Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Seasons Of Battle/Field Of Battle 3rd solo encounter (and a bit of Principles Of War)

Started next battle in Napoleonic Campaign solo again.
Bit of an odd terrain map with two waterways (one of which is difficult Class III the other ClassII) but interesting.
French got a minor forward deployment and ability to re-deploy after set-up (not a biggie when soloing)
Prussians got Morale Boost (Strength) and could force French to deploy a Command (again not a biggie when solo)
French really need a decent wing here to restore their fortunes as any loss will see their National Will expire and end the campaign.
Action still ongoing with Prussian coming at the French and managing to steal their way across the major rivers bridge.
Not much in way of damage although one French unit in Rout.

Initial deployments with major and minor rivers showing 1 dense wood 1 moderate wood and two open (orchard) types with 1 rough hill and other gentle

French deploy on central hill mass

Prussians opposite

Prussian Reserve Division in march columns on their right flank

And the whizz to the bridge behind thrust of colleagues

French defending hill line giving town to onrushing Prussians

Struggle begins on French left (note 1 Legere Regt deployed as 2 small Skirmish units)

French Cavalry push forward on right. Young Guard waiting to counter attack

Prussian left wing cavalry moves up

Good old 3rd Prussian Grenadiers in fray again and have routed a French Line Regt !

Also got in another game (well sort of) of Napoleonic Principles Of War today at Stephens.
I tried my 1812 Russians again (this time with a Cossack Brigade) against French.
Very interesting rules these, stylised and abstract in some ways and I still dislike the lack of Elite/Veteran feel to better troops, but the do have a good Napoleonic feel to them.
But in game terms the poorly led Russians are a nightmare to use  as the French can literally run rings around them and seem to have every advantage.
Seems Russians cannot co-ordinate an attack (plausible) but nor can they defend very well in orders system (not so plausible).
We spent a lot of time discussing the merits of POW system vis a vis other sets we have tried (to detriment of actually completing the game once more) but the discussion was enjoyable of itself, nerds do love to be nerds :-)
Russians (again quite historically) would appear to need to maximise Artillery so they can counter French skirmish advantage whilst sitting stoically still in a defensive posture.
And as their Artillery is slightly stronger than French this is viable.
They struggle to take the offensive across the board so will need to try to use short term counterattacks and their guns to annoy the French.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Combat Commander three 1940 scenarios played

Game of Combat Commander at my Dads and we picked scenario selection from the Fall of the WEst pack.
First couple pitted Fallschirmjager against Belgians (with the awful Allied Minor nations single discard 'ability') and the Germans proved too good for the plucky defenders.
Third action had British (The Durhams) in action against Wehrmacht troops at the Dyle river and the BEF troops showed the Hun what for in short order.

As ever such excellent gaming with Combat Commander (pity my pics are not of same standard!)

Fallschirmjager assault fort Eben Emal

Then defend a bridge from Belgian assault

British successfully defend Dyle river line

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Season of Battle/Field of Battle - 2nd action two player this time

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

Napoleonic Principles Of War game played Russia vs France 1812

Game with Stephen today and we decided to give NPOW another outing.
We failed to finish the game but learnt a lot about these excellent rules.
We feel that they are probably a bit more historical than FOGN and yet smoother playing overall.
Still not a fan of Veteran/Elite just equals stronger but in scope of game it works.
The need to select best orders and indeed to make an optimum deployment from Movement Bases was very clear today.
French in 1812 are very good with decent unit strengths and better Command & Control than poorly led Russians.
Interestingly the superior French skirmishing ability is very well represented as each of their foot can fire out to 4" at half strength whilst only Russian Jagers have this trait,
So once Russians went to Hold orders they could not respond to French under Engage orders as out distanced.
Hard to change orders for Russians as well so lesson was they need to be aggressive on defence ie the need to issue Assault or Engage orders to get up close and personal with the French to nullify the skirmish ability.
We are to re-try the rules next game now we have a better grasp of concepts and basic system.
A nice feel to the rules for a 1-2 Corps sized battle without the complexity of FOGN.
Meantime a game of FOB planned for tomorrow with Le Duc........................

Initial move on 'blinds' creating a limited but useful fog of war.

Russian Infantry Division spotted and deployed opposite French counterparts

Russian Grenadiers Division facing of against 2 Heavy Batteries

Russian Infantry and Cavalry stuck on Hold

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Season Of Battle/Field Of Battle solo Napoleonic initial encounter concludes

Played out final phases of initial encounter and a real nail biter it proved to be !

Prussian pressure succeeded (barely) as they forced French morale to drop to zero (France then 'gave' 3 morale points to Prussians) just as their own was on a mere 1.
French then drew a Army Morale card which they promptly failed giving the day to Prussia.
However it was a rather Marginal victory with campaign staying in the Lutzen area.

Prussia lost a net 22 National Will points going down to 51 whilst France lost their entire 29 points so now on a dire 24 and in real danger of losing the campaign early.
Prussia used its Discretionary 4 Victory Points to attempt to pursue a unit of Young Guard unsuccessfully whilst trying to boost the fortunes of a Grenadier unit again unsuccessfully.
However both sides found that post battle played fortune played fickle games with the morale of their units.
Prussia saw 3 units suffer a Morale drop with one being left out of next battle whilst 1 unit of Musketeers were upgraded.
France had 4 units degraded with one also left out of battle but saw 3 units upgraded including one to Elite status.

Prussians have pierced the French centre

Forcing the French left to fall back to avoid being flanked

Prussians also across the stream in force on French left

The chaos of battle with French Cavalry activated too late and getting into a real log jam as Prussians advanced.