- Mike Owens(MikeO)United States
I recently picked up a copy of Glory III for relatively inexpensively through the BGG Marketplace. I sought this game out because I am on somewhat of a chit-pull kick lately. In addition, I haven't played a Civil War tactical game in almost 30 years (had the original Gettysburg and Chancellorsville when I was a kid). So I thought the bargain price and the chit-pull mechanic would be a good entry point for me.
The hook: Chit-pull tactical Civil War.
Box: is typical of GMT – nice cover illustration by Rodger MacGowan; plethora of information on the back; theme illustrations (and a C3i advertisement) on the sides.
Counters: 508 counters. This includes 89 that are provided to replace Artillery counters in order to retrofit Glory I. The Infantry counters are 9/16"; I am not sure how much of a difference this will make gameplay-wise from 5/8", but it is noticible. The ½" Artillery counters still seem tiny.
Most all the counters are units or activation markers. There are surprisingly few system counters; they are not really needed due to the Glory system.
Map: 22" x 34" map. Printed both sides; one side is Antietam and the other is Cedar Creek. Map includes turn track with helpful information.
Nicely illustrated map, levels and terrain are clear and easy to read. The color tends to be shades of brown, but this is a minor quibble.
Player Aid Cards: Two two-sided player aid cards. Includes all information needed to play. Only thing I had wish included was the rally requirements, especially for the Clear Creek scenario where the Union player basically has to rally his entire force. I could never member if it was required to roll "less than", or "less than or equal to", the Cohesion number in order to rally.
Playbook: 24-page Battle Book that includes historical background, the scenarios (setups and special rules), and counter scans.
Rulebook: 16-page rulebook, of which two pages are instructions on how to retrofit Glory I. Back cover has references (sequence of play, rallying units, disordered units, and line of sight.)
Rule set: The rules are pretty accessible. They are written in the typical Berg rules writing style; that is, a 4 on the scale where 1 = Don Greenwood technical writing style and 5 = Adam Starkweather colloquial writing style. There are a number of illustrations to explain the counters (which is really appreciated. By comparison, Avalanche Press's desire for brevity in their mini-box rules sets leaves out explanatory illustrations using text instead). As far as rules go, there are only two sets of illustrations: one showing front vs rear facings, and a comprehensive example explaining charge and defensive fire interaction (which represents two thirds of the combat system). There are a few rules exeptions that are hidden or included in unexpected places, but due to the simplicity of the rules it's not too bad.
Game Systems: This is a chit-pull activation game. Players select a chit from a pool in order to activate a formation or group of units for movement, combat, or both. The number of chits in the pool are adjusted up or down to make it more or less likely for a side to be able to act.
The game itself is pretty simple. Player pulls an activation marker (AM) out of a cup, which activates a formation of anywhere from three to ten units. The units move and/or engage in combat. Each unit in an activated formation acts individually which explains the seemingly lengthy play time.
Movement: Standard movement points system; terrain affects MP cost based on type of unit. There is a sort of "double time" (extended movement), but it's somewhat buried in the rules.
Combat: Only three types of combat: Artillery fire (which is resolved first) and Charge are the offensive attacks; Defensive Fire is applied by defenders against charging units. That's it. Combat is resolved by rolling a ten-sided die, adding modifiers, and reading result on table. Results are from attacker retreat and cohesion check through defender disrupt and retreat (or, if already disrupted, "withdraw"– disappears from the map, possibly to return later).
Elsewhere on the Geek, someone wrote that combat was "dicey". I disagree; it seems to me like less die rolling because you are not rolling "to hit" and then "effects" – there is really only the effects roll with the occasional Morale Check. Either way both players are involved.
Scenarios: There are three scenarios in Glory III: The Final Attack (Antietam map and OB, short scenario), The Full Battle (Antietam, the monster scenario), and Clear Creek (medium-sized scenario).
The Final Attack is a small scenario that I believe was supposed to serve as an introductory scenario. This scenario doesn't use the chit-pull mechanic at all, instead using an I-go / you-go alternating impulse mechanism. If, like me, you purchased this game because of the chit-pull mechanic, this scenario will disappoint. I only set it up partially and played a turn to get the hang of the movement and combat systems; I don't think it's worthwhile to play the full scenario.
The Clear Creek scenario is interesting. The Confederates caught the Union forces asleep, hitting them in the flank with a surprise attack. Union units start disordered and confused and have only one activation marker available. The Confederates have to inflict as much damage as possible before a) the Union units "wake up", b) Sheridan arrives to take charge of the situation, and c) Custer's cavalry rides to the rescue. I played this one solitaire before trying the full battle and I was not disappointed. It is hard to win as the Rebs – they have to move really fast and aggressively before the Union troops start waking up. This one is advertised as a six-hour scenario, but that is assuming both players are experienced (minimal rules lookup time).
I haven't finished the Full Battle scenario yet. It is long, advertised as 12 hours. But this is because of the sheer number of units and things going on. Downtime is minimal for both players. This battle isn't one that has a long period of movement to contact; instead, it is an out-and-out slugfest, as was the real battle.
I really wish this game had a two-hour, introductory scenario using the chit-pull system instead of (or in addition to) the Final Attack scenario.
One thing that I did have a hard time getting my head around was the effect of units disappearing off the map and then reappearing later. The notes explain the rationale behind this – units are "withdrawn" (formerly known as "routed"), and there is a chance that they may be reconstituted – the effect is one of scraping together survivors to re-form a unit.
Current availability: Right now, this game is available new from GMT at a deep discount of $25.00. It can be had for less on Ebay or BGG marketplace. At that price, it is definitely worthy of being added to any chit-puller's collection.
The verdict: A good cross-over game: a good way for experienced chit-pull gamers to get into Civil War games, or alternatively for Civil War gamers to get into to chit-pull systems.
[Edits: fixed two typos and some missing punctuation.]
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- Michael LavoieUnited States
You've written a fine review of a fine game. This is a good playable system that gives a general feel for the period without getting bogged down with detail and minutiae. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
Go Green! (MSU class of 1980)
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- Jim DauphinaisUnited States
- Mike -- Thanks for posting the review.
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- jason roberts
I'm a off + on gamer of over 25 yrs.Love civil war games.Why the deep discounts I see online? Is it because of it's replay ability? The sessions I"ve read are outstanding. I have Across Five Aprils which I've barely played over the yrs + was considering using those maps to make new scenarios. Is this game worth the effort?
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- Jay SheelyUnited States
Quote:Is this game worth the effort?
Might as well! I paid $15 for it. Even if I only play the intro scenario a couple of times, it'll seem worth it. My brother is a Civil War buff so hopefully this will interest him. He wasn't too keen on Combat Commander.
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- Freddy Dekker(sagitar)Netherlands
Allthough I'm still not sure about this game, 18 euros seems a reasonable price so I'm unlikely to ignore it.
Pitty your brother didn't like CC. It's a system I would like to see used for other games aswell.
Did he like this game?
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