Monday, July 23, 2012

First Game

Both the first of three games this past weekend set in the Seven Years War, and my first game with Maurice.  It was originally supposed to be two first-timers and an experienced player, then it grew and grew until we had six players and just one deck of cards.

So we were 1741 Prussians vs. Austrians.  National Characteristics seemed appropriate for the sides, although I wondered if they weren't being a touch hard on the Austrian infantry.  Or maybe just compared to the Prussian abilities.
My beloved old Prussians, still mounted for Tricorne

The dreaded Kaiserliches, in part, awaiting the onslaught

We weren't good listeners at first so kept trying to play the wrong kinds of cards at the wrong time, but the game progressed with the Prussians steadily advancing across the field and picking up disruption pips.
Austrian cavalry moving out and preparing to engage

Getting seriously into it in the center

The Austrian cavalry stepped out to attempt to flank the Prussian infantry.  At this point we wanted to play the dreaded "That wasn't on the map!" card to place an impassable bit of terrain in their path, but found it could only be played as an event.  Like I said, we weren't good listeners.  As things got serious with shooting, and our artillery sat silent, units started to vaporize.  Mostly Austrian ones.  The cavalry especially took it hard because they failed to disperse any Prussians in their charge and were shot to pieces.
Austrian cavalry mostly gone or fighting the Prussian cavalry

The effect of some Prussian phaser attacks

Pretty soon the Austrians reached their break point and the game ended with the Prussians still holding onto nine of their fifteen break points.

So what did I think of it?  Well first, I was on the winning side, so no fear of sour grapes.

I frankly didn't care for it.  I had downloaded "Maurice Light" and looked at it as the author has most generously made it available online.  I had heard a great many positive comments so although we are very happy with our regular rules, I really wanted to give it a look.

Things I liked: National Characteristics give it a nice flavor for the period, even if it is more oriented towards Imagi-Nations and mini campaigns.  The firing combat is clear and easy to pick up, being free of a lot of modifiers.  The game, in spite of our ignorance and playing in a manner clearly not the author's intent (one-on-one vs. our multi-player game) got done in our three hour time block.

Things I wasn't fond of: The melee outcomes left me scratching my head and trying to visualize a real world situation where what happened on the table could happen.  I strongly dislike rules where units are there one moment and picked up the next.  Vaporized and apparently nobody nearby cares.  Yes, the break point is likely reduced, but what of infectious routs?  Kudos though that unlike some rules I've tried, the unit efficiency is degraded as it absorbs disruption points.  I prefer simul movement games but the IGO-UGO worked.  The cards that can force a volley phase or stall a charge for example seemed kind of odd.  I'm not a fan of a system where mistakes can be forced upon you.  I find that most players are quite capable of making mistakes without any artificial mechanisms in place. 

So in conclusion, much like my negative experience with Black Powder I might come to like it with more games.  First impressions, especially for BP, might change over time.  But since the local group and I are extremely happy with our current set of SYW rules (read about them in the third game), I can't see any reason to pursue Maurice.  I'm very happy it is being so well received by the gaming community, but it just isn't my cup of tea.


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