Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Review and Summary of Carnage and Glory 2

Carnage and Glory 2 is a computer-moderated system that accurately tracks the details of an ongoing battle so that the player can focus on tactical decision-making. Although it can be played solo, the system is best in a multi-player game with either a dedicated GM or multiple players adept at data input. In my humble opinion, Carnage and Glory 2 is the top choice (with a veteran GM) for multi-player games.

The systems available include software and support for the Napoleonic Wars, Seven Years War (and American Revolution), the American Civil War, Franco Prussian War, the Age of Marlborough, and English Civil War (and Thirty Years War). Nigel Marsh is the brilliant creator of the system and everything can be purchased at the CG2 website:  http://www.carnageandgloryii.com/ .

Normal movement occurs independently of the software. Only charges, formation changes,
or movement through disruptive terrain needs to be input.

At its core, CG2 is a morale and fatigue tracking system, but it is capable of so much more. Players can conduct engineering functions, charges, movement/formation changes, fire, combat, and rally checks easily. Normal tabletop movement is independent of the computer system as the player only needs to input special movement, like formation changes or movement through disruptive terrain. Each turn represents 15 minutes of time and the turn sequence is laid out easily for each turn.  Our group uses a 30:1 figure scale (although any ratio scale may be used) and a ground scale of 1"= 50 paces (37 yards). These scales are flexible for any size figure (15mm, 25mm, 40mm, etc). For example, 1" typically equals 25 paces while using 25/28 mm figures. Basing is also flexible; there are recommendations, but as long as opposing forces are based similiarly, it should not affect the game. Initiative is also calculated by the software automatically. Army break points, reinforcements, heat exhaustion, weather, and more, may be entered initially as well. After turn 1, the computer does the rest. In my opinion, the system truly shines in the accuracy of casualty calculation and the monitoring of fatigue. Fatigue, both physical and psychological, are critical factors in combat, and most systems either ignore it or just get it wrong. The awareness of fatigue is an area in which CG2 reigns supreme. Fatigue management is also the factor manipulated the most by veterans of the system and most ignored by neophytes.

Carnage and Glory 2 can handle any size battle, small or large.

As far as command and control goes, the system does not have command distances for movement, it is rather more subtle than that. Each leader has a maximum distance to travel in order to rally a unit, and units are dependent on brigade support modifiers entered into the software to ensure that charges ram home or a unit stands steady in the face of a charge. Units from different brigades also may not charge the same target. Therefore, units of brigades are encouraged to deploy within supporting distance of each other, mirroring period tactics. There is an orders system as well, again tracked by the computer. Units on Defense orders receive a positive modifier when standing versus a charge, while units on Attack orders receive a similar modifier when conducting a charge.

Morale is another area in which CG2 makes it easy for the player. Unit and brigade morale checks are conducted automatically. Units that require rallying are listed, and if a player is able to attach a leader within the chain of command, the attempt is made and the results are computed immediately.

This picture is a great example of the unit identification tags that can be printed off using the software. Each unit is then tracked throughout the game by the software.

As for possible challenges, the flow of a game is dependent on a knowledgable GM, who is responsible for data input. With an inexperienced GM, the game can slow significantly.  In contrast, our gaming group is very experienced in this aspect; our games are brisk and very smooth. We also have multiple players capable of competent data input. A good rule of thumb is to start small when learning the system and build to larger actions later. Also, there is a moderate amount of work before the battle, as each unit and leader must be rated and added to a unique order of battle. In addition, there  is also the time that it takes to label each unit (the system keeps track of each unit's specific number) prior to a game. Trust me though, this amount of work is worth the effort to produce a superior gaming experience. In summary, CG2 is simply a  superb system in order to fight a Napoleonic battle.