This Jours de Gloire Series deserves a lot more attention than it has received (almost none?). May be because some of the games of this series appeared in a french magazine (Vae Victis) and the others are only available by ordering them from the author? May be because you have to mount the counters? May be because grognards are becoming a rare breed? ). I don’t know! I just like a lot this series. Only the two last games of the series, Almeida and Fuentes de Onoro, are available in a ‘professional’ way, but in a zip-lock bag (I think). I my self own Haslach and Elchingen 1805 (Canons en Carton), Schleiz, Saalfeld and Auerstaedt 1806 (Canons en Carton), Friedland 1807 (Canons en Carton), Gospitch and Ocaña 1809 (Canons en Carton) and Almeida and Bussaco 1810 (Canons en Cartons & Hexasim). This series was introduced to me one year ago when my friends from [geekurl=http://www.spielportugal.org/][/geekurl] offered me this last tittle.
So, what’s great about this series? Just notice the number of published battles. And more will be published; next one will be Beredzina, the doom of Napoleon in Russia. And let’s wait for ‘la Bataille de Mont St. Jean’. All the battles are covered by the same neat and straight forward core rules (12 pages) – no dubious or ambiguous situations will occur; all is clearly covered by the rules. The scenario rules are just about one page. Although the rules don’t provide a full in depth simulation they are just fine and enough to have a nice feeling of a tactical Napoleonic battle (if you want a deeper simulation go to La Bataille Seris from CoA, for example). Another great thing is that you can play a small battle in just 1-2 hours or a big one in one afternoon. The art is fine for me, although it is not the same as a map or counters from the La Bataille Series – that’s ‘art’. It’s a chit pulling game, so it is a very replayable game and suitable for solitaire play. For those who know games like AVL or AVD you know what I’m talking about: the tension, the uncertainty, the ‘please, pull that chit!’, ….
So, let’s talk a little bit about the rules.
There are, of course, 3 types of units: infantry, cavalry (heavy and light) and artillery. Infantry and cavalry have a strength, movement, cohesion (morale) and engagement (willingness to enter in combat) rating. Artillery has a movement, cohesion, fire strength and range rating. There are also Commanders in Chief (e.g. Napoleon, Wellington, etc…) unique to a given battle. They have a command range value, initiative bonus and number of order of orders they can give per turn. Each army is divided in formations (corps, wings, detachments , …). These formations are comprised of a number of units that are easily identified by a colored strip. Each one of these formations has associated to it two Activation Markers (AM) representing the actual commander of the corps, etc…; these AM’s are the ‘CHITS’ that go into the bowl for random pulling. These AM’s have an initiative rating. There are also some special AM’s, but these are covered by the particular rules of a battle.
Now, let’s start a game turn (I will not enter in too much detail).
You start by secretly marking which of your formations will be under received orders status and which ones will be in non received order status. In general you will have up to 1, 2, 3, … orders to give and more formations than you’ll be able to put under orders received status. Next, roll for initiative: the side that won the initiative has the opportunity to select the AM (i.e., formation) that will start the turn. After that you randomly pull an AM and maneuver with its respective formation. The last AM in the bowl is not pulled. In some battles you can have around 20 AM’s in the bowl, so it’s lot of pulling.
After pulling an AM you reveal the order status of that formation.
If it’s under received orders status it can operate at its full abilities in the following order: 1) Artillery can fire (opposing artillery targeted can then make counter battery fire) and move; 2) Move your infantry and cavalry; declare assaults and charges; opponent can form square, counter-charge, reaction fire; then roll a die, check for modifiers, apply results (disorder, rout, recoil, retreat, pursuit, breakthrough, etc… - all is here); 3) Try to rally units of that formation. Just a brief note: disorder status is performed by turning over the counter and rout status by putting a marker on the unit; square status with a square counter on top of the unit; so there’s almost no markers management.
If the formation is in a status of no orders received you can try one of two things:
1) You can test the pulled AM initiative: if you pass, then the formation can operate has if it had received orders; if you fail, you can only perform step 3) of the above.
2) Or you can operate with the formation, but not at its full capacity. You artillery can still fire; your movement rates are halved; and if you want to assault or charge you have first to pass an engagement test;
Then, keep on pulling AM’s and apply the above sequence – do not pull the last AM in the bowl, it won’t be played. Note that when the 2nd AM of a formation is pulled that formation will retain the same order status as it had when its first AM was pulled. After all AM’s have been pulled (except for the last one) retreat at full movement all routed units. Then proceed to next turn …
That’s it … all that a Napoleonic tactical game must have. A must have for experienced and novice grognards.
Excellent review. Just received the new Quatre Bras/Waterloo game from Ludifolie and I'm very eager to try this system. Been playing Richard Berg's The Battles of Waterloo and this sounds like its streamlined descendant, via the Triumph & Glory games (which I also have not played).