Review of Le Vol de L’Angles Volume I, Volume II comparing against the Prussian Kriegsspiel 1824.
In 2006 and 2008 I had written reviews of volume I and II of Le Vole de L’Angle then when I deleted my account all reviews were also deleted so I thought I would get around to trying to rewrite the reviews.
First of I have ran games of the Prussian Kreigsspiel for 20 years so as such I fell I am comfortable with an umpired double blind system of gaming. For those not familiar with double blind you have a main map (umpires map) where all units are placed and moved. In Kreigsspiel this is an map 8 inches to a mile where metal blocks are moved. Each block is an ½ battalion of infantry a squadron of Calvary, a ½ battery of Artillery, or some supply wagons. The players are in different rooms where they have the same map or an copy of the map in paper like an normal map. Only units that can be visible seen form the current location of the player is marked on the maps. If the players want they may com and look at the umpires map however everything not visible form the location is covered. Players communicate with each other through written messages. No talking allowed unless players are in the same location. Also the umpire handles all messages timing how long each message takes. An message sent at 8am and takes 1 ½ to get to it’s location is delivered on the 9:30a turn.
In Le Vol de l’Angle instead of an large umpires map with metal blocks all maps are paper hand sized maps and units are marked on the maps by color pencil. Rules for column lengths based on type (inf, Art, Cav) are 1 strength point of inf (1000 men) takes 500 meters of road, half the distance on an major road Cav 1 point (1000 men) 2 kms of road. The first thing any player notices in playing these games is the amount of road space units take. Example the 1878 British rules says an Corps with baggage and proper spacing takes 30 miles (48 km) of road. At an marching speed of 2.5 mph (4 kmh) an attack of the column it would take an day and a half for the rear of the column to arrive.
Now into the meat and bones of the 2 games.
First everything in Vol 1 rules are in the Vol 2 rules
Volume one 28 pages covers the short campaigns of 1806,1807, and 1809 so there’s no rules for supply except for lines of communication, and basic rules for sieges but since each campaign lasted 2-5 weeks nothing major. Combat 6 pages of rules for skirmishes and major battles.
Also are three maps (one for each campaign, 6 player briefings and 15 sheets of units (divisions) and Leaders. Version one comes in a box.
Volume 2 72 pages 52 rules rest charts and briefings for each campaign covers the 1805, 1812 and 1813 campaigns as such much more extensive supply rules are used (Vol 1 page count 16 lines ½ page to Vol 2 to over a page of two columns adding supply line length from depot and foraging rules are added. Combat 15 pages with expert combat rules. Vol 2 also adds rules for prisoners, stragglers rejoining, medical care percent dead, wounded and how many wounded rejoin later.
Movement. 10 maps (4 for Russia,3 1805,3 1813) 33 sheets units and leaders. Version II comes in a bag but will fit in Version I box with all of the stuff from Version I.
All movement are done on period maps showing roads, cities, rivers. The maps included need to be blown up from 81/2 x 11 to an more useful 18x21. movement is marked on maps so to play a game you must have large piles of maps ready.
As noticed above the columns of troops stretch for miles. Both volumes of the rules have movement for each army in vol 1 the French Inf and Art are moving at 4 kph Cav at 5kph. But the French have to baggage so they move quicker while GB and Prussia move at Inf 3kph Cav 4, Russia and Austria move at 2 inf and 3 cav. Interesting thing that the campaigns covered in volume 1 has not British in them. The longer you march the more fatigue sets in. More fatigue will start lowering your Moral and Experience and effect battle as well as number of men. You could march 20 hrs a day for a week but at best you would be at ½ strength and the men would be little more than rabble in battle. If your moral its 0 the unit will march into battle and that’s it. Their fighting effeteness is gone and will rout out of the battle at any threat.
Volume two breaks movement by the countries for different years and drop the French from 4 kph to 3.5 kph 1805-1811,1815 but 3 for 1812-1814, the Prussians improve in 1808 to 3kph
Both games have a sliding time scale. While each turn is an hour if the armies are far apart you can have one turn represent 2,4,6 hours or an day or more. The Prussian Kriegspiels is an tactical game and turns are 2 minutes each also with sliding time scale.
Battle is done by sectors left center right and by round and units equal Division. Each round you compare strength then each side rolls 0ne or more dice. You start with 3 dice each and add or subtract for +1 or +2 for a leader engaged in battle (more in leaders) +1 for lt cav +2 for Hvy Cav, +1 or +2 or Reserve Art, +1 or +2 for Prussian/Russian Guard or Austrian Grend, +1 or +2 for French Guard, +3 for the old Guard, +x based on ratio 1 to 4 would add 4 dice to the larger. Each side rolls all their dice and the lower roll takes the difference in moral loses. Any unit drops to 0 routs and all units in the sector takes an 10 point drop also. If it drops an unit to 0 then they rout causing another -10 moral drop. So as you can see marching troops without rest for days just to get them into battle doesn’t work.
Kriegsspiel has only rules for movement, as each game represents a day or two.
Leaders are rated first on tactical and are 0, +1, +2 for leading units in battle, they are also rated between 3 to 12 for units they can command in battle so Ney and Davout at +1 are equal in personally leading units into combat but at Ney being 4 and Davout at 12 only a fool would use Ney as an overall commander for an large battle vs. Davout that at an average of 3 division per Corps could lead an 4 corps battle with ease.
Volume 2 adds in advanced and expert combat along with how much ammo and food each unit has to track their effectiveness in battle. At the start of each round each side says how many of the 3 dice they start with they will use. 1 probing attacks while 3 all out assault with same modifiers. Each round is one hour vs. two for the basic combat rules. The difference is divided by two to give moral loss. The expert adds written orders for movement between sectors an leader loss.
Also the whole time the battles are being fought the non engaged corps are still moving on the maps so if a battle goes on reinforcements arrive.
Combat may be the weakest part of the system but since all units are rated by strength points on 1 = 1000 you could use you favorite period miniatures rules in place.
Volume two expands the rules of sieges to allow for months long sieges.
Kriegsspiel battles are resolved either with fire power roll on chart cross with distance and the number of casualties done by each 1/2 battalion or Art Battery. Hand to hand is compare odds an 2 vs. 3 attack would favor the larger side on 3 sides of the dice the smaller on two sides, the sixth side you reroll
All campaigns have period maps with them. You get an marker for each leader with his pic ratings that you clip on a sheet of paper that you attach the counters for each unit that shows the corp commander and corp number, div number and commander moral 10-50 effectives or strength point. Volume 2 adds cav strength points in each inf div and number of guns in each div.
All war games try to give you the feeling of an commander in the field and fail. Le Vol de l'Aigle succeeds as you pour over your map trying to find the village the dispatch you just received reports an large enemy force. You can almost smell the gunpowder.
- Last edited Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:18 am (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:59 pm
Probably one of the best Operational Napoleonic Wargames on the market presently.
Requires a LOT of work and commitment from the Umpire.
Yes it's a lot of work for the umpire or better a team of umpires. While you could scale the map up to 4x6 ft like Kriegspeil maps the changing of column length based the current strength would get rid of any speed of play. But still the ultimate operational level game of the Napleonic wars
Thank you for this great review. I remember it disappeared some time ago, I am glad it is back !