Thursday, May 17, 2012

Maurice a 'proper' game

Played another game of Maurice today versus Stephen using my SYW Russians vs his Prussians.
Used the Army Builder system with two 100 point armies.
I fielded 17 units (1 Conscript 3 Trained &; 1 Elite Regular Cavalry with 3 Artillery and 8 Trained & 1 Elite Regular Infantry) with 'Steady Lads' army ability.
Prussians had 14 units (2 Elite & 2 Trained Cavalry 3 Artillery and 6 Trained & 1 Elite Infantry) with 'Lethal Volleys' and a 'Cavalier' Cavalry Charge Bonus card.
We drew an Urban set up card and I elected to defend (which gives Attacker a bonus Regular Unit which Stephen took as another Infantry unit).
A really enjoyable game ensued with Prussian setting up second and threatening my right wing with his Cavalry.
Ivans then advanced Infantry in center forcing Prussians to react thereby delaying the Cavalry.
This worked except that my Infantry took awful casualties from Prussian volley fire losing in the end 4 units of Infantry !!!
However we later discovered Stephen had mis-read the 'Lethal Volleys' card to allow all missed shooting rolls to be re-rolled whereas it should be re-roll failed Disruptions hits. 
This made the card a lot more potent that it should be (although the re-rolls of failed Disruptions still powerful).
I was subjected to the 'Not on the map' card finding 3 of my Infantry delayed by a marshy area.
Here I made a mistake forgetting that units not in same formation cannot be part of same formation for activations.
We allowed Stephen to discard one of my hand cards at random to compensate for my moving too many units in a single activation as I had units in column and line.
I then decided to launch my right wing cavalry in a death or glory charge against Prussian horse (whose extra ability only counted if they conducted the charge), but I charged without any melee modifying cards in my hand and was subjected to the Prussians playing a 'Stirups Forward' card which gave them +2 in each combat and my horse got mugged.
This left them vulnerable to being charged themselves which duly happened and they melted away taking Russian morale with them.

I learnt a lot today about the subtleties as opposed to bare mechanics of the game.
As defender having a reserve deployed in column is desirable to move to enemy focal point.
I mistakenly placed my Guns on a hill not realizing this gives them a -1 to shooting  (cannonballs digging into ground I assume) and that I should probably have maximized terrain (I chose to use my lower dice roll total) to try to close of a flank and channel enemy.
I also realized that in my solo game I had given shooters too many dice ie 2 per base (ala cannister) instead on 1 per base so volleys exchanges more attritional in nature today.
Also I ought to check enemy cards when used to make sure correctly applied !! :-)

Both really enjoyed the game with its to and fro nature, the card interaction and period flavour thereon, the tough decisions one has to make regarding use of cards and the fast and slick mechanics of the game system.
We went threw roughly one and a half decks today so got see a lot of cards in action.
And had smoke blocking fire, stirrups, deadly fire, a card that allowed me to move one enemy unit to break up a formation, co-ordinated moves, firefights, first fire and several others all generating a nice balance of chaos and narrative.

We are both already thinking how to improve play and army structure and how to apply to more historical type games.
The game has a lot of flexibility in this regard. Both found that a bland reading of rules really fails to convey the nature of the game play.
Very much a 'suck em and see' set. I initially queried lack of shooting for early period cavalry, no distinction between Heavy Cavalry types, no distinction between Rank and Platoon firing methods but once game gets going you realize they are not required in a game of this scope and design and yet the outcomes are and feel plausible.

First time ever we have failed to polish of the 'on-table' snacks during a game and we almost forget lunch so engrossed where we in the game which says a lot believe me !!!!!!

Opening artillery bombardments

The Prussians 

The Russians

Russian right wing horse

Russian center

Prussian right wing

Prussian center

Russian Infantry advance and 'find' that damn marsh

Prussian horse threaten my right

Forced into columns to avoid the difficult ground

Clash of foot in center (which had schewed outcome due to mis-reading of card) Russians have already lost 2 front line units here and 2 more about to go.

It did take Prussian focus away from their cavalry sweep

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