Finally managed to meet up with the local historical crowd, for an honest-to-goodness historical game. I keep pinching myself to make sure it really happened ;)
|The looping river is impassable, the offshoots just irritating.|
Thanks to the generosity of the Beloved, who covered both the kids' rec and the pup for the day, I was able to get out for a Napoleonics game in the area, run by the redoubtable Armchair General. A re-fight of Friedland, the game was the last in a campaign series the local gang have been playing through (beginning with Austerlitz!). The AG not only provided a vast array of 15mm figures, but also arranged the terrain, and managed to both umpire / rules reference and play, which kept the game moving well.
|Some of the AGs many forces at play.|
The rules were Napoleon's Battles, an older ruleset. My impression is that they date from an era when people were starting to try and write more abstract rules focused on command and control, but sell them to people accustomed to tables, charts, and granular die roll modifiers. The net result was a pretty steep learning curve, and we only got to turn 4 (IIRC). I suspect more familiarity with the rules would speed up play (I wasn't the only new guy, at least to the rules), but what we managed to get through was fun.
|My command moving up in support of the cavalry.|
I had a fairly small command, which made things a lot easier, running a couple units of infantry with attached guns - call it a division. Friedland historically was a game where the Russians started out attacking the French, and ended up disastrously defending as French reinforcements poured onto the field. In our game we did a little better, mostly punching through the initial French defence, but I suspect had we played the game out longer, they would have rallied, and at least stalled our attack.
|The Russian right flank. Out of picture were the dastardly French.|
Terrain was a huge factor in the game. A largely impassible river (with only a few bridges) cut the table more or less in two down the middle for a good chunk of its length, and a series of smaller tributaries broke up the rest of the table. Our attack (as I was playing Russians, of course), had to cross several of these. They were passable, but with the addition of other constraints on terrain and movement, meant that we were basically fighting through a succession of natural barriers on a narrow front. It pretty quickly became clear how the Russians ran into trouble in the historical event.
|The guard marching.|
A bit of a thrill for me was actually getting my unit of painted Russian guard on the table (not a perfect fit with their basing, but the AG accommodated). As it turns out, they ended up the game marching to the guns, but I figure it still counts. Given I bought the damn things back in Toronto who knows how many years ago, any use in anger will do ;)
|Close enough now to move into attack column|
|Trails of Russian reinforcements - had the game continued, they would have played a larger role.|
I have to say, the game looked great on the table - really showed off what massed 15mm can do. Me being me, I came home all a-twitter with thoughts of digging out the rest of my AB15s. Dinner, and a period of reflection, have me easing back a bit, but I suspect they may see the light of day yet - as a painting project, if nothing else.
|The main bridge at Friedland - became something of a logistical choke point.|
I have to say, I had a great time. The group was super-welcoming to a new guy, and very patient with my sundry rules questions. I tentatively broached the prospect of organizing a 6mm game, and seemed to get some enthusiasm in response, so I suspect a bit of planning is in order. I'll have to take a look at what I can pull together from my collection, and think about possible rules and scenarios. There's likely to be some painting needed as well (at least for any kind of nominally historical match-up), so that bears looking into as well. Definitely feeling up about the prospects of more historical gaming in future, however, and assuming they have me back, will be seeing this crew again.