There are a lot of changes from ESR Second Edition to ESR Series 3 if you just look at the raw count of revisions, but if you consider the focus of Et sans résultat!, you’ll find very little has changed.
The Sequence of Play
ESR Series 3 tweaks the sequence of play from ESR Second Edition. The Command Phase is still first and has all the same steps, Movement and Artillery & Skirmishing got married… and in doing so, some of the furniture was rearranged, with Leader Fate moving over to the Combat Phase and the Status & Recovery Steps now sharing a room with Threat (previously: Combat Resolution). But don’t worry, you’re going to find your way around the new house, I mean… sequence of play… just fine.
The Command Phase
Command is still the decision phase of ESR.
Command remains the largest section of ESR Series 3 and the biggest focus of game play. While we touched most (all?) Objectives, Directives, and Leader Actions in our revision process, very few of them have substantial changes from ESR Second Edition. If you walk up to an ESR Series 3 game and jump in, you’ll find Objectives, Directives, and Leader Actions work fundamentally the same and with a couple tweaks, additions, and combinations, you have the same options that you did in previous editions.
The mechanic for performing Command Tests is the same, though the modifier table has been streamlined and the results are now read from your modified die result instead of having a dedicated table.
The Movement and Artillery & Skirmishing Phases
Movement is still the execution phase of ESR.
Movement and Artillery & Skirmishing were effectively combined – and no doubt, that is a notable change, but what they each did in ESR Second Edition remains what the Movement Phase does in ESR Series 3. This is still where you conduct nearly all of your movement and deployment. The method of conducting movement was tightened up around the Regulating Unit mechanic, but if you show up to an ESR Series 3 game having only played ESR Second Edition, you’re just going to find you have a little more guidance and a little more flexibility.
The Threat Assessment Step – which is where Artillery & Skirmishing was folded into Movement – is still where all the ranged combat is addressed, and the mechanic for it is conceptually the same, though more simplistic to execute.
The Combat Phase
Combat is still the results phase of ESR.
As an ESR Second Edition player, you’re going to notice a big change in the Combat Phase – namely, we completely replaced the Combat Resolution mechanic. So, you know, not exactly just a new coat of paint. However, the role that Combat plays in ESR Series 3, like Command and Movement, remains the same. Combat still isn’t a decision point for the player, in fact it is even more results focused than it was in ESR Second Edition.
The new Threat Assessment mechanic may appear foreign while also familiar – that’s because it was largely inspired by ESR Second Edition’s Artillery & Skirmishing mechanic – so while you might find yourself wondering, “Wait, what is that doing in the Combat Phase?” you also won’t be walking into it flat footed to how it works or what it does.
There are several concepts that span across phases of the turn instead of living completely inside one, and we’ve taken great pains to ensure we didn’t negatively change any of them.
The biggest has to be Fatigue. It has been tweaked: Players don’t need to track [potentially] three classes of Fatigue any more, only one, but otherwise you’ll find Fatigue works pretty much the same as before. As an ESR Second Edition player you’re going to correctly expect that as Fatigue mounts in ESR Series 3 a Formation’s command-responsiveness will degrade, and its combat prowess, and eventually the Formation may involuntarily disengage.
What you may be happy to find is that in ESR Series 3 Fatigue is a bit easier to recover and its impact on a Formation is more proportional to the Formation’s size and command competency.
As an ESR Second Edition player you didn’t know the term Cohesion before, but it was effectively there. The tolerance of one of your Formations to take Fatigue was always linked back to the number of deployed Units. Now, as Cohesion has been formalized, the Fatigue tolerance of a Formation can be linked to both its size and its quality. Effectively, what was an inference has been made explicit, so if you understood the relationship between deployment and Fatigue before, ESR Series 3 should give you yet more insight into how to best manage your Formations.