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Subject: a simple review rss

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Al Maguire
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None But Heroes covers the battle of Antietam at the regimental level. For me, this is my favorite unit size when it comes to ACW games. You get to see more of the nuances in the battlefield itself and you get a better sense of the chaos of battle than you do at the brigade or division size. In exchange you get a very busy area of play with a lot of units to keep track of and a lot of real-time is needed to play just a single turn (a 15 minute turn in the game could take you double that when things really start heating up).

This is the first game in Multiman Publishing Line of Battle series and I'm looking forward to whatever comes next.

Scale:
units - regiment
each hex - 110 yards
each strength point - 50 infantry, 64 cavalry
turns - 15 minute turns during the day, 30 minutes for night turns

What I liked:
- It plays fast. Even with a lot of counters in play I never felt like there was a drag in the game. You're able to move a good distance and still engage enemy units which gives the feeling of a surging battle as both sides rock back and forth this way
- Simplified game play. Not to confuse it with "simple" - the best examples of this come in firing ranged weapons. There is no difference in bonuses/negatives in firing different small arms (like in the GBACW games from GMT) only how far those different rifles can fire. There is also no defensive fire, only a opening volley which defending units role on a table for each enemy unit that approaches them.
- The map. It's a busy map to be sure but I like to see the attention to detail. While it has a lot of terrain elements included that have nothing to do with the gameplay (more on this below) it really adds to the appeal of the game in my opinion.

What I really liked:
- Distinct game play modifiers. Kind of a strange thing to "really like" but here are a couple of examples. If a hex has less than 4 strength points it gets a negative "inadequate frontage" modifier when doing morale checks. Basically, there aren't enough SPs in the hex to effectively defend. Or if a unit is destroyed a "cowardly legs" marker is placed adding another negative modifier to that and the adjacent hexes so a particular unit evaporating on the field has a greater effect to those around it. These add additional flavor to the game that I really like
- Antietam. It's got hundreds of counters as it is but the map space in manageable and it's a battle not covered as often as some of the others. i don't think I would have picked this game up if it had been Gettysburg say. The original In Their Quiet Fields from the Gamers was also the very first Civil War game I ever bought so I have a soft spot for the battle of Antietam
- Chaos. It really is a game that plays out in a series of body blows. Ordered lines fall apart fast (you have to make a roll to close with the enemy which means some regiments will engage while others stall) and you have to manage this chaos throughout a battle that see saws back and forth. It's less about enacting your plans and more about how you continue to pull them off when things start to fall apart

What I disliked:
- Abstraction. As much as I like the opening volley rule for its simplicity and ability to keep the game moving I would have liked to see this expanded some. Regardless of the size of the unit you have the same chances of inflicting damage. So a 1SP regiment on the ropes can cause the same damage as a fresh regiment of 8SP. It balances out in the end because smaller units don't have long lifespans but it does seem like there was a missed opportunity to further differentiate the hitting power of a regiment without affecting play
- The map. Yes, I liked and disliked the map. With few exceptions, the elements of the map don't follow hexsides. It makes for some confusing moments when moving and firing artillery. Nothing too bad, just something that could have been improved without hindering gameplay again
- Brigade Commanders. Commanders from the top on down to the brigade commanders have two main values on them - command and morale. Morale value positively effects when you need to make a morale check. So having a general in your hex is a good thing for the troops. The command value is basically never used (the Union side can't even give orders to commands below corps). It represents the ability of the general to interpret orders given to him. At corps and division this makes sense and works fine but I haven't encountered a situation where this value matters at all for brigade commanders. More experienced players, please help me out here - I just give commands to divisions so I don't have too many orders floating around out there.

What I really disliked:
- This will sound like the most minor of gripes but for some reason it really drives me nuts (and what's worse, I have no idea why - it has no affect on game plat at all). I hate hate hate that there is no consistent color for the units of each side. Each corps has a different shade. On the Union side they go through so many different shades of blue that the poor 9th corps is purple. I can think of about a dozen different ways to design the counters so that every one is the same shade of blue or gray while still being able to tell one corps/division/brigade from the other (see GMT's GBACW as a good example).

Don't let my dislikes fool you, they are more nitpicky things that I would put down for wishlist changes in future games. I am really a big fan of this game and would encourage anyone interested in this scale or battle to try it out.
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MichaƂ M.
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Quote:
I haven't encountered a situation where this value matters at all for brigade commanders.
In 2.0 rules version "Zero" brigade leaders are "punished" by two rules - Sound of the Guns and the one which states, that "Zeros" must roll for MA of their regiments (in most extreme case his units can't move at all for this turn).

Moreover, "tactical rating" is necessary to be able to use brigade commanders as a replecements for wounded or killed division commanders.

Quote:
This will sound like the most minor of gripes but for some reason it really drives me nuts (and what's worse, I have no idea why - it has no affect on game plat at all). I hate hate hate that there is no consistent color for the units of each side. Each corps has a different shade. On the Union side they go through so many different shades of blue that the poor 9th corps is purple. I can think of about a dozen different ways to design the counters so that every one is the same shade of blue or gray while still being able to tell one corps/division/brigade from the other (see GMT's GBACW as a good example).
I can't agree - this is a very good idea in my opinion. Different Coprs Colours combined with white/red/blue division designations make it very easy to tell which units belong to which division/corps.
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Jonathan Harrison
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Yes. I really like the varicolored shades, too. Very reminiscent of armies that had a lot of different colors of blue and gray on their troops at times.
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Thomas Fernbacker
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Hicksville
New York
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For me tactical gaming is it. Exception only 2, The Civil War, VG & War Between the States, SPI.
I love the small scale detail mapping, command, manuvering and assulting.
I'm not a hugh LoB/RSS player. I own them all and played a few of them. I've applied the LoB rules to South Mountain & This Hallowed Ground and it worked very well with them.
This game does rank up there with Gleam of Bayonets, SPI/TSR for me.

I Got to play a couple of its scenarios and I loved it. It played very clean and command control was very easy. I didn't get to far into the order system due to time restaints. I have the player & room though, but right now I have RoD,GMT, full battle set up.

I agree with all your likes & really likes, thats easy to agree to.

Your dislikes, I agree with the fire strenght. I've played Wilsons Creek, SPI, with another and held up Sigels div. with 1 rebel unit with 1sp.
Yea the terrain elevations do take a little while to get use to. Making double takes just to make sure you have a shot or you opponent doesn't.
I really didn't have an issues with the command structure. I found it very easy in fact to comprehend and not so busy with thier numbering.

Corp color difference, think of the alternative = TSS I, SPI, = very hard to figure out, TSS II = easy.

Anyone promoting Tactical ACW games = thumbsup &
thanks thomas GBACW nut


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Jim F
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Well, it got me reading the rules today and booting up vassal. Time to move this to the front burner.
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Mike Willner
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Since LoB is now my favorite ACW game system, it was hard to find anything to disagree with. I'm surprised you didn't make mention of the LOS system. Of all the aspects of this game that we LOVE at our game club ( www.nycwargames.com ), this is the sticking point.

The 'same hill' heuristic, and the other methods outlined in the rules just serve as guide lines in most situations. And, especially near Antietam Creek, it gets complex and difficult.

We find that it has to be a matter of mutual understanding and agreement in most situations. We generally follow the method of letting the target player (the one getting shot at) to opine first ... "Yeah, I think you have the shot" or "Doesn't his crest block your shot?". We review, discuss and where necessary review the rules.

This game system really requires compatible, sportsman-like, cooperative opponents to get through some of the decisions needed.
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Chris Montgomery
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Joliet
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Interesting, regarding LOS. They were supposed to clean it up! The CWBS and RSS rules for LOS were very obtuse and non-intuitive. I'd have to bet these are quite a bit easier than CWBS.

Anyway - I have had this game since it's release and am ashamed to say it hasn't hit my table. Erg.
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Randy C
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Thomas,

I thought the Line of Battle system only went back to the RSS system games, not to the brigade series.

does it work with the brigade series games?
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Thomas Fernbacker
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Yes, the games I mentioned are all RSS, This Hallowed Ground, This Terrible Sound, A Fearful Slaughter & South Mountain.
I've never played the brigade series, I wouldn't know if they work with the brigade series.
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Gordon Reynolds
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Thanks for the review.
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Greg Bales

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Happy New Years all, and a very late response. No, LoB doesn't work with CWBS, though a few of the rules (such as opening volley) could be utilized without problem.

I agree with the OP about the colors though. When things get hectic and units are intermixing, when corps and division commanders are casualties, it's hard to keep track of who belongs to who, especially over the huge board area of the LoB games. I really like the color coding of the GBACW system, an easy "at a glance" ability to see pretty much all you need to know unless/until multiple units are carrying collapsed, etc. counters.
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