Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Case Study 3: First Playtest Feedback!!!

Intrepid playtester Keith Tracton has set up the game and completed the first few turns of an Approach to Battle playthrough as I talked about in the last post. After posting that article, I was contacted by Bruce Weigle who is designing a set of mini's rules for the battle. Bruce had an insight into the battle that reflected a serious years long study of the conflict (Whereas I have only been studying it for about half a year) and he made a couple of suggestions. The main one being that not all leaders need to be put to sleep, only Mac Mahon.With the nature of the mechanics however, the desired effect of the french being unable to retreat or maneuver is accomplished by putting the commanders to sleep. I believe units should be able to roll for initiative nonetheless and act on their own accord ignoring the official orders to stand and fight. Bit of a tangent here but this is at the core of what we are trying to figure out at this stage.

Approach to Battle tentative setup (again from Keith), map from Bruce.

One extra awesome bonus we got from Bruce was a better understanding of the approach to the battle, which helped our team to work out  the scenario rules and placement. As you can see, the Prussians have an inherent advantage towards encirclement given the entry locations of the 3rd army (lighter grey.) Most of the sources I was using were only from Prussian staff which had made several errors in explaining the action. Bruce gave me bits of info from a french army source (incredible that he found it) and we worked on the OOB and placement to reflect history accurately.

All the markers aren't printed yet so Keith gets creative with markers.
My initial conversations with Keith seem to indicate that the game is working as intended. To paraphrase Keith, he owns and has played Zucker's Napoleon's Last Battles (The granddaddy of the system my game is based on) and that my game plays similarly to it and just as quick, which was a major design point for me in the process of development. Given the drudgery of the battle I was concerned that it would be a slow boring affair, but so far things have turned out otherwise. Making things more exciting is it actually seems like the french have a chance to survive in the Approach to Battle scenario. if able to throw up a pontoon over the Meuse before the Prussians prevent the french from doing so, it becomes a real fight with the french in a defensible situation.

The french and the Prussian 4th Army engage.

The Whole Board

Prussians on the move
Quick recap of the game so far from Keith

Quick recap: depressions are advancing quickly between being able to command for core and also the two movement orders. The un commanded corps are moving minimally. The French just got lucky on turn two and threw up a pontoon bridge across at sedan, also 12 corps moving and has reinforced its line to oppose prussian first Bavarian and a scores. The French plan might be to get across the bridge at sedan and fight their way through but we'll see how that goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment