An informal look at the people who visit, and the games that are played in my garage.
Saturday, 30 January 2010
Thursday evening saw us kicking off the final battle in Eric's campaign trilogy. This one as I previously mentioned is being fought over both tables with an extra two boards slotted in between to give us an even bigger playing area.
The French central position
The scenario is one in which the French having lost the previous two battles are now caught between the jaws of an Allied pincer with the Austrians on one side and the Prussians on the other. The French have to defend their depot area and can expect some reinforcement but are on the backfoot as battle attrition has diluted the class of their formations.
The view from the other side
It doesn't seem to have affected the French artillery arm however as they already appear to have deployed more guns than the Red Army at Kursk. Two of these batteries can be seen in the earthworks which magically appeared on table and came as a nasty surprise to the Allies.
Part of the Prussian corps assaulting on the Allied left
The Allies have at their disposal a Corps of Prussian infantry and another of Austrians already deployed with the promise of some high quality reinforcements to come. I'm hoping that this will be a chance to blood the two new Pavlov battalions and some of the new Russian Cuirassier.
Wurtemburg light cavalry and horse artillery
All told this should prove to be an interesting match up. The Allies with their quality versus the French with their strong defensive position and more guns than you can shake a stick at. I'll get Eric to do another of his battle reports with maybe an interim one if the game takes a while to play out.
I had a pleasant day down at Falmouth on Sunday, and took the chance to meet up with some old mates. As I promised in the last post I took a few photos of the proceedings and these may provide some clue to what was happening. The game if I remember correctly is based in 1940 which apparently meant that there were no Russians involved.
The game itself is a peculiar mix of extremely large battlefields and very small scale figures. I suppose if you're going to have this many players, and there are an awful lot of them, then this is the way to do it.
Once again I was amazed at the amount of planning required by the individual players prior to the game getting under way. There were furtive groups of three or four people muttering and mumbling to each other for literally hours on Sunday night and the game didn't start until the next morning.
Aesthetic appeal is relatively low on the agenda as you can see. To be honest I have no idea what nationality these guys are or in fact which way they're facing. However the people using them seem to know precisely what type of troops they are and their capabilities which after all is the important thing. There are absoloutely thousands of these little stands and they're all labelled up for the orbat which they fit into.
The battle finally got under way after breakfast though there were those who seemed willing to forego food in order to get an early start. I left after a couple of hours later and the game was in full swing. The whole thing lasts for a week and I think they're playing three seperate two day phases each of which is linked to the last one. I have to be honest and say that it really doesn't float my boat but I was certainly in a minority of one so there must be something in it.
However when all's said and done a blog entry wouldn't feel right without a picture of some proper wargaming. So for anyone who may have been losing the will to live, here are some nice Prussian chaps to perk you up a bit.
There were only three of us at the garage on thursday evening which pretty much precluded any gaming so we took the the time to set up the terrain boards for the final showdon in Erics' compelling saga. This is actually no mean feat as the boards are heavy and numerous. In addition we had to work in two extra boards which fit into the gap between the two tables.
The result as you can see above is to give us an extra eighteen square feet of table to play on. I believe the idea is to have a central French position with the Allies attacking from all sides. It should be interesting to say the least.
Moving on to some of the newer additions to the garage I took a few photos of the Russian cuirassier arm now that it's as complete as it's going to be for the foreseeable future. These were all painted by Neil Sheardown who is currently working on several regiments of French and Russian light cavalry. Neil has just bought a soldering iron and has decided to animate the individual squadrons which should look great.
From left to right these are, the Emperor, Gluchkov and the Empress.
The support element is made up of four regiments of dragoons,
and a soon to be six gun horse battery.
Not satisfied with painting lots of cavalry Neil has also produced a second battalion for the Pavlov's which I'm sure are most peoples favourite Russian infantry unit, as well as two more units of Prussian Landwehr
Men in silly hats.
Yet more Landwehr.
There's no game next week as some of the guys are off playing WW2 games with tiny counters at Falmouth, a complete waste of time if you ask me, but no one ever does.
I have to admit that I've been a bit tardy in my blogging efforts of late and to be honest I'm not really sure why. It would be easy to blame the Christmas and New year period, work commitments or myriad other things but the fact is I'm blessed with copious amounts of spare time regardless of the time of year and the requirement to earn a living. So I won't make excuses, it appears that I'm just an idle bugger.
Ok then, now that's out of the way a quick update should be in order. The second game in Eric's trilogy is over and I'll allow Eric to tell the sordid tale in his own words.
"Hmmm, can I get away with this with three of them watching?"
This is a shorter report than the last one because 1) I didn't take as much notice of what was going on and 2) It wasn't as good a battle. At the end of the last report I promised to "embrace the gap", what I actually did was ignore it in designing the game, which had the unfortunate effect of having nearly all the players trying to stand in the same area. Something to think on for further design.
Embracing the gap
The battle setup had a large French column moving along a road through wooded and hilly terrain. Their path was blocked by a decent Prussian force with a Russian corps moving up through open terrain to the right of the Prussians. Small Polish and Austrian forces would turn up later on the allied left. The French had a slight advantage in infantry and the allies in cavalry. The action opened with the French vanguard attacking the Prussians in the woods. Although the Prussians had the numbers, many of them were Landwehr and the terrain favoured the French (the rules have French staying formed more easily in rough ground). The dense forests broke up many formations and no-one could set up decent fire zones. Combats were small and not always easy of the winners to follow up from. Prussian numbers eventually told and the late arriving Prussian heavies had a field day against retreating French infantry. The 2nd French division could not support the 1st given the terrain and tried to attack through woods towards the allied centre, held by another Prussian division. The broken terrain and the disaster happening to their right left the attack ill-coordinated and the half-hearted attempts were easily dealt with. The attack should have been helped by their 3rd division but this took too long to come up as it moved around deployed artillery and some Cossacks made a real nuisance of themselves. Before they even saw any action the 3rd division was pulled back to redeploy into the gap left by the lost 1st. On the French left their 4th division was of poor quality confederation troops who moved forward to try and pin down the Russians. Against two Russian foot batteries and a horse battery this was asking a lot of them. Their advance only got as far as it did because the Russian player (Noel) wanted to lure them on. They were later supported by a Young Guard division, but this was not put to any serious test.
The left also had the French Cuirassier division. The real hammer in the French arsenal, unmatched by the allied cavalry - or so we thought. As they moved up to aid the confederation attack they were met and defeated by Russian hussars. It meant that any French attack was doomed to failure. The only reason the French left survived the battle mostly intact was the timidity of the Russian commander who outnumbered them in every arm.
A timid Russian commander earlier.
On the extreme French right the Austrian and Polish reinforcements turned up, had their own little scrap and were ignored by everyone else. The Poles won a hard little action by virtue of superior morale, but had little left to influence the rest of the battle.
The last action was left to the French 3rd division, redeployed to face the victorious Prussians. Although they managed to see off the remaining Landwehr, the Prussian regulars proved too much and too many for them and they broke. With the Prussian cavalry ready to sweep up the remnants the battle was declared an Allied victory and ended.
The French had attacked one division at a time which proved their downfall. Their attack against the Russians was ill-conceived (I don't think they listened to the briefings that said the Russians were supposed be attacking them) and completely failed when their Cuirassiers lost. The actions in the semi-wooded terrain was tricky for both sides and provided a different experience to the normal massed column action we experience.
Next we try the trickiest two table set-up of all. Six feet of the gap will be filled with terrain (Noel has carefully positioned the tables to this can be done), whilst the rest will stand for mostly impassible ground. This means potentially two separate battles, but I'll try and set it up so that there is plenty of interaction between the two.
Once again, thanks to Eric for setting up the game and writing the battle report. There's a bit of a lull at the garage lately, this has been due to various reasons such as illness, work and Dom having to get his megagame sorted out in Falmouth for the 16th of Jan. However we're hoping to get together tomorrow evening to do some admin type jobs, and possibly set up the terrain for the final battle in the mini campaign. I'll definitely be updating the blog this weekend as I've just been out taking photo's of the latest troops to arrive from the painting robot also known as Neil Sheardown.