Is Musket Smoke a serious wargame?

Is Musket Smoke a serious wargame?

Someone asked this on Pocket Tactics. So I responded with the following.

ok.. here I go.. Some details to help you decide.

It’s a hybrid abstract wargame, that is serious about tactical options, fun competition and conflict between players. It is serious about capturing the ‘feel’ of Napoleonic tactics and situations but not serious about the historical details of specific battles or special abilities of specific units. Both sides are usually the same as this is a competitive abstract tactical wargame at its heart.

That said, it tries to cover some of the basics. For example cavalry become disorganized after a charge. (can only move 1 hex in following round). It has form of Zone of Control, meaningful smoke and wind, infantry formations. But the scale is small and so if you want a line then you just align multiple units of 30 men. It tries to simulate cavalry’s ability to avoid melee from infantry if desired, but just vs one infantry unit.

It a serious perfect information game with the exception of some smoke, mortar hit locations, and line of sight in campaign mode that hides units. It has a chess like seriousness with position but also has flanking moves that do morale hits and thus reward good tactical play and make it much less of a battle of attrition – more of an exciting thinking mans game with better chances for comebacks.

Muskets that go in the water become wet (blue indicator) and can’t shoot any longer. Muskets auto reload but not if they were involved in melee the previous round. Water and light trees limit movement and can affect damage. Muskets move 2 instead of 3 to abstractly factor in reloading.

It has seriously good training in the form of videos, interactive tutorials, and a mini match mode that lets players undo and try different tactics, gradually learning to make seriously perfect moves. (No undo in the campaign)

It has serious custom UI for each unit type. Making ones decisions fun, informative, and more ‘tactile’ giving you more of that ‘boardgame feel’ and maximizing the use of a touch tablet.

However, a cannon unit is a single cannon with 10 swordsmen defenders, who can work a cannon. It can still be wiped out fairly easily but they don’t just drop and run when the enemy approaches. Instead they load grapeshot and fight – because that is more fun for most people. But it can still only move or shoot, not both.

In short ‘some’ grognards really do love it, and some grognards could do without a game that doesn’t use a special flavour of black powder rules, lookup tables and 4 different types of elite musket units for each side.

Some casual players feel overwhelmed by all the ‘open tactical options’ at first but then come to love the UI and just jump in and start killing things, quickly noticing that distance and unit cooperation is important.

This game is serious about finding a fun balance between abstract tactical and realism. It is serious about being a ‘new style of wargame’. That’s not just a slogan, its more about correcting expectations and seriously expecting something different.

I think I said serious too much.. erg. But anyways, now you have a better sense how how serious this game is. Whatever that means.. haha..

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