Sunday, December 07, 2014

More Imperial Eagle (and a little bit of Combat Commander)

Played several more turns using Imperial Eagle rules.
I like the rules as a fast play set.
Things move along briskly with fairly large moves rates. Infantry in Attack Column move 4 base width (ie 16cm) and Cavalry in Attack Column/Waves a whopping 8BW making them a dangerous proposition.
Firing is simple with a number of D6 per base firing (usually 1 per eligible base with 2 for Artillery Canister/Grapeshot).
Hits are on a 4+ (skirmisher hit and are hit on 5+) subject to a few modifiers for terrain and suchlike.
Every 2 hits generates a casualty (base loss) with odd 'left overs' being rolled for with a 1 causing an additional casualty.
Losses can be marked or bases removed as suits the gamer.
Melees are similar with base dice being 2 D6 per base (only 1 for artillery caught in melee) but with more modifiers to cover Infantry vs Cavalry and vice versa.
Squares half attacking Cavalry base dice for instance.
Heavy Cavalry gain 2D6 extra.
Bonus dice are for things like Guard troops or having a higher Elan rating (Heroic-Valiant-Reliable-Unreliable-Irregular I think) than opponent.
So my Young Guard have a basic 6 dice (4 basic +1 Guard +1 Valiant) versus Prussian line with 4 dice (4 basic and Reliable). 
Skirmishers are well handled with 1-2 'mini' bases out ahead of base unit.
These fire at other skirmishers initially and can soak up hits in lieu of these being inflicted on parent unit but will accordingly disappear eventually.
They 'run' to rear of parent unit when within 2BW of Infantry (6BW of Cavalry) or if unit charged and do not count in melee.
Melee outcomes see loser retreat a half move then test Discipline and if 1 rolled it converts to a Rout with a further half move away and Discipline tests on friends within a danger zone. A quirk is that Infantry routs only affect other Infantry and Cavalry only other Cavalry. Artillery does not rout but is destroyed in place.
The sequence of play is interesting with a Bombardment phase for both sides artillery followed by an Initiative phase wherein the active player can fire Muskets or Charge, enemy can only fire as reaction to firing or charging units.
Then comes a Movement phase for active player during which and can again conduct charges.
Units within enemy Zone of Control (4-6 BW) wanting to change formation must test Discipline.
One rule I do like is the Interpenetration/Passage of Lines with the static unit having to pass a Discipline test to allow friends to pass through directly from front or rear only.
Artillery are no obstacle to pass-throughs.
Then its a Musketry Phase guessed it.....musket firing.
Then Melee is fought.
After this another interesting phase termed Tactical Movement with Brigades possibly activating to move their units outside enemy ZOC.
The Brigades activate on a 2D6 roll under their Brigadiers Command level (7-10) with a maximum of two Tactical Moves (Marching might be better description) allowed.
No firing or charging is allowed in this phase.
Then it is a Rally phase when Commanders can try to restore unit losses (as casualties are Morale/KIA combo) at rate of 1 per Commander for any units outside enemy ZOC.
Another aspect I like in rules is that Cavalry involved in Melee are Blown afterward but can recover in this phase either automatically if outside ZOC or by dice roll.
Turn ends with a Victory Determination phase then its enemy turn to go through these phases.

Rules include several Orders of Battle taken from actual OOBs such as Leipzig, Ligny, Waterloo and several more earlier OOBs.
These are based around a core Divisional with several options of Support Brigades.
Author says he will release more OOBs.
There is also a Competition style scenario generators for encounters (although I found the terrain in these less than inspiring) to be set up or an attack vs defence type game.
Test game I tried had a good deal more units than the generator

Overall I like the rules as a nice alternative to something like Lasalle, Napoleon at War or Shako.
Game seems (only tried solo of course) to tick along nicely with good decisive outcomes to firing and combat.

But on the downside the rules (especially for a set touted as a competition set) do lack a lot of definition of key terms and full explanation of several concepts.
Nothing that one cannot sort in a friendly style game but I fear a competition setting might cause problems.
As an example nowhere (that I can find) is it described how a Square fights in terms of how many dice it uses to fire or melee ?.
Similarly no firm definition of size of built up areas or capacity (although one can glean this from examples).
Also whilst implied (and indeed intuitive and in one example) the rules do not actually declare how many ranks can fire for different formations (author does explain some stuff on the TMP site but such basic stuff really should have been in the rules text IMHO).
A simple glossary of terms would fix this readily and no doubt a FAQ will appear in due course as per just about every other set out there.

Also played 3 scenarios of Combat Commander Mediterranean at my Dads (with 3 wins !!) which was it usual excellent way to spend an evening. 
The French/Minor Allied deck is a frustrating deck to play with but very satisfying when a win ecked out despite it. 
First scenario was French Moroccans defending a sunken road then it was Canadians at Ortona and finally Yugoslavs defending a river crossing.
Great stuff

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