Friday, August 15, 2008
Valor & Victory - Review
Valor & Victory is a hex and counter wargame for two people. The game is a free Print and Play product and available for download on the web from it's own site at http://ValorAndVictory.com . The game is WWII combat themed and represents individual squad action.
The game is currently packaged as a series of PDF documents, ensuring that all of the parts will print to the same scale.
At time of writing there are four game boards available, these can be used individually or placed next to each other as a larger playing surface. The boards show various arrangements of countryside in a top down view. On the boards already produced we can see, streams, lakes, woods, roads, hedges,walls, cropped fields, canals and houses. All of the boards look very nice and are excellently produced. I particually like the Pegasus Bridge board.
The boards are overlayed with a hex grid, each hex has a unique letter-number identification which is used to indicate particualr locations. For instance you might have a scenario indicating in which hex a particular unit might start, and this is indicated by use of the identification number. These numbers are small and do not obscure the artwork.
Additionally each board has a board-identification-number on it, which is used to indicat a particular should should be used for a scenario. The number is quite large but coloured so that it blends in quite nicely with the terrain.
Each hex has a small white dot at it's centre that is used for determining line of sight.
The counters are single sided and represent one of the following, Infantry squad, Infantry half squad, Leader, Individual vehicle or artillery piece. Currently there are three "armies" available, that is, a sheet of counters for each of three nations, the US, Germany and the UK. Squads and half-squads are represented on the counters by a number of soldiers standing. The artwork is representative of the nationality and very crisply produced, these are very pleasant looking counters. They also have the statistics used in the game printed on them.
The leader counters show the head and shoulders of an individual, a close up if you will, and the name of the individual leader, such as "Cpt Johnson".
Infantry support weapons and grenades are shown individually and are stacked with normal units to indicate their use.
The vehicles and guns are shown top down and once again very nice to look at.
The game has a number of markers these are once again nicely laid out and look very nice. You get counters to indicate Mines, Sandbags, trenches, barbed wire etc that indicate the presence of said item in a hex. You also get a number of in-game counters used to indicate effects and events that take place. For instance if a counter moves it gets a "Moved" counter, a unit that Fires it's weapons gets a "Fired" counter, when smoke is used a counter gets placed at the appropriate hex. Counters are also used to represent artilley barrages and air strikes.
The rules are presented in two ways. One PDF simply prints them up with two columns in landscape ( like two pages of a booklet ) and the other PDF has the pages arranged to that is can be printed in booklet form. You only need print one as the only difference is in the arrangement of the pages.
The rules themselves are very well written. There is little or no ambiguity. Each section and paragraph is individually numbered. There are a number of diagrams and examples scattered throughout the text that not only help you to understand the complexities in the system but also pleasantly break up the text. I found the rules to be well layed out and in a meaningful order. That meantthat when I had to look up some statistic or rule, then I easily found it in the relevant section. Having read a number of similar rules sets where this is not the case I really appreciate it.
A turn is divided into two player segments, player A goes first then player B. During their segment a player goes through the following phases.
Command Phase : The player rallies all of their pinned troops and carries out Artillery and air support attacks. He may also split or merge squads.
Fire Phase : The player may attack will his units, marking those units that have fired.
Movement Phase : The player may move his troops. Troops have a number of movement point and expend these to enter hexes, the cost of each move is dependent on the terrain in the hex and on the hex border. Units may also opt to move Assault move, which halves movement points but increases defence against Opportunity fire. Player B may elect to fire with any his units that have a line of sight to any of player A's troops as they move. This also allows player B to create fire lanes for support weapons. Units are marked as having moved or fired appropiately.
Defensive Fire Phase : Any of Player B's units that have not fired as opportunity fire may now fire if they have a line of sight to player A's.
Advance and Assault Phase : Player A may now move any and all of his units 1 hex or carry out a Close Assault attacks against adjacent units.
After Action Phase : Player A may attempt to rally any of his units that are pinned. Move and Fired counters are removed, smoke counters are reduced.
Anti Personnel combat is resolved on a simple table, the fire points of all attacking units are summed and this is cross referenced against the roll of two dice. The result indicates a number of casualty points that the defender allocates as reductions in squads, squad eliminations and pinning actions. The die roll is modified by Leader scores as appropriate, the effects of terrain in the target hex and intervening terrain.
Close assault is odds based, with particular odds giving a kill number, which is resulved with the roll of a single die.
Armoured combat is once again a simple table, cross reference the attacks gun against the defenders armour taking into account the aspect of attack, and roll less than the resulting number.
I've played a few games using this system and have been very impressed with what I've found. The game system retains a level detail that should keep the most hardened grognard happy while at the same time removing the tricky details that can bog down other game systems and turn them into a bit of a slog.
Play is quick and smooth and there is very little downtime. Each player is involved during the other players turn due to the opportunity fire/defensive fire mechanisms meaning you are never left sitting idly by watching the fun happening on the other side of the table.
The game is free and web published, so go download it you have nothing to lose and a good game to gain!