Sunday, 28 February 2016

Steiner & le Duc...and Blucher

I've been trying to get a Blucher game sorted out, so Sgt. Steiner kindly organised one in order to show me the ropes. I've been itching to try this, hoping that Sam's Napoleonic rules are as good as Maurice. I wasn't disappointed.

So the scale is grand tactical, in similar fashion to Volley & Bayonet, and there are some similarities with V&B and Maurice, though I'm guessing that some remnants of Grande Armee might also be in there.

Highlights included:

  •  Watch your deployment! If you don't have room to swing or pivot that brigade footprint, you're out of luck. The scale make brigade deployment and movement a delicate thing.
  • Nice reduction of artillery effectiveness, and of course army morale effects.
  • Everything is quite straightforward re. fighting and melee. The masterstroke is learning when/how to commit reserves.I mentioned epic defence in my last game of Maurice...I kind of got carried away and tried to carry the attack from a defensive position here (unsuccessfully I might add)...en avant mes amis!!!...pour la Gloire?
  • The momentum rules work beautifully. The opposing player knows how many 'moves' you have left, as he has rolled them. You don' you never know just how much further you can push.
  • This game is difficult in the right way! Rules are straightforward, but mastering the battlefield is difficult. You start to think like a Napoleonic commander in effect. It's less resource management, as in Maurice, and more attrition management - so knowing when and where to commit the reserve is critical.
There's a lot of flexibility in terms of basing convention. Something for me to think about for my 20mm perhaps.

Forces arrayed, with cards for unspotted units. This works well, though there weren't many surprises as the game went on.

Strong Prussian left and decent French centre.

 La Garde Imperiale goes nuts in the centre...what was I thinking?

The cavalry action on the French right became more desperate as the battle went on; well, there was an objective to defend!

Near the end, the French centre is crumbling, though the left is secure (since they were effectively held in reserve, but for too long) - yet those French troops are too far away to do anything on the crumbling right.

 Dodgy little move on the French left with light cavalry  stumbling through the woods to the Prussian rear...well, almost.

 The battlefield at game end. Too many French attacks, when they should have stayed put perhaps.

Blucher is a great system. Just the right level of detail, friction, chaos and still retaining the 'big battle' feel. The Scharnhorst campaign system probably adds to that chaos, and allows you to march to the 'sound of the guns' (then arrive at the wrong time). Great stuff here.

We also had some discussion on Crossfire for WWII. It's been gathering dust on my shelf for 20 years. Perhaps worth looking at in order to solve my WWII concerns for lower level games (see SLiM discussion last time)...and then I started looking at the Crossfire yahoo group, with its modern and Vietnam variants, and files started to get copied and...well, another set of rules won't make any difference now, will it ?...sigh... 

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Game 38 - Brandywine (again!)

After a few false starts (one of which will be making me extol the virtues of Squad Leader over most other WWII rules fairly soon - watch this space - because I'm returning to Squad Leader in Miniature or one of Steve's variants - nothing else works for me...rant...rant)...we eventually got a game in.

Maurice of course, with the Brandywine scenario from the rule book (roughly, as I played about with some of the fords and had to use 3 base instead of 4 base units due to lack of figures painted).

What a game. I think I've finally learned how to defend!!! Pull back out of range when required (stay away from units which haven't taken 2x DISRs and cannister range), waste the attacker's resources as much as possible and wait for night (burn that card deck down as much as you can) and threaten the flanks, even if it means doing nothing (sneaky units can sit in the right place for the entire game and 'worry' an infantry flank - and send your opponent's focus elsewhere - which is the essence of defence).

Very tense, and as usual with Maurice of course, the action was focused on a few key areas, though here we noticed it did tend to move about more than in our other games, i.e. it concentrated on the fords and the delaying action on the flank. The greater focus actually was on the fords, rather than the flanking action, which made it more difficult for the British today I think.

It should also be noted that we had an exact turnaround in comparison with our version of Brandywine played with Volley & Bayonet in October. It could be random of course ;)

British units moving across the river to their historical flanking position.

The British centre, which would be the focus of ford crossing attempts...which would have been less than diversionary if they had broken through.

American view on their right flank.

Hessians fording on the American left.

American move to secure the right as British make tentative moves, though some pesky American horse is floating about.

British bombard actions in the centre.

View of the as the Hessians attack across the ford. Maurice 'movement near the enemy' is a great rule here (well, for the defender anyway).

A charge is pushed back - with devastating effect.

Maurice has a tendency to find random pieces of difficult terrain, unsuspectingly, right in the way of the elite unit's advance...strange that ;)

 Deadly musket duels at the ford crossings. the British attack on the American right goes in, in earnest. (That church is Dilworth of course).

 ...but the British simply ran out of steam. A few well placed cards had eroded their morale, but the Americans chose so many 'rally' actions, and placed so much fire on the key assaults, that the British units were simply worn down, without getting a chance to rally and having to push the assault home. A real comparative analysis required between this game and what we got from Volley and Bayonet with the same battle. Both very enjoyable, but in different ways.

Still a great game, covering a great period and still tense - sound resource management, simple systems and tense interaction with just right amount of 'friction'. (Since everyone is jumping on the bloody 'friction' bandwagon right now...*sigh*...more to follow on this and why I'm going back to Squad Leader for WWII soon...I know, two periods in one blog's a pic to confuse things further):