Tuesday, May 30, 2017

General D'Armee - French versus Russians (heavy on the pics and verbiage)

Game today of General D'Armee against Stephen so a proper trial of the rules.

I used the terrain generation tables from General De Brigade to set up the table.

We used points system (2200 each) and I selected a Young Guard force using Grenadier trait which means they are treated as Line but test Discipline (Morale) as Veterans.
I had 10 such Infantry with a Battery of medium (6-9pdrs) Foot Guns in 3 Brigades but with back up of a Guard Cavalry Brigade of Battle types - Elite Polish Lancers, Veteran Dutch Lancers and Line Garde D'Honneur with a Horse Battery.

Russians had a mix of Line (some with Grenadier trait) and Veterans totaling 14 Infantry with a Cavalry Brigade of 2 Dragoon (1 Veteran) and 1 Hussar divided into 5 Brigades .
But crucially they had a 6th Brigade of Artillery comprising 2 Large Batteries one of which was heavy (12 pdrs).
Stephen actually had 3 Batteries but we both decided this was probably too much for game so he swooped one out for an Infantry Battalion.

However having 6 Brigades versus 4 proved to be a huge advantage in that this generates 6 vs 4 ADCs which in game terms this yields a so much more efficient Command and Control ability.
This was meant he averaged 3 ADCs per turn (often 4 or 5) whilst French struggled with 2 (with only 3 twice and 4 once due to double 6).

This allowed his Artillery in a Brigade to operate very efficiently as 2 ADCs allocated to Artillery Assault (usually with a 3rd ADC for Brigade re-roll purposes) meant both Batteries could assault fire for the one order.

We both deployed fairly conventionally but both had our Cavalry Brigades as on-table Reserves (of which more later).
As battle opened the Russian guns were able to inflict damage even at long range on my central Infantry Brigade and I therefore used a Forwards Order (adds 4 x D6 cms to move) to get forward as fast as possible.
However this then placed a Battalion in Cannister range of both Batteries and being on Assault Fire plus gaining an extra Casualty Dice for being Large Batteries at short range they had potential to devastate my unit (you know whats coming don't you ?).
So of course Stephen being a well known (at least in these parts) dicing Demon (not sure what deal he struck but it works !?) he rolled 2 hits from Casualty Dice with both Batteries and then rolled double 6 twice (!!!!!!) giving me another 10 hits (!!!) and giving him 2 rolls on the Destiny Table which saw my Brigadier die and Brigade Falter (which it would have done anyhow as unit Dispersed as now on 13 hits).
This hapless Brigade then managed to fail 6 Command Rolls (despite my allocating a Brigade Order ADC for 3 turns) and 2 Infantry units left the battlefield taking my Foot Battery with them.
I did manage to Rally the one remaining unit on table edge but this Brigade was therefore Demoralised from then on !
This left a gaping whole in the middle of my Lines.

We both activated our Reserve Cavalry with Russians coming from behind their guns towards the gaping hole.
I had planned to send my to turns Russian right but discovered that the field on the right counts as Rough in the rules and therefore Cavalry cannot enter so I had to re-direct them to the center.
This lead to a Cavalry encounter which at first went against me as I threw in my Polish Lancers against his Veteran Dragoons.
Lancers are pretty good gaining an extra dice vs other mounted (2 vs foot) in melee.
Of course I failed to get into melee as his nibs threw another 12 in Charge phase forcing my Lancers to Retire Unformed.
I then charged with the Gde D'Honneur as Dutch Lancers were re forming having been passed through by Polish colleagues (in rules Close Order units interpenetrating Unforms both parties) and these too were replused.
I then hurled in the Dutch and glory was theirs as they managed to take no casualties from his supporting guns in Charge and got into Melee against Unformed Dragoons causing them to Rout.................Huzzah !!

But all this activity was taking all my ADCs each turn leaving two other Infantry Brigades on my left and right to suffer several Hesitant outcomes and watch as the ADC rich Russians advanced under Infantry Assault Orders (this allows multiple Inf units to engage in Charging process as otherwise its only 1 per Brigade).
Russians pushed a unit out of an Orchard on my left and then a unit on my extreme right although I did have my Horse Battery to meet their conquerors.
When a second Brigade Faltered I call a halt and surrendered the field.

I should mention that throughout all this our Brigade Skirmish units put in a manly days work and we both really like how this all plays out in the rules.

All in all a good run through of the rules in which we encountered no major problems we could not answer from the text satisfactorily.
However as stated above we both felt that 6 ADCs vs 4 was a definite advantage and somewhat unbalanced the game and we have agreed that in future we will field 5 Brigades maximum on our size tables (6' x 4') at this points level and also that we would disallow Artillery Brigades as they seemed more like Grand Batteries which we also felt was out of kilter with Divisional Scale of the game.

We certainly enjoyed the rules especially the ADC system and the slick Charge, Firing and Melee systems (ie just about everything !)

Compared to Over The Hills they are not as tactically nuanced or 'flavour-some' in some regards being closer to Field Of Battle in ease of play and inherent inertia factors but certainly my own opinion is that I would would happily play a game of any of these three sets (plus Shako and Black Powder) for this lower level scale of Napoleonics.
All give plausible and indeed similar outcomes (despite arriving there differently) to battles and actions therein but with each having its own strengths and weaknesses.
You pays your money and takes your choice.

French deployment

Russians opposite

Doomed French center

The game is afoot

Hesitant Brigade on left (just for a change)

Those damn Russian guns

Advance on right

Guard Cavalry in Reserve

Russian pressure on my left

And my right

I had a Brigade here once............................

Remnants cower at rear

Real pressure on my left

And right............................

Guard Cavalry shifts to center

And engage Russian Mounted

Right flank about to fold

Orchard position lost

Monday, May 29, 2017

Combat Commander more RSG games

Played the ever excellent Combat Commander with my Dad tonight using the Random Scenario Generator app again.
First scenario generated was 1940 French vs Germans and a tough old slog it proved to be with my Dads Huns narrowly coming out on top.
Second was a 1943 Eastern Front bash for which my hand was consistently like a foot as we say here.
Ivans just never got going after early loss of a key leader so another win for my Dad and his Fascist beasts.
Great stuff as ever.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pickett's Charge game

Game of Pickett's Charge played today at Johns.
He and I played as Confederates versus Stephen's Federals.
Game was based on a scenario depicting an action at Cemetery Hill on second day of Gettysburg.

Due to Stephen and John having some issues with the firing charts we used a slightly amended version with small units slightly lessened and long range Artillery also (by roughly as -1 modifiers and Long Range Casualty Dice requiring a 5-6 to hit rather than standard 4-6).
Main beef with Inf firing is that on a standard roll of 7 (on 2D6) two small units can generate more hits than a standard or large unit of nominall the same numbers of men, leading to the smaller units 'ganging up' to fire.

Stephen had also reduced the historical number of batteries from 9 Union and 7 Confederate to 4 and 3 respectively for game play purposes.

In the scenario Rebs have some 16 units but face some 21 (although 5 are in Reserve Brigade) Union units awaiting them in cover along Cemetery Ridge and its environs.

This meant a long and bloody (even diluted) advance under Artillery Fire and then into the teeth of fresh defenders.
I had two Brigades one of which did manage to charge and dislodged a Union unit bit at crippling cost in casualty hits.
My two Brigades both Faltered as did one of Johns (also blooded) and of course John then only activated two ADCs meaning one Brigade as 'Cawntempiously Chewed Up'.
We called game at that point as Reb strength drained too much to recover.

Another good game with the rules which really shine in the aspects of ADCs, Orders and suchlike.

Union positions on Cemetery Hill with artillery on hill in support

Rebs start line

My initial moves

Union position even looks formidable in miniature !

The ACW experts confere

My target on Union left

And center

Union skirmishers chased off my advance continues with Johns Brigades in distance

Reb center

Reb high water mark (note the casualties)

Union position unbowed

Rebs struggle forward on right  (lots of casualties here too but marked with micro dice that I struggled to see hence larger version with my Brigades !)

General D'Armee - more solo play

Continued my solo trial of Genetal D'Armee.
For anyone who has played Pickett's Charge these are very easy to pick up and play.

Core systems of Command and Orders via ADCs along with Combat and Firing are pretty much the same with some obvious changes to Formations and Orders and some Outcomes and Modifiers to better reflect Napoleonic Combat.

Some nomenclature changes such as Serendipity Test now rename Destiny Test or Double Quick order now known as Forwards.

Several differing Orders the main new one being Infantry Assault wherein a whole Inf Brigade can be ordered to conduct a charges as lead and/or support units whereas without this order only 1 single Inf unit can charge unsupported.

Skirmishers are somewhat different with Special Light Inf units able to move in and out of Skirmish but with other units contributing to a Brigade Skirmish Line eg a Brigade of 4 Standard units generates 4 Skirmish base which operate a Skirmish Line.
This line can be beefed up via an order and Skirmishers themselves can gain an extra Casualty Dice via another order.
Line or better grade Inf can produce more Skirmish bases (3-5) but cannot Reform in game.

There is also an extra game turn phase with Melee a separate phase at turns end (rather than part of Charge Phase in Pickett's Charge) this is likely due to the more potent and aggressive Cavalry in period.
That said Cavalry can be Battle types or Campaign (Cossacks, Hussars and such like) with French in 1813/14 forced to field 50% of their Cavalry force as Campaign Cavalry which are slightly down in Cav vs Cav fights.

A few Nationality Traits are included optionally but I have not delved into these yet.

Play through is decent so far with no glaring holes in rules.
Stephen and his brother John both had problems with the Firing Charts in Pickett's Charge (they feel Long Range Artillery fire and Small unit fire is too potent - of which more in next post) with which I agreed somewhat although I am not as well read in ACW as other periods, however nothing seems out of whack in General D'Armee thus far and the firing chart results are somewhat different anyhow.

All in all another good set of Divisional 'scale' rules.
Not as much tactical detail as Over The Hills but consequently about as fast playing as Field Of Battle.

Game in anger planned for next week so more later................

Prussian 'Battle' Hussars facing 'Campaign' Chasseurs whose Brigadier is using Glory order (+1 in melee)

French Infantry Brigade is Hesitant (MDF Orcder chit showing which I coloured)

Opposing Brigade skirmish units visible here

Two Large (ie 3 stand) gun batteries support advance

Skirmishers, Line, Column, Garrison (ie in BUA( and Cavalry Double Line formations

Prussian Hussars have support from other Hussars to rear (ie within 10cm/4")

Prussian Grenadier Brigade in Reserve status

Prussian Fusileers battered (7 casulaties) and forced to Retreat, Unformed and causing an Unformed status on Column they passed through.

French Line unit suffers poor Fire Discipline result (smoke)