On a very rare occasion, a rule makes it past my “Does the game work with out it?” litmus test question. One way it can slip past this net is if it is simple, fun, and leads to a better “feel.” The Baggage Train rules did that in a big way.
Now I’m thinking of including the Prepared Defense rule, wherein a player, by scenario definition, may begin with bags unpacked. The advantage is that the rally range is doubled to 2/3 of a mounted move. The disadvantage is, you pretty much are drawing a line in the sand and saying “We will hold here!” No chance to give ground if the chit draw does not favor it.
The rationale behind the doubling of the rally range is that it implies a more planned and laid out defense, where supply routes and staging areas have had time to be developed more properly.
I like this rule for two reasons. The first is that it is almost effortless to include. One need only remember to double the range to rally. The second is it adds a nuanced level of strategy. The kind of thing a new player may have difficulties with, compared to a more experienced player. Not because it’s complex, but because trying to judge where to place the Unpacked Baggage Train is an important decision that relies on a deft touch and feeling for the game. A rule that rewards experience, not rules lawyering.
In my first game testing it, which you can see here, Washington began with a fortified Brandywine line. It worked this time, meaning it helped. I wouldn’t say it was why the British were held at bay, but it didn’t hurt. I can’t wait to try this out at Waterloo!
I’m going to continue to play test this in appropriate scenarios.