Sunday, 8 April 2012

First Impressions, Field of Glory: Napoleonic

I've had my copy of FoG:N a few days now so I thought I'd give you my first impressions.

It's production is up to the usual high standard of FoG books. It's a hardback, full colour rulebook of about 150 pages. Although it does have some diagrams explaining the rules it is mainly blocks of text which some may find off-putting. In addition to the rules there are eight army lists covering various forces in the period 1809-1813. It does have explanations of various terms and troop types but the rules assume you already have some knowledge of Napoleonic warfare.

So on to the content. Firstly although it's not exclusively a set of rules for tournament players that aspect of the game has had an impact on the rule's design. The army lists use a points system to generate 'matched' armies and it has lots of explanations of rule situations that may occur and how to deal with them. Obviously to try and deal with the antics of rules lawyers in tournaments. It doesn't have the feel of a set of rules for a quick friendly game down at your local wargames club in the way that Lasalle does. That's not to say you can't have a fun friendly game with the rules.

Secondly, it's not FoG: Ancients modified for the Napoleonic period. It does have some family similarities with things like 'Points of Advantage' but it plays very differently. It's more about command and control through the use of Command Points (CP) and Complex Move Tests (CMT) and the state of the unit (Disordered, Wavering etc). I don't have room to go into too much detail here, but I'll try and give you the gist of it.

Your CinC and Divisional commanders give you a number of CP you can use each turn. These are used to allow a unit to perform a CMT. The number and scope of CMT's is much bigger than in FoG:A and includes things like steady troops assaulting through friendlies, making a double move, activating off-table units etc. However the number of CP you get is determined by the number and quality of your commanders and could be as low as three CP. Having a low number of CP will severely limit what your troops can do, particularly if their morale/cohesion has been reduced.

So you have a game that focuses more on making you think how you are going to use what resources you have available to you to achieve your aims. It's not DBM like where it's all mm's and angles or FoG:A with it's units dashing all over the table. It's it's own beast and no bad thing for all that. You'll be worried about units being out of command range and working out whether you want to use CP to quickly move troops to exploit an opening or to make a disordered unit launch an assault on a weaken enemy near collapse. In other words the things that a general should be thinking about in a battle.

So do I like them? Yes. Do I prefer them to Lasalle? No. Lasalle 'feels' more relaxed and fun and easier to pick up and play. But I am impressed with FoG:N and will give them a serious look at some time in the future which is not something I expected.


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