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.


  1. Wonderful looking game and the mechanics sound very interesting.
    A St Patricks Day treat.

    1. Thanks Jack. I have the advantage that Sgt Steiner is an avid collector/player of rules and makes thing go so smoothly, combined with his excellent table and figures.
      I'd still be looking things up in the table of contents...and scratching my head.

  2. Excellent report as always Darren. Love the action. I own M&R but truth be told have never once played it. Your report makes me want to give them a spin. I have the troops for a modest SYW battle so Lobositz is calling!

    1. Thanks Steve - it works very well. I believe that you can get away with a unit being made up from two stands - so you can get a large number of units on the table. The idea is to play large battles - so one unit could be a brigade / 4 battalions - and battles like Kolin are achievable. We tried it here with the Sun King expansion for late 17th early 18th century - but it's designed for 7yw so should work well for you.

      As it's older, you can see some of the thought patterns that Sam had in mind when developing Maurice and Blucher.

  3. Looks great, beautifuk pictures on an impressive terrain!

    1. Thanks Phil. Those 10mm figures look great - especially based in full units as they are.

  4. Nice looking game and lovely to see the 10mm being given a spin. Impressive how Gary manages to hold all of his rule sets in his head.

  5. Great looking action and the rules sound good, i like the idea of representing command through dice (but am far too lazy to attempt such a system myself!), the rules look like they capture the scale of the battle very well.

    1. Cheers mate. It's a nice mechanism and stops the player doing everything at once. It certainly creates a narrative which reads like a real battle, and you can be let down by certain commanders, then they come back and save your ass. :)

  6. Fab looking game! I never did try M&R although was tempted at one time to pick up a copy of the rules. Did try Maurice only once and it was ok. Probably should have given Maurice more of a work-out. We seem to have settled upon Honours of War as our Go-To SYW ruels for now.

    1. Thanks Jonathan. So many rulesets, so little time!
      There are so many variants now that I guess each group can find its own vibe - and finding that 'best placed' set is half the fun.