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No Peace Without Spain! The War of the Spanish Succession 1702-1713» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First plays says No Peace is a real gem rss

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David Dockter
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A friend (he even has more wargame hair on his arse than me) picked this up at WBC last week. We've played a few games since.

First, what we don't like:

1) Basic blocking and tackling: No index or definitions in rulebook. No map key on map. No place for a force pool on map. No setup key on map (or counters) - but setup is easy (just requires you to refer to rulebook - and oddity these days). Really no reason for these oversights.

2) Cards: The deck is split into two groups: activation cards (either a 1,2 or 3) and event cards. Each turn (but not the first), each player draws one event cards (23 of those). Most are played then immediately, while a few can be held. The usual suspects here and only a few have any significant impact. We thought that ALOT more could have been done on this front: ALOT. Sort of leaves you feeling "Why bother?" in contrast to most CDW (card driven wargames). Additionally, each player gets 5 activation cards (4 on the first turn). Bid for going first (ties go to the Alliance during first part of the game and French in later stages). Would guess on average you'll get two "activations" per card (move a force, rally, SR, etc). I wouldn't really call it a CDW, but, who cares when you're having this much fun.

3) Politics: Not enough of it. Thought that the alliance player should have had to invest time and energy managing the politics related to the Alliance. Didn't need a massive Days of Dis subsystem, but, something simple would have been cool.

4) Attrition. Pretty much missin. We thought something like the great For the People dynamic would have worked well (3 to 6 SPs take a hit, 7 or more take 2 hits).

5) Buckets of dice: A small bucket. Big battles seldom have more than 10 to 12 dice on a side. I never like the "hit on a 5 or 6" (only a 6 if demoralized) systems. Remind me too much of that Risk like Axis and Allies silly game. But, it works here (same as with NAP WARS).

That's the pissin' and moanin' and spouting about what we would have done differently.

We REALLY like this game as it is. Why?

1) Does a great job of conveying the feel of the conflict. Great job. I'd rank it up there with Wilderness War (and also that the design/development job was that good).

2) Simple and clean rules. Plays very well right out of the box! (a shocking development for wargames today). One house rule we play with is that demoralized leaders lose 1 in their ratings (this gives a reason to un-demoralize 0-3 leaders). We may add the attrition rule after a few more plays.

3) LOTS of operational choices.

3) Plays quick - 4 hours for a campaign game.

4) LOTS of dancing of forces.

5) Sieges handled very well (also a rarity in wargames).

6) Demoralization and famous victories mechanic is outstanding; would like to see that incorporated in more CDWs.

7) The story. Now, We'll be buying some books on this conflict I knew little about. To us, that is the ultimate test of a good wargame; Does it inspire you to learn more/consume more content about the conflict? This game does.

Would HIGHLY recommend this one. Even plan to get it on the list of candidates for WAM 2012 (despite it not being a strict CDW).

It is about the fourth newer game in the last year that I year we couldn't wait to play again: Empire of the Sun, Sea of Glory, Pax Romana and this one. All VERY different from each other; but all offer great/fun game play. Hats off to the designer and developer.

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Jim F
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem

Great to see a really neglected conflict get a game it deserves. Thanks for the review. This has just pushed it up my wants list.
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Eric Stubbs
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Good to know, thank you! This arrived the other day and I looked through the components (lovely) but haven't played it yet. I intend to get started shortly.

I read a lot about the War of the Spanish Succession several years back and I'm also pleased to see it making its way to a game.
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Filip Makówka
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Do You have any photos from the game?;)
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David Dockter
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
No pic's; we enjoyed it too much to take time to take any.

Played about 6 back-to-back games to the half way mark to get a good feel for it. Seems really balanced and LOTS of decent choices for each player. Game also has a very easy ramp up curve; if you've played any of the CDWs, you should be able to jump right in and have a blast like we did. Minimal rules questions; turns play very fast.
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Warren Bruhn
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Thanks for the quick review, Herr Dr. Impressed that you found time to play so much No Peace Without Spain! as you made your way to the WBC finals in both For the People and Paths of Glory. You must be a gaming MACHINE!

Sounds like this one fits in with Washington's War and Twilight Struggle in the playing time department. An "after supper" game.

Note: Winston Churchill's biography of the 1st Duke of Marlborough is an excellent read. Winston is biased, of course, but he's a very entertaining writer.
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David Dockter
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Thanks. Played games non-stop Sunday > Wednesday (the post WBC session). We usually go thru the a batch of games we pick up at WBC. Thanks for the book tip; Amazon and local used book stores will be getting a visit regarding this subject. NPWS is more of a "wargame" than either Wash War or TS; much more. Let me know what you think.
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Warren Bruhn
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Also, check, OnMilitaryMatters, my favorite online military bookstore. Really like to support that bookstore.
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Don H
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Herr Dr., thank you for the very positive review!

On the subject of reading materials, I posted a list of useful books over on CSW: http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@968.qhaic35ZCmF.118@.1dd...
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Quote:
5) Sieges handled very well (also a rarity in wargames).
How are sieges handled?
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David Dockter
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Basically, you move to an enemy fortress. Each fortress is rated 1, 2 or 3. Next impluse, use an activation to conduct a siege (really just trying to break in). Depending upon that rating, you need to inflict that number of loses to take it (plus an additional one if there is a enemy SP - (corps in this case - each corps is a SP) occupying it. You get modifiers for various things (a 2 leader gives you a +1...a few of those in the game, one 3 ldr - Marlborough...enemy 2 ldr is a -1...if you won a famous battle next to hex - put 5 hits on enemy or killed 2 corps...supply line situation...etc). If you don't have a 2 ldr sieging it, you have a 50/50 of taking it the first try (let's say pulse 2 in this case - turn 1 was spent moving on the fortress). If you fail, you get a siege 1 marker (another +1). Pulse 3, you now hit the thing with a +1 (or +2 if you have a 2 or 3 ldr). So, you only fail on a 1. Saw that a few times. Pulse 4 you try again - this time the siege goes to 2 (a -2). I can't remember the table but I think a "6" puts 2 hits, a "7" 3 hits. Point is, some places last the whole year...and longer. Each try, you can also suffer a loss depending upon the die roll.

If you don't take the place before the last impulse, that's a bad day since ALL forces have to return to friendly spaces (winter quarters). So, you get to start all over next year.

What we liked about it was that it was never certain a place would fall (unless you had enough modifiers) and that the modifiers are cool (lots of things taken into account). And, that it takes only a few seconds to resolve. Pretty much a common theme in this game. Similar to Wilderness War, but better (regarding the sieges and a number of other items). The cards are MUCH better in Wilderness War, and that games has a number of other great dynamics, but, NPWS is very good in its own way.
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Warren Bruhn
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
To respond to an item in the original post, I don't see the point of reducing a leader's tactical rating when demoralized. First, demoralized forces are prohibited from reacting anyway. Second, the dice rolled in combat for the demoralized leader already have the "to hit" number reduced. Imposing a reduction in the tactical rating would apply two negative effects instead of one on the combat dice. Don't see any need for this at all.

To respond to another point in the original post, not sure what sort of attrition would by applied here. There are games that make a big deal out of attrition, such as War & Peace. However, that adds more mechanics and play time. Also, the game would have to be rebalanced to account for attrition, given that there are only about 30 military units per side, and many of them will be flipped on their reduced side. Would every space roll for attrition? I'm thinking that might be a problem. I'm not saying that troops weren't sometimes wasting away in the WSS. Certainly they were (Portuguese in Valencia winter of 1706/07 and Austrians in Italy winter of 1705/06 to name a couple of examples). But such a rule might challenge the balance of the design.

VG The Civil War has a rule in which demoralized forces lose a strength point (about 5000 men) if they are still demoralized at the end of a turn (five turns per year). If in supply they are then automatically rallied (similar to the automatic rally during the winter quarters phase in NPWS). But in VG The Civil War, an entire hex of troops and leaders can be rallied by paying the command point cost of using the senior leader to rally. In NPWS rally is much more difficult for large forces.

A lot was going on during the winter in the WSS, including the rotation of whole regiments in and out of the main forces, drafting up of troops from garrison and militia establishments, and recruitment for existing regiments. On the other hand, there were episodes of armies which were not well supported. Not sure how much the player should "see" the attrition in the context of this game's scale and mechanics.
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David Dockter
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
..."similar to the automatic rally during the winter quarters phase in NPWS)"...

Missed that; ALL forces rally during the winter quarters phase?
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Don H
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Right, all demoralization markers are removed during winter quarters.
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Warren Bruhn
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Last night was looking through the card deck in preparation for my first play tomorrow. Noticed that there were two "Disease and Dessertion" cards in the deck, one at start, and another added in 1708. Those cards do allow for a little bit of attrition, either a reduction or removal of one corps for a force in a mountain area. That certainly is not much attrition. However, it is at least more than zero.

Main instances of significant attrition that I remember from reading about this period were: 1) at Almanza in 1707, after the Anglo-Dutch-Portuguese force had had a tough 1706 campaign followed by a tough winter at Valencia. But then again, the Franco-Spanish forces were only somewhat better off, 2) Eugene's campaign in Italy in 1706 when he had to rely on Prussian battalions because the Austrian ones had been so depleted, and 3) Tallard & Marsin's march to Bavaria in 1704, which resulted in pretty weak French battalions at Blenheim.

Can see that, to some extent, attition has been "factored in" to the restrictions on building new corps and flipping reduced corps during the winter quarters phase, assuming a lot of replacement activity is absorbed just keeping existing corps at current levels of strength.
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Warren Bruhn wrote:
Can see that, to some extent, attition has been "factored in" to the restrictions on building new corps and flipping reduced corps during the winter quarters phase, assuming a lot of replacement activity is absorbed just keeping existing corps at current levels of strength.
That would be my guess. Also, as best I know, the War of the Spanish Succession didn't see much living off the land; the memory of the devastation of the Thirty Years War hadn't worn off.
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Warren and Roger, you're both on the mark. At this scale the effects of attrition weren't significant enough to warrant the additional rules and play time. Unusual cases are accounted for in the Disease and Desertion cards, and resource points were calculated to account for "behind the scenes" troop replenishment.
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Warren Bruhn
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
I guess one quick and easy way to add more random attrition, if players wanted to do that, would be to recycle the "disease and desertion" cards instead of throwing them out after use.
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David Dockter
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Game plays great as is; just a couple of crabby old wargamers saying "Gee, would have been cool if...." and talking about one of our many pet peeves; this one being that forces seldom melt away as they did in pre modern battles. I know little about this conflict, so just reflecting my bias - and what I like about other pre-modern games (like For the People - and Herman's attrition system which I've always thought is about the best ever - simple, but effective).
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Kevin Davidson

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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
An excellent debate gentleman, good points, and keeping a positive attitude. I was on the fence about getting this one. I believe I shall jump down now, and run to the store for this one. Thank you
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Don H
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Thank YOU Kevin. Really hope you enjoy it.
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Thanks for the great review and follow up discussion guys. I am most curious about this game and you have all fed the beast within...
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Capt_S wrote:
Thanks for the great review and follow up discussion guys. I am most curious about this game and you have all fed the beast within...
Damn you Herr Doctor, I bought this! One more game I didn't know I needed until I logged onto BGG. Arrived today.
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David Dockter
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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Let me know what you think; still waiting for my copy (played my friend's). I picked up Bataan!, Sea of Glory, Normandy 44 and VG's ole The Civil War at WBC; a good haul.
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Martí Cabré

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Re: First plays says this one is a real gem
Being from Barcelona, this is a specially touching war, but as I still don't have the game and I'm itching with questions and questions, I'll just ask how is the pro-Austrian revolt in Spain handled. surprise

On a side record, do you know there's a wargame on the 1714 Franco-Spanish siege of Barcelona? Here's a funny AAR: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/7275477#7275477
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