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Horse & Musket Volume III: Crucible of War by Hollandspiele  This is the third volume in the Horse & Mus...

Horse & Musket Volume III: Crucible of War by Hollandspiele Horse & Musket Volume III: Crucible of War by Hollandspiele

Horse & Musket Volume III: Crucible of War by Hollandspiele

Horse & Musket Volume III: Crucible of War by Hollandspiele



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 This is the third volume in the Horse & Musket game series. The first, 'Dawn of an Era', is needed to play the series (the second volume is 'Sport of Kings'). As with every Hollandspiele game I have played, minimalism is the key word. Don't think that this means that game play is compromised; it's far from it. The minimalist approach means that instead of a fifty to sixty page rulebook, you get only the real meat in these wargames. 






 The game is a tactical one that gives the players various battles from the 'Age of Reason'. In this instance, the battles start in 1755 at Monongahela in North America , to 1762 at Freiburg in 1762. As you can guess the main subject is the Seven Years War. A few of the battles take place in North America, but most take place in central Europe. The exception would be Plassey on the sub-continent of India. The game comes with the following:

An updated set of Scenario Special Rule cards
A sheet of counters with new units and markers
Volume III specific Player Aid with charts
Rulebook

 The markers that are unique to Volume III include 'Woods markers', 'Fortified Town', and 'Square markers'. 






 The game components are just like every Hollandspiele game I have played. They are fully functional, but are not the fancy hand drawn maps etc. that sometimes come with games from the Age of Reason. The map is a blank slate that you add tiles of water, woods, and towns etc. to. The colors are muted, but still pleasing to the eye. The counters are a bit different. These have vibrant colors, and the portraits of the commanders are first rate.The counters themselves are very well made and seem thicker and sturdier.

 The new additions/revised rules for this volume take up just about a full page. These include:

Delayed Bayonet Charge
Movement Cadence marching
Artillery Fire Vs. Charges

 These are the Optional Rules that can be used with Volume III:

Nationality Rules (use these from Volume III, and not the ones that came with the earlier games)
Square
Volley Fire

 This is the sequence of play:

1. Player A rolls and determines random action points available to the command action points and stored action points for his total.
2. Player A spends his action points one at a time and performs allowable actions in any order he wishes.
3. Check victory
4. Player B rolls and determines random action points available to the command action points and stored action points for his total.
5. Player B spends his action points one at a time and performs allowable actions in any order he wishes.
6. Check victory
7. End turn - move turn marker ahead one space on the turn record chart and go to Step 1.

 As you can see, the game play adds the fog of war to both sides with the random action point rolls. The player must also consider when and where to actually spend theses points. Do you wait and see how your defense is holding up on this turn, or do you start your counter-attack now? Like all great wargames the Horse & Musket series does a stellar job of putting the player in the shoes of the generals from this time period. The game also has enough chrome to make you believe you are fighting in the 18th century and not a stamped out WWII era game with different names for the units. 





 
The leaders Montcalm, Wolfe, Friedrich der Grosse, Daun, and the battles of Leuthen, Kolin, Minden are all here along with a great many more. To see what I mean about the minimal approach, let us look at the Battle of Leuthen. This battle was one of the larger ones from this time. The Prussians have only eight pieces on the board, not counting leaders. The Austrians have a total of thirteen counters that you to have to order around like a good cardboard general. So, just like all of Hollandspiele's games the player can concentrate on his strategy, and not his manual dexterity. The battles of the Prussians against the Russians are my favorites. 





  Hollandspiele is a relatively new company, but it already has a large catalog of games for many tastes, from straight wargames to political simulations. They have quickly become one of my favorite publishers and a big thanks to them for letting me review this volume of Horse & Musket.

 Here are the links to the other volumes:
https://hollandspiele.com/products/horse-musket-dawn-of-an-era

https://hollandspiele.com/products/horse-musket-sport-of-kings

Robert

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