Played Cowpens last night. I really enjoyed myself. The game really provides the feel of commanding the arnies and wheeling the troops into place.

The turnless sytem is great fun. Not because it is supposedly turnless... you do in fact take turns, but because it rewards the better historical leaders, and allows table-top commanders to boldly attempt to seize the initiative or to play it safe. Simply put, after a commander's activation, the ownling player may attempt to activate again, by rolling against the commander's initiative. This gets more difficult after back-to-back activations. The enemy commander may attempt to seize the initiative by rolling against his own overall commander's initiative. If he makes it, great; if he doesn't he's penalized.

After a handful of modifiers are learned, ranged combat is simple and a function of weapon type, range, formation, morale status and terrain. After two or three shots I had the modifiers memorized, and I'm no rocket scientist. Some nice chrome including positive modifiers for the first time a formation fires, and negative modifiers for the clouds of smoke these muskets generate.

There's opportunity fire. It's called reaction fire and can be executed against either 1) a unit that moves adjacent, or 2) a unit (usually a line) that fires. My opponent didn't like the idea of firing singly against a moving unit (the way the rules are written). He wanted it to be after the entire line advacned. We tried it both ways. I feel it works best as written, because if you wait until the line has finished advancing it allows two or three firing companies to pick on one unit. That feels way more like a Panzer Leader war than a Revolutionary War. Reaction fire against firing enemies is fun. We had a very cool Hollywood moment where Morgan's militia line traded shots with the 1/71st British Regulars.

Richard is correct. Shock combat is unique, and does affect the entire line... which usually means a single enemy formation. Shock is the most detailed part of the game. Not overly complex, but to be honest, we probably could have made it simpler with an additional chart that takes the player step-by-step through the process. You never think of everything. Basically you add your number units, account for their morale status, formation, and current state (disordered or reduced) and troop type (militia, Cav, regular). The other player does the same, you both roll a die, and the high man wins. What and how much is on the chart.

The game isn't without its blemishes. We found a mistake on the chart... to pass a morale check you must roll greater than OR EQUAL TO 5, smoke markers REALLY do work best when placed on individual units (that's the way Richard wrote it, but I thought it was too fiddly), and I small bit of chart organization would help newbies settle in.

I guess this post has turned into a review. A review by the publisher to be sure, but I hope I'm being honest. So, would you like this game? It depends on the type of gamer you are. If you want flavor, and aren't concerned with spending a little time to learn a game, you'll like it. Maybe even like it a lot. On the flip side of the coin, if you are looking for a faster play, you might prefer something like Worthington's Hold the Line (another of my favorites).

Bottom line, we game for fun one night a week at LnLP. We've played Cowboys, Hold the Line, Conflict of Heroes, Axis and Aliies Naval Minis, Tide of Iron, and others. At the end of the night, finished or unfinished, we put the games away. Last night we stopped with Tarleton's troops assaulting the first line of militia and a cavalry battle raging on the flank. We didn't put it away. We carefully placed the game on top of a stack of DoH cases. This is one we intend to finish.

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Comment by Jim Werbaneth on November 2, 2008 at 5:35pm
More answers, relayed from the other side of ConsimWorld:

"1) I'm not clear about role of SK units: . Are they glorified speed bumps or do they activate and fire and then try and run away when British activates his command and attempts to shock them?"



RHB: Pretty much so . . . see first sentence of 6.51. However, you are free to use them as you best see fit.

"2) The leadership chart. Suppose a Commander starts off as "Good" or "Excellent". The cohesion marker starts at 0 and when losses cause it to go abouve the cohesion level, it goes down to the next level? ie good to fair etc. Is that correct??"



RHB: Yes.

"How do you show that on the chart. It appears that each Commander has one row and his initial cohesion rating. How do you show that a "Good" cohesion level leader has decended to fair or even poor on the chart?"



RHB: We provided a whole bunch of counters for just that chore. We're clever that way.
Comment by Richard Berg on November 2, 2008 at 4:28pm
"That's how I read it but wanted confirmation."

You're right.
Comment by Mike O'Brien on November 2, 2008 at 12:54pm
That's how I read it but wanted confirmation.
thanks
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on November 2, 2008 at 12:50pm
I always treated them as taking pre-shock tests individually.
Comment by Mike O'Brien on November 2, 2008 at 12:50pm
Jim, thanks for the help since I couldn't find the folder.
On question 2 what I should have said was, when two different commands are forced to take pre-shock tests do they do so individually or based on the better of the two as happens during the Shock resolution re: 12.54?
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on November 2, 2008 at 12:32pm
I put up some answers a few minutes ago, but saw that Richard answered them first on the Flintlock folder on the ConsimWorld Discussion Forum's dedicated Flintlock folder. So here are his answers, copied and pasted from there:

Questions from Mike O'Brien:

1) Can units under a Subordinate Leader that don't engage in Shock or Charge do other things such as shoot or move?



RHB: If they are fully activated (5.3), YES. If only Partially Actiavted - 5.41 - they can Move and use Reaction Fire.

2) If two or more units are taking a Pre-Shock Test do they do so individually or do they get the benefit of the highest/best shock status of the defenders?



RHB: This depends not on units, but on the Ciommander's Shock Status(1.21), which can be adjusted by losses of units in that command.

3) Why no Leader casualties in Shock combat? After all, this is how Mercer was lost at Princeton.



RHB: Happened very infrequently . . . and the effect would not have been that great to add extra rules.

4) From reading the rules I believe that when you have two units in the same hex and there is a fire combat result both units suffer the result. Is that correct?



RHB; Yes . . .see third •• under 10.0
Comment by Richard Berg on November 2, 2008 at 11:48am
Actually . . .I[ll cross-post them myself.
Comment by Richard Berg on November 2, 2008 at 11:47am
Mike . . .why don't you post this question in the Flintlock folder on CSW so the answers can be seen by "all" . . . thanx

RHB
Comment by Mike O'Brien on November 1, 2008 at 10:32pm
I tried out Cowpens again and have a couple of questions...
1) Can units under a Subordinate Leader that don't engage in Shock or Charge do other things such as shoot or move?
2) If two or more units are taking a Pre-Shock Test do they do so individually or do they get the benefit of the highest/best shock status of the defenders?

Our situation was Washinton's command attacked both one unit of the British Legion Dragoon's, two units on one and one unit of Rousellet's British Legion infantry, one on one. The Rebels get a benefit from having three units on two but we couldn't determine the rule for Pre-shock so we went with each British command rolling individually. On the next activation this got worse for the British because The British legion infantry lost badly and went into collapse. The British lost the infantry unit. Did we do this right?
3) Why no Leader casualties in Shock combat? After all, this is how Mercer was lost at Princeton.
BTW, I did try combining the American first line skirmishers as was suggested and this worked out well.
4) From reading the rules I believe that when you have two units in the same hex and there is a fire combat result both units suffer the result. Is that correct?
thanks
Comment by Jim Werbaneth on October 31, 2008 at 2:10pm
You want to be careful with what you pit against elite British cavalry in any of the battles. Tarleton and his British legion might not be Alexander and his companions, but used correctly they are potent, and if one sends militia or skirmishers against them, don't expect any kind of epic last stand.

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