Monday, July 14, 2008


Wow, okay, life just slammed me last week. (And it's looking to do so again this week.) Hence, a late post.

By now, you've probably read Mike's account of our Manoeuvre game last week. We tried a couple odd matchups (Ottomans vs. Prussians, and Spanish vs. Russians.) And, in both cases, Mike beat me pretty well. The first game ended on time, but I wasn't in any sort of position to threaten him. The 2nd game ended 5-4 in Mike's favor, but I had better opportunities that time.

I've now played this game five times, and I think I've won one. What am I doing wrong? I've thought about this a bit and have some ideas.

Planning ahead

I don't take into account how the results of an attack will look when considering counter-attacks. The part that probably throws me the most is I forget about advancing after combat. I don't take enough care to avoid over-extending, and that's where I get beat back most often. Because of this, I also manage to get myself into positions where I cut off my own retreat paths. Bad news can only follow that.

Underestimating Threats

In our first game, I let Mike get a unit through my lines. The unit itself didn't do a whole lot of damage, but what it did was allow him to far more easily surround my units and I believe two or three units were killed that way. Had I been a tad more conservative, I could easily have kept that unit out from behind my lines, and may very well have won that game.

Using Terrain

I'm getting better at this, but the high ground is vitally important. The +2 for attacking off hills is huge, particularly for artillery (which is frequently weak in this game – it's hard to get a step loss result against a fresh unit with only a 1d10 roll). The drawback is taking the hills can lead you into a defensive mindset as you try to keep the hills.

Tracking Spent Units

I need to mentally keep track of which units have seen at least four of their cards go by – in the 2nd game last week, I was counting on getting a card for a unit to initiate an attack and it turned out none were left in the deck. Had I been tracking that, I'd have known to plan differently.

Using the Forced Move

You must move a unit on every turn. There were times I had myself in a position where I simply didn't want to move. Not good – I ended up weakening my plans a couple times as a result. I need to keep a unit in reserve able to move when I don't want to move anything else.

Knowing your army

I'm still in exploration mode with this game, and I've yet to play the same army twice. Over time, I'll get in more games with each army and I'll begin to understand their strengths and weaknesses better. Each army really is different, and must be played differently.

This game gets deeper and more complex the more you play. It certainly looks like chess, and in many ways begins to play like it. The cards and dice simply modify the decision tree somewhat. I'm going to keep pulling this game out until I get good at it. It's a very large amount of game inside an hour.

No comments: