Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review of At Neuve Chapelle

I had a chance to get At Neuve Chapelle on the table for a solo learning game this weekend (fortunately there is nothing hidden that makes solo play a problem).

I was really impressed. It's a very exciting game with a very easy to play system. The rules are only four pages long but give enough differentiation to make artillery, defensive fire, and assault their own unique systems. The game also has a command mechanism where after the initial attacks some of the British Divisions will go inactive just when you most want them to move.

The battle covers three days and has an interesting flow --- the first day sees a strong British force attacking the thinly held trenches and pillboxes. In this phase the British will rush to consolidate gains and reach for victory objectives while facing possibly inactive divisions and the fear of over-extending themselves. The Germans move a major counter attack into place on the first night and the second day will see a much tougher fight as both sides struggle to consolidate their positions. Finally the third day will likely see a tough stand-up fight as the lines become locked in place and both sides fight for the few victory locations that are likely to change hands.

The game had two mechanics that I really liked. First at night units can fortify their hex. This is crucial for units that are not in good terrain and need a safe launching place for the next days fight. The second is the simple weather roll. There is a 50% change that each turn will be Misty and prevent artillery from firing. Misty turns are a great chance to creep out of trenches but the players have to fear that the next turns Clear weather may find their units in the open and expose them to nasty artillery attacks.

I'm really looking forward to trying this one out face to face. I found it very playable with some tough and exciting decisions.
See At Neuve Chapelle Details.

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