Recommend
55 
 Thumb up
 Hide
52 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Ney vs. Wellington» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Ney vs. Wellington review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
The time is: 1430 hrs., 16 June, 1815

Ney vs. Wellington appeared in issue #74 of Strategy & Tactics magazine in May 1979. At that time, SPI was the largest publisher of wargames and the company was nearing its apex in terms of both quality and the number of games being published. In just three short years SPI would be bankrupt; victim of a bad economy and long-standing financial problems.

Ney vs. Wellington, a simulation of the Battle of Quatre Bras, was the offspring of Wellington’s Victory, a battalion/regimental level simulation of the Battle of Waterloo; a four map ‘monster’ game published in October 1976. NvW’s designer Joe Balkoski, took a very good game system, streamlined it to fit the magazine format and (in my opinion) improved upon a classic.

The scale of the game is identical to Wellington’s Victory; 100 yards per hex, one strength points = 100 men or one gun and a game turn represents 15 minutes of real time. Units represent infantry battalions, cavalry regiments, foot and horse artillery batteries and leaders. The biggest difference between the two games is NvW’s one map and 255 counters vs. WV’s four maps and 1600 counters.

Other differences between NvW and its big brother is that there are no separate counters for artillery crews, there are no ‘out of ammo’ rules for infantry and units need not be in command control. I like the first two rules changes better and as for the third, it is easy to assume that the units have already received their orders. The sole purpose of leaders is to modify die rolls and rally routed units.

Everything you expect in a tactical level Napoleonic game is here. Infantry can be in column, line and square formation and may detach skirmishers. Artillery is either limbered or unlimbered. Cavalry has only one formation. Every unit has an Effectiveness Rating (troop quality and morale) and all combat units may become disordered and rout due to morale checks. A numbered chit is placed under each combat unit as losses are accrued.

Graphically, I find Ney vs. Wellington very pleasing to the eye. The attractive contour map has six terrain elevations depicted in four colors. Also depicted are farmhouses, villages, woods, swamp and pond hexes. Sunken roads/hedges and streams run along hexsides. The counters are easy to read and distinguish unit types. A very good combination of function and eye appeal. French counters are blue and the Allies are in colors that closely approximate their uniform colors.

The heart of the game lies in it’s assymetric turn sequence. The sequence in twelve phases are:

French Charge Declaration Phase
French Rally Phase
Allied Facing/Formation Phase
Allied March Phase
French Shock Phase
Reciprocal Artillery Fire Phase
Reciprocal Infantry Fire Phase
Allied Charge Declaration Phase
Allied Rally Phase
French Facing/Formation Phase
French March Phase
Allied Shock Phase

A quick look at the turn sequence shows that a player must plan ahead. For example, if the French declare a cavalry charge, the Allies can attempt to move away or form square, set up cavalry counter-charges and prepare artillery. Both sides are allowed the opportunity to react to what the other side is doing.

In addition to the turn sequence, I especially like the Fire and Shock Combat Results Tables. Infantry may fire up to a two hex range and artillery 6-8 hexes. The unit’s Effectiveness Rating also determines its Firepower Rating; the Firepower Rating for infantry and artillery is determined by their original Effectiveness. The firing unit’s type and range is cross-indexed with the defending unit’s Target Class. Infantry in column, square or massed and cavalry are better targets. Wood hexes and hedge/sunken road hexsides are defined as Soft Cover Target Class and units in buildings are Hard Cover targets.

Fire Combat is alternated. A die roll decides which side fires first and each side moves down the opposite ends of their respective lines with units firing individually. A player may elect to skip an eligible unit to reach a more critical area quicker. Any unit suffering a hit performs a morale check.

The Shock Combat Results Table uses a ratio differential between attacker and defender. It is not all about who has the largest numbers. The Effectiveness Ratings are compared plus the formation of the attacker and defender and the type of terrain the defender occupies.

The cavalry charge is probably the most exciting aspect of the game. When announced, a cavalry unit(s) performs a morale check and if it passes, sets up a six hex fan-shaped Charge Zone. All defending units within the zone check morale and their movement rate is doubled to reflect the fact that cavalry is moving faster.

Other rules include extended line for units with a strength over 6 factors and British and Hanoverian with an original Effectiveness over 2 and a troop strength of 4 or more. The Effectiveness Rating for most infantry in line formation is reduced by 1 except for the British and Hanoverians. This reflects the fact that these troops were more accustomed to and comfortable in their two rank line formation. Also, all infantry battalions designated as ‘light’ may breakdown totally into skirmishers. All combat units must adhere to facing which is the vertex of the hex between two hexsides.

There is no errata for this game that I am aware of. Wellington’s Victory has been criticized for excessive skirmishers and their freedom of movement but I haven’t found it to be a problem in NvW. There are however many house rules fixes available if you feel that a skirmisher problem exists. Check the Wellington’s Victory/Ney vs. Wellington folder at ConsimWorld. There are also several variants posted here on BGG and there is a variant line of sight chart available on Web-Grognards.

My only complaint with the game lies with losses and the Effectiveness Ratings. Every strength point loss reduces Effectiveness by one point; even the detachment of a skirmisher. It causes more disorder to units and eventual routing. I feel it is a bit harsh. Someone at ConsimWorld proposed a house rule whereas a unit would lose one Effectiveness point after losing 50% of its original strength.

For size and manageability, Quatre Bras is a very good battle to simulate at the tactical level. But for game balance, there are inherent problems. The Allied player doesn’t have nearly as much to do as the French player while the latter faces an uphill fight. This is not to say the French player cannot win, but he will have to play harder and better than his counterpart.

Historically, Ney sat doing nothing until about 2:30 pm. After having faced Wellington in Spain, he feared there were Allied troops hidden in the tall rye. When he finally did begin his attack, Allied troops were beginning to arrive in force. If he had moved earlier, he could have easily brushed aside the Dutch-Belgian troops holding the vital crossroads. Although Ney would be rash two days later at Waterloo, here at Quatre Bras he exhibited timidity. This is the situation facing the French player at the game’s beginning; the onus of attack is on him.

If the Allied player moves Picton’s arriving division down the Brussels Road behind Gemioncourt, the French player will have an easier time. But more likely, Picton will move down the Namur Road and take up a position along the hedge-lined road. If the French player moves straight ahead towards Quatre Bras, it will be like fighting at the bottom of a funnel.

Whatever the French player does, it must be done quickly; time is of the essence. His best option is to detach a cloud of skirmishers to clear the Bossu Woods. The Dutch-Belgians there are poorer quality but of course the Allied player will place a skirmish unit atop each one. The skirmish unit with 5 Effectiveness Rating will make it harder for the French to kill or rout them. The same is true with the weak militia unit in Gemioncourt. With a skirmisher atop it can take the French awhile to clear the farmhouse. Ordinarily, infantry in different formations may not stack together. But because units in woods and buildings become disordered formations and skirmishers are a disordered formation, they may stack together.

After taking Gemioncourt, the French player can clear any Allied units in the center with cavalry supported by infantry and artillery. The French player must also send a strong force to the east near the Cherry Woods and flank the Allied left. It won’t be easy but it is crucial. A head-on attack against British infantry in line and protected by the hedge is a formula for disaster; they must be outflanked.

If the French player can clear the Bossu Woods and flank the Allied left, all in a reasonable amount of time, he may be able to clinch a victory. Assuming his troops are in good order and he hasn’t taken excessive casualties.

You must learn to use combined arms effectively. Disjointed, ill-coordinated attacks will only earn you excessive casualties and no result. Learning how to coordinate a proper combined arms attack is where the fun lies. Infantry in line moves slower and disrupts easier but its firepower is more deadly but it is weaker in shock attack. In column, it moves quicker and is better in shock combat but has less firepower and is more vulnerable to both infantry and artillery fire. Cavalry can be deadly against infantry in line and skirmishers but is vulnerable after the charge as it is automatically disordered. This is especially true for the French as the artillery and infantry fire phases immediately follow the French Shock Phase. Cavalry can take ground but it cannot hold it; infantry must follow closely to secure the gains. Artillery is lethal, especially at close range but must be wary of skirmishers and cavalry on its flanks.

The beauty of the game lies in the cleanness of its system. The system is virtually chrome free. I can pick this game up after a six month absence, skim the rules and be playing within 20-30 minutes. Yes, it is a reasonably complex game but the rules are intuitive and the absence of chrome makes it easy to get it on the table.

For comparison purposes, the only other tactical level Napoleonic system I am familiar with is La Bataille. NvW is not that complex nor does it contain the ‘color’ or chrome of that system.

Ney vs. Wellington is now 31 years old which begs the question, is the game still relevant? In my opinion, absolutely. Graphically, it stands up very well and the game play is excellent. Because of the inherent game imbalance, it is the perfect solitaire game. I find it to be a very good vehicle for learning basic Napoleonic battle tactics. For me, the game is as fresh today as it was when I first received it in the mail back in 1979.
53 
 Thumb up
2.10
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review, Steven. Very thorough.

I have an unpunched copy of this game (SPI sent me two issues of S&T by mistake; I traded one away), and hadn't been much interested in the subject until about 10 years ago. Your review encourages me to take another look at this one.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Bill, Glad you enjoyed the review. And if you do actually play the game I succeeded! I hope you enjoy it!

I own three copies; one boxed and two magazine versions. I guess I was afraid there would be some sort of shortage in my lifetime!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Henshaw
United States
East Bridgewater
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One of my first S&T games I received on my 1st subscription. Still have it somewhere in the house.
Maybe I'll give it a solo try again after 30 years.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert
United States
Johns Creek
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ScottH wrote:
One of my first S&T games I received on my 1st subscription. Sill have it somewhere in the house.
Maybe I'll give it a solo try again after 30 years.


Same here. I actually remember playing extensively the issue that followed, Eylau/Dresden, back in those days, but for some reason my issue of Quatre Bras always remained unpunched and unplayed, and still have it, new and crisp as if just received in the mail
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MAURO BORNIOLI
Italy
CAGLIARI
SARDEGNA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very great review !
I played it some years ago with my friend Stefano, and I have a wonderful memories of this game.
I'd like to replay it again !

No Expectations wrote:
...For comparison purposes, the only other tactical level Napoleonic system I am familiar with is La Bataille. NvW is not that complex nor does it contain the ‘color’ or chrome of that system.


The Bat system is in its fourth edition rules, and now it is more complex, the system has evolved over the years.
But the La Bat system of that time was not so complex, and the system of WV and NvW was perhaps even better.

No Expectations wrote:
I find it to be a very good vehicle for learning basic Napoleonic battle tactics. For me, the game is as fresh today as it was when I first received it in the mail back in 1979.


I fully agree !

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Mauro, and all the other posters, glad you have all liked the review. And if you all do actually play the game then I have attained my goal!

You can never be sure what sort of reception a review of a 30+ year old game will receive. I've been pleasantly surprised with this one.

Quote:
The Bat system is in its fourth edition rules, and now it is more complex, the system has evolved over the years.
But the La Bat system of that time was not so complex, and the system of WV and NvW was perhaps even better.


Yes, system games do tend to become more complex as they go along. I also owned La Bataille de la Moscowa once; both the original Martial Enterprises and GDW versions. It was a much simpler system. Just like the Great Battles of the American Civil War system, La Bataille has outgrown me. As I get older I tend to avoid that much complexity. But that's just me.

Oh, and Mauro, my wife definitely agrees with you on Peter Gabriel.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MAURO BORNIOLI
Italy
CAGLIARI
SARDEGNA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ciao Steven
No Expectations wrote:
You can never be sure what sort of reception a review of a 30+ year old game will receive. I've been pleasantly surprised with this one.


it is true, it means that this game is beautiful and your nice review draws our attention hehehe

No Expectations wrote:
Yes, system games do tend to become more complex as they go along. I also owned La Bataille de la Moscowa once; both the original Martial Enterprises and GDW versions. It was a much simpler system. Just like the Great Battles of the American Civil War system, La Bataille has outgrown me. As I get older I tend to avoid that much complexity. But that's just me.


I share more chrome on La Bat system. Less for GBACW, it already works well without adding complexity

No Expectations wrote:
Oh, and Mauro, my wife definitely agrees with you on Peter Gabriel.


Your wife is a expert, Peter is a great artist hehehe

thumbsup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEsLN9i8jRs&feature=related
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell Gifford
United States
South Sioux City
Nebraska
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Great review of a great game! Thank you for doing this!

--Russ
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell Gifford
United States
South Sioux City
Nebraska
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Errata: Not seeing anything on my listing, though I haven't put in the last of the S&T's into my database.

Moves had a great article on the game at the time:

Moves 47 Oct/Nov 1979 Page 13

Operational Analysis

Ney's Victory: A Concerted French Attack at Quatre Bras

by John Scarbeck
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Russ, Yes I have that article and you are right, it is very well done. Of course, any accurate simulation of Quatre Bras will be tough for the French to win, even marginally.

I never looked at Ney vs. Wellington as a win or lose type of game. I've played it numerous times solitaire but only twice face-to-face. Both times I won as the French but I never felt that I had beaten my opponent, it felt more as if I had beaten the game system. I had managed to coordinate combined arms attacks. It's the game system that I like more than the game situation. I really enjoy it more solitaire.

I had read about combined arms attacks but actually trying to implement them was a great learning experience.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Steven, your review and analysis are really excellent. Really seldom to find such details and good writing these days. One question, the credit of Wellington's Victory (SPI/TSR) goes to Frank Davis. Do you mean Ney vs. Wellington by Joe Bolkoski has the same lineage to Wellington's Victory? I have both games and if they have the same system (I thought they were different), I should go back to both games as I like Joe's design fluidity - he always confer many choices and decisions to the players! Now, time for more gaming!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Lawrence, Glad you liked the review and thanks for your kind words. Yes, Ney vs. Wellington is the same game system as Wellington's Victory. After the popularity of WV, SPI was looking for a smaller battle where they could use the same system and include it in S&T

Yes, Joe Balkoski was a great designer. Too bad more games weren't published using this system. My understanding is that Marengo was possibly in the works at the time of SPI's demise.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MAURO BORNIOLI
Italy
CAGLIARI
SARDEGNA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No Expectations wrote:
...SPI was looking for a smaller battle where they could use the same system and include it in S&T


Another game using this system was The Battle of Monmouth

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/4449/battle-of-monmou...

published in 1982 in S&T n° 90.

I don't own it, and I can not say if it's good.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Mauro, You are quite right and I failed to mention Monmouth. I do own Monmouth and it is a very good game. It is actually a bit simpler because there are no cavalry charge rules. It also has three scenarios and good replayability.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell Gifford
United States
South Sioux City
Nebraska
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
And no skirmishers in Monmouth, plus some other simplifications, especially in the sequence of play. But Monmouth does share some of the DNA of Wellington's Victory. And it is a GREAT game. I always wished that SPI had lived long enough to have done a whole series of American Revolutionary War games using Monmouth as the pattern.

Also, if I recall correctly, Joe simplified some things in the sequence of play for Ney vs. Wellington, but simply made the Wellington's Victory system better.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Russ, Yes, Monmouth is definitely a great place to start for someone who may feel intimidated by WV/NvW.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great! I have the Monmouth game but it is stored at the warehouse. Gotta dig it out again, following my fever with the American War of Independene in Washington's War and Tarleton's Quarter!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Quote:
Great! I have the Monmouth game but it is stored at the warehouse. Gotta dig it out again, following my fever with the American War of Independene in Washington's War and Tarleton's Quarter!


All this talk about Monmouth got me interested also. I haven't played it in a long time and dug it out last night and skimmed the rules. Definitely a little more accessible than WV/NvW. I have a game set up now but I should be playing Monmouth within a week. I also noticed no one has reviewed it so I may do that sometime in the future.
3 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russell Gifford
United States
South Sioux City
Nebraska
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I didn't review it??? Unbelievable!

Well, here it is on MY website.... with pictures. And some freebies.

http://www.russgifford.net/Monmouth.htm

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steven Goodknecht
United States
Bourbonnais
Illinois
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Russ, Great review of the game and I really like your website! The Access Sheet you created for Monmouth also looks very good and I will definitely be taking advantage of it. Thanks for all the terrific work you did!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Henninger
United States
Katy
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent review Steven. I've had this one for years but need to get it to the table.

Thanks!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob James
United States
Lafayette
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
quatre bras game similiar
SIMULATIONS CORNEJO came out about 1981-2 and covers same topic, a bit easier, and I see no game listed, it is similiar to Waterloo 1815 by same publisher.
It is in English, but from Europe-Spain.
I like both, and await OSG coming out with NLB series on the last four Battles of Napoleons 1815 war.
PRATZEN games has a nice one and L2 games as well.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles
United States
Gig Harbor
Washington
flag msg tools
mb
This is one of my favorite games of all time. A great game system and an interesting battle. Thank you for the review. If you haven't tried this game and you own it, get it on the table and play it!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Allen Dickerson
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Nice review, thanks. I'm jusr revisiting this game after a decades-long absense, so I appreciated the concise, thorough description. I certainly didn't remember the alternating fire combat routine, going down each line...

One rule caught my eye and caused me to say, "Huh??" That's the rule that states that Leaders must be stacked with *a* combat unit to have their bonus effect on morale and rally.... even if the unit it wishes to effect is somewhere within the leader's radius. Why is that? Why couldn't a leader, for example, be sitting with just his aides on a hilltop somewhere, influencing a unit a few hundred yards away? But then the situation is different if he were in a smoky crush of his own forces, or even with the gunners of a battery, exerting the same influence on a unit 200 - 400 yards away? That one seems really odd.

The other one was the admonition in [13.21] that all units MUST rally from disorder (and also improve from rout, in 13.23) if they're outside of an enemy minimum fire zone. What would be the benefit of a player not wanting to rally troops? I can kind of see why you'd want to stop a 6-hex-a-turn rout, but why disorder? And why is it *automatic*? Seems presence of leaders and the mettle and cohesion of the forces would be just as important to recovery from rout and disorder as it is to succumbing to it in the heat of battle.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.