Managed with session late last night and this morning (both sides of chores) to complete this most entertaining solo game.
Things really got intense with huge swings of fortune going to and fro between both sides !
Units were decimated then recovered, flung themselves into melee destroying or being destroyed in equal measure.
Both sides at one point had exhausted all their Morale Chips and only surviving on `owed` chips.
The French at one stage had a failed Army Morale roll until I recalled my scenario rule that capture or recapture of a village garnered +5 Morale points to a force.
With both Rahna and now Klein-Groschen in their hands this gave them 10 extra Morale allowing them to continue.
French losses in actual units through Routs and Destruction greatly exceeded the Allied losses (although several units on table Routing) but they were hanging in there and at one crucial point, after several absolutely devastating volleys, had forced the Allies back to zero Morale, but the Army Morale test just did not appear (a fortuitous reshuffle likely aided the Allies).
Subsequently the Allies gained the upper hand again, mainly through staunch resistance of Russian foot and a breakthrough by Prussian Grenadier Brigade in French centre, dwindling the French Morale pool to zero and gaining some much needed Allied Morale.
Several Young Guard and the Old Guard Chasseurs had succumbed.
Just when it looked like a foregone conclusion 3 Allied Leader deaths in one go (Army Morale card) threatened the Allied success as their Brigades went out of command.
However their next card was Leadership allowing them to recover nearly all units despite lower grade replacement commanders.
More mayhem occurred with some units being charged on flanks as both sides tried to exploit gaps and a couple of devastating Allied cannon cannister blasts saw French in real trouble and of course an Army Morale was turned and failed by the Emperors forces !!
Such a joy to play through this even solo.
The straight up in your face nature of the encounter helped as not much scope for sneaky Grand manoeuvring bar when to commit reserves.
Was fun to get my entire Young Guard collection on to table (12 units) and was different using randomised Unit stats rather than my usual ‘generic’ system.
Besides scenario house rules (re Morale extras and set up) I used a couple of house rules, the main one effecting the game being use of ‘Brigade Skirmish Screen’ units, units of 3UI skirmish only types an idea ‘stolen’ from GDB/GDA.
I do have a house rule re ‘Hasty Squares’ for Infantry contacted by Cavalry but only used this twice (not a great deal of Cavalry here).
I could extensively wax lyrical (And do a bit below !) about the strength of FOB as a ‘big battle’ rule set but suffice to say I own no other set that comes close to generating such an exciting game that builds a real narrative to a game, full of excitement and incident all within a plausible Highly playable framework.
Not a ‘chess with dice’ system as if you want complete control of your troops FOB will frustrate you greatly.
For me it is a set that generates games that play out just like accounts of battles that I read, with equal amounts of inspired tactics, luck, frustration, units under performing or being truly heroic.
The lack of a strictly structured sequence of play is a major boon as in bulk of other sets I know when and how far a unit will move, when it will fire etc not so in FOB/PK as the vagaries of the Initiative rolls, deck sequence and construction, combined with the opposed dicing systems and the odds vs evens results (for Movement, Firing, Melee) lead to a much more exciting and unpredictable gaming experience.
Some deride the PK systems as the game ‘playing you’ rather than you playing the game, but I feel this is mainly due to a lack of understanding of the inherent game design and simulation model and typically a wish to be the ‘100 foot General‘ and in control of nearly all aspects troop interaction with only the dice rolls adding any random element (the chess with dice style or as I sometimes call these system ‘millimetres matter’ sets).
I do enjoy other styles of game (such as Shako, FOGN, GDA) but almost always find PK/FOB just delivers a much more satisfying, dynamic, exciting and decisive game experience overall with much less rules overhead.
FOB certainly has several abstractions such as free interpretations, lack of 'Brigade' morale (its all about the overall Army level), no bounce through, no overtly obvious use of supporting lines/troops and the pre-game preparation of forces and stats can be time consuming (but also enjoyable).
I have used several house rules for varied periods but in the end have cut these down to a minimal few I actually use as (as per Brents design notes) less is actually more.
But (and like Beyonces its a very BIG one!!) very few if any sets come close to dynamic nature of game style, with only Blucher, Maurice, GDA (and to a degree Black Powder) coming anywhere close with variable levels of ‘inertia and/or chaos’ included but still somewhat more stilted as games overall.
If FOB3 turns out to be less than I expect it to be then FOB2 still hits the ‘buttons’ for me.
A selection of pics (with captions this time) from last 2 sessions.
The false 'victory' for the Allies
French regroup outside Klein-Groschen
French centre before the 'fall' with silenced battery (green marker)
Routing Young and Old Guard !!
French still trying swing to right of Rahna (a D8 leader did not help here)
Allied left refusing..................
Russian and French Guard light cavalry tangle (both were subsequently lost)
The Prussian Grenadier Brigade supports Horns Brigade
Temporary stalemate at Klein-Groschen
French centre buckling (silenced artillery now gone)
Prussian Grenadiers swing towards French centre
Overview showing French trying to turn Allied left
Klein-Groschen has fallen to reformed Legere
Prussian Grenadiers are pushing into centre
Russians stoically holding the Allied left despite losses
Prussian Grenadiers suffer temporary set back (1 unit Routing but quickly recovered)
The bitter slog continues on French left with disorder (Out of Command) the order of the day
French high-water mark as Allied left looks about to collapse
Klein-Groschen firmly in French hands again
Overview at stage that both Armies had zero Morale left (both swung up and down wildy)
Prussian Hussars appear
Both sides saw leaders fall here
Prussian Grenadiers forge ahead breaking French centre
Allied left holds.......barely
French in disorder and rout
Overview of French right and centre
And of their left
Final throes of battle as both sides struggle to inflict the coup de grace........
Prussian screening Klein-Groschen whilst pushing towards Kaja
Prussian Grenadiers sweep all before them and now about to charge into flank of a Young Guard unit.
French failure on Allied left now plain
The final victory of Allied cause is secured.
French losses vis Allied (a whopping 14 units vs 3) but a mere 3 Allied Morale remained !!
The basic map (from a General De Brigade scenario)