Impressions from first game - just my honest opinions

Moderators: Laffe, Vis Bellica

Post Reply
Contrarius
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:35 pm

Impressions from first game - just my honest opinions

Post by Contrarius » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:42 am

Played my first solo game of General D'Armee over the past couple of days. Just thought my impressions as a 'newbie' to the rules might be of interest (though I'm not a noob – have more than a decade of gaming experience in other periods and scales, and spend at least half of my life researching and writing about military history).

I was using 1/72 figs on a 7' by 4' table following the 15mm movement scale laid down in the rules. Played British vs French c.1815; four brigades to a side, i.e. each side had 9-10 inf battalions, 3-4 cav regiments and 2 artillery batteries.

So, here's my comments:

#1. Poor indexing in the rules. I didn't finish my game. In fact, I came nowhere near finishing. I got barely a third of the way through to a decisive conclusion. In large part this was because I didn't understand half the subtleties of the rules, and just got bored trying to find the answers in my pdf copy.
Recommendation: Better indexing in the rules. Well, howzabout an index? A contents page is just not enough. In general I find the indexing of TFL rules systems woefully inadequate. They are one of the chief ways new players might attempt to access information. Frustrate new players and they won't come back, so this is VERY important. (This is another reason for getting that playthrough out on Youtube, ASAP please!!)

#2. Didn't like the ADC system :oops: . Now, please don't forget I've only tried it once and perhaps it'll grow on me, but I simply did not like it. With only 4 potential ADCs per turn (1 per brigade) for each army, translating to slightly less than three in reality (after dice throws), it simply wasn't enough to get the game progressing at the pace I would have liked. Requiring 2 ADCs for an Assault barrage and 3 ADCs for joining the CinC to an attack, in fact 2 ADCs for almost any worthwhile action is just too few, especially when you're only likely to get three ADCs in any one turn.
Sorry, my first impression is that the ADC system is just no fun. In my view this is a major, perhaps THE major, failing in the rules, especially when fielding only 4 brigades per side. It might just need some tweaking and it might well work fine at 8 brigades per side, but it doesn't seem to work in smaller battles. (And yes, I do understand about Clausewitz and battlefield friction.)

Recommendation: I would add at least one, preferably two ADCs for the CinC (divisional c/o). And if he was classed as Incomparable (or whatever it is in the - in truth often slightly annoying game jargon) then, I'd add three ADCs.

#3. Mismatch between number of skirmish bases and casualty dice and casualties. I'm sorry, but this is so counterintuitive it's just plain annoying. I have 5 skirmish bases so I get 4 dice. No. Wait a minute, is that 3 dice? Why not keep it simple and just use 5 dice?

Recommendation1: This is one of the areas where single figure casualty removal might actually work, and I'd prefer to remove single figure skirmishers rather than track casualty markers, which tend to get left behind when moving skirmishers - and skirmishers do move a lot!
Recommendation2: I would prefer counting actually numbers of skirmishers rather than bases. It doesn't take that much longer. Though I understand it is not going to be universal across all figure scales, so might not always work.

#4 Brigadiers have too little influence in the game. So, perhaps I've been influenced here by Sharp Practice, but I hate the fact that the ony function brigadiers seem to have is to remain within 30cm of their troops. It's just dull. They have no names, no characters, no influence (it seems) on the units under their command, indeed no ability even to rally off their unit's casualties (except on a Blue Moon Thursday in June after throwing a double six). This, again, was a pet peeve with the rules.

Recommendations: Look at Sharp Practice for a ruleset where this is done well.

#5 Excessive randomness on the Discipline Test. First time my vastly superior British brigade skirmish line come into contact against the far weaker opponents and they get forced to roll for discipline, and scored a three! So, a forced retreat behind their supports. As a result, they're effectively out of the battle and the brigade is screwed. Just didn't seem right. Indeed, in many places the randomness seems OTT.

Recommendations: I know this isn't easy, but I'd prefer something more attritional rather than just plain random.


OK, that's enough to be getting on with. I do have several quite positive impression but will leave that for another time. After all the positive aspects don't need further improving!

User avatar
john de terre neuve
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:37 pm
Location: Massachusetts
Contact:

Re: Impressions from first game - just my honest opinions

Post by john de terre neuve » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:53 am

Interesting.

#1 You say you are using a pdf, just use the search function on the tablet. That is just as good as an index I think.

#2 The rules I think recommend a minimum of 5 brigades, also you get an extra ADC if you roll a double 6. You can easily add an ADC for exceptional CoC as recommended in the rules. This decision making process is the best part of the game.

#3 Do you not throw the same number of CD as skirmish bases unless there is a modifier.

#4 I agree they do not do a lot, aside from being useful when added to a unit to bolster the unit's quality.

#5 I am good with unpredictability but I know many gamers dislike it.

Archdukek
Posts: 3597
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:49 pm
Location: Linlithgow, West Lothian, UK

Re: Impressions from first game - just my honest opinions

Post by Archdukek » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:09 am

The rules are well worth sticking with and do flow well once you have grasped the concepts.

In my view the ADCs are some of the best features of the rules. You can never do everything you want and need to make some tough command decisions. However, I always recommend that you should play with a minimum of 5 ADCs. How you achieve that is up to you but if playing with fewer brigades then a simple option is to use the rules for Corps Commanders and simply assume that an extra ADC or two has been assigned to the Division before the game.

John

Contrarius
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:35 pm

Re: Impressions from first game - just my honest opinions

Post by Contrarius » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:43 am

I never stick to the rules as written, even (generally speaking) in real life.

Even choosing a minimum of 5 ADCs as you suggest is not following the strict letter of the rules, which calls for 1 adc per brigade only. I didn’t notice the ‘extra adc on throwing a double six’ clause, which certainly goes some way to alleviating the shortage. Assuming your divisional commanders are both ‘incomparable’ also gives an extra adc per side, but two extra might be better. In a larger game, with say 7 or 8 brigades present, thus 7 or 8 adcs, I can see things running more naturally.

As I made clear it was my first attempt at playing. Might find it works better on a second try, and with a few minor tweaks as suggested here.

Contrarius
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:35 pm

Re: Impressions from first game - just my honest opinions

Post by Contrarius » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:02 pm

@John de tn

#1 Yes pdf search does help (when I remember to use it) but would prefer a proper detailed index. You can’t really ‘search’ for something you don’t know in the first place.

#2 The rules recommend a minimum of four brigades. I imagine this is partly in order to generate enough ADCs. I think they should also recommend a minimum of 5 ADCs.

#5 unpredictability - I don’t mind when it’s appropriate. In Sharp Practice it’s actually quite fun. But in SP you are skirmishing with small numbers of men, so things are inherently unpredictable, while in GDA your sample is at least 50x larger, so by the laws of statistics things should be less random.

#3 Unfortunately it’s not 1cd per skirmish base.

I can add here:

#6 It’s not always clear whether u need to add 1 cd or add 1 to the dice roll. (I’m sure this will become more obvious with practice but as a beginner it’s confusing).

User avatar
john de terre neuve
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:37 pm
Location: Massachusetts
Contact:

Re: Impressions from first game - just my honest opinions

Post by john de terre neuve » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:33 pm

#1 Yes pdf search does help (when I remember to use it) but would prefer a proper detailed index. You can’t really ‘search’ for something you don’t know in the first place.
So how do you use an index?
#2 The rules recommend a minimum of four brigades. I imagine this is partly in order to generate enough ADCs. I think they should also recommend a minimum of 5 ADCs.

From the rule book:
Général d’Armée is set at both divisional and corps level. In the standard game, players take command of a large division or even two divisions. Each division consists of a number of brigades, normally between five and eight, though players can field a corps if they wish to do so. Each brigade is, in turn, commanded by a brigadier; these brigadiers (under the control of the players) will command the individual Infantry battalions, Cavalry regiments and Artillery batteries. Finally this “army” is commanded by a single general referred to as the C-in-C. The C-in-C’s ability to control his division is achieved through the use of his “ADCs”, sent out each turn in an attempt to bring command and control to the battlefield. However, there is a catch, as there is no guarantee as to how many ADCs you will receive or even whether your brigadiers will obey your commands!
#3 Unfortunately it’s not 1cd per skirmish base.
my error-got confused I think with Pickett's charge
I can add here:

#6 It’s not always clear whether u need to add 1 cd or add 1 to the dice roll. (I’m sure this will become more obvious with practice but as a beginner it’s confusing).
I learned the game solo as well and I did have questions for sure, the game does flow quite a bit better once you get a couple of games under your belt.

Anyway I have enjoyed the game, good luck with further testing.

John

Post Reply