I am happy to accept that the evidence is that this is a very enjoyable game, and that I will get up to speed eventually, and all will become clear. Good. My problem, I think, is that I have not come to this game after playing To the Strongest, so I am not quite on the right wavelength to start with, and also the authors - who have definitely come from the direction of TtS! - obviously understand the game and know what they mean, but sometimes I found it hard to pick up the key elements I need to get started from what is a mixture of design points, examples (which are useful and entertaining, but a couple of them seem to contain errors - or at least points which I couldn't find in the main text), tables, illustrations and playing tips.
|Portent? - the very first activation card I played in this game - ever - was an Ace, which is a very bad card for activation. It makes a welcome change from bad dice rolls.|
The Quick Reference Sheet reproduces full details of unit properties - all or nothing - and undoubtedly lists some key information, albeit in a rather lengthy and waffly style - QRS's are usually brief and punchy. Oh - and they should be complete too - rules for shooting and melees only appear here in the QRS by implication - and artillery ranges aren't set out (I couldn't find them, anyway). Since I've now read through the rule book four times, I would expect to have a better grasp of what is needed. I'll definitely produce my own QRS - that's a priority - but for some of the key rule sections - activation, combat, saves - I'll produce very short notes and tables of my own, with stuff explained as departures from a basic standard. I haven't got room in my head for amusing stories about all the features of Swedish horse - though I can maybe retrofit that sometime later.
So I shall plug away, but there is going to be a power of typing going on to get me up to speed! One further thing which is gently catching me out at present is that some of the TtS jargon is counter-intuitive to a newbie. In FK&P, "hits" means what in other games I would regard as "strength points" (or even "blocks"!), "disorders" means "losses", and there are a few other conventions I just have to get used to - OK - I can manage that. I also had difficulty finding the exact timing of tests for officer casualties, and thus far I haven't found out how far a melee attacker has to pull back if he doesn't eliminate the enemy.
Last night I did some cavalry melees, which were slow because I haven't got the hang of everything I need to know yet. First things I have to fix are:
(1) the tabletop - my original intention was to put pencil lines on to mark complete squares, pick out the corners of the square cells in black Sharpie pen, and then paint out (or erase) the construction lines. After I'd got the boards marked up, I reckoned I'd give it a go with the pencil lines still in place - they are not very visible anyway. Bad news is that it became obvious last night that the playing cards are going to get very grubby with raw pencil on the table (however discreet), so I have set about painting over the construction lines. We'll just have corners, as recommended, and as I originally intended.
(2) the half-size playing cards are OK - it is necessary to work at keeping things tidy and organised, or the result is a terrible mess, but I expected that. However, in the absence of proper counters to keep track of ammunition, "dash" (for horse), pursuits, "disorders" and all the other things you need to keep track of (and this is before you get to whether the cavalry are badly mounted, whether the units are raw/seasoned/veteran, the characteristics of individual leaders, the "gallant gentleman" classification...), I used a variety of coloured tiddlywinks, which won't stack without falling over and spreading about, which are not really very easy to handle and which look just awful. I can't be doing with very much of that, so some quick progress with proper tracking systems is necessary, or I'm going to shelve this. I'm thinking about it, and have had some useful ideas from commenters (thank you, chaps) and via email.
That's about it for the moment. I've started touching-out the pencil lines, and I'll do a bit of typing of CONCISE tables, and I'll be back on to trying out aspects of the game this evening.
Lots of Django Reinhardt on the CD player at the moment - that keeps the painting speed up! Just thought I'd mention it. Oh yes, and while I'm digressing, I've finally chucked out the remainder of the Nescafe - we bought two large jars of bog-standard Nescafe instant coffee a while ago, because they were on special offer with some rather handsome mugs. I am afraid that I do not like Nescafe - I realise this is entirely my own problem. I could, of course, have disposed of the actual coffee and simply regarded that as part of the cost of the mugs, but - no - this particular mug is far too mean for that. Eventually, halfway through the second jar, I have disposed of it. To be more accurate, my wife got tired of my complaining about it, so she threw it out on my behalf, and I've gone back to my preferred Douwe Egberts instant. Good. A bit like the relief when you stop banging your head on the wall. Some strange ritual, suffering, so as not to waste anything. Hmmm.