called them among the best wargames they’ve ever played, and I can see why.

Eagles provide a game that’s as realistic as one can be without getting bogged down in excessive fiddliness. As indicated, the rules are indeed a bit long, and take some time to digest. But once they’re under your belt, they don’t get in the way of having a good time. As I’ve pointed out before, it’s difficult to balance enjoyment of gameplay on the one hand and realistic, historical accuracy on the other. I think this game gets that balance just right. So, in sum, I can highly recommend this game.

To the extent that I have concerns, they go to the availability and pricing of the Eagles games. I question Hexasim’s distribution model, given how quickly Austerlitz was out of stock after it was released (at least in the United States). The fact that additional titles in the Eagles of France series are on the horizon is indeed a great sign, but I’m not sure what Hexasim’s reprint policy is or will be. I fear, therefore, that the Eagles of France series of games might be as difficult to acquire as they are excellent to play, thereby unnecessarily inflating their cost and limiting their reach and audience.

Edits: typos, typos, and more typos. Plus a substantive rules fix.
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Rodger Samuel
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Regarding your final comment, I live in the states, but have ordered directly from Hexasim a number of times. I would say that doing so is neither prohibitively expensive, nor does it involve an interminable wait.

The sequel to Par le feu, le fer et la foi, for instance, is supposed to be released this June, and I intend to order it from Hexasim as soon as it can be ordered, rather than wait for however long it may take to become available from US sellers.

So, if one wants a Hexasim game unavailable here, but in stock with the publisher, I'd suggest ordering direct.
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James C
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DrZaat wrote:
Regarding your final comment, I live in the states, but have ordered directly from Hexasim a number of times. I would say that doing so is neither prohibitively expensive, nor does it involve an interminable wait.

The sequel to Par le feu, le fer et la foi, for instance, is supposed to be released this June, and I intend to order it from Hexasim as soon as it can be ordered, rather than wait for however long it may take to become available from US sellers.

So, if one wants a Hexasim game unavailable here, but in stock with the publisher, I'd suggest ordering direct.

Thank you for sharing that. I am glad you had a better experience than I did!

I only received a response to two out of four emails I sent Hexasim (the responses were courteous and helpful - that should be noted).

And when I contacted GMT about the title, I was told that they had no info from Hexasim regarding when additional copies of the game would be shipped over.

So for me, procuring this game was a tad frustrating.

But this shouldn't detract from the game itself, which was well worth the trouble!
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Richard Moore
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"When a player wishes to activate a formation, he must attempt to do so by making a dice roll against the initiative rating of that formation’s leader. These attempts will not invariably succeed. Failure means that your opponent will have the chance to move again, and possibly again and again, before you do, and until you succeed in getting one of your formation’s leaders to act(ivate) by passing an initiative check."

This is not correct. The rules are very clear on this -- the point is even highlighted. (See 7.3.a) When an eligible leader fails to make his initiative, the active player can attempt to activate any other eligible leader(s) he may have. The opportunity to activate does NOT pass to his opponent. There are only two times a forced pass occurs: 1. When every eligible leader remaining on a side has failed his initiative; or 2. When one side has run out of eligible leaders before the other side has. Both situations can happen, but they are not at all frequent. And the adjustment to the end of turn die roll that occurs once one side has run out of eligible leaders makes it even rarer.
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James C
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wlkbout wrote:
"When a player wishes to activate a formation, he must attempt to do so by making a dice roll against the initiative rating of that formation’s leader. These attempts will not invariably succeed. Failure means that your opponent will have the chance to move again, and possibly again and again, before you do, and until you succeed in getting one of your formation’s leaders to act(ivate) by passing an initiative check."

This is not correct. The rules are very clear on this -- the point is even highlighted. (See 7.3.a) When an eligible leader fails to make his initiative, the active player can attempt to activate any other eligible leader(s) he may have. The opportunity to activate does NOT pass to his opponent. There are only two times a forced pass occurs: 1. When every eligible leader remaining on a side has failed his initiative; or 2. When one side has run out of eligible leaders before the other side has. Both situations can happen, but they are not at all frequent. And the adjustment to the end of turn die roll that occurs once one side has run out of eligible leaders makes it even rarer.

Yes, you are absolutely correct about that. I played correctly, but somehow botched the write-up on this portion of the rules. I'll edit it so as to avoid any future confusion.
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