Saturday, July 16, 2016

Shako II - French versus British in Peninsula

After a long long week of work and the madness of the world twas great therapy to get a game of Shako II today at Stephens.
I fielded French 'pick up' army for Peninsula 1812-14 against Stephen's British force from same period.
British get to pick to be defender which is sort of no-brainer as they also get 6 terrain selections to French 4 (we added 1 each as table roughly foot wider and 8" deeper than Shako default size).
In Spain this means Brits gets lots of hills and often steep in fact Stephen rolled up 4 steep hills 1 gentle hill a vineyard and a piece of rough ground so a fair old fortress for me to assault (thus yielding me 10% more Regular French Infantry units in this case 3 more plus 1 extra skirmisher base).
Stephen set up in standard reverse slope defence with couple of Divisions in reserve (initially off-table).
I sent my Cavalry Division of 3 Dragoon, 1 Chasseur and 1 Horse Battery on a Deep Flank march off-table  on my right.
As they only appear from turn 4 onwards and only on a 5-6 this is risky but was only way I could see to flank the line of hills (and wanted to see how it works in Shako as only am option for French).
I refused my left flank (at least initially) with 1 Infantry Division and sent the other 3 on Attack orders against the central gentle hill and adjacent steep hills.
To test rules I sent 2 Divns in Columns and the other also in Column but deploying into Line before contact made.
My flank march arrived on turn 4 much to my surprise but we were a little unclear as to just how deep such a march can go (confused re entry point at 3/4 of table depth vis a vis the restricted deployment zone of 6" either side of Commander).
I do think I got it right as rules are written but not completely clear, however if Stephens more restrictive view is correct (ie that no 'units' can deploy into last 25% not just the Commander) then I think such a risky move is not worth doing and entry area far to predictable by enemy).
Game developed as we expected with French having to advance into teeth of British guns and then Musketry with several French Inf units taking hits and staggers.
I did manage several charges with multiple columns but the centre was dominated by some Elite British units (Highlanders) who managed to shoot of my columns (usual 6s aplenty by Stephen) and then these can counter-charge my repelled columns meaning they Fell Back or were destroyed. 
Out of 6 such charges only 1 managed to hit home and break an Elite unit.
I however lost a whole division lost to Break Test (ie all units removed).
My flanking Cavalry Divn however arriving at first opportunity done sterling work despite having to charge several squares (compulsory under Attack orders once with 4") as it was for once my turn to roll 6s whilst Stephen rolled low !
If Cavalry outscore Inf the Inf are destroyed )a sort of 'quick kill' mechanism).
However I was now facing the British Cavalry reserve so things could have gone either way as we had to call time on game.
In Shako Cavalry are very potent as are Elite/Guard Infantry but are not a numerous resource.
Great game with a really nice set of rules.

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