From: Bedfordshire UK
Thanks for your reply Rasputitsa.
I bought this game only recently and haven't really tried it, but with AGEOD's new game too I'm yet again deferring admin and tax returns to play games.
Please continue your tutorial AAR - I find such things so helpful to try and understand the "why" people do things in games.
I happened to read a paragraph in Jomini's book about Napoleon playing with colored pins on his maps that got me thinking about which games are near reality for commanders.
In fact, now I've started I'll quote from Chapter 6 of Jomini's "The Art Of War":
"The emperor was his own chief staff officer. Provided with a pair of dividers opened to a distance by the scale of from seventeen to twenty miles (which made from twenty-two to twenty-five miles, taking into account the windings of the roads,) bending over and at sometimes stretched at full length upon his map, where the positions of his corps and the supposed positions of the enemy were marked by pins of different colors, he was able to give orders for extensive movements with a certainty and precision which were astonishing."
I am only going from the information in the many books on the subject and we in the 21st century can never fully understand the thinking of earlier times, but the way the game works ties in well with history.
I am using the situation described in the earlier posts above to illustrate how the game 'feels' and the position Davout's corps is in is classic. The game is only a few turns in and already the hard decisions are here.
Knowing Archduke Charles' plan, Napoleon has waited, attached to Davout, at ECKMUHL for the Austrians to appear. There is hindsight here, I know the scenario parameters and can anticipate where the Austrian main force might be, but Napoleon would have spies and it would be difficult for Charles to mass an army in Bohemia without some information leaking out.
The important point here is that Napoleon is 'attached' to Davout's corps, not merely positioned in the same town. Attachment provides the Emperor's direct support to this corps.
I have chosen to wait for the Austrians to start crossing the DANUBE, in hopes of destroying them, pinned against the river, but the main French army and its supply are still moving up.
So decision is, how deeply to get into combat with the enemy, as once committed it can be difficult to withdraw safely. I could see the Austrians approach REGENSBERG and start to cross, St Sulpice was detached ahead to SCHWANDORF with 'fallback' orders, important for cavalry to get information, but not be drawn into overwhelming forces (Davout does not chase off after St Sulpice, 3.04 has fixed that). LEFEBVRE's cavalry was probing the other routes.
I sent Davout's corps forward towards REGENSBERG with 'engage' and 'forced march' orders, to make a quick strike at the Austrian units which have crossed the river, knowing that many more are following. As the turn resolved (WEGO) more Austrian units crossed the river, so only when Battle was joined could I be sure how many Austrian units were engaged. The balance was just right in Davout's favour, able to do damage without being outnumbered, skill and good timing, or just lucky. Napoleon liked to have lucky generals
Battle is joined between REGENSBERG and ECKMUHL, I choose the 'counter-attack' battle option, Austrians are set to 'probe' (don't know this until after the battle). Battle is set to be resolved by the AI, results are good, final casualties are 11 pnts French loss, to 63 pnts Austrian loss, a very good start to the campaign (an infantry division can be 15, or 20 strength pnts).
Now the cost and what next ? The SS shows Davout's state, worse than I first thought :
1. High personal Fatigue, some Stress, supply almost gone. Stragglers showing 3, but I count 7 on the unit counters, it's probably a combination of stragglers and wounded =7 (wounded will take longer to get back into action - hospital is at AUGSBURG). Chemkid's unit counter mod needed to see stragglers, when text is red in the stock unit counter red box.
2. The individual unit panels show all divisions in the corps 'tired', or 'exhausted', but mostly also 'confident' and 'steady' (only Friant is shaky - shows 'brittle'), could these units do more, or should I order a 'rest day', even though the enemy is close ?
3. Davout still set on original orders 'Engage' and 'Forced' march, I think 'Defend' and 'Cautious' would be better options now.
All this information can be gathered by walking around the camps, seeing how the men are behaving, talking to the commanders, how are they coping. Many 'realistic' games give you pages of stats and odds to wade through, you can see exactly how many motorcycles you have left and exact OOBs, here you have to make a judgment based on, what I think, is much more realistic information, if frustratingly vague and it is all in one, or two info panels.
How many more Austrian units are present (I can guess from the stack numbers in the top info bar), how strong are they (don't know, their unit counters are blank), will they advance, or retreat, should I take the opportunity to push on and try and trap and destroy the enemy units on my side of the river, or take the chips I have won and pull back. If I delay and rest the troops, it will give the Austrians time to recover, as the Allies did after Quatre Bras/Ligny, if I drive them on it may lead to another brilliant victory, or a disastrous retreat, it does feel very historical.
I note that the stack of Napoloen and Davout's corps shows 11 units, 10 of them I know are French, so there is an Austrian unit still on the battlefield, but not visible on the map, bet they are feeling happy.
To be 'good' at playing a game you have to be 'good' at using a sometimes complicated game system, but does the game present you with credible and realistic decisions, do you get credible and realistic results.
I think this game does, simply and without too much gloss. Don't be fooled, simple to use, does not mean simple to play, there is a lot to consider in the consequences of the orders you issue.
To continue the quotes -
“Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult” ― Carl von Clausewitz
I think this game hits the spot, simple to play, but difficult play well, unless you think it through, no stats - no odds, just judgement and 'educated' guesswork, exactly as you have described Napoleon at work.
< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 12/4/2015 7:40:37 AM >
"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon
“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon
“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon