Me and Simon played this for the first time on Friday night.
I played the French. Simon's strategy seemd to be to sit out the early turns and let me come to him until the Prussians could arrive and save the day.
In the first few turns I took the Papelotte strongpoint relatively easily, and then Hugoumont with a bit more difficulty. I had planned to bypass/ignore La Haye Sainte but Simon decided to defend the area with just two troops in the strongpoint and I managed to bring it down with my infantry, having dealt a few cubes of damage by artillery.
Midgame I pushed through the gap between Papelotte and Hugoumont. Simon started to push on the Prussians in area A.
Endgame I pushed for Mt St Jean and got there with a contingent of imperial guard. However my line of supply was shaky with just one infantry unit in each area with several cubes of damage. Simon ripped through the supply line with British and Dutch cavalry, cutting me off. I used French cavalry on my left forward flank to stop him reinforcing his forces attempting to retake Mt St Jean.
In the meantime, he pushed through my right flank with his Prussians. My second line was very weak - essentially one infantry per area loaded with lots of cubes, plus artillery. This was devastating, and I went from having one VP unit destroyed to c11 in no time at all.
The finish was nailbiting. He pushed his British cavalry forward which did some damage but they didn't continue their charge. I used my remaining actions (only one green and two purple) to reinforce my second line on the right flank and just managed to hold him off.
The whole thing took c 4hours, which was creditable given the first play. I reckon we'd do it in 3 hours next time.
Some closing comments:
- I can understand the Euro comments but this definitely feels like a wargame, albeit a very unconventional one
- I know this was Mr Wallace's stated aim, but the units definitely feel different and authentic. In particular the cavalry can be devastating against weakened infantry
- As the French, the victory conditions made me feel under some pressure to press forward and take ground and/or Allied troops. I also felt the tension between using actions on the front line and using them to bring reinforcements up from the rear
- The stacking rules are brutal, in that you end up having to overstack the front line to assault, but are then vulnerable to having a low number of actions and/or a failed assault meaning a retreat into your front line. Whilst this could have felt "gamey" in reality it felt "right"
- We both enjoyed this game a lot. If we didn't have a stack of other unplayed games to play, we'd have it back on the table next time
- I'm interested to hear from anyone about balance and replayablility. Whilst it feels like it could be played many times, the French strategy still seems to me to amount to a lunge down the centre. Have there been any other successful approaches?
I was Neil's opponent and so I d like to chip in my point of view. I think its fair to say it took us a few turns to get a 'feel' for the play. I thought initially Neil was a bit tentative as he sussed out how to use forces.
From the wargame perspective , Im very impressed by the game , the units may be abstracted (i.e they are not specific regiments/divisions) but the 'feel' of the game is very much spot on and the interplay of Cavalry , Infantry and Artillery works really well. For example cavalry has little affect against organised rested infantry and virtually no affect against infantry in squares. However disorganised, tired , unsupported infantry can be swept away in the blink of an eye, all as it should be.
Back to the battle , from my point of view , Bromie Bonaparte spent a few hours bashing against the thin red line , then threw in his Imperial guard which breached the thinning line , I had a small window of opportunity to counter attack the guard (which had taken a few cubes in damage) but my nerve probably failed me and I hesitated because of losses Id already taken. He was able to reinforce the guard (i.e remove the cubes) then the Guard swept forward capturing Mont ST Jean and blowing my reserves away.
I did launch a belated counter attack which in 1 turn destroyed some 10 or so French pieces as much of the French army was exhausted and unable to resist. But I did eventually run out of steam and Neil's victory was probably not as close as he generously concedes.
I dont think there are many options for the French , up the middle or attack the Allied right (the arrival of the Prussians rules out a serious attack on the Allied left. But I feel this is very much a tactical game which its the tactical organisation which is all.Neil began to understand his forces before I did and the 'final' push of the Imperial guard was well executed and I was no Wellington and bottled it at the crucial moment.
Til next time any way
Like you, I thought the French had to attack on the British
center and right (Staying away from Prussians). But, in our
2nd game my friend aggressively attacked my British left;
and bottled up my entering Prussians (only 3 units) by filling
their entry spaces. Like our first game, it was decided in the
Prussian entry turn, on casualty numbers. Why so quick?