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1861: Hoke's Run» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A surprising introduction to a great War game system rss

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Shaun Austin
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Hokes Run is a free introductory scenario for the Brothers at Arms system that allows you to play battles of the American Civil War.

Components
As it is a Print and Play game, all items are supplied as pdfs.
Hoke's Run includes the Hoke's run Battle book, the Hoke's Run Unit counters and a Hoke's Run hex map. And like other Scenarios in the series also include the Brothers at Arms rulebook, game counters and Bound tracker.
There is also an instruction book for creating the map in 3D.

The art all looks great as well as being very functional.

The Map is beautiful but it is still easy to distinguish the terrain types in the hexes, and there is no confusion about what any hex is. Construction of the 2D map is easy and gives a very nice result.
Creating a 3D map is a lot more work but worth the effort if you have the time and money.

As the map is only two pages in size it will fit into an large box easily without folding or creating in sections.
I intend to use the 2D maps only, as they will be easier to store. You need to make a map for each Scenario in the series.

The art on the unit counters is simple but still looks good. Commanders are just a name with stats required for play, but the rest have some simple icons. Calvery are a pistol and bayonet, Artillery are a cannon and Infantry are a Kepi. The game stats are at the bottom of the counter and large enough to be easily seen by both sides.

The unit counters are organised on the sheet for easy cutting out (No interlocking hexes) and are of a nice size and color. The light blue of the Union and grey of the Confederates looks great on the green map board.

You need to make unit counters for each Scenario in the series and Hoke's run only has a small amount.

The game counters (pinned, Not In Command-NIC, etc.) are simple rectangles which are easy to cut out and look good on the table. In later scenarios there are hex shaped objective counters which look better but are not as well designed as the unit counters and require a bit more work cutting out.

You only need to make one set of these counters, as they are the same for all Scenarios in the series and you will not use more than are supplied in one set.

The Bound tracker is a very attractive piece of artwork as well as being very functional. This scenario does not make use of all its design tricks and you will have some markers that are not used.

You only need to make one Bound tracker and markers, as they are the same for all Scenarios in the series.

Game Play
I can definitely recommend the "Brothers at Arms" rules although this scenario, is a bit limited in showing what the game can do.

The game involves a number of Bounds (a set of two turns, one taken by each player) which take place between certain times and are tracked by the Bound tracker.

On their turn, a player verifies that commanders are within control range of their generals and that units are within command range of the commanders.
Units outside the range and unable to make a successful command roll are marked as Not In Command (NIC), and cannot do anything this turn except participate in melee.

The control & command rules are what creates the strategy and enables the risk element in your decisions.

The other units can all move, varying rates for the various unit types, modified for terrain. Units also have a zone of control which effects enemy movement.

Units in adjacent hexes are in melee and will resolve combat after all shooting has taken place.

Shooting and melee rely on the three stats at the bottom of the counter. The first is range - how many hexes away is the target.
The second is result - the number you must roll equal to or greater than, on a D6
the third is the strength - the number of dice you roll and how many successes it takes to disperse the unit (remove it from the board)

Terrain has an effect on these stats, as does special rules for specific units. There may also be special rules that come into play, depending on the battle.

Units can be "flinched" which causes them to retreat and become pinned. Or they can be dispersed, which means they are removed from the board.

Hoke's Run (specifically)
Hoke's Run does not have any special units or special rules so it is a bit limited in showing what the game can do. However it does demonstrate the basic rules of the game and is a great introduction. The Objective is for the Confederates to disperse the Union counters and the success is determined by how many they get before the end of the game.

There are "Continuation Rules" included in most Scenarios that allow you to adjust the configuration (set up, timing etc.) depending on the results of the last scenario played.
Hoke's Run is different as it includes the Continuation Rules for the next Scenario First Manasses. (this is the original first game in the series)

The objective for Hoke's run lacks depth and is a fictional scenario, so I probably wouldn't play it except as a pre-curser to a full campaign.

Overall
An excellent introduction to a great game, but I would suggest one of the bigger Scenarios if you really want to see how the system works. There is a lot of dice rolling but this seems to even out the luck and accentuate the strategy. The game looks good, and is easy to get into for new players. It does not work very well solo, as you really need a human opponent to pit your strategy against and get a reaction.

I strongly recommend the game to anyone who likes light Wargames and have purchased the first nine Scenarios in the series.
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Daniel Rouleau
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Good review!

I like the system well enough but I have only played it solitaire so far. I am hoping my 9 year old will show interest in a year or so.

There is a cyberboard available at http://www.wargameshop.co.uk/cyber.htm.

The rulebook is 20 pages long but is as easy to learn as 4 page rulebooks from most companies. I believe many PnP authors should take a serious look at this rulebook for both clarity and layout.

I mounted the counters on thick chipboard. More cutting because of their shape but even the largest game took me less than 1 hour to assemble (using steel ruler and x-acto knife).

Hoke's Run plays in less than 1 hour (my last play took 40 minutes). Other titles take 30 minutes to 4 hours.
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Shaun Austin
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I was lucky enough to get a friend who wanted to play, before I had even finished building the game, and have played Hoke's Run and First Manassas twice each.
I didn't try solo play until my third game and found it to be quite a let down compared to the 2 player game.
You will have a great time with your son. A human opponent can sometimes do the unexpected and show you the error in your well laid plans.
Although having an opponent can also mean that the games take longer. For me, Hoke's Run usually takes an hour, but that is usually because of the indecision of my adversary . . .
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Rick Barber
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Good review, and will probably force me to make time to print and assemble the components to try one out. I have several of these little gems so far, but always got busy with other things... may have to try it out and then get in on the sales at Downloadable games...... ;-)

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Shaun Austin
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This could have so easily passed me by. I have so many PnP games on my hard drive, both free and purchased that haven't even reached a printer yet. This one was printed when I purchased it, purely because I had the label paper and printer ready at the time. (I printed everything I purchased that day)
Then a week later with nothing else to do, I cut out the counters and markers while waiting for a friend to arrive. The board prints were on the craft table ready to attempt a 3D board (although that may never have happned). My friend saw the board and wanted to play.
I quickly mounted the board on card and as they say;
The rest is History!

I really enjoy the Brothers at Arms system a lot.
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