For the fun and for info: When playing live the balloon rule we can also watch the tactic cards. But surprisingly the French player often hesitate and around 33% of the time he doesn't watch the opponent cards and prefers drawing 2 cards.
I am playing a game that we saved in the middle and have not yet finished and posted. I am French and had three recon cards. I am unclear how to play the rule with balloons. Do you just get to view the command cards once and then they are hidden, or do the cards stay revealed and all the new ones drawn in the future are visible too? Interesting rule but not at all clear to me how to use it. In my game I used all three for the extra draw, partially because I needed better cards more that a look at the opponent's hand and partially because the way we interpreted the rule was a peek at the command cards only and then they go back to being hidden after the peek.
for the purposes of the tournament, it is a peek at the Command cards.
If players want to write a list or take a screen shot that is OK. But the command cards are then returned to the hand and hidden.
I steered away from revealing the Tactician cards for 2 reasons;
1. I know GG uses a modified single deck in many instances
2. It seemed odd and too powerful to disclose First strike, artillery cannister etc. These are things that couldn't be seen from a balloon, whereas troop motions and dispositions seems within scope.
So I think we all use this meaning of the balloon special rule.
Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.
I Agree with Mark that after being shown to the French player, the Cdt cards are returned to the hand and hidden.
I totally respect any adaptation for the tournament and the decisions of Mark with his great experience are ruling.
Just for info: We play as much our "special single 77 deck" as the official GMT double deck but whatever we use: The idea of the Balloon is also to reveal the "First Strike" kind of cards! If not, there is a little balance toward the allies IMO (remember the French INF don't have the +1 in melee and 6 French towns have to be defended).
Just for info: I did change the Balloon rule in my "Fleurus" scenario on this website so be sure you still play with the rules you used the first time in case of a second battle exchanging sides in tournaments.
I did that change because many players didn't used the Balloon option: They just prefer to draw 2 cards.
A very frustrating game with VASSAL really acting up. Took 3 1/2 hours because of it. A wild match with multiple Elans played followed by CAs. A total of 5 or 6. All action on flanks. Allied right ground down and retreated to rear. French followed. Allied left able to take first town and eventually kill all except LN in last town. Lots of Allied casualties but no units until last turn as the French left closed and killed beat up Dutch inf and a LT on the French right. Cav charge with Break the square killed a full French LN for the win. Tony's rolls and cards were not good. All sorts of Tactics used in game.
• French balloon watching over the battlefield:
When playing a scout card the French player can watch the full opponent hand BEFORE ordering his unit.
The reasons: The French seems a little underdog here and so now:
1) They can watch the opponent hand WITHOUT LOSING the right to draw 2 cards!
2) Even if only moving a single unit, now the french player can order it KNOWING the opponent's strong and weak sections!
3) With respect for Mark's choice for the tournament, remember that my rule always had been (and still is) to watch the FULL opponent hand. So playing the basic 70 cards deck or the GMT 75+50 decks: The French player is still able to see some "First Strike" kind of card in advance!
PS: Don't change any rule if playing a second battle exchanging sides in a tournament for sure!
Bad luck happens, whether cards or dice. We all have those days. And Joe (Gonzo) still had to play his hand and make his attacks correctly, so hats off to him for doing that so well.
But the bigger problem is Vassal. I've heard many stories of problems, and have witnessed some first hand, but tonight's was the worst I've ever encountered. having to double discard is only a small irritation. But then having the card for the unit in square keep disappearing for one player (only). Then a card disappearing from one player's hand into the other's. Despite Joe's many attempts to synch, the card count in the hand inventory window was never correct, and he could sometimes see cards on the board and sometimes not. At one point, I could see two cards on the board, but Joe only one. That was from about halfway, when we had to have a card from Joe's hand on the board because it otherwise kept disappearing from his.
It's a real shame that the Ancients' Vassal module has had excellent treatment, with some superb 'recent' upgrades, yet the Napoleonic version seems to get less and less manageable.
During the game, I was honestly losing the will to live. Not because of Joe, or because of the banner count, but because of the frustration with Vassal. I wish I was a Vassal expert who could fix the Napoleonic module, but sadly I'm not and nor will I have the time to develop the expertise to become so.
Rant over, and to try and become more positive, does anyone know what the route would be to achieve a module that actually works? For example, would GMT ever become involved, or are they already? Whomever has done the Ancients module has done a great job. Could that capability be transferred to Napoleonics? Is it simply a fan, or are professionals involved?