Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jena 20: With backs to the wall, Prussians hold out for a draw

Hooked up for a game of Jena 20 on VASSAL last night. This is a small, tidy quick game published by Victory Point Games. Many of the Napoleonic 20 titles are being consolidated and released by GMT in a nice new format where you get 4 titles in the N20 series per box and GMT quality. Fading Glory is the first such title which I have pre ordered. For that price it is hard to turn down:

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-345-fading-glory-napoleonic-series-20-multi-pack-1.aspx
Following France’s glorious victory against the combined Austro-Russian armies at Austerlitz the previous December, the Prussians have finally come off the fence and declared war against Napoleon. As both sides maneuver, uncertain of the location or center of gravity of the opposing army, they meet in a dramatic double battle on the fields of both Jena and Auerstadt.

Can the heirs of Frederick the Great maintain their composure and cohesion long enough to teach the haughty French a lesson, or will Napoleon and his Marshals ride on to ever greater glory?

Deceptively simple game yet full of interesting options. Fog, cavalry charges, and bad die rolls really had me (the Prussian player) up against a wall. I started out very slow and reacted poorly not knowing how the game worked, I found myself about to be cut off by the French near Jena. I decided to leave one Corps (or is it Division?) behind as a speedbump and reorganize behind the river line. This managed to work. The game ended on the next to last turn with a die roll, and I pulled a draw. Dont ask me how, but I managed to do it.

I abandoned Dornburg midway through the game since there was no way to hold it. Also the French were threatening Auerstadt. I had to pull back due to the strength of the French units. I made my last stand at the bridges crossing Ilm River. This tactic worked well, but my Prussian Cavalry, in a mad dash to cross the river to safety, were cut down by 2 French Divisions. Finally at the very end, with the moral for both myself and the enemy no where near zero, I managed to keep the game a draw and hold on for my very life.

A fun little game that actually makes you think quite a bit for its size. The shots below show the game in a turn by turn progression: