Last night I played my first game of Blucher at my friend Joe's house. We were both intrigued by the promise of this new set of rules: corps-level commands that are fast, fun, and playable. It was the inagural outing for my 10mm armies, French and Russians from Old Glory. We used only a tiny fraction of Joe's table for the game. Since we are just learning the rules, we decided to forgo the Scharnhorst campaign setup, although they look like a lot of fun.
|The overhead view.|
All in all, a fun game. Maneuver was a bit clumsier than we were used to, but that gives a good feel for the command level the game simulates. A commander who orders brigades and divisions forward is painting with a much broader brush than a tactical commander. Joe and I doubtless overlooked some nuances of the rules, but we worked things through easily enough and came away thinking that the rules were elegant and clear.
I learned a lot from my mistakes. Lesson one: Russians have good artillery and terrible skirmish ability. Thus, they should engage the french either at very long or very short range. Lesson two: While melee combat may not be decisive (pace, sad little dragoon unit!), it allows you to weaken an enemy position if you have the reserves to exploit it later. When Joe made his firing line, I should have ignored one turn of close range volley fire and just plowed right in. I would have taken my lumps, but the ability to pick targets in the assault would have greatly weakened Joe's position, and I had two fresh units with which I could have exploited the results. Lesson three: The side that keeps units in reserve the longest has a big advantage. Instead of holding my cossacks as second-rate battle cavalry, it is worth considering using them to race towards still-concealed units.
Looking forward to another game, with Scharnhorst thrown in to boot!