Got a chance to introduce michaeld to Maurice (the same guy who gave me my first run through of Lasalle last week. This wasn't a campaign game, but it did occur at the same time as the last game in the first round (Spain vs. Anglo-Hanoverians).
Sadly, this confirmed the ongoing tyranny of the Sausage link to such an extent that the French and our allies were forced to sue for peace. The French will take the opportunity to train their army to a higher standard, in preparation for the inevitable outbreak of renewed conflict.
While all that was going on, michaeld was able to borrow a Russian army from marke, and we set about our game. We drew tropics as our terrain, michaeld won the scouting roll, opted to attack, and we set up terrain. With 8 pieces total, we had a fair selection, and ended up with a mix of hills, forests, and swamp. As defender, I deployed fairly tightly around the objective, put my artillery on one flank, and massed my cavalry on the other. Michaeld massed his infantry in column on my right, and his cavalry in column on my left.
My commander was placed close to the objective, within an easy 4 base widths of the guns. While they wouldn't play a decisive role in the game, I am getting the hang of how to place them for some decent early-game attrition.
The early stages of the game were fairly straightforward. Michael moved his columns forward, while I pounded away at them with my guns, building up my hand of cards in doing so. In retrospect, I think I forgot the bonus to hit his units due to being in column, but as my dice were rolling fairly hot, it didn't really matter.
At some point, michaeld played the captured intelligence card - which has been played on me every game, and which I've yet to have a chance to use ;) Michaeld eventually moved his units into (a long) line, and pushed close enough for our armies to begin to engage. I actually opened hostilities with a cavalry charge on the flank. I was able to use my manoeuvre advantage to get in a 2-on-1 combat, wiped out one of his units, and pulled back to recover. First blood to me.
In response, he pushed forward his infantry in the centre and on my left. He mentioned later his intention was to engage en oblique, hopefully turning my line. His decision to "thin" his troops to the point where he clearly extended out on the flank was enough for me to shift my infantry. You get a sense of what it looked like "on the ground" here:
He closed the distance, and we began to exchange musket fire. I caught a bit of break here. Michaeld had taken Lethal Volleys as one of his national advantages, but struggled to get hits in the first few rounds of firing (LV gives a re-roll on disruptions, but it's of little value if you don't score hits).
My return fire, bolstered by my guns, did a decent amount of damage in return. Nothing decisive, but coupled with the disruptions he'd picked up on the way in, it would have an effect. On my turn, I attacked (using a grenadiers forward card), doing some more damage, and if I recall, taking out a unit of infantry. He counter-charged on his next turn, and managed to take out a couple of my artillery batteries, but ended up losing a number of the combats.
He was also starved for cards, and had a number of units stranded in front of me on four disruptions. A good volley and charge later, and he had lost several units, and his morale had dropped precipitously.
Once he built up a few more cards, he attacked again on the flank, doing some damage, but not enough to even things up.
I swung my infantry around to envelop his left, he pivoted to counter, we clashed again, and I knocked out another of his infantry battalions.
Down to one morale point, the decisive moment came when my cavalry charged home on the flank, routing one of his units damaged in the earlier combat (he hadn't yet rallied his cavalry from our first engagement), and dropping his morale to zero.
Of all the games of Maurice I've played so far, this one felt most like a grind, possibly as I was defender, and didn't have the opportunity to set the pace of the game. While I had plenty of opportunity to launch spoiler attacks, michaeld kept up steady pressure throughout the game. What made his performance especially impressive is he hadn't even read the rules prior to play. At the end of the game, he'd pushed me well out of my initial deployment - the table looked like this:
I've found out, however, that michaeld is now thinking about picking up some 6mm troops and joining in the fun, so hopefully that means he had a good time. With any luck, the French will be picking up a new ally, and given michaeld's prolific painting output, it shouldn't take him long to put together a force in 6mm.
While we were busy horse-and-musketing away, at the next table, JJMicromegas had put together a rather large (600 point?) Impetus game in 25mm, Rome vs. Carthage. I didn't get a chance to follow the game closely, but it looked pretty.
Things will likely slow down a bit for the next couple of weeks. The Cub in back in town as of the weekend, and work is heating up. Two kids in the house plus work = less time for painting and playing. I'll try to keep up at least a post a week, but more than that is unlikely.