Le Duc arrived at chez Steiner today (first time in months) to see Seasons of Battle in action and to play out the second encounter of my Napoleonic campaign.
Le Duc is known in our little gaming circle as my 'FOB bitch' as he is very much a convert to the dramatic style of game it always results in and was keen to see SOB.
We used the Campaign Deck to set up the battle and it was interesting to approach this as two player rather than solo.
We both moved the initial engagement area by a couple of areas and the result of the campaign cycle was that French had initiative and gained an advantage in Deployment allowing them to force one Prussian Divn to deploy at any time of French choosing.
Prussians gained a nice advantage in being able to Deploy further forward than default rear zones and a Strength advantage boosting their Army Morale for the upcoming battle (31 vs 22 in Prussian favour).
Le Duc enjoyed the Campaign Cycle and the seamless use of cards to establish a battle map and its parameters (Le Duc took some pics of this phase, I forgot !).
We set up the table and again I allowed a D4 roll of extra pieces which worked out at 2 each with no removals rolled.
So a couple of extra hills and a wood appeared on the otherwise fairly bare bones area.
However French did have a very defensible Town in their half of table but just outside their set up zone.
With their enhanced forward deployments the Prussian were able to set up a Divn within a couple of move segments of this town.
France used their forced deployment to make Prussians put out a second Divn and so were able to note where Prussian strength was and deploy accordingly.
The key initial tension in the game was who would get the Move opportunity to occupy the town and Prussia got the jump but only managed to get to the towns edge.
I could hear Le Ducs teeth grinding as he failed to turn a move card for ages but then got the golden card and occupied both town sections.
I dont know any other game system (bar original PK) that has this sort of thing being possible in a game.
Of course once in the town the French shooting is weakened (counts as Skirmish fire) so they only managed to force back one Prussian column.
The other Prussian unit was the ever active 3rd Grenadier Regt who then charged into the Town routing the French unit therein.
A struggle for this central town then developed with the 3rd Grenadiers Routing an artillery battery and then Routing the occupants of the other Town section a nice combination of high and even rolls against low French rolls on a couple of Move cards.
Again not sure any other rule set is capable of this sort of plausible activity.
A Landwehr unit supported occupying the other Town section and the French were unable to wrest control back.
On the Prussian left their weak Reserve Divn occupied a hill facing a strong French Inf Divn.
My Prussian Cavalry Divn was a bit out of place in centre but I was able to send it across the central stream to force the French Infantry into square allowing the Reserve Divn to advance and support.
They suffered a number of casualties but a Landwehr column did break a Square.
On Prussian right my second Inf Divn was facing the Young Guard Divn (weakened by 1 unit being Left Out Of Battle) and the potent French Cavalry Divn both of which sheltered initially behind a hill.
However once they advanced the Young Guard artillery managed two devastating barrages of Prussian Infantry routing 2 units in short order !
Worse for this Prussian Divn was loss of their Commander which placed all his units Out of Command effectively stalling the whole Divn and as it turned out he was never replaced in the game !
Meanwhile the French Cavalry poured into the gap created between my Infantry Divns and destroyed 2 artillery batteries (who at least went down fighting causing several casualties on the mounted troops before succumbing).
However the damage caused across the battlefield had now denuded their Morale Pool to zero and indeed they were beginning to gift them to Prussia.
Le Duc made the excellent point that in the campaign setting it now became self defeating for France to continue a losing battle (despite his surviving his 1st Army Morale test) and he was thinking about keeping units intact for the next battle and lessening the Prussian victory.
Not something we normally consider in our tabletop games as we normally fight to last gasp.
This makes for a interesting dynamic and one of the reasons I am keen to try this Campaigning system.
So again SOB worked really well generating a nice background to a battle and as ever FOB generated an exciting and dramatic game with such easy game mechanics.
Post battle seen a Decisive (but not crushing) Prussian victory with the French now down to a mere 2 National Will points ie in dire straits but still standing whilst Prussia now has some 62 Will points.
The French had another unit Left Out Of Battle for next game and had 2 units decreased but 2 increased in quality.
France also sacked their C in C replacing him with the 12+1 Guard commander who is himself replaced by a D10 leader.
Prussians saw 3 units degraded with 2 upgraded and with a unit returning they are back to full OOB.
They had 16 Reaction points half of which they tried to use to Pursue 3 French units but failed and half to try to enhance their own units of one was successfully upgraded.
So all in all another excellent game and great to see SOB Campaign Cycle used properly.
Initial set up showing forward deployment of Prussian Inf Divn in centre
French opposite numbers just outside the town
French left behind a hill
Struggle for town ensues as Prussian Cavalry Divn veers left and French left moves
3rd Grenadiers assaulting French battery in rear on road between town sectors
Prussian left holds back
Routing Prussian as French artillery bites (this could have been disasterous !)
French Cavalry begins to move
And suffers whilst annihilating Prussian gun line
Prussians now have control of both town sectors....huzza !
French left forced into squares and pressured by Prussian Reserve Divn
French Cavalry now in dangerous position but too late as Army Morale has collapsed
This could have caused all sorts of problems but the cost in Morale was too high
The Prussian right Divn inert as Leaderless (2 red puffs denotes he is hors de combat)
This left the gap the French Cavalry tried to exploit
Prussian Landwehr in square with all this Cavalry about
If only cried Le Duc !
A French square has gone but Prussian foot showing damage
The Young Guard not committed as being kept intact for next battle
To the Prussian 3rd Grenadiers go the honours of taking and holding the town