Rookies talk about strategy, Grognards about Logistics
I must confess I have underestimated this game...
Indeed, only one 11"x17" map and 20 counters ?!
I have thought "Sorry Boys, I'm usually playing wargames"...
I was WRONG (I have made the same mistakes with State of Siege Serie by Victory Point Games too).
Like I have read in the excellent Battles Magazine (Winner of a CSR Award) : "Size doesn't (always) matter".
First, I have to mention this game comes free with C3i #23 (Thank you GMT, your magazine is always a pleasure to read and since some issues, we've got some games inside !).
Jena 20 is part of Napoleonic 20 Serie. So, learn one game and you can play a lot more. I propose you to read the excellent article about it by Elias Nordling in Issue 2 of Battles Magazine.
So, let's look inside.
One 11"x14" map, clear and functionnal ;
2 Player Aid Sheets, colorful and with all the infos necessary to play. So, few reasons to open the rule book after a couple of plays ;
One 8-page Rulebook (inclunding V1.13 of the Series Rules and one page of Exclusive Jena rules). Rule book is color coded for a better understanding and well built ;
40 counters/markers (22 units). They are a little too small for a good reading of the designation of the units but they are thick, colorful and with pretty soldiers.
One word : Classical. But don't be confused, it means every gamer (even a beginner) can understand them but there are some very good ideas to enhance them.
First, what I think is the core of the game, Morale Points. Each player starts with an amount of MP. MP can be spent to enhance numerous actions of your units (best chance to rally, augment Movement Points or Combat strenght). Even commiting Guards units in combat must use MP. MP can be gained/lost by destroying (breaking) enemy units and occupying enemy objectives.
When you will know that MP are Victory Points too, you will understand it's tough choice to use them...
Movement is classical with rigid ZOC (stop and fight).
Combat is mandatory in ZOC.
There are night turns (one every five) with special rules to disengage and rest units.
Cavalry and artillery have special rules to reflect their particularities.
Events (generated by a random draw of a card at the beginning of each player turn) can portray the historical particularities of each battle (for exemple, Dense Fog and Prussian Command Confusion in Jena).
Solitaire suitability is good (mainly to learn the game) but the game is more interesting with 2 players.
Battle starts with few units on the map and a lot of reinforcements, with two key areas of fighting, on each side of the battlefield ! So, where sending reinforcements is a hard decision to take.
There are historical and alternate setup and/or reinforcements for the Prussian player. So, combined with the events, replayability is very good.
Length of the game is at random, between 10 and 13 turns, on a die roll.
One game will last about 1h/1h30, so it's easy to switch side and play again in one evening (usually, I mysteriously loose with each side).
Before VPG games, I don't think I can be interested by small games.
Jena 20 is a very good game, tense and exciting (I often play stand up and suffer from the "another one" syndrom, wanting to restart immediatly a game when I have finished one).
I have kept the best for the end. GMT will print on P500 "Fading Glory", a game with 4(!) Napoleonic 20 battles (Salamanca, Smolensk, Borodino and Waterloo). Mounted maps and French, British, Russian and Prussian Armies for only 38$ on pre-order ! I think no gamer can do without it.
I have pre-ordered Fading Glory even before playing Jena 20 and you will easily understand I have no regret.
When you will know this is a Game System Design by Joseph Miranda and a Game System Development by Alan Emrich, then Lance McMillan, you will understand there is no surprise, it's a good game...
- Last edited Sun Sep 4, 2011 2:19 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sat Sep 3, 2011 3:29 pm
"My spoon is too big!"
GMT will print on P500 "Fading Glory", a game with 4(!) Napoleonic 20 battles (Salamanca, Smolensk, Borodino and Waterloo). Mounted maps and French, British, Russian and Prussian Armies for only 38$ on pre-order ! I think no gamer can do without it.
thank you for the detailed review. I agree with pretty much everything you say... especially with the conclusion I quoted above!