Tried another wargame last night, this time 1890's 25mm unit-skirmish game called Triumph & Tragedy. In a change from the usual I hadn't read the rules before playing my first game, and it was my gaming buddy's second game. But we seemed to muddle through alright. We played Germans and Italians (plus sympathetic native mobs) vs the British Empire, and the goal of the game was capturing three bridges over a river. As I recall:
Something something Pugh (hero)
2x British Sailors (rifles, cutlass bayonets)
2x British Colonials (rifles, bayonets)
1x Heavy Machine Gun (5 crew)
1x Welsh Camelry (carbines, swords)
1x Desert Raiders (rifles)
2x Sympathetic Natives (muskets)
Holy Roman Empire-esque:
The Red Duke (hero)
2x Jagers (rifles, bayonets)
2x Bersaglieri (rifles, bayonets)
1x Heavy Machine Gun (5 crew)
2x Sympathetic Natives (muskets or clubs)
There was no definite point at which the game ended, but I think it lasted roughly four hours before I threw in the towel so I could wake up today. I finished with all three bridges in my hands, but as my opponent pointed out, it wouldn't have stayed that way for long. We discussed possible ways of ending the game, and I think before my next game I would insist on some sort of endgame conditions.
The interesting part, as usual, was the turn sequence. Each unit had a card, and prior to a turn we got to order the cards, defining the order in which our units would get to do stuff. Then, we both turned over a card and an assigned action card so that we would both have a unit to act simultaneously, unless they interacted in which case there was a set of conditions determining who had the initiative, and what sort of tie-breakers might apply.
There was also stuff like having to take a test to shoot at targets other than the closest target, which interacted nicely with the order in which stuff happened. Several times I managed to deke out my opponent in forcing him to roll to shoot his preferred target. Other times I got lucky; I managed to shoot his Camelry (Camel Cavalry) with my Bersaglieri before the camels charged me, which made a difference.
So the turn sequence was cool in that I had been working on a similar one for my Adeptus Titanicus project. The shooting and close combat were less interesting: Shooting was usually on 7-10s on 1D10s, and then a roll to do nothing, confer a blast maker, or kill a dude and confer a blast marker. Mostly I was moving and shooting against an opponent determined to camp, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference either way. The bit where you had to test if the number of blast markers exceeded the number of models was nice, but for all the dithering with the markers I don't feel like they really added much to the game.
Combat was only fought by the models in base contact. The losers needed to make a test to be wiped out, and if they weren't then it was a decision to either keep going or fall back, which was kind of cool. On the other hand, if they fell back, then the attacker was left flapping in the wind.
My gaming buddy was unsatisfied by the lack of a response for the defender, despite me pointing out that units expecting a charge (like my Bersaglieri) could try to get a shot in if they had a better initiative, or charge for their own response to maximize the number of models in combat. There were some oddities my gaming buddy wasn't sure how to resolve, and we elected to play it through and contact the designer later. For example, it was weird how models in base contact with other models in base contact with the enemy could only fight if within 1/2" of the enemy models, where the bases were 25mm.
I think, on retrospect, that we didn't really get the opportunity to really exploit the combat rules, or really the rules in general except for some gaming of the unit-ordering cards, which I really enjoyed.
On the other hand, I suspect that had there been defined end-game conditions then my opponent would have had to play more aggressively, and I personally found charging to be pretty handy. Plus we didn't really include the full gamut of units available, or really go that deep into the bells and whistles of the game. Definitely something I would play again, and I think that the turn sequence definitely bears greater scrutiny as I work on the Adeptus Titanicus payoff table.