Thursday, November 14, 2013
The Battle of Delheit Seivhngs.
After a longish hiatus, we've finally got our Maurice campaign up and running again, so I carted my French down to the Dueling Grounds last night for a game against marks. We've yet to play each other in the campaign so far, and marke's army turned out to be rather daunting; it's bigger than mine, over the course of the campaign, it's achieved comparable quality, and he's got a formidable set of national characteristics (Steady Lads, which lets him re-roll his combat dice on defense, and Lethal Volleys, which lets him re-roll failed damage rolls when shooting).
We drew Plains for terrain, which left us even in terms of scouting advantage. I won the roll, I opted to defend, we ended up with 7 pieces of terrain, and I set up. marke deployed in a rather offset way, planning, I assume, to wheel around and attack my flank.
The first stages of the game proceeded more or less as I expected. marke began his long wheel, and I reacted by swinging my cavalry across to "counter-flank" him. As defender, I had a decided advantage; marke had to seize the town on my side of the table, or break my army, to win. All I had to do was not lose. My basic plan would be to disrupt and delay him until time ran out on the game, and threatening his flank was the first step in that plan.
This is one of those games where lots of things went my way, including some of the more entertaining event cards. I got in a rather fun use of the Confusion card, where I marched one of his front units back through several others stacked up behind. In Thomas the Tank Engine parlance, it caused much confusion and delay ;)
I also redeployed my artillery. While I was pretty sure they'd be overwhelmed, they'd do some damage, tie marke up, and give me a chance to redeploy to face his flank attack.
marke eventually broke through, but his units were stacked up, and I kept the time pressure up by running through the card deck as quickly as I could.
I also (finally!) got a chance to play the "That's not on the map!" card, laying some difficult ground right in the path of marke's advance.
Things were now poised to clash. I'd done a fairly good job of running out the deck, and we were down to one last run-through. If I could hold him off a little longer, night would fall, and I'd win.
marke pushed forward, and I moved up to meet him. I had a good run of cards that would interfere with his musketry, and figured they'd even the odds against the advantage he gained from Lethal Volleys.
On the other side of the table, I kept my cavalry in position to charge. In retrospect, I might have been better off to send them in, but they'd have to go up against 2 guns, 2 undamaged infantry units, and the bulk of marke's own cavalry behind them. I figured in the end they'd do better to tie up those units, and keep them out of the fight.
The price, however, was exposing the cavalry to musket fire against which they had no response.
It was at this point I made what was probably a game-changing mistake. I knew once he closed to musket range, he'd outshoot me, so I charged in with my infantry. With a bit of luck, I'd put enough disruptions on his front line to reduce his shooting effectiveness, and that would buy me a little more time.
Instead, the dice broke the other way (I can't complain; he'd had terrible shooting rolls up to that point), and I ended up losing the fight, and getting raked by musket fire.
He then charged in turn, and with one of my units at 4 disruptions, tore a hole in my line. His path to the town was open.
Although the local situation was bad, I still felt pretty good about the game as a whole. We only had a few cards left, and he'd have maybe one shot to take the town. The odds were deeply against him, so I figured I had it pretty much in the bag.
It was around this point that someone pointed out a horrible bit of the rules I'd overlooked. I had been operating under the assumption that the game ended when the last card was drawn, but as it turns out, play continues until both players pass twice, or both run out of cards. Which meant, since it was highly unlikely marke was going to pass, that I was looking at at least 10 more turns of play, marke had a clear line of attack to the objective, I was down several units, and had a sub-optimal hand of cards.
This was not going to turn out well.
At this point, I had a choice. I could ask for terms, abandon the objective, or try and hold him off. I opted for the latter, but it proved a Pyrrhic victory. While I piled on enough pressure to keep a hold on the objective, too many of my units were ground down, and he ended up breaking me on morale.
In the immortal words of Bart Simpson, crap, boobs, crap.
It was a fun game actually, bar my absolute flabbergasting on discovering I'd totally misinterpreted rules written down in black and white. marke's always a gent to play against, and it was terrific to get my French on the table again after so many months away. As it turns out, despite the drubbing I took, the army wasn't too badly damaged. My two guard units, and two trained units come back at their original quality because of my own national advantages, so the only real hit was one of my elites will come back conscript. Such is war, I suppose.
While marke and I were duking it out, there were a couple of games going on in the background. ernieR and Vonplutz were having a game of Bolt Action, and DaveB and Jack1080 were playing the final of our Bloodbowl league (Jack1080 won a very close 2:1 game with his Skaven against DaveB's orks). We're in the final stages of getting our Pewter to Poppies auctions up (we took some glam shots of the minis the same night), and I'll be posting details as I get them.