Wednesday 11 January 2012

Reflections on Game Number 1 - A Self Critique

Awkward Moments Number 1 - When you realise that the no matter how much you dress it up you still cannot make a silk purse from a Sow's ear!

Taken as a whole the the recent Napoleonic game was a largely frustrating experience and my after action report was very much an attempt to 'dress it up' or, if you like, an attempt to salvage something from the time and effort expended! Only two things of note took place during the game - the attempt to drive the rifles out of the wood and the disastrous French cavalry charge and even then the former was a largely half-hearted affair. The write up was very much a piece of self indulgence for which I offer no apologies (apart from the purple prose that is!) and as mentioned, was largely my effort to extract something tangible from the experience.

I must confess that I did not plan this game with anything like my usual thoroughness and boy did it show! The biggest problem was the rules and that was largely my own fault and they are not really designed for the scale of game I had planned. Worthington Games Napoleon's War is all about refighting the great battles of the era which is true to an extent of any of the similar Command and Colours series but for some reason if just felt plan odd with the scenario I was playing. The rules are fine when used as intended; albeit at a much higher level of command. My preferred option going forward would be to use a Napoleonic derivation of Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame or even Memoir of Battle as either of these sets sit far closer to my own rule preferences. Command and Colours Napoleonics would work better at this level but has the disadvantage of not being particularly solo gamer friendly due to the use of command cards.

I felt that the scenario was sound enough although giving the attackers a larger force would have made them more inclined to attack. I would certainly revisit the idea at some point though, subject to those points being taken into consideration.

Visually the game looked fine and it was rather satisfying seeing the red blocks on the map alongside the blue - it had a real battle map kind of feel which was very satisfying. I really need to get the Hexon terrain collection completed sooner rather than later as this kind of affair will look much better with the larger hexes.

Overall then, the game was a frustrating experience but this was largely of my own doing (which made it worse!) as not only did I give insufficient consideration to the rules I also did not think about the composition of the forces engaged. Having said that, the action that did take place was enjoyable in its own way - it is just that I would have preferred rather more of it! Still, and to borrow from Alfred Lord Tennyson:

'Tis better to have gamed and lost, than to have never gamed at all!'


Conrad Kinch said...

Foy over at Prometheus in Aspic has been making rather a good show of playing CCN solo. You can read about it here.

David Crook said...

Hi CK,

Egad Sir! These look just the job - many thanks indeed!

All the best,


Dave said...

Hi David

So what about the rules/scale did you find frustrating?


David Crook said...

Hi Dave,

As mentioned, I was using Worthington Games Napoleon's War - the rules from the boardgame of the same name. The problem was that he rules are designed for games that depict entire armies as opposed to my rather smaller, divisional scale scenario. For some strange reason the game just felt odd but this may have been my rather hurried preparation as much as anything else. Either way, I shall try the scenario again but there will be some changes.

All the best,


Ross Mac said...

I tend to think along the lines of, "How would you have known it was wrong unless you tried it?"

It did look good, a bit reminiscent of Kriegspiel.

Reform and storm again!


David Crook said...

Hi Ross,

You are absolutely right - I just get frustrated with these things sometimes. I will 'get back on the horse' though - and it did look pretty good as well!

All the best,