Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pulse of Battle Three Kingdoms

Matt was over this past Sunday, so we were able to get the Chinese on the table for another Pulse of Battle play test. My daughter, Jessica, joined us as well as another friend, Desmond. The teams were Matt and Jessica against Desmond and Tony.

We deployed the forces using the new deployment system, it was (again) fast and good. Matt commented that he liked it. Matt and Jessica had 11 units and 10 morale points. Desmond and I had 12 units and 14 morale points. Matt/Jess had an exceptional sequence deck and command ratings and Desmond/I had an abysmal sequence deck and command ratings. Desmond/I had an edge in horse units and Matt/Jess had an edge in missile units.

So, having a crappily-generalled army means one of two things:
  1. Be conservative, let the battle come to you. 
  2. Be bold and try to mitigate some advantages. In either case, you must have a little luck on your side and you'll still have a challenge to handle...but...the first option gives all of the initiative to the enemy (See Cornell, I *was* listening!). 
So, I opted for the second option. But, the second option only became apparent to me during the deployment phase as the enemy was having to deploy commands before we did, giving us a little reactionary advantage. Now, our hand of deployment cards was not great - hence the need for a little luck.

As the enemy deployed in a even line across their edge of the tabletop, it gave us an opportunity to deploy more strongly to one side, and if the aforementioned luck was with us they would not be able to counter it! So, I had Desmond deploy some foot units about 4" short of their deployment limit - planning to redeploy my horse units in front of them during the redeployment action. If the enemy got tricky and fouled that plan, then we could simply redeploy Desmond's units forward the last 4".

Well, luck was not with us. We had to make our redeployment action before the enemy did (in this game, each side had only one redeployment action due to the small number of units involved.). So, Desmond and I consulted and said, "screw it", redeploy the horse to the front of the foot. They'll be facing some non-missile foot units. If the enemy reacts by moving over some missile troops they will have to deploy to the rear of the target line...if we can get there first and fast, we got 'em!

So, that's exactly what happened. The enemy missile units redeployed to the rear of our targets. But, the game was to play out differently than we hoped. You see, we made two errors in hoping that we could get into grips with them before their missile troops moved up:
  1. There was a waterway in the path of the advance, this will slow us down.
  2. The commanding general of the mounted forces is a D8 Leadership. Uh, he sucks and his command will likely not enjoy tons of opportunity to befuddle the enemy.
Our horsemen died gallantly on the assault with only one of the three units successfully crossing the waterway. The missile troops, including two light bolt throwers, tore us up.

However, the rest of the battle was a real slobber-knocker. There were two villages on the table and they changed hands a couple times before the matter was resolved. Our forces had to contend with some wooded areas and the leftmost extent of the waterway, but we managed. On our extreme left flank, we had a crossbow unit a little exposed and they were driven off the table and pursued off the table by a unit of enemy medium horse - interesting and cool.

At the end of the game Matt had four chips and I had one, I surrendered with the situation being hopeless and the arrival of BBQ. The game took three hours, but we had two rookie players and did everything sequentially. Also, we laid out a lot of terrain, that'll delay the movement times of some units.

We had a fun time and really enjoy the rules. The BBQ was good too, good rations to be issued after a tough battle!

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