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Deathride: Mars-la-Tour 1870» Forums » General

Subject: First Impressions - Warts and all rss

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Jan Vater
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Cologne
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Gents,

i finally got my copy of "Death Ride: Mars-la-Tour" last week and spent most of my spare time with reading through the rules, clipping counters, a few solo plays and, that's the part where the warts started to pop up, re-reading Ascoli, Howard and Wawro (excellent book, by the way - highly recommended).

As the header implies, this is not a review (will hopefully do that after the first FtF play) but some cumulated first impressions. First off, i'd like to thank Mr. Vasey and the people at ATO for all the hard work that must've gone into the game - and it really shows.

The overall quality of the game parts is very good with a refreshing, innovative graphic design of the map and the (quite solid) counters. The rules are organized in an orderly, readable fashion, with some helpful examples of play added here and there. I'd recommend getting the revised, full-colour tables for the game from the ATO website, though. After two solo plays, i feel sufficently prepared to teach the game to my gaming buddies. The game is played in game turns, whose length is made variable by throwing an end-of-turn die. Both sides take impulses to move/assault with their units, meaning there's no traditional IGOUGO.

I really like the amount of historical detail that was transformed in game rules without thereby creating a cluttering mess of special rules or ponderous exceptions. The role of German artillery, the Chassepot rifle, differences in command structure etc. all get a decent treatment and while playing the game do help to understand some of the problems the commanders had to face at the time portrayed.

Now for the warts. Apart from the misspelled "Todesritt" (Death Ride), some personal names are spelled rather oddly and incorrectly. This may very well be a minor quibble and rather venial sin, but i can't help wondering why such an otherwise superbly researched game lacks there. I know that the pronounciation of French and German personal names are not exactly to the liking of native English speakers (Kraatz-Koschlau, anyone?) and there are some ambiguous spellings (e.g. Schwartzkoppen seems to be the correct form, but there are (german) sources spelling the name Schwarzkoppen, too), but in times of the internet, this really shouldn't be an issue anymore (http://www.lexikon-deutschegenerale.de/a_pr.html).

Cheers,
Jan
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