Sunday, October 31, 2010

Martin Wallace's Gettysburg Take 3 and Take 4

Mid-game, courtesy of Glen Cote. The Union line is taking shape along the Fishhook, with key positions already fortified.

Courtesy of Glen Cote I got in my third and fourth games of Martin Wallace's Gettysburg.

First off, let me say that it's an enjoyable system to play. Not too fiddly, reasonably intuitive, full of dramatic flourishes.

One fairly amusing episode reminded me of the famous (or infamous) "Guard Militia" that made frequent appearances in my old gaming group from 20 years ago. We had a running joke in our group about the "Guard Militia" because it invariably seemed like our elite units underperformed in battle (Panther tanks brewing up, critical hits sinking battleships, Imperial Guard routs, etc.) while some unpromising "low-quality" unit would be the hero of the day, hence the "Guard" Militia.

In this case it was an impromptu counterattack by a single "inferior" Union infantry unit which managed to eliminate four (admittedly damaged) confederate units including one elite over the course of two assaults. While I wouldn't call it a game changer (the CSA offensive was stalling already) it definitely closed down CSA options in that side of the field and pretty much forced Glen into the forlorn hope frontal assaults against Cemetery Hill he alluded to in his Facebook summary.

After four games I'm beginning to feel like I'm wrapping my head around the game system. Like Bowen Simmons' games, Martin Wallace's games are really different from traditional hex-and-counter wargames. After some 40 years of playing hex-and-counter games I have to I'd pretty comfortable picking up almost any of them, new or old, without feeling completely at sea over what to do.

The Simmons and Wallace approaches are nice change of pace. It's a real break from the same-old, same-old. Can't wait to play again.

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