From: Utlima Thule
Hello all -
I'm looking to learn the AGE system and interface. Have a bit of time traveling over the next few days and figured the hotel down time would be a good chance to finally learn how to play and understand the AGE games. I have several, but have struggled to get into them.
I'm looking for suggestions on which game would be best to learn from. I'm assuming that once I learn one, the interface is similar and it becomes a challenge to learn the different strategies of the other games. All this leads toward a future purchase of TEAW.
I am trying Alea Jacta Est while I await some suggestions. Not sure I have all the games I own loaded on the travel laptop, but I assume Pride of Nations is NOT the place to start!
Basically the AGE system has two basic army structure systems and two basic supply systems. They then select from these to give the underlying feel to a particular game or period.
Simple command is you add generals to a stack (you are limited as to how many ***/**/* star generals you can use). These in combination generate a block of command points (cp). You then add units, each costs a certain amount to command. If you exceed the CP you have a malus that hits movement speed and combat (but of course this may still be more efficient than leaving units without commanders).
Complex command is similar, but here you have a corps-army (or army-GHQ) relationship. CPs are the same but now the parts of an 'army' can co-operate.
Simple supply is where supply is produced in certain provinces. If you want that supply elsewhere, you need to load it into supply wagons (or ships) and move it.
Complex supply is where supply is pushed between depots and larger towns from where it is produced to where you need it. Even here, the last bit from depot to army may need supply wagons.
They use simple command/simple supply to reflect warfare when the world is under-developed (ie AJE or WiA). Complex command/supply is typical of their games set in Europe from the 1760s (ie Rise of Prussia) onwards or America in the Civil War.
The main effect of complex command is that armies in adjacent provinces may support each other in battle. So you can end up with 'fronts' as opposed to the isolated stacks that makes up the simple command system.
There are wrinkles beyond this. Revolution under Siege and ACW2 have relatively complex processes to build divisions (which then live in your combat stacks as an entity). In others, the lowest level of counter represents a fixed body of troops, or Rise Of Prussia has a sort of mix of the two.
As to where to start. I'd say AJE is best for the simple rules. It makes army building relatively obvious and warfare is constrained by the existence of good roads (remember you are dragging supply wagons around) and the clash between relatively large armies. Me I like RoP as an intro to the more complex systems. Its been well crafted, plays easily and you come to appreciate how the command/supply rules slot together (of course if you hate the idea of a game set in the 1750s then this is not good advice).
Revolution under Siege is probably the most complex of their single war/campaign games. It has quite a complex force building system, a lot of politics (as it should) and pretty chaotic. Once you master this, its great fun.
Pride of Nations is .... *different*. The military side is pretty easy. But its 70 years of history, so colonisation, economics, diplomacy etc are all much more important. The battle scenarios are good, and play much as other AGE games but its not where I would start my immersion in the AGE system.