Lou Correia
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A Crowning Mercy: A Solitaire Game of the English Civil War (1642-1651) by Berserker Games

In this solitaire Print & Play game, the player is the side of Parliament. The goal is to control 16 cities and 14 towns by the time you run out of Action Cards, which would represent the overthrow of King Charles. After reading the rules I planned to go with an aggressive strategy. My impression is that there is a good chance of running out of time to meet the victory conditions if you play too defensively.


So my first turn and I start the game with three commanders, two in London. My event card draws result in no new commanders plus one force is delayed. I start feeling pessimistic. I march two forces into Colchester and Coventry, prepared for bloody battles... and both towns rally to the side of Parliament! Now I'm feeling optimistic. I have enough Action Points remaining to fortify Coventry. Now to see what the reaction of the Royalists will be... Langsdale, that butcher for the King, marches out of Lancaster and descends on neutral Richmond. The citizens decide to fight and are overwhelmed.


Shown in the picture are the wounds after musketry; before melee. After the first round, one parliament unit and two royalist units broke and ran, but two of the remaining parliamentary units were disorganized. In the second round the king's butchers showed no mercy. Another unit ran - actually the lone remaining musketeer remaining on his feet from that unit . The three remaining units were completely destroyed.

In Turn 2 I gain another commander – Oliver Cromwell who I place in Durham. Cromwell leads a force to recapture Richmond, forcing Langsdale back to his hole in Lancaster. Also in the north, the forces of Parliament under Essex captured the fortified city of Nottingham. In the south both of my attempts to capture Royalist strongholds were turned back. Fairfax met a delaying force out of Ipswich and retreated back to Colchester. Manchester marched out of London planning to take Canterbury, and was routed on the road by a force led by Northampton.

At least the Royalist army, led by Norwich out of Bristol, and is foiled trying to besiege Salisbury.

Turn 3, Cromwell leads his reinforced army out of Richmond , deciding that troublesome Lancaster needs to be dealt with. Langsdale marches his Royalist forces out of Lancaster, meeting Cromwell and the forces of Parliament outside of Tatham.

In the opening volleys of the Battle of The Bridge Inn... CROMWELL HAS FALLEN!

Cromwell has died before he could even gain a reputation. In spite of his death, the forces of Parliament rout the Royalist army, with Langsdale cowardly riding alone back to Lancaster.

In spite of the decisive victory, there seems to be no rule allowing Parliament to follow up.The battle outside of Lancaster stopped the army from attacking the city this turn. Next turn the Royalist will have a fresh army??? Guess I should avoid Royalist cities, with the higher odds of battles or delaying forces enroute, and initially gobble up neutral cities; yet some of those Royalist strongholds must be conquered sooner or later.

Elsewhere, Essex marched towards another neutral city – Manchester, which is fortified. They decide to fight, and with insufficient cannon the fortifications are not breached. In the south, the two forces face a repeat of the previous turn, running into just slightly better delaying forces and eventually turning back to their previous bases. The odds of defeating a delaying force seem high, but whether they are defeated or not, they always prevent you (I understand) from attacking the city that turn. Combat take a long time, leading to the game taking longer than I expected. There is a Quick Battle Resolution for attacking settlements, but not for battles in the open fields between towns.

At this point I prematurely end the game. The number of turns ultimately depends on how many Action Cards you are allowed to draw each round. Cromwell is dead, but it is so early in the game that the morale of Parliament wouldn't suffer. They don’t realize what was lost during that victory in the farmlands of Lancashire . I need to reread the rules, and possibly house rule some aspects. More importantly, the family needed the dining room table to eat on!



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Adam D.
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Wonderful write up.
 
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Lance McMillan
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Very nice AAR, thanks for posting. Was wondering if you could provide a bit more detail on how the system works (especially the tactical aspects) as there's almost nothing posted that I can find about this or any of Mr.Rossing's other similar designs. I'm intrigued, but would like to know more before deciding whether or not to invest the time necessary to printing up a full game. Thanks.
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Lou Correia
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Lancer4321 wrote:
Very nice AAR, thanks for posting. Was wondering if you could provide a bit more detail on how the system works (especially the tactical aspects) as there's almost nothing posted that I can find about this or any of Mr.Rossing's other similar designs. I'm intrigued, but would like to know more before deciding whether or not to invest the time necessary to printing up a full game. Thanks.


Let me chew on an answer. I should look at the event cards first.
 
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Adam D.
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Lancer4321 wrote:
Very nice AAR, thanks for posting. Was wondering if you could provide a bit more detail on how the system works (especially the tactical aspects) as there's almost nothing posted that I can find about this or any of Mr.Rossing's other similar designs. I'm intrigued, but would like to know more before deciding whether or not to invest the time necessary to printing up a full game. Thanks.


My thoughts exactly. I posted on another game forumn from the same designer that he has a ton of solitaire games to his credit, but almost no (none?) reviews.
 
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Lou Correia
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Limburger59 wrote:
Lancer4321 wrote:
Very nice AAR, thanks for posting. Was wondering if you could provide a bit more detail on how the system works (especially the tactical aspects) as there's almost nothing posted that I can find about this or any of Mr.Rossing's other similar designs. I'm intrigued, but would like to know more before deciding whether or not to invest the time necessary to printing up a full game. Thanks.


Let me chew on an answer. I should look at the event cards first.


Not a tactical game, or at least my definition of a tactical game. Setting up the battle board may give it more of a tactical feel than, say Cruel Necessity, but there isn't a lot of variability among the units and leaders that allow for for what I would call tactical maneuvers.

Some Tactical Options:
1 You line up your armies and you can choose which Royalist units get attacked by which Parliament units.
My understanding of the Rules - or how I house ruled it - was the side with initiative could disorder units on the opposing side before they could return fire. (Melee is simultaneous, but ranged attacks with firearms occur via initiative. This is a benefit of winning initiative.) Enemy units could be fleeing the battlefield before you cross swords.
2 Every enemy unit must be attacked once before an additional attack can be made. So if you have more units you can hammer a particular enemy unit.
3 Event Cards effect tactics mildly. I looked through the cards. For example, the event that declares a flanking attack only adds one to your initiative, as opposed to an order in Field Commander: Napoleon, where cavalry possibly could sweep around and devastate an enemy's rear. Re-enacting the end run of Cromwell's dragoons at the Battle of Naseby can only be imagined.
4 Commanders and other leaders can die. The odds are low that it might happen, so I only had one leader die on either side, and it was Oliver Cromwell of all people.shake The overall effect of his death should have been significant but wasn't.

There is a Quick Battle Resolution that avoids the need to set up the battle board. That removes the tactical battles, and saves a lot of time; but it is only for attacking a town or city, and most of my time consuming battles were in the open fields between the cities. The Quick Battle table doesn't take into account the Commander's stats, and doesn't allow the death of a commander.

I've enjoyed Set Sails for Glory, with its focus is on an individual officer who starts as a midshipman. I have the game where the focus is on a French officer in the Napoleonic Wars and will try that next. A number of Berserker's games focus on the theme of an individual knight, viking, sailor, etc. and I like that concept. As for the games that do not feature that Player Officer, such as A Crowning Mercy, I still need to decide. I am considering some House Rules. If I do come up with any variants I'll share them on BGG.

Now I need to change eras and fly a B-17 bomber...
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Lou Correia
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TheCollector wrote:
Lancer4321 wrote:
Very nice AAR, thanks for posting. Was wondering if you could provide a bit more detail on how the system works (especially the tactical aspects) as there's almost nothing posted that I can find about this or any of Mr.Rossing's other similar designs. I'm intrigued, but would like to know more before deciding whether or not to invest the time necessary to printing up a full game. Thanks.


My thoughts exactly. I posted on another game forumn from the same designer that he has a ton of solitaire games to his credit, but almost no (none?) reviews.


See my response to Lance.
 
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Lance McMillan
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Thanks, Lou -- that was helpful.
 
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