Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Carnage & Glory II: First Impressions

Von W. and I had a small little game this past Saturday... perhaps not really a game so much as a quick field test to determine whether I could bring myself to learn (yet) another set of rules.

Despite some initial installation problems (I believe they were actually with my comp, preventing C&G from saving files correctly), we got an OOB loaded and smashed a Prussian Brigade into a large French Division.

The "game" was a lot of... what happens if we do X! and button pressing.  In C&G's favor was the individual tracking of casualties, morale, fatigue, and ammunition.  I was also personally impressed with the devastating power of prepared close range volleys and the relatively ineffectual firing outside of "effective" range (75 paces).  I was previously concerned C&G might not scale well for large games (the computer/umpire being a bottleneck), but getting the resolutions and inputting data/combat resolution was all very quick--could potentially bog down with lots of formation changes in the movement phase.  Faster than either Flint and Steel or Empire V for combat resolution.

On the less attractive side Von W. and I were somewhat surprised by the physical table space required by the movement/compulsory movement system.  We used the recommended 28mm ground scale of 1" = 25 paces.  Infantry in each turn (represented ~15 minutes of battle time) could move up to 18 inches in column (450 paces) and over 20 inches if charging, and then might get sent reeling from bad morale results 6 to 12 inches.  Our gaming tables are only 6' wide so moving this significant distances makes the tables feel quite small.  On the flip side, which we did not test in our small 2 division game, is that this could make for a very dynamic battle field, with reserves from a central location able to quickly be mobilized to exploit an opportunity.  For example heavy cavalry can move up to 30 inches and charge for up to 36 inches  (~750 to 900 paces).

The blessing and curse of C&G has to be its rating system.... which appears to give you lots of control to model everything from moral, training, weapon quality, fire discipline, close combat.... but gives absolutely no guidance.  Much like C&G in general it is a black box that you give inputs and get outputs, without seeing "under the hood".   The manual does not give any indication the combat effectiveness difference between a trained unit or a conscript or poor or average fire quality.   This would not be a big deal if there were extensive "official" ratings, but the website only has OOBs for 1806, 1812, and 1809 Peninsula.

This last point is very difficult given the range opinion on the quality and capability of various armies and units in this period.  Combat effectiveness ratings of 10% can engender drawn out debate or the ability to use or not use a formation may go for 5+ pages of posts on the TMP forums.  Such freedom (and lack of guidance) to control the ratings is both blessing and curse.

All things considered.... I'm probably going to be slogging my way through another rule manual...

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