Matthew Lohse
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My review can basically be summed up with the heading... if you are thinking about trying the Musket & Pike Battles Series then I STRONGLY recommend that you start with Under the Lily Banners [ULB]... or at least until Nothing Gained but Glory is released at which point possibly it. Why, you ask? Basically because of the Mergentheim 1645 scenario, or as the description puts it...
Quote:
This is the smallest battle in the series and is included as a learning scenario.


I like the rule design for this series... there is a lot going on for both players at any point. Even when your opponent is moving there is a lot to consider... hmm... his cav unit is moving towards some of my infantry.... should I try for an intercept with one of my nearby cav units... if I can intercept should I fire pistols... or should I not move my cav but instead have my infantry fire on him... and if so at what range... or should I try to have my infantry take a defensive formation... or would they be better off staying like they are no to avoid the risk of being disorganized when the cav arrive? In other words... you have LOTS of decisions to make [or at least that you can make] at any point in the game... each with their own set of follow-up implications and further decisions to make. The result is a very engaging combat system that can lead to all sorts of results.. for example you cav charge worked wonders and routed the enemy.. but your unit chases them off the board [woo hoo! [rolls dice] D'oh!]. The downside of this rule system when learning it is that there are a LOT of potential decisions to make, general sequences of events to learn, and a lot of information markers to keep track of. This is where the Mergentheim 1645 scenario comes into play.

The Mergentheim 1645 scenario is really small, with something like 12-18 units on a side... a mix of cav and infantry for both sides. In other words, no where near as large of some of the other scenarios, no long infantry units. I am just guessing, but I think if I had tried playing one of the larger scenarios in ULB or any of the other games in the series it might have overwhelmed me. I have played a lot of wargames, but it still took me a little while to be really comfortable with the rules for this series. Its not that they are poorly written or too complicated... in fact I find them pretty clear and concise. It is just that there are a lot of points where you have to stop and think about them and the actions you can take until you have really have them easily at your command. In a large scenario, I fear that doing this might prove to much the first time you play [or at least I fear it might have been too much for me]. Mergentheim gave me a chance to get to really learn the rules in a setting where I could fairly quickly go back and replay the battle a couple of times in a row as my grasp of the rules improved and I became more aware of what tactics worked in certain situations. It also was nice that it only took a couple of minutes to setup and there were a limited number of pieces [both units and info counters] in play so I was better able to keep track of what was happening.

I am sure many others will disagree with me, having learned to play on the previous 2 games in the series, so my concerns are possible overblown. That is a very valid argument, one that hopefully someone else [who started with any other scenario from any game in this series] will make to balance out my opinion [a .05 GG tip for whoever posts the first rebuttal in this thread that I consider good]. If you really prefer one of the other games' topics to this one, then perhaps you should go ahead with it first. Still, although I didn't have an overwhelming interest in Mergentheim, I am very glad that there was a scenario like it because of the way it eased me into the system. Oh, and the other scenarios in ULB are also quite interesting, the counters and maps look nice, the rules [as mentioned above] are clear and concise. But really... Mergentheim. Can't stress that enough.
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Kristofer Nilsson
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I agree wholeheartedly on this being the best "opener" of the series. I spent weeks with Sweden Fights On not being sure if I was playing it right. When I got Under the Lily Banners and went through Mergentheim it turns out I had made some things wrong. I'd like to add that the walkthrough of Mergentheim is also excellent for refreshing your memory after having been away from the game for a while.

Only one question really.

aluredpopple wrote:


or should I not move my cav but instead have my infantry fire on him... and if so at what range...


Infantry can not perform fire combat at a range greater than one hex. What do you mean?
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Matthew Lohse
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Quote:
Infantry can not perform fire combat at a range greater than one hex. What do you mean?


D'oh! Good point there. I didn't have the game in front of me while writing the review and hadn't played it in a couple of months, so for some reason that option occurred to me while trying to remember the various actions one can take... despite it not being an option. Looks like I should have played a refresher game of Mergentheim to make sure I remembered the rules correctly..
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Kristofer Nilsson
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Ah, that figures then.
 
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Freddy Dekker
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Re: If you want to try the Musket & Pike Battles Series... start here
Thanks for the advise.

I recently managed to lay my hands on this, but have now layed it aside.

Finished punching the 350 or so chits yesterday and I really need a short break from chits right now.

Also spend some time trying to find out who's who, as some units do not seem to be mentioned in the book.

The plan is to go find all that are and than what remains......

I tried finding the units and what side the fought on, on wikipedia, only to find out that this site does not hold all the wisdom one might assume it does.

On there they actually claimed the Dutch were involved in the 30 years war, apparently committing 75.000 men and several leaders.
I won't deny there was a political involvement- after all they'd do anything to annoy the Spanish, but as for joining into that war, ... they were far to busy with their own little war.
The 80 years war against spain, or the Dutch revolt as I've also heard it called.

So I was pleasantly surprised when this game turned out to aggree with me and does not show any Dutch troop involved in this conflict.
Ha, you are probably going to tell me now they turn up in one of the other games in the series.
Maybe I'll get lucky again some day and manage to purchase more games from the series.



Also considering cutting the corners of the chits.
I've never ever don this before didn't see the point untill this game, where I realised the corners really look untidy.

But I figured it might not improve the looks of the chits for this particular game. Than I saw some pictures by someone who'd done so and it doesn't look that bad, really.

So now I just have to get bored enough to want to tackle all those chits again.

I noticed some commanders that have to chits representing them.
One even that has two identical chits representing him, is this how it is supposed to be?

Might I inquire how you guys store this game.
As usual GMT has provided me with loads of baggies, all be it not enough to give every group of chits it's own baggie, so I'm now considering countre trays.

Any suggestions?



 
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Freddy Dekker
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Re: If you want to try the Musket & Pike Battles Series... start here
So I'm now counting myself lucky that happened to be the only one in my reach.


Just in case I ever do get a chance of getting any of the others.

Do they all play simular i.e. when you can play one you can play the others aswell?
 
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Freddy Dekker
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Re: If you want to try the Musket & Pike Battles Series... start here
Thanks, that helps.
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