TITLE: Age of Eagles, The (2005)
AUTHOR: Bill Gray
PUBLISHER: Quantum Printing
PUBLICATION DATE: 2005
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
Age of Eagles (AoE) is very well supported by the author on the Yahoo discussion group and elsewhere:
PRICE (with date): $30.00 in 2008
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The Napoleonic Wars
THE BOOK: Age of Eagle (AoE) is a 98 page wire-coil bound book. It has numerous illustrations and a color cover. The book has a detailed table of contents but no index. It include a perforated quick reference sheet to be removed as well as a arc of fire template you can either tear out or photocopy.
Age of Eagles is based on the very popular Fire & Fury rules for the American Civil War. However, the author cautions that the changes run deeper than just a new weapons table and a few modifiers. As he writes the “body style might be similar, but there most definitely is a new engine under the hood.”
SCOPE: AoE is designed for grand tactical Napoleonic combat, and especially for the larger battles with over 150,000 combatants.
ARMY SIZE: Required armies will be fairly substantial as the rules are designed for big battles. The French army for Austerlitz, for example, has 270 individual stands of infantry and cavalry, plus 24 gun stands. Smaller scenarios are possible of course (Quatre Bras for example requires far fewer troops).
BASE UNIT: Units in AoE represent brigades. Most brigades have between 4 and 12 stands. Artillery units represent batteries.
- Ground Scale: 1”=120 yards
- Time scale 1 turn = 30 minutes
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry stand = 360 men, 1 cavalry stand = 180 troopers.
- Recommended Figure Size: Designed for 15mm figures, with guidelines for using 6mm, 10mm or 25mm figures included.
- Table Size: Varies by scenario. Quatre Bras uses a 3.5’ x 4’ table. Austerlitz requires a 6’ x 10’ table.
- Game Length: Not known
BASING SIZES: AoE recommends a popular basing scheme for 15mm:
- 3 Rank infantry bases are ¾” wide, 1” deep
- 2 Rank infantry bases are 1 1/8” wide, 1” deep
- Cavalry bases are 1” square
- Artillery bases are 3/16” per actual gun and 1 ¼” deep
If players have armies already mounted that are close to this basing the game will not be affected provided both armies are based the same way.
- First Player Turn
- March Phase – Brigades, batteries and detached leaders are moved. There are two modes of movement: Reserve and Tactical.
- Volley & Cannonade Phase – The second payer resolves defensive fire and applies all effects. The first player then resolves his offensive fire.
- Bayonet & Sabre Phase – Players simultaneously resolve combat for charges and any subsequent breakthroughs.
- Second Player Turn – The second player now repeats steps 1-3 as the first player did.
Dice Used: AoE uses 10 sided dice (D10).
Movement: Movement in AoE has two modes. The first is Reserve movement. Units Reserve movement must begin their movement at least 18” away from enemy units. They may move closer during their movement. Tactical movement is for units within 18” of an enemy unit. All units using Reserve movement must move before any unit may use tactical movement. This means players must act as traffic cop – if you want to use Reserve movement to put a brigade in the line, you need to have made room for it in advance. Both Reserve and Tactical movement are variable. Units roll on the March Table to determine if they may move and if so, how far (full move, half move etc.). The march table is also used to recover disorder. Modifiers to the die roll on the March Table are primarily unit status (whether disordered or not) and leadership (officers in the chain of command may influence this roll).
The rules provide very detailed explanations and procedures for all kinds of movement, including formation changes, refusing flanks, and assaulting across bridges. There are limits on formation changes – units may not change from Square or Tirailleur into March Column, for example.
In addition, AoE distinguished three types of infantry: Linear, Columnar and Impulse. While identical in combat, these three types of infantry have differing movement rates and capabilities. The game also assumes that the stands representing these kinds of brigade identify the unit’s overall formation and “footprint.” It is assumed that the component battalions the stands represent may be in different formations – they simply look the same in AoE at this level.
Command and Control (C&C): C&C is modeled primarily through command radii and the March Table. Essentially, every officers in a unit’s chain of command can – if within range – influence the die roll on the March Table for a given unit. The rules thus encourage keeping unit integrity at each level of command. The March Table is also used to rally and recover disorder.
Fire Combat: Fire combat uses a familiar Fire Points system for both infantry and artillery. Each firing stand has a Fire Points value based on the unit’s quality, and the range. The Fire Points are summed and a die (D10) is rolled. The modified die roll is cross indexed with the number of Fire Points – the result gives the number of stands lost, disorder inflicted, etc. Fire Point may be modified for Enfilade (double the Fire Points), Firer disordered (halve the Fire Points) and there are a small number of die roll modifiers as well.
Skirmishing is treated as long range musket fire (normal musket range is 2” skirmishers may fire at up to 4”). The rules clearly specify determining Line of Sight, Arc of Fire as well as cover, leader casualties, etc.
Melee: Close combat takes place in the Bayonet and Sabre phase. Close combat can only result from a declared charge. Close Combat is resolved by opposed die roll. Each side involved in a close combat rolls a D10. The die roll is heavily modified by relative numbers, unit quality, formation and leadership. The two resulting modified die rolls are compared, giving a result. The losing side generally suffers a retreat, disorder and casualties. Victors generally take the loser’s position. It is also possible for the two sides to be Locked In Combat, with both sides suffering disorder and casualties. A second round of close combat is then fought.
Unit formation is very important in close combat as it determines how many stands are counted for the combat. The rules also distinguish “Incidental Stands.” These are stands part f a unit involved in close combat that are not themselves in direct contact with the enemy (as when a charge contacts only the right hand half of a brigade in line). While they do count toward the size of the unit, they do not take losses or suffer disorder.
In some cases a Breakthrough results. In this case the attacker continues to charge an additional half move toward the enemy. Thus the attacking unit may initiate another close combat, possibly against a new target unit. In some cases this Breakthrough is mandatory.
Morale: In AoE units are rated in two ways. The first is their quality – either Elite, Regular or Conscript. Second, units may be either Fresh, Worn or Spent. As units suffer losses they become Worn and Spent. Such units quickly lose their combat effectiveness. Better quality units may lose more stands before becoming Worn. For example, an Elite unit of 8 stands is considered Worn when reduced to 5 stands. A Conscript unit, on the other hand, is Worn when reduced to 7 stands. The difference between Fresh, Worn and Spent is reflected on almost every table and chart. Units do not “recover” within the game – once Worn, the unit will remain Worn until the end of the game.
AoE also uses a Disordered status. Disorder is a temporary status which also affects a unit’s ability to move and engage in combat. Disorder may be removed during the March Phase depending on the result obtained from the March Table. Exception: Conscript units may not recover from disorder (ouch!). Disordered units must roll on the March Table – this carries some risk of a retreat or even a rout. If successful, the unit need not move – it may elect to simply remove the Disordered status and remain in place.
The book includes three scenarios complete with maps and unit labels: Austerlitz, Dresden and Quatre Bras. Also included are army and commander lists for all of the major (and most of the minor) combatants. Scenario books are planned as well, and the first is reportedly to be released in the summer of 2008. There are a number available for download from the Yahoo group as well.
The Age of Eagles is a very, very well put together rule book. The rules go into great detail and make no assumptions about prior player knowledge of the period. The diagrams are many, and each is extensively captioned. Further, the examples and diagrams address all the alternatives covered in the rules. So, for example, when discussing the movement costs of rough terrain, the diagram gives three different examples of moving through a wood and then fording a stream. Likewise, the combat sections include extensive examples of play. The diagrams are also well thought out – they work both graphically and textually. I really appreciate all the detail provided – a great many rules sets do not take the time to spell out, for example, how to move the stands when changing formation.
Age of Eagles also offers lots of supporting material for the new gamer. This includes advice on collecting, painting and basing armies; how to convert a historical order of battle into a scenario; offers numerous suggestions for modifying rules and charts based on specific scenarios; and hints and suggestions regarding terrain.
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