Welcome to Marauder Moments - a chronicle of the Mortimer Street Marauders; the games we play, the rules we use, the figures we play with and the scenery they fight over. Hope you enjoy these pages and maybe call back to catch up with our escapades.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Action on the river Vissen 1813 - Part 1

As promised we are back with a Napoleonic battle report. I designed this scenario for maximum mayhem and escalation hopefully over three weeks building into an ever fluctuating series of challenges with big armies.

The premise of the game is an old one; nearly random forces arriving at nearly random points at nearly random times. This is the kind of thing I recall Donald Featherstone using for his solo games and also appearing in many of those Charles Grant scenario books which seem to have spawned an industry now!

The table was devised by me, I wanted a series of five or six on table deployment points which were either screened from each other by terrain or miles apart. I also wanted six entry points with roughly the same criteria. This was to be a very fluid game of movement and opportunity so it shouldn't be too cramped. Here's how it looked.      

Looking north. The white cards and beads are deployment areas and entry points. 

Looking south east - Blue beads on cards represent French forces - white beads on cards the allies. Simples. 

Looking south west. The main French strength appears to be in the north and north west.   

Looking north east this time over the main board.

Not too much scenery but lots of room to play in. 

Looking due north.

We had created an archive of typical Napoleonic brigades on post cards some weeks before. These represented nearly our entire collections and variations on those. I then added in wild cards like redoubts and pontoon trains for spice. Each side drew six cards and then began to consult a simple table to determine deployment or entry points. Those entering from the table edges rolled 1d6 minus 1 for their turn of arrival.

Next we put down the brigades beginning the game on the table around their deployment areas. Having seen what was where and knowing of the enemies entry points (if not arrival times and composition) the two C-in-C's went off to plan and plot.    

"The loneliness of command." 
Tony goes over the Allied orbats and maps again & again in search of inspiration.
Note: even his beer bottle is inching away from him, ominous portents...

The self satisfied gleaming smile of a man with a box full of winning plans.
Note: his beer bottle is inching towards him. 
Unusually this game was designed with no objective or victory conditions. The generals were aware only of the troops available and when plus the battlefield around them. What they made of it was up to them; so if a particular bridge was important to the plan it should be taken, likewise there was no merit in crowding into villages unless they actually mattered to the overall plan to deal with the enemy.    

Dawn reveals a Prussian cavalry brigade in the centre of the field.
24 Dragoons, 24 Uhlans, 24 Hussars and horse battery under Jurgass (the fool). 

A strong French infantry brigade in the central western sector.

Russians covering every angle towards the north end of the table.   

A small French brigade of elite and veteran in infantry at the central northern edge.  

French light cavalry brigade stranded miles behind enemy lines on the wrong side of the river and masses of Prussians just over the horizon! They saddle up and head east for the next bridge over the River Vissen. 

Bavarian and Wurtemburg Brigade in the central eastern sector, 5 x 36 plus 6lb foot battery.
The blue stone beyond the wood indicates an Allied entry point

The same formation looking west onto the main table. Russians and Prussians miles away.

Nothing here except this pretty scenery thingy I made!

Turn two.
The French lights and Bavarians made enormous march moves; the Bavarians bursting onto the scene east of the central village and the French light cavalry legging it towards the bridge in the top left corner easily escaping the heavier Prussian horsemen.
More French appear from the west to harass Tony on the centre.

Tony's Russians deploy determined and ready for anything,
except the French...

The big Prussian cavalry brigade reforms to cross the bridge with the Uhlans covering this dangerous moment.

Brandenburg Uhlans.
Caple models painted by Perry Pender and then expanded by Tony Laughton.
Pennants by GMB, based by me. Shakos highlighted by me.   

Deaths Head Hussars.
Caple models painted by Perry Pender and then expanded by Tony Laughton.
Based by me. Shakos highlighted by me. Dog by Citadel I think.   

Elements of the Bavarian brigade turn to face a new threat behind them....

....  a Russian brigade appears behind the Bavarians but fails to prevent the audacious escape of French light cavalry.

Another shot of Prussian cavalry sorting themselves out to cross the bridge - this took five turns and only one regiment was over in that time.

West Prussian Dragoons.
Caple models painted by Tony Laughton.
Based by me. Shakos highlighted by me. No dog.   

"Regardez vous les cuirassiers Saxe. C'est tres formidable!"
Things hot up as the brigade of two elite Saxon Cuirassiers arrive with veteran horse artillery.

Rich's French infantry climb the hill from the central western sector.
Victrix models painted by Barry Hill for Rich who based them, GMB flags. 

Rich's French crest the hill to see Tony's Russians below them.
Note a French light cavalry brigade appearing top left. 

French 9th Hussars and Lancers with horse battery preceded by...

... the 5th Hussars.
These late arrivers were well place to fall on the flank of Tony's increasingly exposed brigade. 

Tony's defense opened very well. The half battery of 12lb guns threw very well with canister against the French even injuring the general who was carried to the rear. 

Finally some Allied reinforcements arrive - top left.
Six battalions of Russian Grenadiers, elites and vets, this should be a game changer... unless the French have elite heavy cavalry, artillery and high quality infantry waiting for them.

This impressive Russian formation of Grenadiers is naturally by Tony.
Foundry models painted by him. Flags are rolled copper hand painted with Bicorne finials. 

A command vignette by Tony - fit to lead an elite formation.
This is excellent except the grassy bush in my opinion, sorry mate! 

Part of the reception committee for the Russian Grenadiers, Saxon veteran horse battery. 

Veteran and elite infantry support the Saxon cavalry blocking the Russian Grenadiers.

Saxon Garde de Corp - elite cuirassiers.
Perry plastics with glued on plumes from my collection.

Saxon Regiment von Zastrow - more elite cuirassiers.
Perry plastics with glued on plumes from my collection.

French legere from the reception committee.
Perry plastics by Barry Hill for my collection, they're not really greenish!

"Hi Mum!"
Foundry Bavarians from my collection, painted by either Tony Laughton or Nigel Cox.

Panning out a little.
Left, Bavarians setting up to cover the town and their rear.
Right, Rich's French moving in on Tony's isolated Russians centre right.
Centre rear my Prussian cavalry dicking about trying to cross the bridge. 
Here are my wrong footed Prussian cavalry crossing the bridge covered by Uhlans.
The horse battery is deploying to cover the northern bank.

Bavarian foot battery bombarding the Russian held village.
Foundry models painted by Nigel Cox for me, based by me. 

Piss head Bavarians.
This regiment is by Tony Laughton, GMB flags - all mine!

Tony comes under pressure but holds with some devastating defensive fire.
The skirmishing jaeger withdraw after achieving sod all!  

Speaking of "achieving sod all" here are my cavalry still crossing the bridge!!! Guns now deployed.
The emerging French lights are the very ones who escaped my clutches on turn one, they have ridden hell for leather over the easternmost bridge, past some Russian reinforcements and are now about to attack my bridgehead!!!
The shame of it all!  

These look like Warlord and Victrix models from Rich's collection.
Someone feels the need to blow a trumpet.

French light cavalry supported by horse artillery threaten Tony.
Painting - Perry plastic 5th Hussars by Tony Laughton, Elite Miniatures battery by their designer Pete Morbey.
All mine mine mine!      

Tony's Russian brigade bracing for impact.

French columns gather on the hilltop before their attack.

More Allied reinforcements, two Prussian batteries arrive to add some fire power.
Caple limber and caisson teams painted by Perry Pender for me.
Canon required for the limber.    

Right time - wrong place!
Another Russian infantry brigade arrives this time miles away from anything.
Note the Prussian limbers arriving on the left, just need to cross that bridge so join the queue gents.  

These are grizzled veterans from Tony's collection.
They are Foundry models from his Humbrol enamels period.
Check out the canon ball ploughed into the ground on the vignette. 

The same brigade with a half battery attached, "get marching to the sound of the guns boys."  

The noose tightens on the exposed Russian brigade, the square holds the hussars, phew.

French columns crash into the Russian jaeger in line, the battery has been cut down already.
The end is nigh. 

The town is occupied by the Allies.

The Death's Head hussars finally clear the bridge and form line. 

The French 3rd Hussars line out from column to take on their Prussian counterparts.  

Here's the next phase ready to kick off, West Prussian Dragoons now on the bridge.
My horse battery takes a pot shot at the French horsemen.   

So, we both have a general attached, the French carry a casualty and I am elite, he has support though.
You'll have to wait till next week to find out what happens, as will we.
Cliff-hanger or what? 
So we closed after five turns, not bad progress. Things are very disparate with troops still to arrive at a new set of entry points over the next five turns, thanks to Rich for extra randomness. Once again the forces are from randomly drawn cards so we have no idea of what's coming. Everyone seems pretty "up" about this game so something must be going well.

I hope you have enjoyed this so far, maybe you can comment or follow if you don't already, or both.
Call back for the next instalment soon.
Best wishes, JJ


  1. Can't wait for tomorrow, it's all gonna kick off, but I have a plan...

  2. Wow, lots of great pics! Interesting scenario. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Very entertaining read and a beatiful game. Look forward to the next instalment.

  4. Very nice yo see all the toys out on the field JJ. As always with great match-ups on the field, your match day commentary is highly entertaining. Look forward to the second half!

  5. Hi JJ, Big table, lots of great painted toys, what's not to love. I have fond memories of playing a few games like this with random set ups. It really works well with a big table and lots of troops

    1. Hi JJ, high praise indeed Sir. I am a frequent visitor to your Blog, Oporto looked amazing, a real labour of love, so your feedback is especially appreciated, thanks, JJ

  6. Loving the Prussian Cavalry if I say so myself! lol Like the game idea and table set up, random events really make the brain ache. Great way to get as many toys on the table as possible. Brilliant. Looking forward to part 2. Vive Napoleon!

    1. Hi Tony, there's no brain ache when I get to play with Prussian cavalry painted by you! Many thanks, looking forward to some more Portuguese now...

  7. Stunning! This is a great looking game, and a beautiful repoort...especially like the The loneliness of command pic, the Saxon Garde de Corp and this awesome table!

    1. Cheers Phil, those Saxons are my faves too and as for the "Loneliness" picture, sheer chance and an i-phone! Call back soon for part 3, JJ

  8. Catching up with this one. The game built really nicely. Wonderful photos and your entertaining commentary. Great stuff!

    1. Thanks James, you're very kind, JJ