Blucher lives!

Newly arrived and out of the wrapper is Blucher, the latest game from Sam Mustafa.

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Sam is famous for his miniatures rules, and Blucher is a variation: it is described as a tabletop game because it can be played with cards (or oversize counters for us boardgamers) or miniatures. Indeed the basic game assumes the use of the cards, with the expressed hope that as the player progresses to the advanced game, miniatures will form up on the tabletop. However, the cards will never be far away, as they are a handy way of tracking unit capabilities and current status.

The topic is Napoleonic warfare, with a nominal scale of each unit being 2-3,000 infantry, 1-2,000 cavalry, or 18-24 guns, and 15 pairs of turns to a day’s battle.  I say “nominal” because there are variations of the unit scale offered for smaller or larger battles.

It is infuriatingly hard to pin down a ground scale, but the campaign system hints at each 12 inches equating to 1.5 miles. So that’s about 220 yards per inch. Let’s say 200 yards. The game uses a standard of BWs (base widths) for distances, to accommodate differently based miniatures. Each BW is 3″. Infantry fire is 1 BW (600 yards) for volley fire and 2 BW (1,200 yards) for skirmish fire. Artillery fire goes up to long range at 8 BW which is a whopping 4,800 yards. Hmm. Maybe I have that wrong. The relative ranges seem OK, but the actual numbers feel wrong. I suspect the feel is more important, but we will see when I get a chance to play the game.

I also acquired the Hundred Days set of cards. This has every unit from the campaign on standard sized cards, with leaders, markers, and objectives. In short, everything you need except a flat surface to play on.

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I have only skimmed the rules, but they do look interesting. On neat offset to the “I go, you go” system is the concept of momentum. The opponent rolls 3d6 and keeps the dice hidden under a cup. When the number of your activations first exceeds that number, the opponent reveals the dice and the movement is over. Neat and chaotic, but a pain for solitaire play. I might need to build a chit draw system to get a similar effect.

There’s other cool stuff as well, but I’ll leave that for later. The rules – including the campaign system, a section on army building, some historical scenarios, and rules summaries, comes in at over 170 pages. The Hundred Days package has 216 cards. The production standards are high, and the ability to use ready made cards instead of miniatures is a definite advantage for me. I may get to play it!

Check out the website, here.

And I found this review, which may be of interest.

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