Showing posts with label maurice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label maurice. Show all posts

Friday, 16 February 2018

Some People Call Me Maurice

There were four of us gaming at the University yesterday evening, and we played some Maurice, trying out army ideas for a forthcoming second campaign.

This was the only picture I took of Peter and Ralph's game, which featured Ralph's rapid-firing Prussians taking on Peter's Austrians.

I played Caesar. He took a British army, with shooting and melee national advantages. I went for something Swedish, opting for a Great Captain and cavaliers for the cavalry.

I defended, and got to sit behind a river. Caesar massed his infantry against my cavalry flank, so I pulled the horse back, switching most of it to the other flank where I hoped I might cross the river and take the fight to his inferior cavalry. I never got that far.

On my right flank I had troops ensconced behind a wall and garrisoning a village.

Caesar marched his magnificent columns of infantry up to the river.

He started to cross, but my cunning (and lucky) card-play meant that for several turns he got bogged down, unable to move. This left a number of his units exposed on my side of the river, where I was able to concentrate my fire on them, and break a couple.

A large ploughed field on my side of the river was also a problem for Caesar, and advancing across it would break up his army into unmanageable groups.

A shot of my cavalry on the right flank. They did a masterful interpenetration of my infantry line, then sat in this position for the rest of the game.

Caesar finally got his infantry across the river on my extreme left, and his superior firepower began to tell (although my troops' inability to hit anything in return didn't help).

A charge by the cavalry I'd left on that flank failed to slow the British advance, and I ended up slowly giving ground, hoping the third deck would run out and end the game with me still in possession of the objective and at least one point of army morale.

A British unit got too enthusiastic and charged to its own destruction, but the victorious Swedes were shot down before they had much chance to celebrate the win.

And that was pretty much it. Caesar pushed forward, we exchanged fire and eventually the Swedish morale broke. It was a good game, and had my shooting been better would have been closer. A few times in the mid-game, I had isolated British units under fire and close to breaking, and couldn't quite finish them off before he was able to recover. This would have made his final advance riskier, as his army morale would have been shakier. But it wasn't to be.

I never got to use my Cavaliers advantage.

There was much discussion about the selection of armies and national advantages for the Maurice campaign system. I can't help thinking that it tends to encourage the selection of forces that are rather more minimaxed and sterile than those you might select for a one-off game; they are optimised for the campaign rather than set up as reflections of historical prototypes. Has anyone else played the Maurice campaign system? Was this your experience of it?

Friday, 22 December 2017

Massive Maurice

For our last game of the year we played a big game of Maurice, with three 100pt armies on each side. We used two decks shuffled together, but reduced the army morale breakpoints a little just to make sure we could bring the game to a conclusion within the evening.

Armies were loosely based on historical prototypes. Or maybe not. We just put together interesting 100pt forces, with some people trying out a few ideas for our next Maurice campaign, which will start early next year if all goes to plan.

One one side Caesar, Peter and Ralph ran an Austrian/Prussian Alliance. On the other, John, Daniel and I ran a Russo-French-Swedish Confederation. Here are my Swedes. I tried irregular cavalry in my force.

Caesar's Austrians opposed me. He went for a cavalry-heavy force, backed up by lots of high-quality artillery.

The French (foreground) and Russians (background). The Russians had Rally To The Colours, but were facing Prussians with their deadly Lethal Volleys.

In the centre Peter advanced his Austrians along a river, taking two small villages there.

I pushed my irregulars forward, to grab the woods in the centre of Caesar's deployment area. They took hits from his excellent artillery on the way.

On the other flank Ralph's Prussians approached Daniel's Russians. Both armies looked very neat.

I pushed the Swedish cavalry forward to support my irregulars.

Meanwhile Peter's Austrians were approaching my infantry line. Both Peter and I had selected Clerics as a national advantage; would we get a chance to see how they work?

On our right the Russians and Prussians were exchanging shots and, as always happens, the Lethal Volleys were proving their worth.

Peter and Caesar jostled for position as they advanced. One of my units advanced alone to meet them. This wasn't my choice.

Meanwhile my cavalry piled into Caesar's rather unenthusiastic infantry, and routed it.

Caesar's cavalry surged forward towards my infantry in response. I prepared my clerics to bolster the troops.

My cavalry continued their attack, but failed to break Caesar's remaining infantry. The cavalry fell back and then got shot to pieces. As always.

The Russians were now attacking the Prussians to avoid being shot at. But our army was losing morale rapidly, and our opponents' wasn't.

Before Caesar's impressive cavalry force could hit the Swedes, our army collapsed.

We played to a conclusion in about three hours, which was great, even allowing for the fact that we dropped our starting morale values a little. Once again we found that Lethal Volleys is very good value indeed; maybe under-priced for the effect it has, or too powerful for the cost. We've considered a few possible 'fixes', but aren't sure where to go with it. Two of us chose Clerics, but we never got into a position to use them. I didn't really get to use my irregulars to their full potential either. But I think everyone got some ideas for our future campaign games.

It was also nice to roll some dice again, after a break of at least a couple of weeks.

Friday, 20 October 2017


Fired up by the small skirmishes of The Pikeman's Lament, our group have been looking at a set of rules for larger 17th century battles. To this end we decided to give Baroque a go last night. It's an extension of the Impetus system, which a couple of members are familiar with; the rest of us would learn as we went along.

Gary put together a couple of armies from his collection; a lot of the figures were not correct in any way at all, but he managed Swedes (in the foreground) against Poles (background).

There was a lot of variety in the troops available; this Swedish cavalry command contained dragoons, a combined horse and shot unit and caracolling pistol-armed reiters. The opposing Poles were equally diverse.

Dave observed, pointing dramatically. On this flank, Swedish trotters faced Polish hussars.

The infantry in the centre was much as you'd expect; pike and shot units, with some integral light guns (in the Swedish case) or supporting medium guns (for the Poles).

The first combats were on the Swedish right. The dragoons seized the woods to threaten the Polish flank, whilst the lighter missile-armed Polish cavalry rushed forward to engage.

Some nifty firing followed by opportunistic charges saw the Poles disordered and routed. We quickly discovered that this was a system where, if you seized the moment, you could cause things to turn very bad for your opponent very quickly.

The Poles lost two units in one turn. Some Swedish reiters who'd pushed forward very aggressively were also caught and routed.

On the other flank JohnP launched a sudden, risky, attack on the Polish hussars with one of his units of trotters. Again, the cascade of responses, counter-charges ad pursuits took hold; the hussars failed to counter-charge, and were caught at the halt, which completely negated most of their advantages. They fell back and the Swedish pursuit took them into the second unit, which also retreated. Another pursuit saw both units routed. The Poles best cavalry were gone in virtually no time at all. Their loss collapsed that flank, and put the army's morale in jeopardy.

On the other flank a swirling continued melee was won for the Swedes when the dragoons rushed out of the woods to join the fray with clubbed muskets. The ensuing rout saw the Polish flank commander captured, and their whole army breaking.

In the centre the infantry had barely advanced into artillery range, and now the battle was over. However we decided to spend the remaining time playing their action out as a separate game in its own right, just to get a feel for the way infantry combat worked, and to better understand the game's general mechanisms.

We soon learned that having the initiative is very important, and that because you resolve the actions of each unit in turn, the timing of your shooting and attacks is critical. Even deciding when to react to enemy actions is important.

The Swedes initially had the upper hand in the infantry fight, mauling a couple of Polish infantry units as they advanced. But a sudden shift of initiative saw the Poles able to exploit an advantage they'd gained, and roll up the Swedish infantry line. The important thing was that we got to try and understand more mechanisms.

Overall we were impressed by Baroque. It has a lot of risk and reward; you can push units and risk disorder, or failure to act, but if it comes off you can make attacks that can collapse the enemy fairly quickly. I suspect that use of reserves to counter this is a key tactic. There's quite a few markers involved, mostly to keep track of casualties and disorder, but you have to remember which units have reacted, which commands have moved and even which special abilities have been used. This isn't too hard, but is worth noting for people who like a clean table. The rules seemed fiddly in places, but I suspect with further play things become more obvious. We had a fun evening, and I think that's as good a plus for a set of rules as you can ask for.

On the other table, Ralph and Daniel played Black Powder - something Napoleonic by the looks of it.

In addition Gary presented Peter with a trophy to mark his victory in our Maurice campaign. He felt it was worth marking the fact that we'd finished a club campaign; something we've never done before.

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).
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