Saturday, 24 March 2018

MORE FoB: Montmirail 1814...(un)Lucky Hat vs Dice Demon and Tricky Dicky's Hard Chargin'

Another great FoB game at the Sgt's, where I sadly let the spirit of Napoleon's Old/Mid guard down. Oh well.
Still a fresh system, even after a number of plays - always giving great narrative and new lessons to learn (push those columns through dammit!)...

 I ended up sacrificing too much of our Army morale trying to turn the Russian flank, leaving the glory of my fellow general's cavalry charges (where superior French cavalry dominated the field) an empty vessel, as we had lost the initiative and esprit de corps through a badly timed assault from the Guard.  (You don't get a narrative like that with other rulesets...well, you do, but you have to work at it!)

The centre left. Lots of defending Russians, but superior French guard.

 The French left...accurate Russian artillery...I can take it! (?)

Hmmm...a little stalling of the old Guard in the centre.

 Cavalry starts to mass on the right.

The centre become a meatgrinder for the old Guard.

 Cavalry starts to dominate the right.


 ...left and centre become French holding actions, the Russians starting to push the flank backward.

 The glory was the French cavalry's (and the Russian infantry's)...but by game end and the Army morale roll, the French were handing away morale such that we could never hope to win back the initiative...some lessons to learn.

Another great game, with unpredictable results and a sequence of events that tells a realistic story of events in a battle, and finished in 4 hours. This is wargaming!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

MIght & Reason - Marlburian Action (aka Berwick's St. Patrick's Day Balls)

An excellent game played with Sgt. Steiner today. As always, great hospitality, rules and figures.

Might & Reason is one of Sam Mustafa's earlier sets, but you can already see the nucleus of Maurice and Blucher in some of the rules.

The focus here is on linear Marlburian warfare (with the Sun King expansion - the main game is aimed at 7YW) so the command dice, which allow a focus on activating key forces on the battlefield and thus avoiding staid tactics, really ignite the play - since, as ever, the ability to use them is finite and they have to be carefully managed.

There were a number of times when we were looking for command dice to help activation or a re-roll, and we had simply run out. Experience with the rules might help with rationing these, but I found myself wondering where I might influence the battle most, whilst trying to reason where I could hold back the enemy: a sign of a good ruleset. As with Maurice, you find yourself focusing on key things you want to accomplish, but you can't do everything - but the activation mechanism is very different - perhaps even better, as you're not relying on a card draw.

 A slightly different mindset and dynamic in comparison with Field of Battle too, but very much a 'big battle' set and focused on finding gaps in the line and exploiting them. Off the cuff tactics and attacking style can work in FoB. You have to be very careful with that sort of rash 'flank risking' play style here.

In the event, we found our flanks crumbling, whilst trying to shore up the gaps, and finding weaknesses in the enemy centre.

A lot of caution with these rules, and playing for time, and you do feel like the typical Marlburian commander, waiting for a break almost, whilst ensuring that you keep a reserve.

(I should also point to the fact the the French reserve, in the shape of Rohan's brigade, managed to spend the entire game shuffling from side to side, without ever being committed - they shall now be known as the 'Tallard's Formation Dance Team').

 View from the French lines.

The French right - which would become a hotly contested cavalry action.

Command dice placed to enable smoother activation...ration these! 

The French left - another cavalry action brewing.
 Early French attacks on the right through a bottleneck between town and river, were driven back, with Berwick finding his resolve in later actions.

...while the French left flank took a battering

The centre was being reinforced, and slowly pushing forward, with the reserve wondering what to do with itself.

The musketry phase - batches of 5-6 d6 which is a hallmark of firing in Sam's rules, and feels just right.

Berwick takes charge - personally leading 3 charges, and putting himself in considerable danger. I had to use all of my dice rolling skills to keep him alive ;)    I was mulling over the difference between 'valiant', reckless and just plain stoopid...and he did get called some less than affectionate names a few times for not activating ...ahem...

 Imperial troops moving to reinforce the centre as the French achieve some uncannily accurate small arms fire. Oh, and their artillery isn't half bad either.

Casualties were mounting as the large exchange of musketry and charging in the centre began to take its toll on army morale on both sides.

The French finally make gains in the centre...

...while just about holding their weak left.

Tallard's Formation Dance Team...who succeeded in moving the left...then right...then left again, depending on where the action was hottest, yet ultimately accomplishing bugger all.

 The attack in the centre...finally breaks the Imperial spirit, but it was very much touch and go, and a close run thing. (Truth be told, the Imperial troops should have had an initiative bonus which we missed).

 Berwick manages to secure the French right, enabling the thrust in the centre. Patience...patience...

Good old Berwick...young fella saved the day in the end. (Though I did call him all sorts of names for letting me down a couple of times ...ahem...) It must've raised a cheer back at St. Germain.