Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kurmudgeon Krieg, part 1 of many to come ....

Critiques of Koenig Krieg, version 3, 1st edition.

First of all, it is important to note that I am very fond of this game. Version 3 has introduced many ideas, some of which were to clarify the original rules, some of which were made to distinguish between their primary period and Napoleonics, and some of which were created in order to expand the scope of the rules from a purely European theater to the whole world in which Lace Armies were engaged. Thus, a K.K. player can now game Turks versus Persians and Indonesians versus Dutch and so forth.

Again, I like these rules and will cheerfully play them as written with other gamers.
However ...
Very often I have problems with particular sections and passages. The one which amused me the most was the reference to Frederick in which he “arrested” the Silesians when he overran those provinces (I wonder if this was the inspiration for concentration camps? LOL). .
In my pompous opinion, quite a few of these new rules introduced unnecessary complications and moved away from the pristine simplicity of the original.
Secondarily, the guys who put this set together were Australians and sometimes unaware of how their wording would read to Americans.
Thirdly, as a former teacher of English, there are several passages which cause me to cringe.

Indeed, my very first critique will be a grammatical note. In the second paragraph on page three, they wrote “There are .... army lists, a.... battle points system (BPS) for determining the winner of battles and you can now play tournaments.”
First of all, the predicate here is a series, but the series is not done correctly. The first two points are noun phrases and the last is an independent clause. Secondarily, I follow the newer rule in which ALL equivalent items in a series are separated by commas. Hence, “.... winner of battles, and provision for tournament play.” would be one possible (there are several others) correction.
Now things may be done differently still in Australia, so I’ll only comment on the first few and afterwards ignore in this critique ...

Page 4: Series ... should be “Front, Rear, and Flank Zones” Other wise “Rear and Flank” are one item which together are parallel to “Front.”

Page 5:
* One could add a comment that this game is very, very easily adapted to the Marlborough era (War of Spanish Succession) and also with a few amendments to Napoleonic warfare.
* Under “A Battlefield” the idea that the battles were fought in wide open areas primarily applies to Eastern Front engagements ... and ignores the very cluttered nature of conflict along the Rhine, in the Low Countries, and even in the Alpine regions.

Page 6:
* Scale – one inch equals 150 to 200 YARDS??? So you’ve got the smoothbore musket engaging at half a kilometer away??? No, it should be FEET!!

* Basing – I found the statement that basing was “slightly exaggerated” to be an amusing understatement.
* I noticed that Skirmish infantry had bases of half depth ... as I’ve found this to be unstable, I hope you all don’t mind if I stick with the old system.
* Camels and elephants have the same size bases?? How small are the Elephants? LOL
* IMPO: Tribal and Brave basing is an unnecessary complication.
* Commander Basing, is the width given the SIDE of the base or its DIAMETER FROM SIDE TO SIDE???

Page 7: Second column, second paragraph. Insert comma between “ laid out” and “but all players ...”

Page 8:
* Turn represents “up to half an hour” ??? I thought the default was 15 minutes??
* Rounds – “includes” does not agree with subject, should be “include”.
* Segments — “e.g.” should be followed by a colon “:”. “... action segment (comma) and morale ..”
* Command and Control: — “rallying” and “replacing” are gerunds. “Identify” is not. (And the missing comma ... I know: that is old rule if you all decide to keep it that way).

Page 10:
I’ll need to redo my generals ... but I do have one command base which is two infantry figures ...
I’ll have to rebase them all anyway (sigh).
But ...
* is there any unit which does NOT automatically rally??
* WHY are Army Generals replaced right away while lower formations take three turns???

Page 11:
Are there minimum / maximum sizes for Brigade commanders?

Page 12:
When Army General is attached ... is “-1" check across the board as if dead ... or is that “-1" from the Army General’s rating?

Page 13:
(Close Combat) Initiative: Do the players activate by UNIT or by FORMATION (the book says “formation” ... and I though close combat was by unit?)

Page 14: Note that the “fall back” of a cavalry unit failing to break the bayonets is now 2 inches and not to the start position (of old rules). Yes, I know, cavalry could charge from 2 inches, but it could also charge from one inch, right??


Bluebear Jeff said...


I do have the original KK and all of the supplements . . . but I was going to get the new one until I discovered how much money it was going to cost . . . THAT was a killer as far as I was concerned.

-- Jeff

Robert said...

I love Koenig Krieg, having bought the original set soon after it was first published. I have also bought all the subsequent versions and supplements without hesitation, including the third edition.

But I have to agree with Jeff that the price does seem to be a turnoff, especially when I have been trying to talk people into getting into the game and period.

As to the third edition itself, there were some good new ideas, but also some that I thought seemed to go against the spirit of simplicity that was the hallmark of the original set (as you mention here). I'm not really sold on that flow chart, but some people seem to have found it useful.

I was somewhat disappointed in the photos. I don't know if it was just my copy or not, but a number of the pictures came out fuzzy- as if they had been enlarged at a resolution a number of times higher than the photos were meant to have been. Not pictures you want to look at if you have a hangover! Small point, but again, at that price...

I had two very minor whinges; the first was constant references to, say, "light infantry Koenig Krieg bases", etc. repetitive, when "light infantry bases" would suffice. Sounds like someone is trying to sell bases!

And where on earth did that phrase "tap out" come from? Sounds as if I'm ordering my drummers to give a concert, or the fusiliers to hit the brandy casks...

Like you, I also found myself cringing at some of the spelling and grammar gaffes, although this is by no means unique to Siege Works Studio in this day and age. Proof-reading is evidently a dying art, but when writing rules- especially for competitions in mind- it becomes all that much more necessary IMHO.

From my perspective- based on places on the Internet like TMP- KKv.3 doesn't seem to be catching on with the excitement that I had hoped it would generate. The price (and lack of a distributor?) may have a lot to do with this.

But KK remains the 18th C. rule set of choice for me, whatever edition it may be.

Frankfurter said...

Robert, I'm in total agreement with you.
The Ozzies say that what happened was a major snafu with the printer at the last moment (change of owners).
They have already located other firms to handle the planned follow ups and other products they want to bring out.
There is a massive amount of repetition in these rules ... which I noticed ... but the effect seems to be the closing of tons of loopholes and faulty interpretations.
I don't know where "tap out" originated, but it was already a term in wide use when I got back into gaming @ 6 years ago. So they didn't invent it, just used it.
The sheer adaptability of K.K. is wonderful. With the slightest effort one can run almost any scale of figure or scale of figure to men ...

Robert said...

Very adaptable indeed! I use KK quite happily with 28mm miniatures, and used to play it with battalions of 24 figures. It was no great deal changing ranges and so on to suit.

I do hope they get around to publishing the Marlburian variant as well- La Guerre du Roi (IIRC).