Saturday, January 7, 2012

First play of Maurice

Bruce hosted me this afternoon in our first play of Sam Mustafa's rules Maurice (the free light version here). We played a generic game (14 units each) with all measures scaled down to fit a 4x4" board. I apologize for the bad pictures--the light was a bit weird today.

Bruce started by advancing against my right flank with horse and foot. I countered, lost a unit of horse and then pulled back one unit of horse to unmask my infantry. A sharp fire fight ensured and he was down 2 units to 1 and switched to make his advance in the centre. That took all of three or four turns and at that point we had the mechanics committed to memory.

As he advanced across the centre I started to clean up the right side, turning some units to help in the centre and moving the rest forward to bag the remains of his advance. His attack up the centre was solid but I managed to get in a first fire and then charged to contact. Some lucky dice aided by good cards and were we both exhausted, having to pause to replenish our hands.

At that point, I was managed to push him over his break point by taking the remaining units from his initial advance. On my left, the units did not move. Overall, I'd say this was the best horse-and-musket set we've played over the past seven years hands down. It felt like we were fighting a battle, with discrete engagements and pauses between as we collected ourselves.

The card mechanic is genius. It forces very hard choices: do you continue to go hard at the other fellow, or do you pause to build up your hand again? Do you move you CnC closer to the action (or the action you want to happen), or do you pay the card penalty for being farther away?

This adds a whole level of command complexity and realistic pacing that other games don't often have, but without any fiddly mechanics. We also managed to play a good-sized game (with dramatic play and lots of tension) and learn the rules in 2.5 hours. Wow. I will definitely be picking up this set when it comes out.

Up next: I have some 28mm Celts I'm moving through basing and a couple of 1/600 fantasy ships. Then some more 28mm Romans and I'll make a start on fixing up my trees.


AJ (Allan) Wright said...

Nice looking game.

Anonymous said...

Bob, that is quite an endorsement. I know you and Bruce have tested tons of rules. I must try this sometime.

Dave said...

Yeah, rare high praise, so that is quite an endorsement.

Interest piqued here.

Brent said...

A fine review, and powerful recommendation. I've downloaded the light version, and intend to try it!

Bob Barnetson said...

Thanks guys. Yes, a really great game; we're going to have another go on Tuesday. The card play is really quite interested--do you use the card to activate troops (more powerful cards have greater "reach" across the field from your CnC to your formation) or do you use the card as an event?

And the orders you give vary the rate at which your hand gets replenished. If you pass (so only do shooting)--you can draw three new cards, if you charge you draw none, etc. Very interesting choices.

adeptgamer said...

It had to be hard to fight with buckets on their heads! Poor soldiers, ah but that's the lot eh?

Bob Barnetson said...

Yes, the "party hats" are disruptive to shooting and formation keeping!

Dale said...

Good review. I have been following Maurice Lite on all the blogs I find it on and am looking forward to trying the full version for the AWI. The Lite version is too light at the moment, so I will wait for the reall deal to arrive.