The battlefield is unfamiliar, a clear valley dotted by copses of trees and cultivated fields. The town at the valley's center is the strongpoint of your army's defense, held by stout infantrymen against two massed enemy assaults already this morning. Now, having fought off the enemy, you prepare the counterattack. Your lines, populated by more hearty infantrymen, extend away from the village on both sides to the foothills on the flanks, where your elite cavalry brigades await your word to attack. Your plan is "feint in the center, envelope the flanks, then, as the enemy's resolve begins to weaken, crush the enemy with a massed infantry assault by your Elite Guard reserves..."
...And you have the cards in your hand to make the plan work! But what cards is your enemy still holding? Will he play REGROUP to rally his center and hit you again? Or a SUPPLY card or a LEADER to coordinate a spoiling attack on your cavalry wings? Or will his GUERILLAS harass your advance and impede your flow of reinforcements? What if he has his cavalry positioned to WITHDRAW and then turn on you with a COMMITTED ATTACK? Or has he prepared a nasty AMBUSH on your route of march? So many "what if's...," but time is fleeting - the time to Manoeuvre is now!
Manoeuvre is a fast-playing game of battlefield command, set in the early 19th century. Multiple geomorphic game maps provide the chessboard-sized battlefields over which eight different armies of the period move and fight in one-on-one battles. As the commanding General of a nation's army, you have at your command units and a 60-card national deck which represents your army's specific troops and unique strengths. Your job is to utilize those assets and manoeuvre your forces to achieve battlefield supremacy.
How Different Armies Match Up (Sample-From the Designer)
Russians : The Russian units have excellent staying power, most reduced sides are only slightly weaker than their full-strength sides. This means that Russian units are harder to kill....
British : The British are every bit the equal of the French. The British defensive values are slightly higher than the French, and they lack just a little of the firepower of the French. The British are an excellent side for novice players....
Americans : This is my favorite side. Ambushes, five solid leaders, volley fire, and many units have an opportunity to withdraw from undesired combat...
What testers are saying:
It's a clever game... Some kind of a mix between Stratego and any area wargame... There is a great mix of nationalities... Will appeal to blocklovers... This is a great mix of Euro vs Wargame...
A quick spin through Manoeuvre
by Peter Stein
There are eight countries represented: France, Britian, Russia, Spain, Austria, Turkey, Prussia and the US. Each country has 8 units and a deck of cards specific to the country.
Two ways to win: Kill off five of your opponents units, or control more territory on your opponent's side of the map if both players go through their decks.
Each turn you can move one unit, one square for infantry, two for cavalry. You don't need cards to move, but you do need them if you wish to attack. Each unit has several cards in the deck that will let you attack with that unit. Combat is simple:
1. You play a card to activate an attacking unit
2. The defender plays any cards that might help him. The unit cards can also be used to add to defense, leaders and Withdraw cards are good.
3. The attacker can now play any additional cards. If you want two or more units to combine on an attack you'll need a leader, other special cards help here too.
4. Basically it's the attacker's unit strength plus whatever die roll the card played offers vs. the defenders strength. Weak units roll a 2d6, good units might roll d10s. There are terrain mods and other things to add - it's simple.
If the attacker wins by a little the defender chooses to take a step loss or retreat. If he wins by double he gets to choose and it gets worse as the difference gets worse. If the defender empties the square the attacker MUST advance (unless the unit card played says you don't have to). If the defender wins, all attacking units lose a step (Don't lose a battle as the attacker).
Certain unit cards will let you Bombard or Volley fire, you roll the die and hope you get lucky. No harm if you miss.
After the battle you can try to restore a unit that took a step loss. There are several cards that will do that; there's also a Guerilla card that will stop your opponent from resupplying.
That's a rough sketch of how a turn works.
The designer did some homework when it comes to each country's units and cards. Spanish cavalry is lousy. Russian units don't start off too strong, but if they take a step loss there is little drop off in effectiveness. The Prussian and French decks have good leaders. Austria and Spain have several Guerilla cards in their deck used to cut resupply attempts. The Americans aren't that great, but they've got Ambush cards which you can use to knock off units that have taken a step loss, even if they've retreated from the front line. And so on.
I hope that gives you an idea of what the game is like. Simple, Simple, Simple. Game should be done in under 60 minutes, even if it goes the distance.