Thursday, 13 May 2010

Field Of Glory :: Two Games In

Early last month I wrote about my first game of FOG.  With the help of James Hamilton as umpire, I pitted my Mongol Conquest army against Graham Hutchinson’s Early Russians.  Since then Graham and I have had two further “solo” games to see how we’d get on without James’ help.   For these games Graham used his Later Russians.  I stuck with my Mongol Conquest army.  Here’s what we’ve learnt:

Turn sequence
  • I can only repeat the standard advice to use the full turn sequence from the off but would also advise against trying to rush through the sequence.
  • In the first game we were seduced by the simplicity of the early moves and got caught out later on.  In the second game we agreed to slow down and methodically follow the sequence which has helped things sink in.
  • The FOG turn indicator I developed didn’t help us as much as I thought it would.  This is because we don’t yet have enough experience to safely use any form of abbreviated aide memoire.
Combat
  • As former DBMM players we struggled with deciding who’d won combats that involved more than one battle group a side; even though it’s incredibly simple with a winner inflicting more hits than they received.
  • Reading the rules after the first “solo” game solved this one for us and it didn’t cause us any problems in the second game.
Points of Advantage (POA)
  • After two “solo” games we thought we had this under control but we hadn’t.  We applied the factors correctly and then made two separate mistakes.
  • Firstly, in shooting exchanges we allowed opposing POAs to cancel one another out.  Wrong; they both apply. 
  • Secondly, in combat we only applied any net POAs once not to both sides as we should; a net POA is a plus to one side and a negative to the other.
  • I put this down to our DBMM heritage where factors only apply once and we will be paying particular attention to this in our next game.
Charging in to an existing melee
  • This is another DBMM hang over.  Graham tried to move into an existing melee which is pure DBMM.  In FOG you have to charge in at the beginning of the turn; an important consideration for competitions where opponents may not allow you to move out of sequence.
Speed of play
  • The terrain selection and game start up procedures are really fast.  I like these a lot; simple, straightforward and easily memorised.
  • In general, the rulebook has stood up well and has been clear on the occasions we’ve needed to refer to it.  I can recommend the FOG Players’ Index as this helped us find things in the rule book really quickly.
  • Despite the early moves being very quick both games took us ages; roughly twice as long as an equivalent DBMM game. Every time we tried to pick up the pace things went awry; not really wrong just confusing. 
  • Graham & I both found it difficult to deliver the coup de grace. There were many positions where, had we been playing DBMM, we would have acted decisively to destroy elements and break commands.  So far neither of us can do the equivalent in FOG.
With these early FOG games I’m really only playing to learn the mechanisms.  In the last game I did try a few more ambitious tactical manoeuvres just to see what happened; needless to say they didn’t work.  However, the fact that I’m trying tactics is a step forward. 

This weekend we’ve arranged a fourth game and this time James Hamilton will act as a “silent umpire” to correct our mistakes.  This will be an important test for us and should help us nip any emerging bad habits in the bud.

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