Monday, May 02, 2011

Die Fighting SYW action

Played anticipated Seven Years War game today using my Russian versus Stephen's Prussians using Die Fighting rules which we have been itching to try again after last outing with Napoleonic types. I set up the table last night, using scenario and terrain generation system from Command Piquet set which generated fairly plausible terrain and gave Prussian ability to deploy forward (ie up to 24" rather than 12") in two central sectors.

Table in calm before storm mode

Using Die Fighting I used 24 units of Ivans generating a basic 330 dice and told Stephen to bring 280  dice worth of Prussians as they have so many advantages within the rule system (massively better Command and Unit quality plus easier movement and loads of re-roll options). I gave him 2 objectives in my deployment zone and allowed him to select 50 bonus dice between them (with min of 10 on any one). I deployed first (2 Cmds to his one per deployment phase). With my poor quality I had a CiC and 5 sub commanders  for my 24 units whereas Prussians had a CiC plus a whopping 9 sub commanders for his 20 units !! My leader quality rolls (at -2) yielded an average CiC, 1 headstrong, 1 average and 3 Inept Commanders. By chance (ie you roll for ability after dividing army into 'brigades') my 3 infantry brigades had the 3 inept blokes. Prussians (with +2) had mostly Superior or Dependable types with 1 headstrong and 1 average. In short he generated 40 command dice to my paltry 13.  Random unit quality and dice adjustment went quite well for me with several crack units only 1 poor (this was lucky) and most average but generating an positive dice bonus to leave me with 360 dice to start. Prussians mostly crack or average and final dice total of 300. Russians used fixed phasing system, the Prussians a more flexible play 2 cards of choice version.

Russians deployed in full as Prussians complete theirs.


Game then got underway and we found Prussians to be as expected rather good at moving with command dice being highly useful. In this period one can use two resource dice but only highest counts plus any additional free or command dice. This also applies to shooting and melee dice which to be honest we found a tad odd (not sure that musketry in SYW was any worse than in later periods ?) especially as in melee it meant that heavy cavalry are rather potent as the get 2 free dice (but only 1 in Napoleonic period ?) in addition to any command dice. Conversely the 'defender' only get best of 2 resource dice and cant use command dice (very few free dice available). This meant that any heavy cavalry (of which there is quite a lot in period) throws effectively 4-5 dice versus 1 effective. So usually defender could score max 6 vs often a score of 20 plus (especially after re-rolls etc). This lead to 'I charge your front line and chase them off' followed by 'your second line charges and chases mine' and so on. Once they charge the cavalry are blown requiring rally  and subject to shooting which can cause disorder (again Prussians had ascendancy with extra command dice to rally off blown/disorder).
The lack of individual unit attrition or destruction more evident in this game as all the big hits only effect the overall army dice total. A somewhat abstract bloodless method as give unit 20 hits it still jusy retires 20" then can come back to fray.
That said after a couple of charges both sides cavalry were in disarray (but Prussians more likely to re-cover and re-organize). Russians pretty much had to sit and watch from deployed positions which whilst historical to a degree is rather less satisfying from gaming point of view.
Ran out of game time as Prussians looked like turning Russian right (so many blown or disordered cavalry) but Russians still had nearly 250 dice so a long way from defeat.
We both think Die Fighting is very slick system with excellent command and control methods easy movement but found combat system today a bit lacking and not really having 'feel' of SYW period we were expecting/looking for.
The bloodless nature of the fighting is a problem for us I fear.

Prussian centre

Prussian right 

Two immobile Russian Infantry Brigades

 Prussian Grenadiers deploy forward

The back and forth on Russian right with cavalry

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