Showing posts with label campaign. Show all posts
Showing posts with label campaign. Show all posts

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Maurice Campaign 2 - This Time It's Personal

On Thursday we started another six-player Maurice campaign. Unfortunately Gary (Ottomans) couldn't make it, so we rigged the pairings for the first war so that Caesar (French) opposed him, with their game to be played at a later date, whilst the remaining four of us picked one or the other to support and paired off against each other.

So the first war consists of Gary (Ottomans), Peter (Austrians) and myself (Haapasaard-Skando) vs Caesar (French), Ralph (Prussians) and John (Irish).

The last two nations in each alliance might seem unfamiliar. The Electorate of Haapasaard-Skando is basically a Swedish-inspired army based around a fictional Baltic nation which grew out of the Swedish victory in the Great Northern War.  It gave me an excuse to use my Swedes, but padded out as required by Russian troops. The 'Irish' army is Cearbhall's Cataphracts which is, as best as I can tell, an army-sized gang of Irish mercenaries with an improbable backstory.

Anyway, as described above, at some point in the future the French will fight the Ottomans. On Thursday we saw the Austrians defending against a Prussian attack, whilst the Irish found themselves assaulting the army of Haapasaard-Skando.

I couldn't resist weighting my campaign army towards cavalry, something which will, no doubt, come back to bite me on the bum over the next few weeks. Haapasaard-Skando fields seven units of regular cavalry and three of irregular.

The infantry is very much the secondary force - six units.

Faced with a strong cavalry force on one flank, John decided to march his Irish against the other, hoping to overwhelm the defenders of the village of Bona-Polari.

I switched my cavalry to that flank as well, catching teh Irish cavalry formed up just before his infantry could move up in support.

It was tight though.

The Irish cavalry fought like demons, and it has to be said that the Swedish horse were not at their best, despite their flank attack advantages and hard-charging Cavaliers special trait. The Irish cavalry did give ground, but not as fast as they should have done. This left the horse of Haapasaard-Skando very battered even after they finished off the majority of the Irish.

John pretty much abandoned his cavalry anyway, focusing his command on getting his infantry into position to face mine. Some of this involved polishing of the remains of my cavalry, though, leaving my morale in a very precarious position.

The Irish led with their elites, but Swedish musketry was better than their use of sabres and they halted the Irish attack, even counter-attacking to finish off a guard unit on the point of breaking.

The Irish made a bold attempt to assault the village with another guard unit, but were thrown back. The Swedes sacrificed a unit of irregular horse to finish off the attackers before they could rally (not pictured).

With his second line of infantry still disorganised, and very much in the wrong part of the battlefield, John decided to withdraw his army at that point, despite a heft morale advantage. My troops could afford to play for time, and nightfall was fast approaching. This gave Haapasaard-Skando a minor victory.

Meanwhile Ralph's Prussians assaulted Peter's Austrians. I don't have the details of this battle to hand, but I know that it started with some brisk fighting between opposing hussars in the woods near the Prussian baseline, followed by a Prussian attack on the Austrian infantry that nearly broke them, the deadly Prussian musketry tearing great holes in the white-coated ranks.

Peter snatched a victory but pulling his cavalry out of reserve and onto the flanks of the Prussian infantry, giving Ralph pause for thought and causing him to call off the attack and quit the field.

This gives two victories to the Ottoman/Austrian/Skando alliance. The war could end if the Ottomans win or don't lose heavily. I hope so, because in rolling for post-battle experience my troops didn't do so well, and after replacing losses a lot of my army is now conscripts in dire need of a period of peace for essential training.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Battle of Midsomer Wellow

I set up and played another game in my Midsomer ECW campaign last night. The background, setup and basic campaign rules can be found HERE. The previous battles are here:

Midsomer Barrow - In which the two sides met for the first time, and Causton declared for the winner.
Ford Florey - In which both sides battled for control of some strategic river crossings.
Morton Fendlow - In which a Parliamentarian raiding force was ambushed by Royalists.

This game was the first in a new phase of the campaign, which now sees the Royalists preparing to advance and take Causton for the King. Rather than use my modified Neil Thomas rules, I decided to use it as an excuse to test out my Portable Wargame variant. Few changes were required to the campaign system described above; I had to change the way horse were classified to take into account Trotters and Gallopers, and I had to drop the pike/shot ratios for foot because the Portable Wargame is not granular enough to allow for that kind of distinction. I rolled the following forces:

3 x Poor Pike & Shot
1 x Average Dragoons
1 x Average Trotters
1 x Elite Trotters

1 x Elite Pike & Shot
2 x Average Pike & Shot
1 x Poor Pike & Shot
1 x Poor Dragoons
1 x Poor Trotters

The scenario, from One Hour Wargames, was Flank Attack (1).

Because of the precise nature of the One Hour Wargames scenario objectives, I didn't use the Exhaustion Point rule for this scenario. In addition I randomly added some areas of woods and enclosures to the otherwise open battlefield.

Now fully supplied, Lord Standing was ready to lead his Royalists in an attack on the town of Causton. Expecting a siege, Sir Thomas Barnaby began to pull back all of his troops in the county towards the town. The main part of his force was marching along the road from Midsomer Wellow when it encountered what appeared to be a small force of Royalists ahead of them. It soon became obvious that it was, in fact, part of the main Royalist force, who descended rapidly on the Parliamentarians. Sir Thomas quickly prepared his troops to smash through the Royalists and and reach the safety of Causton.

Here's the setup - Sir Thomas's troops were marching along a road, whilst ahead of them were two units of Royalist foot. The remaining Royalist units were heading towards the right flank of the Parliamentarian column. Parliament had to exit three units off the road in order to win.

The Royalist flanking force consisted mostly of dragoons and horse.

Sir Thomas went for an aggressive assault on the Royalist blocking force, swinging his horse onto their flank whilst assaulting them from the front with his personal regiment.

He covered the flank and rear of his force with the dragoons and some militia, who quickly found themselves under attack by the Royalist horse.

Amazingly the dragoons held off the attacks, and with the help of the militia soon put pressure on the Royalists.

The Royalists supported their foot on the road with dragoons in the nearby enclosures, but it wasn't enough and one unit broke. Sir Thomas kept up the pressure on the other unit of foot, aiming to force it away from the road to clear his escape route.

It was at this point that he fell, seriously wounded, whilst leading his horse in an attack on the Royalist flank.

Despite this, the Parliamentarians maintained their discipline as they moved along the road, holding off the Royalist attacks as they went.

With the Royalists seemingly unable to apply any serious pressure, Sir Thomas's army escaped.

This was a pretty quick game, and was over in five or six turns. Parliament were able to mount an effective attack on the Royalist blocking force, and clear the exit point, well before the Royalist flanking force could exert any serious pressure on them. Royalist shooting was abysmal; on one turn they failed to inflict a single hit on any of Parliament's units.

The Portable Wargame provided a perfectly adequate alternative to the Neil Thomas rules, and I'll probably try the next game, in which the Royalists have one more chance to move on Causton, using them.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Maurice Campaign - The Conclusion

I was a latecomer to the club's Maurice campaign, and last night was only my third game. But some others were playing their sixth, (maybe seventh) game, and were close to accumulating enough points to clinch a win if they played well in this session. So there was everything to play for as six of us settled down for an evening of 18th century warfare.

I used my Swedes again, an army design I realise was flawed from the start, with too many elite troops, and not enough regulars, leaving me sadly depleted and outnumbered after the first battle wiped out my quality and left me with no replacement quantity.

For the first time I defended, against Caesar's British.

I established a strong position behind a stone wall, whilst my cavalry operated on the left, opposite that of the British

The objective.

Basically the battle was a tight little cavalry action on my left flank, with Caesar's irregular light horse ...

... pushing through the wood ...

... into my rear ...

... where I charged and routed some of them ...

... before being attacked in turn.

There was lots of charging and counter-charging, and we both depleted our hands a couple of times during the wild melees.

The British gained the upper hand, and marched their infantry into position to exploit the possible opening on the flank.

But when the last Swedish cavalry unit broke, the army broke with it. The infantry never engaged, and only one Swedish stand even fired a shot.

The British infantry looked magnificent, but never even dropped out of column.

So that was a win for the British, and a third straight loss for the Swedes.

On the other tables, John P's Prussians faced Peter's Austrians ...

... whilst Daniel's Russians opposed Gary's Ottomans.

Prussians vs Austrians.

Ottomans vs Russians

Fierce fighting saw the Austrians defeat the Prussians.

And the Russians held stoically against an Ottoman attack, eventually breaking it.

Peter's win as the Austrians basically gave him a campaign win (he was a couple of points short, but really only had to just turn up for the next game, so we gave him the win anyway). Everyone was pleased with how the campaign had played out over the past few months. Even I had a great time, despite my shocking defeats. When we start a new campaign I'll be looking at starting with fewer elite units, so I can have more troops overall. And I might invest in some irregular cavalry as well; a few allied Cossacks wouldn't go amiss I reckon.

(Nice shiny photos courtesy of my new phone; I've retired my old iPhone 4S at last).

Friday, 14 July 2017

Succession Wars

A group at our club have been playing a Maurice campaign for the past few months, using the rules in the book. It has a rather neat series of mechanisms for creating alliances and pairing off armies, as well as providing some post-battle narrative and extra in-battle decisions. Indeed I'd recommend you give it a look if you're looking for ideas as to how to run a mapless club campaign; it ensures that every player gets a game in every session, which is always good.

Anyway, four of them have played up until now. I was the fifth; the odd man out. Whilst there is a mechanism in the campaign for this, it's less ideal than just having a sixth player. And a couple of weeks ago, we coerced JohnP, who has never played Maurice before, to be that sixth player..

So last night - the fourth round of the campaign - Europe saw six nations vying for supremacy. The players are split into alliances of equal size, and these last for the duration of a war. A war is a series of battles which are fought until one alliance has a particular majority of epic points (the VP in the campaign) over another.

On the one side we had Peter (Austrians), Daniel (Russians) and JohnP (Prussians). On the other was Caesar (French), Gary (Ottomans) and myself (Sweden).

My army is based on an alternate Great Norther War, where Sweden came off better against Russia and remained a major player in the Baltic. They also maintained their highly-motivated, small-army Ga Pa approach to warfare; my army is small and very aggressive, with a roughly equal mix of infantry and cavalry in terms of both numbers and quality.

I drew Daniel as my opponent, so we ended up with a rematch between old foes, on the Russian plains.

Here's my army, deployed to attack the Russian right. With only ten units (plus one of mercenaries), my aim was to strike one portion of his army very hard before he could bring his numbers to bear.

The Russians. A lot of the infantry were conscripts, but there were some guard units in there as well.

Meanwhile the other battles were beginning. Next to our table, Gary's Ottomans were attacking Peter's Austrians. Peter has gone for the bold move of having no national advantages for his army, thus allowing him to spend all of his points on troops.

Gary's Ottomans are very pretty, with hordes of irregular troops.

Elsewhere in the room, Caesar's French were defending against JohnP's Prussians.

Back to my game. I advanced both my infantry and cavalry as rapidly as possible. I decided to push the cavalry around the Russian right flank, which involved negotiating a wood filled with irregulars. Rather than be shot at, I used a Confusion card to draw one of the units out into the open ...

... and then rode it down.

Daniel moved his cavalry over to intercept, and that's where my plan fell apart. His lead unit was elite, and my lead units were elite. Despite my numbers, and Cavaliers national advantage, actually breaking his unit was very hard indeed. It wasn't helped by the fact that the Russians could rally like there was no tomorrow, thanks to one of their national advantages.

I kind of lost the plot at that point and, without really thinking it through, advanced my infantry into musketry range of the Russian line, despite being unsupported and outnumbered at the point of contact. Needless to say the two lead units were cut down, without inflicting any real damage on the enemy.

Eventually I scored a breakthrough with my cavalry, despite having lost one of my elite units. Unfortunately my units were also very shaky, and a charge by the last remaining Russian cavalry unit broke two of them, to give Daniel the game. Trying to push my infantry into a bottle-necked killing-ground was a bad idea, as was using my cavalry in a location where I had no real means of exploiting the advantages I had. Still, I imagine all of my early games will be  learning exercise with this army.

In the other battles, JohnP used Prussian discipline to march around the French flank, and mowed them down in droves. Not bad for a first game.

Meanwhile, Gary and Peter bashed away at each other, and burned through all three decks, leaving neither army unbroken at the end of the day. But Gary had captured the objective from the Austrians, to pick up a marginal victory.

The Ottoman win was the only one for our alliance, and saw the their side win the war and gain some extra points. However this also helps me, since lost units are generally replaced by conscripts at the end of a battle, and I had a few. However during the peace, conscript units can be trained up to regulars, which means that my damaged army has a little more backbone in it.

The next set of games - Round 5 - will see a new set of alliances fighting each other, in the Third War of Illawarran Succession.

(Looking through the campaign rules it strikes me that if you're playing a long game, you choose an army with lots of cheap conscript units at the start. Yes, you may lose a few battles early on, but conscripts are replaced at the same grade, and surviving conscripts easily upgrade to regulars, which means that, over time, your army will become worth far more points than it started with.)
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