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"Muskets & Tomahawks 2 Review After First Game" Topic

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codiver31 May 2020 6:36 a.m. PST

Played our first game of M&T2 yesterday. First, some disclosures: most of our games, including M&T1, are multi-player, and when playing M&T1 we never played the hand-of-3-cards option we just went through the deck one card at a time. That being said, yesterday's game was 1v1, as some in our group who are at higher risk are still staying home. Also, we didn't use artillery much, and yesterday's game didn't include any. We played the game basically RAW, except for the house rule we used to play in M&T1 where figs can shoot through figs of their own unit makes movement of unit far less fiddly and thus quicker.

Most of the minor M&T2 rule changes seem fine and make sense e.g. separating Smoke and Reload markers (for some reason the game refers to the latter as "Fire" markers). One thing about M&T1 that always did look a little silly was the smoke markers moving around with a unit until it reloaded. Many of the minor changes are things we had already added house rules for e.g. road movement bonus, a Rally capability, and unit in Flight continuing to move away and not just sitting in place as a target for the remainder of a turn. The change from D6 to D10 has been documented, and seems fine, though one annoying aspect (to me anyway) is treating the D10 as 0-9 (i.e. a 0 is 0, not 10).

So, the three major changes for us were the hand-of-3-cards system, the new Command Point mechanics, the Clock cards, and the revised Volley Fire (vs. Firing Line) rule.

Taking the last first, the basis for the new Volley Fire rule seems based on an idea it was much more of a morale effect as compared to actually causing casualties. With the new rule, it is somewhat reminiscent of artillery firing canister. There is an area of effect out to 16" straight in front of the formed-up-in-line firing unit where all figures (i.e. enemy and friendly) are potentially affected. All units in the area of effect have to make a Reaction Test with significant negative modifiers, regardless if they take casualties. However, any figure is only actually hit on a roll of 0 or less. The die roll is -1 if the firing unit is in two ranks, and +1 if the target figure is in Solid (not just Light or Dense) Cover. Also, a unit that delivers Volley Fire receives an extra "Fire" (i.e. Reload) marker. Still not sure what I think of the new Volley Fire rule, having only played it once, but it's definitely annoying that it is inconsistent; I think this is the one case you want to roll low, not high.

In our 1v1 game, the hand-of-3-cards, the Clock cards, and the new Command Point mechanics seemed to work OK. They give you some more things to think about, and the Command Points place some more emphasis on the officers. One thing, including from a scenario design perspective, is you have to be aware that each of your units will probably not get to act on all of its cards, since the other side will likely draw your unit's cards roughly half the time, and sometimes a "turn" will end before all the cards are drawn/played. This is partially offset by the ability to activate a unit with Command Points. However, one thought we had is the hand-of-3-cards and the Command Point mechanics might actually make the game a little less multi-player friendly. Until we actually play a multi-player game or two, we're not sure what to do about it. Hopefully we're wrong and it won't be an issue, but we'll see.

Pan Marek31 May 2020 2:07 p.m. PST

Thanks for the review. I'm a huge fan of M&T 1, and have been wondering about the new set.
I'm somewhat disappointed by the complexities of volley fire. Seems too much to me. May I ask what you mean by "0 or less"? I assume that since 0 is not 10, then "less than" means in the negative numbers? Is this after modifiers?

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 7:36 p.m. PST

Nice review. I've read the rules a few times but have yet to play. Though I liked version 1 and I've started a n AWI project for version 2.

Re Volley Fire; there seems to be situations where you'd want to forgo volley Fire and Fire normally instead, probably depending on you shoot value.

@Pan; VF works like this; any figures hit by volley fire roll a d10 and on a 0 are instantly dead. If the unit doing the volleying is in two ranks the roll is -1 (making it death on 0 or 1).

clifblkskull Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 7:47 p.m. PST

Nice review
I have played MT2 about 4 times and I really like it for the scale it represents

Dexter Ward02 Jun 2020 5:06 a.m. PST

Nice review. One thing, you said:
One thing, including from a scenario design perspective, is you have to be aware that each of your units will probably not get to act on all of its cards, since the other side will likely draw your unit's cards roughly half the time
You will draw the opponent's cards, but you have to play them (and get a command point). You don't draw new cards until your hand is empty. You can only take an opposing card out of the game using the 'set aside' command point action.
We found the mechanics worked fine multi-player. We just gave one player all the irregulars, another all the regulars and it all worked out.

Pan Marek02 Jun 2020 2:37 p.m. PST

I'm buying the rules this Saturday at the local shop.
With my mask, of course. ;-)

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2020 6:09 a.m. PST

Having the rules through the KickStarter, and having read them thoroughly but not played, I think v.2 has gone more match/2-player style.

This w/o rework won't suffice for our area group who likes to play multiplayer scenarios.

Having modded v.1 over many years, our group still plays a 3-card hand, but we draw those from a side's own deck of unit cards, so not with them mixed within a common pull deck. This gives enough opportunity for activation friction, and chance for some intelligent planning (or per se "card management tactics"), while not wasting a player side's turn, if their card hand would only possesses the enemy's order cards (which will happen constantly with the single, common card deck).

Playing "defense" (activating enemy units from their cards in your hand), has been an interesting tactic we learned to adjust to, but it also [over time] began to be looked at as a somewhat strange game mechanic so, our eventual transition to the two-deck pull adjustment.

I think our group (when we get back at it) will be staying with our modded v.1 iteration. V.2 just appears gimmicky and too confining (as far as for our multiplay requirements).

Dexter Ward06 Jun 2020 8:24 a.m. PST

It's not a waste to draw opposing cards. Every one you play gives you command points; these can often be more useful than your own cards.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2020 5:39 a.m. PST

Dexter, managing and making decisions on CPs would be good fun for two guys playing against each other, but wouldn't work as well when involving more players on a side, where game pace and minimizing player down-time is a goal.

Your suggestion of dividing up the Regulars to one player, and all the Irregulars to another is the opposite of what we've done to make the class-based mechanics work best for our multiplayer scenarios, and while trying to keep players engaged with more opportunities to be involved throughout every turn.

codiver08 Jun 2020 7:56 a.m. PST

FlyXwire, we had the same thought WRT the CPs. Question: when you play the "3-card hand, but we draw those from a side's own deck of unit cards" technique, what do you do if the decks don't have the same number of cards?

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2020 9:36 a.m. PST

Codiver, you first try to balance the decks as closely as possible, so either matching as many unit class types per side, or by balancing the number of actions presented by the available cards. This can most readily be done if someone is hosting a scenario and designing the involved forces for it, rather than doing it by pts.-build matches.

Of course, matching unit types is not always possible, nor desirable from a scenario point of view, and especially so when players might be bringing their own forces to the table. These types of mismatch instances can and will occur when there are fewer unit classes available to a force, or when there's only one unit representing a single unit class, which might be destroyed during the game, then causing its order cards to be removed from the draw deck upon its elimination. So differences in card numbers can naturally occur when playing either [stock] versions of M&T.

With our two-deck hands, when a side plays its last card, it triggers a re-shuffled, and three new cards are drawn, and the activation round continues. When the opposite team plays its last card, it does the same.

This gameplay is based on revolving action, and as we don't play turn-ending rounds or events, turn limits aren't too meaningful in our games.

A last comment our actions have grown into large skirmishes and/or multi-brigade affairs, so we rarely see a complete class of units eliminated from a side, so the original card decks often remain unaltered during a battle.

This game below eventually involved 3 brigades on a side, and there were some new unit types arriving at different intervals an interval when a side's card deck was exhausted, at which time any new class of cards was added into the deck

codiver09 Jun 2020 5:55 a.m. PST

FlyXwire, thanks for the info. I suspect we'll try at least one M&T2 multi-player game RAW first and see how it goes (once we can get one scheduled), but we'll keep your system in mind if we decide the RAW isn't "multi-player friendly" enough.

It would be interesting to try to come up with a system like yours that still preserves the new Command Point mechanic, but one thing at a time…

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2020 10:53 a.m. PST

Codiver, you'll be doing it the right way then we went step by step, and game by game with our mods, so we didn't break the rules and jeopardize a game day as a result.

I also tweaked an ACW variant of M&T v.1, that included a list of special figure actions, some which just listed or further defined default game mechanics, but some allowed additional actions. So, instead of counting points, these features focus a player to count his troops (like those regimental musician and standard bearer miniatures), that could be used 'heroically' in times of great battlefield need during the gameplay (these game acts stay thematic too, and the particular figures themselves are the tabletop 'markers').

Of course with some of these acts, if you use 'em, you lose 'em……and that creates tabletop tension, but maybe with the possibility of averting disaster for their sacrifice, or of rewarding those decisive moments for brilliant command decisions. ;)

A snippet -

codiver15 Aug 2020 3:25 p.m. PST

FlyXwire, just saw your last post. A couple of your items are covered by M&T2: An Officer of the same Troop Type within 6" gives a +1 on Reaction Tests (this was the same in M&T1 IIRC). Units with 6+/10+ figures get a +1 or +2 on Reaction Tests, respectively. Sharpshooters re-roll 0s and can use a action to aim; their shooting action with an aim marker is +2 (I'm not sure, but I think M&T1 had Sharpshooters that could re-roll all initial misses, not just 0s). Your Musician and Flag Bearer ideas are interesting.

We've played 3-4 games now, but still all 1v1. I should mention we figured out we were doing something wrong. I said in my original post "you have to be aware that each of your units will probably not get to act on all of its cards, since the other side will likely draw your unit's cards roughly half the time". We had been playing that when you played a card of the other guy's, it was like a "discard". You got a Command Point chit, but the card was basically burned. That was wrong. When you play a card of the other guy's, the card is actually played e.g. if it is a Troop card, those Troop Types actually get an action. So your units are much more likely to get most of their actions in a turn.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2020 7:35 a.m. PST

Hi Codiver!

Yep, some of those special actions above were from v.1 (the graphic above being an all-inclusive chart listing), along with a few of my own additions included.

The ranges of affect I reduced with the conversion to a 'regimental' ground scale (so like 2" vs. 6").

Glad you're getting in a few sessions of gaming lucky guy! :)

hiromitsu26 Dec 2020 3:20 p.m. PST

Hi FlyWire
Are you ACW variant rules available?

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