Friday, August 3, 2018

General d'Armee - first thoughts

Recently, we played a couple of games of General d'Armee at our regular ODMS game meetings.  These have been run by Sean (read about his gaming stuff over at Mad Mac's Attic), although I suspect that they have struck a chord with the group, and that we'll be playing more.

The rules are available from Too Fat Lardies, who sell the Reisswitz Press rules (that is the imprint of David Brown's current batch of rules).  These (GdA) are on a step up from General d'Brigade (GdB), and one of the chief differences is that now battalions and regiments are treated as somewhat generic in size, only differentiating by gross categories (large, regular, small, etc).  This is very similar to Black Powder, etc. and different from the earlier rules (GdB) - which had you using specific numbers of miniatures for different units, based on historical OB.  There are a ton of useful resources at David Brown's blog.

The turn sequence runs (roughly) like this -

  1. Both sides dice for the number of Aides de Camp (ADC) available.
  2. The ADCs are applied to units.
  3. Each brigade is rolled for to see if it is Hesitant or not during that turn.
  4. Both sides then roll 2d6 for initiative, subtracting 1 for each Hesitant brigade.
  5. Winner chooses to go first or second.
  6. First player orders and resolves Charges.
  7. Second player orders and resolves Charges.
  8. First player resolves moves.
  9. Second player resolves moves.
  10. First player resolves firing.
  11. Second player resolves firing.
  12. Melees (resulting from charges, or carried over) are resolved.
In all this is a pretty good sequence.

Firing is done (by regular formations and artillery) by the toss of two dice, and then modifiers are introduced.  The final result is consulted on a chart to see what the impact is (casualties, discipline test, etc).

Firing by skirmishers is done by granting the skirming formation a number of Casualty dice - roll them, and they cause a hit on 4,5,6.

Charges are handled first as a test, to see what the charge results are.  This may, or may not result in a melee or a volley being fired, as well as charging home, retiring, etc.

Melee's are resolved by each side having a number of casualty dice (as with skirmish fire), these are rolled and hits counted.  Then the winner of the melee is determined by  comparing these scored hits.

In all this is a good set of rules, with a lot of thought going into how the different formations, etc interact with each other.  Looking forward to playing some more of these, I may run a game or two myself in the near future.  Sean has published a Player's Guide over at his blog.

Here are some pictures from our most recent game, which was the battle of Maida 1806.


jmilesr said...

Thanks for the rules summary. I’d very interested in your opinions on the rules as they are one of four i’m Thinking about using for a big game at next years historicon. I like the command friction and ADC placement aspect a lot

Charles Turnitsa said...

I just had a conversation about these with a friend yesterday (we had a board game day at our house, and of course we talked Miniatures during board game day...).

I think that these rules (General d'Armee) are great, if the players involved in the game all know them to a basic level. Also, if the game will not be rushed. You need some hours to play GdA because it sometimes takes a while to get an assault or maneuver to position (in terms of game turns).

We agreed that GdA has better historical possibilities, and we like the command and control structure (as you said). But for a big game that will play fast enough for club night, or for a convention game where you might have new players, we think that Shako II is better. Not that it is better in all respects, just better in terms of faster play, and easy on new-comers. Otherwise, we prefer GdA.

The predecessor to these, General de Brigade, also play well, but are a little more specific in how they handle casualties, and numbers of figures in a unit, etc. Basically, since they are focused on a lower level of aggregation (i.e. representing a brigade, vs. an army) they have more detail in the rules. I don't think that makes them, or GdA better - David Brown did a good job with both rule sets. But in both cases, it is good if you know the rules, and the basic tempo of how they play out. That comes with experience.