Got in a rather bloody campaign game of Maurice last night against Vonplutz, my opponent from a few games back. I, of course, forgot my camera, but VP was kind enough to get some shots on his uberphone. Many thanks to VP, and all shots are from his side of the table.
We drew rough ground for our terrain, the first time, I think, I've played with that card. Scouting units were irregular infantry. As VP had them, I didn't, and he had the Great Captain advantage to boot, he won the scouting roll handily, and elected to defend. We rolled 10 pieces of terrain (3 contributed by me (again with the Great Captain, he rolled 2 dice for 7), and we set up the table.
|That's the glorious French, i.e., me, bottom left.|
Now ordinarily, I try to get towns on my side of the table asap, on the assumption that the less my opponent has to garrison, the better. This time, however, VP put down a town as his first piece of terrain, and I decided to try something a little more cagey. In the past, opponents have generally used terrain to build up a real bunker. I figured I'd hold out, and try to place a town late, in a spot less well protected. It more or less worked. As the attacker, I got to place the objective, and I put it in the town somewhat less surrounded by difficult terrain. Vonplutz deployed, concentrating his infantry in front of the town, with a battery on his right, and his cavalry massed behind woods on his left. He also put some irregulars in woods on either flank. Turns out, he had a notable that allowed him to march through difficult terrain without disruption, and it was pretty clear he was going to use that advantage to move through the woods and try and envelope me.
|The view from VP's centre. Note the near-total absence of French.|
Even with the choice of towns as objective, storming one remained an iffy prospect. I figured my best chance of a win would be to refuse a flank, and concentrate on rolling him up from on side or the other. As such, I set up my infantry in two forces, once in line in the centre, one in column on the right, and my cavalry on the far right. My battery I deployed on the far left, with a good line of fire down the centre of the table, should he be tempted to advance.
The early stages of the battle were pretty straightforward. I peppered his forces with a little long-range cannon fire, building my hand, he moved his cavalry into the woods behind his irregulars, and I pushed my infantry columns on the right forward, and then into line, just out of range of his cavalry and musket fire. Once my lines were dressed, I pushed my infantry forward, and started a fairly uneven musket duel with the irregulars in the woods, who eventually dissolved under the weight of lead. His cavalry then began to take the brunt of my firing, and I moved up close to the edge of the wood. At this point, he was stuck; the only way out going forward would be to go through my infantry, and he would be fighting in rough ground if he did.
|First I moved them up in column, taking care to stay out of musket and charge range.|
At this point, with his cavalry coming under fairly intense fire, VP began redeploying his infantry, concentrating towards my right. There was one point where I had a pretty sweet (enfilade + mass) shot on his infantry, but opted to redeploy my own troops instead, which gave him the chance to move out of range; this was an atypical manifestation of discipline on my part.
|Then I switched to line, and completed the envelopment.|
In response, I used a coordinated card to push my remaining infantry forward, and obliqued to the left, both beginning an envelopment of his position, and opening up a channel in the centre for my cavalry.
|French infantry advance, and begin to oblique to the left, while the French cavalry reforms behind the line.|
This was actually a pretty tense moment for me. Things were going well on my right, but the only way I was going to win this game would be to break open his centre, and from my side of the table, it looked like an even fight; not the kind of terms likely to produce positive outcomes.
|Cavalry ready to move on the centre, his infantry spread out in an effort to contain multiple threats.|
However, while VP had been able to concentrate, his much smaller frontage, and the mishmash of terrain, made it difficult for him to bring his lines to bear, or to coordinate his units. The net result was that I was generally able to engage him piecemeal, generally getting 2:1 odds or better in both firefights and assaults.
|That's a unit of guard cavalry in the centre melee. They rolled a tactically brilliant 6.|
A combination of musketry and preliminary assaults gradually ground him down. While his morale remained fairly high (I rolled a lot of 1s for morale impact), he was haemorraging units. After (I think) the bulk of his cavalry and a couple infantry were wiped out, VP asked for terms, and I declined. I felt a little bad, but only a little. I've been on the losing side of every war in this campaign, and my allies lost the opening battle. We needed a win, and I was in a position to provide one. With VP's forces choked up, and mine deployed in a slowly closing ring, I was pretty sure I could take his morale to zero without losing too many of my own units.
|Judging by the focus, I think the Lolland army's status could be described as "shaken" ;)|
In the end, it was pretty one-sided. He just couldn't bring enough units to bear, in the same time, at the same place, to effectively counter me, and the collective impact of a succession of lop-sided battles meant that he couldn't do enough damage to any one unit to break them. At one point, he broke off, and retreated his remaining units (other than his garrisons) back even further towards the town. I took the opportunity to rally my units, before closing in. A final charge with my Guard (the Irish regiment Clare), and his morale dropped to zero, game over.
|That's the Irish on the left. Looking fierce, but fancy.|
I caught a few breaks on the dice at key times. Having remembered to actually use the a la Bainonette advantage, I turned a couple of 1s to 6s in assaults, which allowed me to double the opposing score and break a unit. The close terrain also ended up working against VP, as it channeled him into small pockets where he simply couldn't operate effectively.
Once we'd finished the post-game, we managed to squeeze into an on-going game of Zombicide hosted by the ever-productive ChrisB.
|Good looking board, quality components.|
|That's me. Sheldon. ChrisB painted him in a Bazinga! shirt.|
We were only in the game for a round or two before Watts kicked in the door of a strip mall, and the world more or less exploded with zombies. From what I got with my limited exposure, though, the game looks like fun, and I might look into a copy for when the nephews come over. It doesn't hurt that ChrisB has painted something like 80-odd zombies differently, along with the full range of survivors. I got to be Sheldon ;)
|Post-door kicking situation. Thanks, Watts ;(|
|Machete, driving a car. With machetes.|
Some updatey stuff on the weekend, and an unscheduled game next week. Until then,