Saturday, 1 May 2010

An End and a Beginning

I've recently returned from visiting some friends around the country and got a chance to pop in to Salute at the Excel centre in London hence my tardiness with posting recently.   Salute was good, though for me not as good as last year and there was as far as I could see only one Napoleonic game on display.  Unfortunately the guys running it were too busy playing to talk to me about it so I have little idea of what was going on.  Personally I think that if you're going to put on a demonstration game then the clue is in the title.  It shouldn't be treated as an opportunity to have a game amongst yourselves with the minor annoyance of people wandering around asking you questions.  It's an opportunity to show off your terrain and figures and encourage others to develop an interest.  Sadly in my opinion there were too many games on at Salute which made little or no attempt to do this.

The Excellent Blenheim Demo Game at Salute.

The one real high point of the whole thing for me was the Blenheim game shown above.  All of the figures were painted by just two people, one of which is the guy on the right in the white T shirt.  This game proved to be one of the few where the people running it were enthusiastic about talking to visitors and answering questions.
        But enough of Salute, what of Smolensk?  Well to the relief of all involved it is now over.  In hindsight it would probably have been better to have finished it after the first day.  The second phase of the battle despite some prodigious efforts by the French cavalry eventually became bogged down in an attritional battle where most of the fighting was being done by the artillery and the game was finally abandoned as a draw.

The Austrian centre and left flank.

Of course this has given us an opportunity to start a new game which Eric quickly devised.  The scenario is one of a good quality but smaller French force attempting to force its way through a combined Austrian and Wurtemburg force in order to re-open its lines of communication.

Wurtemburg infantry prepare for an assault by the Young Guard.

We've decided to try restricting the artillery a little in this game so four gun batteries are reduced to three guns and three gun batteries are reduced to two guns.  This makes quite a difference to the effectiveness of horse artillery and makes all batteries more vulnerable to cavalry charges.

French "Guard" heavies about to charge an Austrian column.

We've had to substitute line dragoons for the guard heavies and Westphalian guard for the old guard as despite having between four and a half to five thousand figures there are no French guard infantry or cavalry in the garage.  To be honest they're rarely used and I'd rather have line units which get an airing nearly every time we play.  The guard will arrive eventually but I need more Russians and Prussians first.

The Austrian left flank advancing to counter the cavalry threat.

All in all this looks like being an interesting scrap, though the French will, in the words of Eric have to be clever to pull it off. I'll keep you posted.


Docsmith said...

Thanks for the nice piccies of massed Haww-strians - very pretty they are too. Do they have to form square when charged by cav under ITGM or do they just form massed column (i.e a solid square or rather oblong!)? Given the amount of figures you have on the table the amount of artillery didn't seem that excessive - is it the rules that make it too much of a 'Queen of the Battlefield' dominating everything in range? I note you talked about enabling cav to charge them - usually a kamikaze mission with most rules! How did they fare with your 'modified' version?


VolleyFireWargames said...

actually i was wondering how does that effect your fire modifiers do you total all guns firing on a target because without 4 guns in a battery you end up without that modifier, plus more pics of the whole table - and post your OB would like to run something similar here might have to use bavarians instead

Noel said...

Doc, all infantry take a full turn to form square in ITGM so if they're caught in another formation at the charge declaration stage then they remain in that formation. Basically they should have formed square when they had the chance.
Artillery in ITGM can be a bit all powerful though 3 gun batteries are vulnerable to being charged by cavalry. The trick is to support them with cavalry and counter charge or anchor the flanks with squares. Actually this brings up a bit of a bug bear of mine, there's a -4 modifier for single rank cavalry when firing cannister which makes it far too easy for single squadrons to break into 3 gun batteries. Without the -4 batteries are far more able to defend themselves.

Dave, we still give the +2 for all guns hitting, even for 2 gun batteries and it seems to work ok. I'll hopefully be able to post the OB next week as I'm playing French and don't know what the Austrian OB is. Your idea of using Bavarians is oddly enough more accurate because the game is loosely based on the battle of Hannau. No problem with the pics I'll make sure there are a couple of panoramic shots in the next post.

christot said...

I think reduced size batteries is the way forwards, all the games I've played using them have been excellent. It doesn't seem to reduce the number of guns involved, just allows more batteries. which need to be sited more carefully/ looked after. I think it cuts down on the times when guns are dragged up into the front line which probably happens far too much.

Vinnie said...

Great stuff..I love seeing all those Elite Miniatures on the table.