Scenario: The Battle of Eylau
Participants: Bob H, Myself
Time: Sunday, May 22nd ~ 2.00PM - 4.00PM
Bob and I got together to give HoV another try. Each of us had done a little more rules reading. I wasn't completely taken with the game after our last playing. I was a little more interested this time around because we had a bigger force and we would be playing instead of learning.
There are only two turns in this scenario, which I didn't fully get as we started playing, the number of days per turn confused me...thus I assumed that I had a few turns to work with. I started my turn by going after the lone unit behind my lines. I have no idea what this unit was doing there, but we double checked the set up and it was correct. Using my orders I moved up Napoleon and the Guard along with the out of position I Corps. I also moved a few Vedette's out to scout out Bobs forces as I had purposely not payed attention to his set up (I wanted to fully experience the whole fog of war effect).
I was able to wipe out the unit in my rear during the combat phase of my first turn. During Bob's turn it dawned on me that I had only one more turn. The Victory conditions are generic, the side with the highest casualties inflicted minus lost is the winner. I wasn't very impressed with this as for new players it didn't really provide any sort of direction or physical objective.
Bob moved up a big force under Bennigsen and attacked my center. Despite Bobs Artillery and Cavalry advantage I held the ground and he took more losses then I. There were two rounds to the battle. I was unenthusiastic about the combat system coming into the scenario and this engagement did nothing to get me excited or to add any sort of 'excitement' to the game...it was all very generic and bland. Bob fell back and it was my last turn.
As we were nearly even on the casualties given and taken, I knew that I would have to go out and attack something in order to even have a shot at winning, the other option of course was to just sit there and watch the birds outside in the trees. I opted, narrowly, to complete my second turn. I grouped up a bunch of units into a big force and marched out and next to the only unit I could attack without engaging more then one hex of Bob's forces. We had a "bigger" uninteresting combat with many more losses this time, Bob taking a bit more I believe. I cant even remember if either one of us had enough of a casualty differential to get a VP, by then we were both so disinterested that we were just going through the motions.
|Ney Cleans up some lonely Prussians|
Both of us were very neutral on the game and the system. I liked the hidden units and the mechanics in place to gather intelligence via cavalry units...it felt very much like the game with making me use my cavalry as it was used historically. The rest of the system is very competent. I imagine that players of this series usually ignore the battle scenarios and play the campaigns only; as those seem more interesting then the battles. I was really surprised with the victory conditions for the battle scenarios. I would have assumed at least some sort of physical objective for one side to take and hold, something, anything to add to a very dry narrative.
|Napoleon and Bennigsen Clash on the last turn|
I really liked the historical information included in the exclusive rules. They certainly helped bring me up to speed on the personalities and events of the campaign. Sadly Bob and I are not interested enough to take a shot at one of the campaigns in the game...it goes back on the shelf.