Right off the bat I will tell you Blucher delivers on its promises - you are the General and commander of the Army. That is you command multiple Corps and you make "operational level" decisions - a huge selling point for me when looking at Grand Tactical set of rules.
Your success hinges on the success of your Brigades in the close fight, and you must have a plan (and a reserve) to fight. The enemy gets a vote, too, and Blucher hones a "neat" system for making sure you can't do all the things you want to do in a turn. In fact, it's probably the best system I've yet come across for enforcing limitations of your headquarters on you. This is accomplished through the use of "momentum" where at the end of your turn you roll. The resulting roll equates roughly to the number of units your opponent can activate. The best part is, your opponent doesn't know what his momentum number will be from turn to turn as that is managed by the opposing player!
As Ken pointed out, it's nice because there are "quiet" portions of the battlefield where nothing is happening, more than likely until the Momentum allows you to activate them. Players will find themselves concentrating on a pivotal Corps or grouping that is important to their plan.
|Ken playing the Austrians - yours truly (moi?) playing the French.|
|Ken's laminated unit cards. Very nice and using wet erase markers to track unit status|
|Brigades of the I Corps moving into position to attempt to breakthrough in the vicinity of the Austrian left flank.|
|Ken schooled me with close combat - always better to attack with 2 units than one!|
|Ken's Austrian Brigades coming up to parry the French thrusts at their flank.|
|Ken put some of my Bavarians atop a base. They look good on there so imagine the entire table full of troop atop these bases!|
|After some combats.|
|Another gratuitous shot of my Eureka Bavarians!|
Thoughts on Blucher
Well I hope you can tell by now that I am a big fan of this game. If you're looking for big-level games that won't take forever and a day to play and you don't want to have to play Company, Battalion, Brigade, Division AND Corps Commander, then Blucher is most likely for you. I will go so far as to say it may go Volley and Bayonet "one better" in that it's more streamlined and probably plays faster when you have more experienced players on both sides. Ken had to talk me through some parts that are a slight departure from most mainstream rules but these are learned after a few turns (we are on turn 9 and I feel I have the basics covered now).
My recommendation to you is that if you want to fight entire battles and make big level decisions, then this game should be part of your collection.