Sunday, 11 March 2012

Cue... Der Alte' Dessauer

{Great Prussian military march, by the way.}
Lots of things going on this weekend at the Hamilton Road Gaming Group. One large group at a table playing Shadowrun (cyber-fantasy RPG), a small group at another table playing A Sky Full of Ships (ship-to-ship combat in deep space), and at a third table Warfare in the Age of Reason, the game I was in on. For those not so familar, it's a Seven Year's War "big battalion" game. Andy and his son, Steven pushed Prussians {18 bn infantry, including 2 grenadiers and 2 British Highlander, 3 regiments of heavy horse, and 6 guns, medium and heavy.} My son, Robby and I commanded the French {18 bn infantry, including 2 grenadiers, 4 of heavy horse, and 6 guns, split heavy and medium.} Andy and Steven were familiar with the rules. I'd played them once before, while Robby was a tyro at this... but he picked it up VERY quickly. Both sides were set into 3 brigades of infantry. each player taking a brigade and a half. Rob and I split one brigade, while our worthy opponents handed troops off to each other. The terrain showed two villages, two bridges, a large hill, and a long grove of trees. Initiative was done by playing card.

This is the initial deployment, seen through photos by Andy and myself.

My brigade, including two battalions of the Grenadiers de France.

Steven watches an early move as both sides begin to deploy.

The Prussians seemed to have better access to the initiative and a better plan. Well, let's just say they had a plan... which Rob and I didn't. They were to get victory point for taking the town and the hill on our side of the board. We were to get point for taking their town and the bridges. Steven and I cautiously approached each other, exchanging artillery fire. My heavy gun's crew fell back under the strain. The rules require you to get in each other's eyes to exchange musketry; Steven came on while I held back. I was in a tighter area, between the river and the town, so my brigade frontage was narrower and deeper.
Steven's brigade facing me. The Highlanders were included 'cause he wanted
them. The cavalry were Bavarian dragoons borrowed from my wife's
KoenigKrieg army.

A view of my brigade from the Prussian viewpoint. The village in the rear is
mostly paper models houses from a WarMaster website. Cheap, available,
and colourful - my favourite criteria!

Steven's Highlander begin to menace my troops. For some reason, our rolls
for musketry for both armies were wretched. We said it must have rained
and the powder was wet. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Rob and Andy did about the same thing, although Rob charged Andy's Highlanders with his one cavalry unit. Cavalry charging an intact unit from the front - you can imagine the outcome. They hit home and then recoiled and fell back.

En Advant! It looks better than it was. At least they hit home.
The yellow thing is a 'casualty cap'. More were to show up soon.

On my end, Steven and I exchanged cavalry charges and I got the short end of the stick. One unit bounced back and hid in the town. The other was caught in the flank while performing a manoeuvre I felt was necessary. (I never called myself a brilliant general.)

Oh, the pain! Steven's heavy cavalry catch mine in mid-manoeuvre.

My heavies in the process of being chased off the board. The yellow pipe
cleaner designates broken. Blue means disordered. Red means routed!

In the center, Rob asked me to sit on the hill with my three battalions and one gun to keep hold of the objective. He took his half brigade and faced off Andy's troops. It was a see-saw affair at best. My gun sniped at Steven's grenadiers.

Our split brigade, including two Wild Geese battalions.

How the Prussians saw them.

Looking down the hill from Regiment Buckley's vantage as the Prussians
came forward. Oh, I like the Wild Geese!

Steven and I kept exchanging musketry until one of my units broke. My grenadiers kept the cavalry at bay and their presence at the edge of the village was enough to keep Steven's cavalry from claiming the objective. (Cheesy? Maybe... but the game was friendly and we both called it as we saw it. I'll call it Poutine.) As the curfew fell, we all agreed that it was a marginal Prussian win and the French would be allowed to leave the field in good order without pursuit. (Did I make that up? Maybe. More grilled cheese, m'lord?) The Prussians did more damage to Rob and I but none of us grabbed objectives, with the exception of the grove of trees with had Prussian grenadiers camped in it, although my one battalion of Whitecoats might disagree.
Some random photos:

The French right flank scrambles to hold it together.

An early game shot of Steven's Prussian left moving into position.

The Gardes Lorraine and a disrupted heavy gun contend with Prussian
fusiliers. These French were the second rank. The first rank of troops were
cut up by musketry and fell back.

More Prussian fusiliers come on in a warlike manner. This was the first time
Andy had fielded his Prussians; they didn't suffer from the usual "New Unit
Curse" gamers know so well.

Prussian Grenadiers who deserve their fearsome reputation.

Andy's Prussian right flank face Rob's French left. This was before the
cavalry charge I believe.

Rob's cavalry and infantry advance early in the game.

Notes to no one in particular:
  1. I enjoy AoR, but I'll leave it to Andy to set up the troops. My SYW troops are based for KoenigKrieg. (Russians, Swedes, some Saxons and Reichsarmee, my wife's Bavarians, Prussians and Austrians on the blocks)
  2. Andy uses a varient of AoR which doubles the battalion size. It has true visual appeal.
  3. Artillery is really vulnerable to enemy fire. I wonder if there is some way to remedy this... or maybe I'm just playing that badly.
  4. Aggressive play is rewarded since you need to be eyeball-to-eyeball to engage in musketry. Just don't charge too soon. (I did that the last time with some Hanoverians.) The bayonet is best reserved for chasing troops who are running anyway, or so it seems to me.
  5. I wonder how light troops fare in this rule set. Cavalry isn't easy to handle either. Again it could be me.
  6. I got to play! Always a good thing!
Since it's March Break for the boy, we plan an ACW game (Mr. Lincoln's War) during the week. Watch the blog. Next week at the HRGG, 15mm Ancients hosted by Martin.