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The Battle of Fontenoy: 11 May, 1745» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First impression: wonderful game! rss

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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Most of the games I own(ed) have a mini review in the rating section and so far I have not published them as review as they are a summary of impressions. However, I feel this excellent game needs some more attention so here a quick review after some plays of the Melle scenario's.

My favorite: Age of Reason - Tactical - Difficult

My plunge into BAR and this is the ultimate tactical battle simulation.

Plus:
-Summary of the rules are a BIG help and can be found here: https://sites.google.com/site/battlesfromtheageofreason/home... Still around 25 pages long but easy to navigate so you find what you are looking for quickly.
-Strategically and tactically Fontenoy has a lot to offer; the French expected the Allies and how do you approach the French line; through the center with the Dutch and English attacking Fontenoy simultaneously to dislodge the complete French right? If the Dutch fail, Allies are screwed. Or better to outflank the French by going through the woods taking the battle to the French left while keeping the threat on the right? A massive attack on Antoin and going through the center? All are serious options.
Tactically the system offers a lot of different options as there are numerous types of units / unit formations.
-Due to things to consider, each unit seems to matter and have it's own personality; uniforms and names contribute to the 'being there feel'.
-Components are excellent; incredible attention to detail they put into the game and the research. Box cover makes many games in my collection look pale.
-The maps, counters, orders of battle and player aids laid out make for an incredible sight like if you were there; leading an army on the battlefield never came closer!!
-A game where so much effort went into the looks and reasearch deserves a serious game system and that is exactly what BAR is. A great symbioses.
-The relatively small box is packed with loads of stuff: three gorgeous maps, excellent player aids, three beautiful counter sheets, 3rd editions rules, scenario booklet etc. etc.
-Numerous scenario's, serious alternatives for both parties as well as optional rule (e.g. massive column for english to try and shift the balance. A historical option that trades leader benefits leading from the front for army paralysis elswhere. wow!)
-The BAR system is hard work to get it right with all the layers but there is so much to explore. A game that challenges the player who dares to take the step; it is very involved once you get the hang of it.
-Bonus game Melle provides a great warm up for the real deal. Lovely map, interesting tactical situation.

Minus
-Mind you, this is more of a simulation than a game. A LOT is involved when playing this and it can become real challenging as there are rules for everyting. The solution to negate the effects for those who fear it is too cumbersome: GET THE BAR PRIMER (excellent traint tool) and print the rule summary, still extensive but divided into clear sections so easy to navigate. Ensure you print a copy before playing.
-Sturdiness of the box could be better, it is quite vulnarable.
-Quite a steep price here in Europe (I paid 75 Euro)

As a kid I must have read 'Great Milititary Battles' by Cyril Falls over a 1000 times and always was intrigued by Fontenoy. Now they finally made a simulation of this battle and it is like a child's dream become true.

I rate this based on first plays of Melle scenario's. I have yet to play the campaign but I will first try the other Fontenoy scenario's as there is a lot to explore as far as strategy and tactics are concerned.
So far a journey to master the tactics correctly. This game deserves a serious review and I hope I will be able to put one up Discussing the system in depth.

EDIT:
-The game just won TWO Charlies: Best Pre-Napoleonic game and Best Graphics
-The BAR Primer is published: a great guide for training strategy and tactics
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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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I have some money in my paypal account and this is one of the games I'm interested in getting. Thanks for such a positive review
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Brian Weire
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I'm currently playing scenario 9 on the Melle map again solo. I usually play WW2 games but I followed this game on CSW and decided to try it. I'm glad I did. Its a visually well done game and although it looks like alot of rules I found them easy to follow. Plus the BAR primer the OP talked about really helps.
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Paul Borchers
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Thanks for the review!

As always, please post any questions you have about Fontenoy and BAR. I do my best to support the players here on BGG, but you'll find strong support on CSW also.

Once Mathew finishes up the BAR primer, he wants to start on his next design, Dettingen. Like Fontenoy/Melle, he said he has a small battle that he wants to include with Dettingen, but he hasn't announced it yet (and I honestly don't know what it is yet, either). After that comes Battles for New France, some of the battles from the French and Indian War (or, if you prefer, the Seven Years' War in North America).

So, stay tuned and keep playing - more BAR games will be coming in the future.
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Thanks Paul,
The announcement sounds great, I would love to play a battle like Quebec or so!
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Miguel Antón
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Hey, Paul,

Any more American Revolution battles planned?

Thanks!
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Paul Borchers
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After he finishes Legion of Honor (which is supposed to be printed in the fourth quarter this year), Rich Kane should be turning his attention back to the American Revolution and BAR. Last I heard Seven for the South was his next project.
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Paul Borchers
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Don't get this series (BAR, Battles from the Age of Reason) confused with the GMT series BoAR (Battles of the American Revolution). The series rules haven't been made available on-line for this series. Mathew Hinkle, the designer of Fontenoy, has been developing a primer on the BAR support site. You can see his progress on it, and get a hint of the level of detail by looking at the play aids and the like:

https://sites.google.com/site/battlesfromtheageofreason/home...

Quote:
Do the special rules for this title add a lot to the complexity? Does the smaller one-map scenario make this a good entry point into the series?

Also is there a lot of hidden information? Does it solo well?


I'd say the game-specific rules for Fontenoy do add more detail, but this is necessary to model the characteristics of these armies as well as the special redoubts and works that the French constructed. They appear long, but you can play the intro scenarios with all of the standard rules and just a few of the special rules. The first scenario of Fontenoy is good for introducing some of the special terrain and the light troops. Melle is still a relatively small battle on half a map, but features both infantry and cavalry, so you do get a good glimpse of the whole system.

There really isn't any hidden information. Your opponent isn't supposed to look at the back side of your counters, so he won't know how good the troops are opposing him until he attacks. He will know the number of troops from the info on the front, and if he has an eye for detail will know something about the units (guards, militia, etc.). I've enjoyed playing all the games of the series solo, but pbviously an opponent adds deception and strategies that solo play can't match.
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Paul Borchers
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Wow - no, he probably didn't approve it, and I'd assume Clash of Arms didn't aprove it, either.

Well, if you can read French and you do determine the version, you should know that there were a number of changes and clarifications between the first and second edition. The changes from second to third are more along the line of clarifications, although there are some new concepts to make the game more understandable (Special Cavalry Movement, for example).
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Martin Tyman
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out to lunch wrote:
Sorry I didn't mean to do anything illegal... blush

It's the V2 of the rules so I'm going to go with the primer anyway. It's just the word "primer" that worries me a bit because I don't know how much more stuff there's going to be in the actual game.


The primer is very well done, very visual, and comprehensive on each topic. It is just not finished. From the table of contents looks like the major rule section missing is morale. However, I highly recommend it.
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Paul Borchers
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Quote:
Sorry I didn't mean to do anything illegal...


You did nothing illegal - I'd have more of an issue with whoever posted the translation.
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