En Garde!

All right… where did this come from?! Another new game?! Not even mentioned before? (I can see 2022 is shaping up to be that kind of year 😝.)

So what happened was I recently received my much-delayed Anno Domini 1666 Kickstarter pledge. Much delayed due to Covid deliveries, not manufacturing delays.

I promptly unboxed the game... and used the minis to play En Garde! It’s actually one of the reasons I backed the KS... so the minis could do double duty.

I played a quick generic solo Skirmish scenario from the rule book. 100 points per warband. Some Musketeers (D'artagnan and Porthos make an appearance) vs Cardinal Richelieu's Guards. The main objective as kill as many of the other side as you can.

The Musketeers had a secondary objective of specifically killing the enemy leader while Richelieu's side needs to control more quadrants of the table than my Musketeers. Achieving those would give the side 5 VPs as opposed to getting the standard VPs based on model cost/quality.

Both sides set up on a 2x3 table as recommended in the book, with clear skies and bright daylight. The war bands deployed on opposite edges.

I started with shooting as I'm primarily a T'au guy... but black powder weapons are interesting to shoot. Turn 1: no move, shoot. Turn 2: no move, reload. Turn 3: move or shoot?

I was at a disadvantage as my side focused on quality (4 models, 2 were heroic and the other 2 just grunts) vs the other side’s quantity (7 models, mixture of heroes, sidekicks and grunts.) So shooting at them wouldn’t do much good.

It's melee where the game shines. Everything hinges on your Combat Pool that determines what you can do and how many times you can do it.

The thrill comes from making your opponent guess. You may have the initiative in melee but you can decline combat, forcing your opponent to act. Then you use your Combat Pool. How many tokens will you use? For what? Attack? Defense? Then you can declare Ploys. Party. Feint. Riposte. 

The bigger your Combat Pool, the more things you can do and the more attacks you can make. Melee combat can go back and forth several times as long as you haven’t used up your combat pool yet.

In the end, I cut the learning game short as I realised I forgot to take individual weapons characteristics into account. (Played too much Pulp Alley recently 😝). If I had, I wouldn't have ended up with 3 Grievously Wounded Richelieu Guards... I'd've ended up with at least 2 dead Guards. The game would've gone differently.

But I played enough to know I like the Combat Pool mechanic and it's a pity there's no solo rules for this game as it's pretty hard to solo due to the Combat Pool mechanic. (Although some YouTube videos I watched seem to show a way to get around this issue). I think I need to play some more to get a feel for the solo changes. 

En Garde! is also interesting as it allows for the fantastical to enter the gameplay, much like Anno Domini 1666. However, they designers limited the fantasy to what the people of that era (17th century) actually believed as far as the fantastical was concerned. So there are cockatrices, golems are controlled by rabbis, and Richelieu is a hundreds-of-years-old vampire! Just right up my alley! (No, not pulp.)

Next step: paint the minis… it’s only 11 minis and I have no excuse as I’m undergoing a 7-day quarantine (due to international travel) so I have nothing but time and then I'll play the game. Properly.