Quatre Batailles en Espagne

I finally got to play this game, one of the series by Didier Rouy of Napoleonic battles. In this box you get Ocana, Salamanca, Vitoria, and Sauren.

I have played through Ocana to a resolution a few times, and am now on my umpteenth attempt at Salamanca.

The strength of the series is that you get good maps (though the absence of hex numbers is a pain), good looking counters, and a system that at its core, works. The main drawback is that to get historical results, you need to use the command and control rules. And these are not presented as a package, but us a menu of options. Without them, for example, the superior manpower (not quality) of the anti-French forces in Ocana, means the French are unlikely to repeat their historical success. However, the command rules don’t give you the starting orders for each side meaning you have to do some legwork before you can start playing – unless you want to just line them up and let them have it.

I managed to get Ocana to work (I think).

With Salamanca, I went down a different route. I said elsewhere that I really liked the Gamers’ Napoleonic Battles Series system. The scales are similar, but NBS is much faster to play because it does away with infantry fire other than for skirmishers. In particular, NBS allows the quality of the troops to have a real impact on close combat. In this system, numbers give you the edge. So, I have been trying to fit the close combat stuff from NBS into these battles, starting with Salamanca. Let’s just say, it’s not easy. But it is fun. I have been inspired to do more reading up on the subject, and each time come back to the table with something new to try out. It’s probably a case of me enjoying the journey, because I’ll probably never get to a decent finish.

It does also make me curious about how others play these games. But that’s a post for another time.

Pain in Spain

Newly arrived:

qbe-1

This is the next in the series by Didfier Rouy after the Le Retour de l’Empereur package, published by Pratzen. As you can see, this is from Legion, and on an initial inspection, is a very well done job, indeed. It covers Ocana, Salamanque, Vitoria, and Sorauren.

Inside the box:

  • 5 standard sized maps (three battles are single map affairs, but Vitoria is a two mapper)
  • Series Rule Book – latest version, updated with minor clarifications
  • Scenario Rule Book – setups, variations, notes, and so on
  • 560 counters (see below for combat units)
  • Player Aid Charts

qbe-2

It’s a handsome package, with clear, evocative maps, nice counters (enhanced, I think with better color differentiation for divisions), and a meaty amount of gaming.

My experience with other Legion games has been universally positive, so I was not surprised. Still, it’s good to see that Legion came through, and maybe this will help generate more buzz about the game system. I really like it, because it delivers historically realistic results with not too much of a workload. And it looks good, and is fun to play.

There is a bit of a backlog in my ‘to be played’ queue, but that is nothing unusual. I will get to this game…

The pain in the post title, incidentally, is a reference to what was involved in collecting the game from the post office. Read about that, here.