Thursday, April 6, 2017

END OF EMPIRE

     As you might have seen in my last post, my newest project is Compass Games' END OF EMPIRE. So far, it looks and plays pretty good. It covers the American Revolution, the French & Indian War and King George's War. I started the KGW scenario, but then restarted when I discovered I had done Indian Recruitment all wrong. I also failed to comprehend certain strategic nuances. But I played enough to form an initial impression.

King George's War, all set up and ready to go. The KGW scenario only uses the north map, which you see here. The south map is used for larger scenarios. The game comes with (2) 34"x22" maps. Lots of colorful components.
      First of all, it's a pretty simple and fast-moving game. That's not to say that it's easy to play. The strategic choices are actually pretty daunting.
     A lot of your decision-making stems from the types of combat units you have at your disposal. Militia generally can't move without a leader, have some ability to pop up quickly where you need them ("To Arms!" etc.) and must be disbanded at certain times of the year so the soldiers can tend their farms. Other units have only 1-year enlistment terms. Other types include Rangers, Marines, Indians, Regulars, Artillery and so on, each with their own abilities. But it is the vagaries of unit entry and withdrawal that will thwart most of your best-laid plans.
     In my first game, for example, I spent most of the year moving a large group of provincial infantry from Boston to Crown Point with the idea of assaulting the small French garrison there. (When I say it took most of the year, that's not because of low movement rates. Movement rates are actually quite high. It's because you have to pass "initiative checks" in order to get units/stacks to move at all. There is a lot of inaction in this game. Given the subject matter, that's good.) When I was finally able to launch my assault, I realized that the enlistment duration for my entire army was almost up! I could take Crown Point, but would have nothing to hold it with!
     These are the kinds of problems that confront you in the game. So while the rules are relatively simple, they are -- as the old adage goes -- hard to master.
     I'll post some AAR material for this game as my new plan unfolds.

Replacement counter sheet from Compass. Great customer service!
     Unfortunately, the game has a fair bit of errata. Some of the counters were misprinted, for example. But when I contacted Compass, they sent replacements that arrived within a couple of days. I wish there were fewer errors, of course, but kudos to Compass for great service! 
     I had never heard of Compass Games before this. They're definitely on my radar now. A look through their catalog has me interested in a couple more of their offerings, especially their WAR STORM series game LA BATAILLE DE FRANCE 1940, a company level tactical game. (If anyone has any experience with this game, please leave a comment and let us know how it plays.)

     But for now, I've just started on END OF EMPIRE, a very attractive game that just beckons to be played.

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