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GMT Levy and Campaign series

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20 Aug 2022 23:40 - 20 Aug 2022 23:43 #335132 by Gary Sax
Been talking about this series a lot in discord with sornars, but thought I'd share it here too where others can see it---looking back we had a couple fragmented discussions about this game series in the forums but no obvious single place. We started playing this series (Almoravid specifically)... I had been thinking about playing it and toying buying a game in the series for like 5 years so I was pretty interested to try it out when sornars mentioned he got a copy.

Big picture, it's a real motherfucker ruleswise. There's nothing in the game that is broken and the rules are complete. It's just a fucking bear to piece together how everything works and kind of exhausting. I had a pretty bad impression when we started the first scenario and blundered around for a while. I must say that as we've played more (we're wrapping up the intro scenario) it has made me much more intrigued to play more. It's subtle and the rules are difficult but the levy, supply, campaign, and politics rules are pretty interesting in this game so I'm excited to see how it plays out in a real campaign and not this dinky weird intro scenario. If you play for a bit you look back and realize that the real game in this system is not where you thought it was. Case in point, it's a shame about the pointless battle and storm rules, I don't think they're adding much. On its surface you think "medieval game? Must have cool battles!" Answer is actually you don't want to be fighting much in this game at all and mostly you spend your time worrying about feeding your army and supply. Which sounds bad but is actually a fun element that sets it apart from some game series at this scale (operational/strategic).

I'll update this thread later as we work our way through a proper scenario.
Last edit: 20 Aug 2022 23:43 by Gary Sax.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Msample, sornars, DarthJoJo, n815e, Dive-Dive-Dive!

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21 Aug 2022 15:22 #335151 by Msample
I've played NEVSKY several times, have not looked at Almoravid yet. Once you you get the hang of the rules, its fairly straight forward....BUT getting to that point takes a play or two. Its mostly because mechanically its like nothing else out there other than the pre programming of cards from ANGOLA that Vollko was inspired by.

NEVSKY suffered from both being an obscure subject as well as having a somewhat dull situation - historically over 16 turns there were like 4 actual battles in total as defined by the game. The real game play is in , as the game series suggests, levying and planning. I think ALMORAVID will have more "action" if I've read into it correctly.

The chassis of the game system is sufficiently flexible that it can cover a really wide range of history.

Speaking of logistics and planning, I can't recommend this site highly enough.

acoup.blog/

The auther does some very interesting , detailed yet accessible analysis on the nuts and bolts of pre mechanized warfare logistics and campaigning. As well as mix in some historically based analysis of fantasy IP like Game of Thrones and LotR.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gary Sax, sornars, DarthJoJo, Dive-Dive-Dive!

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21 Aug 2022 16:02 #335153 by Gary Sax
I have read his stuff on armor and weapon penetration. It's really good!

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03 Sep 2022 15:40 - 03 Sep 2022 15:43 #335390 by Gary Sax
I think I've decided this system (at least in this game, Almoravid) is Good, Actually. The rules are impossible to learn from or come to grips with, but the core decisionmaking is pretty interesting and almost all operational and strategic. The tactical battle system in it is an utter bore but it's also not that critical... until it's totally critical for the few times it happens but you're almost entirely along for the ride of a bunch of die rolls. Turns are real quick and seasons should go by reasonably fast with two players who know what any of it means---which is by no means a given.

Among a list of non-obvious things about this game, I think it's extremely non-obvious that the "arts of war" deck of cards is basically a menu of special powers you can pull from every turn but the first turn, and that a solid part of the game rotates around making the right special power picks during the levy phase. Based on a read of the rules, it actually feels like a deck of cards you draw from and there's a little of that with events but it's much more fruitful to think of it as a thirty card strong set of face up possible special powers you can pull for your guys. Some of the shit in it is *essential* for doing certain things or buffing yourself.

We're probably going to dip into the campaign game soon so I'll check back then.
Last edit: 03 Sep 2022 15:43 by Gary Sax.
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03 Sep 2022 16:24 - 03 Sep 2022 16:37 #335391 by sornars
If you've ever dreamed about owning a nice castle in Toledo let me advise you; you'll need about 24+ units spread amongst 3 Lords. Make sure you've built 4 siege towers. Pack some food. Bring a battering ram. Bring another siege tower. Train your men at arms to shoot crossbows. Bring javelins. Pray for luck. You'll still roll like shit and probably limp away without even wiping out the garrison who respawns.

The game is actually pretty smooth and breezy once you've gotten past the hump; the rules are just written in a really impenetrable way. You need to really plan your seasons around the capabilities you plan to take from the deck and have a plan for getting back to friendly territory so you can refresh your load out for the next season.
Last edit: 03 Sep 2022 16:37 by sornars.
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21 Sep 2022 00:29 #335675 by Gary Sax
We're farther into the campaign game we've been playing and my thought is that it's a very good system, I'm getting more into it.

The thing is that the rules are hard. And you really do have to understand them. Not just vaguely know what they do. You have to understand the rules to be able to plan out what you can do. The game expects you to understand the implications and that is hard!

To give an example, I was trying to figure out what the fuck you're supposed to do with the titular Almoravids from North Africa. They are very, very powerful and numerous north african forces that show up halfway through the game to turn the tide. They have 2 commands each with a billion light cavalry and foot guys, which is basically an unplayable nightmare who can barely move and can't even feed themselves enough with all their actions.

So you have to make several realizations in the rules which are not really pointed out to you:

1) There is an Art of War card that gives one of the Almoravids 3 commands.
2) Almoravids are marshals, so they can drag around other lords with them when they move.
3) Your other lords have more commands (4 with another art of war card) and can activate independently of the Almoravids they're being dragged around by without feeding their troops if they only supply. So they can turn on and grab food without activating your Big Guy Almoravid or themselves to feed.
4) Your other lords can share food with the Almoravid after everyone moves around if they are stacked together.
5) There's nothing stopping you from getting way too many carts for a single lord in the levy phase just to help out feeding these north african berber troops.

Making this realization requires careful examination of the Arts of War cards on top of a very subtle and complete understanding of the forage rules, the marshall rules (and how they differ from the lieutenant rules), and the way that stacked together lords supply each other.
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