Saturday, 24 June 2017

Battle of Kolin, 1757 - at Sgt. Steiner's

Another great group game with Brent Oman's Field of Battle rules at Steinahh's today. Great company, and these rules never disappoint.

An epic Seven Years War clash (the Battle of Kolin), with a couple of beautiful 15mm armies. These rules are a real hit for larger battles and bigger groups. It's worth repeating the benefits:

  •  Card driven, but not random, with cards directing the moves/firing/events, narrative and epic feel - your force can suffer morale checks, grand maneuver, bad luck on coordinating your vollies, brigades which don't quite do what you want them too, but with heroic commanders who pull off more than you could ever have hoped for! What's not to love.
  • Players are always engaged - with opposed rolling for coordinating movement and firing/defence against fire. It's not IGO/UGO, it's using the hand you are dealt to maximum effect.
  • Twists and turns aplenty. There is never a dull moment, yet the rules are quite intuitive (with a bit of guidance from our referee of course :)  )
  • This is not Piquet, but a variant thereof, which retains all of the good things and none of the gaps between high and low impetus/initiative rolls in the original.

To Battle!:

Strong Austrian force on the Prussian left, on the heights, though a weaker centre and right.

...something which the Austrians hastily seek to rectify.

In 1757, assaulting the heights cost Frederick dearly, ...we might've learned from his bitter experience.

 Troops and a cavalry reserve to dice with in the centre, as the initial assault goes in..

 On the right - a steady advance. There would be success here, while the Prussians struggled valiantly on the other flank.

 Looks peaceful...wait for it.

The Prussian left and centre engage in vicious musketry and melee

The right flank sees some advances, but the key to the battle will be holding back what has become an Austrian assault... on the left

 ...straight off the hill in an attempt to break the Prussians.
Richard goes for the throat on the Prussian left!!!

A valiant struggle on the right, as the Austrians fight on - despite routs and 'flukey' die rolls for those muskets.

Prussian cavalry reserve committed to the right. It's all or nothing. 

Slowly, the right weakens, the left and centre hold.
The Prussians reached army exhaustion, but passed a morale roll. They were able to keep fighting until the Austrians reached their own exhaustion - but the Prussians recovered. It was too late for the Austrian army now...

Great game - and the narrative saw:

  • Desperate holding actions
  • Gambles and attacks which only just worked
  • Heroic defences
  • Routing in the face of the enemy when least expected
  • Death of commanders - and several risky moments for them
  • A system which helps the narrative, not hinders it
  • Every player is engaged - it's exhausting.

You don't see that in a game of Black Powder when you curse at the arbitrary randomness of the command roll, which has stopped your brigade moving for the last 3 turns...right?


  1. Excellent looking game Darren. You cant beat the look of a massed SYW battle! I loved the pic of the grenadier assault going in.

    1. It was epic! We thought we had lost at one stage, then started to claw back some gains on the flank, building our morale back (there's a great mechanism for this with the Army Morale card, which works a little like V&B division exhaustion, but much more smoothly).

      Just after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...we snatched a close victory back again as the Austrians called it a day...tense

  2. Was great to get a game in and glad the scenario worked as well as it did. Just love the narrative style games of FOB and with plenty of action and excitement throughout.

  3. Sounds great, a nice period and a nice looking game!

    1. Thanks Phil. An epic game as usual - and finding more love for the SYW.

  4. Great looking game guys, i have often thought about checking out some syw rules to convert to fantasy gaming, do you think think these would work?

    1. There is a fantasy version of Piquet called 'Hostile Realms' (with epic Relic/Magic Item cards no less), though it does borrow some elements from Field of Battle. There is also an ancients version called Pulse of Battle.

      Lancashire Games stock both.

      I reckon that somewhere in between there is a dark 'R.E.Howard esque' fantasy version bursting to get out. I've put it on the 'project' list.

    2. I'll be looking at Pulse of Battle at some stage, and there might be a simple way to port in the lements from Hostile Realms. Definitely worth considering buying withe FoB or PoB - though the ancients version is a little restricted to Punic Wars.

      Very easily hacked though so FoB might be a good starting point.

    3. POB covers Early Biblical up to Late Roman periods :-)

  5. Beautiful game, must have been great fun. Totally agree about the command system in BP.

    1. Cheers George. I can see why people like it. It's got that traditional and popular design ethos, but I like to have resources to manage - be they large or small, restrictive or making you think like a General, such that I can always do 'something' that drives toward the objective. BP doesn't really do this, in that an arbitrary dice roll says what you can move this turn. Granted, there's a higher roll for better command etc. , but it sounds like an excuse to tack a command system onto warhammer-esque traditional rules. Naah!

    2. With FoB, there's no strict turn sequence, and you're running off a sequence of cards dependent on your command roll. That allows you to take your pick from the 'fog of war' style hand of cards you're dealt, and there can be 'lulls' and interruptions from the opponent. Most of the time you can pick your plan from the mess of war, but that's a lot more like a battle writeup than a BP command roll, to me at least.

    3. Darren,
      Have you tried any of the Lardies' Horse & Musket rules? "Le Feu Sacre" comes to mind. Card driven movement by brigade command.

    4. I've seen the old version, but you have definitely piqued my interest in the newer set now :)

    5. There's also a WWII version of Field of Battle by the way, with units as companies - and I've had an idea about using it for Vietnam: Operation Pegasus, relief of the marines at Khe Sanh - I think it would work well...(and yes, I know that the marines at Khe Sanh didn't need the help of any Air Cav cowboys mate, I know...I know ;) )

  6. Darren, very fine looking game! I have yet to see a Prussian victory after four personal attempts. Kolin was on my game table this weekend as well.

    1. Thanks Jonathan. We had some luck on our side (as well as the great figures and layout), though choosing to avoid an assault on the the high ground was a godsend in some ways, yet could have cost us dearly. That's the joy of wargaming though.

    2. Are you putting up some pics of your finished game? The setup looks fabulous.

    3. Yes, I have a brief BatRep in work. Well, it will be in work when I actually start it! Glad you liked the setup.

      We take a different approach to modeling a battlefield. That is one of the things that makes it so interesting. Everyone can embolden their own creativity and produce the game they enjoy or for which they hold the resources.

  7. Lovely looking game, I'll probably stick to BP as it takes me an age to change over and learn new rules!
    Best Iain