My game design was flawed & our gameplay left much to be desired. This is not to take anything away from Chris & Russian Tony who played a blinder. Chris held out against some serious pressure from Ney with his Prussians whilst Russian Tony took the hilly wooded sector, held in the centre then counter attacked clearing the French from the field entirely. The Old Guard had to be moved up to prevent a total rout here whilst the Young & Middle Guard were diverted to help out just when they were required to exploit the break through against Blucher. The french heavies never even fought. To describe it as a disaster is an understatement.
None of this detracted at all from my enjoyment of the game - it really was like being in a piece of unfolding theatre & the boys were excellent company as usual, many thanks to my fellow Marauders.
In other news.
We are experimenting with a new work in progress rule-set. General d'Armee is essentially a Big battle version of General de Brigade also by Dave Brown. Initial games have been very interesting & seem to rattle through in about half the time the same game would previously. I'll knock up a report for you at some point but obviously can't divulge too much detail as these are very much in development. Needless to say we're chuffed to be asked to help out with these as they coalesce. It looks & feels just right which is a damned good start if you ask me. Below are some pics from a test game of General d'Armee, enjoy.
|French cavalry on the right wing.|
|French cavalry brigade comprising Dragoons, lancers & accompanying horse battery.|
|French light cavalry brigade comprising Hussars, these are the 3rd, 5th & 9th.|
|French horse battery. Elite Miniature painted by proprietor Pete Morbey. He has just supplied some more Peninsular batteries for me too, but that's another post.|
|An Italian brigade with artillery deployed up front softening up the enemy prior to advancing.|
|French allied heavy cavalry brigade. Westphalian & Saxon cuirassiers with accompanying horse battery.|
|Bavarian brigade with attached Italian & Wurtemburg battalions & deployed battery.|
|Two Russian infantry brigades with half hussar regiments screening.|
|Russian command vignette & good detail shot of the great coated lads. |
These are Foundry painted by Russian Tony, I don't suppose that chap's just napping... poor sod.
|French allied infantry about the get a face full of Russian canister.|
From left to right; Neuchatel Battalion, Chasseurs de Corse, Neopolitan Guards.
|A new unit joins Russian Tony's army. These are Mounted Chasseurs, I forget which regiment, soz!|
As usual these are Foundry models painted by Tony. Note the converted officer - brilliant.
|Zooming in on the last shot.|
|The maniac Seivers, a great model.|
|Russian infantry brigade huddling behind their battery as the French cavalry approach.|
|The lines close.|
|The Polish brigade moves forward.|
|The Bavarian infantry brigade drives back the Russians as the German heavies turn their flank.|
On the left the lead squadrons of Russian supporting cavalry enter the field.
|An unseemly grasp for factors.|
|It's curtains for the Russian right as they are overwhelmed.|
|Our shiny new Dragoons are out classed by Russian hussars - oh dear!|
This always happens with new units doesn't it.
|The Novgorod Cuirassiers liquidate the fellas from Neuchatel. |
Berthier will be disappointed.
|Duka leads the Starodub Cuirassiers on a hunting mission.|
|Duka finds a rather juicy target but fails to close - T.F.F.T.|
|The Russian right ceases to exist & the attack rolls onto exploit the Russian rear areas.|
|General advance in the French centre as the gallant Russians concede.|
So what do we make of these rules? Excellent start to be honest. This game featured approx 50 units per side split into 10 brigades per side. Usually our games with c. 100 units in play takes weeks & about 25 to 40 turns of General de Brigade for four of us to conclude, we polished this off in two sittings playing either 9 or 11 turns, I forget. Sure we have stretched GdeB beyond what was designed for but they give a superb game in my view. This new, derivative, version is designed for Corps to Army level play & has a totally different feel. The decision making process is based at a higher level with an emphasis on "having a plan"! The command & control structure is made at a higher level where one orders brigades via ADCs and watch them do as they're told or otherwise. This is a simple elegant & engaging process - it is not just allocating pips or action points which is dry & somewhat hackneyed.
There is room for individual battalions to act on some initiative but the whole brigade based feel promotes cohesive brigade based deployment & internal mutual support. This looks & feels as if using historical tactics works best, so it gets my vote.
The outcomes of decision points are usually decisive so brigades are successful sweeping forward, repulsed & thrown back or similar. The feel is of dramatic actions ebbing & flowing across the battlefield. Precisely what I love about big Napoleonic affairs.
We'll stick with these for big games but revert to GdeB for Peninsular & smaller continental actions such as the following...
French Tony's campaign has produced its first battle. The attempted relief of the Fortress of Passau was a game you could never invent as a scenario, it was simply too unlikely and the scenery too crazed for a "normal" wargame. French Tony promises me a write up, until then here are some pictures.
|The Bavarian garrison is besieged in Passau by an Austrian Advance Guard.|
Nobody noticed there are no doors to the fortress though
|Much of the area is forested restricting movement for both sides.|
Here Austrians march to intercept the Bavarian relief column.
|The Bavarian relief column arrives.|
|Austrian artillery takes pot shots at defenders although 6lb won't do much harm.|
|Bavarian looters in Passau.|
|Austrian cavalry seal off the approach road to the fortress.|
|We need more trees.|
|These vignette thingies need some work really. We're getting there but they're not a priority when there are regiments, battalions & batteries to paint.|
|Austrians on the move.|
|The Bavarians top centre have a mountain to climb!|
|Can't see the wood for the trees.|
|Tony making campaign notes for the article he'll never write ;)|
|Austrians emerge on the flank of the Bavarian who deploy a battery & Wurtemburg battalion to cover them.|
|Bavarians & attached Poles take pot shots at the blocking Austrian cavalry astride the road.|
|Front Rank Bavarian top brass painted by Nigel Cox - should he replace Herr Grumpy - is a poll in order!|
|Front Rank Austro brass this time painted by Tony Laughton for Chris collection.|
|Foundry Austrian top brass also painted by Tony Laughton for Chris.|
|Polish battery by Murawski Minis painted by Barry Hill - hi mate!|
|This can't end well...|
|The relief column deployed to attack.|
|Hammer versus nut?|
|Then another Austrian formation appears behind the Bavarian/Polish relief column - balls!|
This is exactly what the campaign was designed to do, create one-off interesting battles within a narrative and consequences beyond the tabletop action - this game delivered all in buckets.
"Attack!" The Devizes show 2016
This is our local show so we trot along every year. To be honest much is the same at Attack year on year, same traders, same products, a few stand out games & a smell of unwashed middle aged men, I don't miss those Sunday morning competition games in ventilated halls - uurgh! It's a great day out and we always catch up with various reprobates from our pasts - Rob Broom for instance.
Someone criticised our scenery on a forum which made me think a bit so we will upgrade a few bits.
Last Valley were there so we spanked £100 on more trees & some better marshes.
We bought a top notch printed gaming mat over 14ft x 6ft so no more seams in pics & a visible texture underfoot. That was £200 post free though.
Playing these massive Napoleonic set pieces requires moving stacks of models, even based on elements this is time consuming. To speed up play we now have movement trays for well over 100 battalions, these are in three sizes to accommodate 32, 36 & 48 man strong battalions.
These are all worthwhile club investments in our view. Keep an eye out for them in future posts.
That's it from me, off to walk the dog in the summer rain by the sea.
Catch up soon,