Friday, August 1, 2008

NT - take 2

OK, let's see if we can do it right this time....

This time I tried doubling up my artillery, trying to create a situation where I could seriously hammer his defense across a wide approach, and follow up with a crushing attack. To this end my artillery went with Miloradovich, on my center right, and Langeron, on my center left. Both flank corps were heavy on the cavalry, and most of the guards and 3-strength infantry went with Liechtensten and Kollowrath.

I started with a general advance, which swiftly developed into a strong push in the center left with Doktorov and Langeron. I successfully used my artillery against St. Hilaire's corps at Robelnitz, following up with a devastating attack that pretty much blew him away.

In the mean time he'd pushed forward on my right with a couple of corps, leaving a gap between them and the support. I pushed through this gap with Miloradovich, managing to surround and destroy Lannes' corps.

At this point things were looking good. I had 3 corps on my right to take care of Bessieres' corps, and my left looked in decent shape. He was down to just a few morale points left. Several turns to go, and it didn't look too hard a task to score those final few morale points for the win.

And then it all went pear shaped. Bessieres turned out to be all cavalry, and kept retreating from all my threats. He marched a couple corps down my center and I couldn't bring strength to bear to stop him occupying the VP spaces. Over on the left he kept bobbing and weaving enough that I just couldn't pin him down to bring my superior force to bear, and he was able to survive with one measly morale point. One freakin' point.

Very much this was a game I lost. I was in a commanding position, and should have won, but I got very complacent. I started spreading the commands all over the battlefield, rather than concentrating, and even had my strongest corps stand around and do nothing for several turns. If I'd focused on surrounding Bessieres and bringing him to battle, his push in the center would have been immaterial. Although I'd forgotten the part about losing morale points for committing heavy cavalry, that didn't really impact the outcome, as all I needed was to force him to lose a strength point in a losing battle. With my own morale being up around 10 points I could afford to grind him down.

And that really comes down to my sole criticism of the game. In the end it became a game of 'find the infantry', trying to force a retreat for the required morale point loss. However, with the hidden strength you don't even know if the unit(s) you're facing is cavalry or infantry, which is a trifle silly. This is just the way this particular game came out, of course, and if I'd played a better end game it wouldn't have been important.

All I'm left with is 'next time....', which is the sign of a great game, that after you're finished you want to immediately play again to do better. In the previous report I gushed about how great I think this game is, and putting it on the same footing as OCS is the highest complement I can give it, and this playing has just reinforced that impression. This is truly one of the greatest and most innovative games that I've ever played. The handling of corps and detached units works. The concept of locales and approaches works. The hidden units and battle mechanism works. And with all that, the presentation and how it looks while playing is just gob-smackingly amazing.

Simmons Games should be rightly proud of this design, and it comes as no surprise to find that other game designers are leveraging the design to apply it to other battles, which is surely one of the greatest compliments that can be bestowed. Simmons also plans to use the system for other battles, and I'm already signed up for their Gettysburg game. Can't wait, in fact.

In the meantime, I demand a rematch!

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