Friday, June 15, 2012

Mid-week game

I was able to join the mid-week crew from the club for a game tonight at Crazy Squirrel. Normally, they meet together on Tuesdays, but due to a scheduling conflict it was moved to tonight.

We played another test game of Beneath the Lily Banners 2nd edition. I put the game on, as I am the only one with the rules, and Ron brought the figures. Ron, Brent, Alex, and Neil all played...and Alex enjoyed himself enough to join in the soon-to-start 1708 Imagi-Nation campaign.

Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera and Alex was kind enough to take a photo with his phone, but I am awaiting his sending it to me.

However, the game was small, with six units per side, both players playing "French-ish" armies. Brent and Alex had four infantry battalions and two squadrons of horse. Ron and Neil had five battalions and a light gun.

The battlefield, being a test game, was fairly open, with only a small hill on the right flank of Brent/Alex.  The two armies formed up, with Brent controlling two battalions and a squadron, with Alex having the same, and Ron taking three battalions, leaving Neil with two battalions and the gun.

The game was like a slow ballroom dance as it unfolded turn after turn (we got in about 10 turns). Alex pushed forward on his far right, going for the hill, or seeming to, and Neil responded by heading straight for the hill, with the gun following slowly behind. Brent and Ron advanced in lines, with the Brent's cavalry in line behind his infantry.

Neil beat Alex to the hill, which was a small miracle because Ron's command die rolls were an almost constant 3/4 move as a Competent commander, whereas Brent was Gifted and this was able to move his whole army throughout most of the game.

The two lines in the center slowly closed in, and Brent shuffled his cavalry over to his left flank, finally exposing one squadron in the front line. While he charged on of Ron's battalions, the far right battalion of Ron's line, the rest of Ron's troops moved up to within medium musket range and a firefight ensued. The cavalry won the first round of combat, but Ron's troops (all forces were classed as Drilled, except one battalion each as Elite) passed their morale.

Alex, then shifted reformed his troops, one Neil had deployed his gun behind the hill (Alex had moved into range and into view of it), and shifted his units to his left, leaving the gun out of position and behind Neil's infantry, one of which was now on the hill and the other to its right.

A general firefight occurred in the the center and Ron's infantry actually won its melee against the cavalry, which rode off the field with but a single figure remaining. However, the very next turn saw Brent's other squadron charge in on the disordered and depleted battalion, which ended up routing and was destroyed in pursuit. Yet, Brent lost a battalion routing off the field due to severe casualties and a failed morale test.

Due to the small size of the forces involved, I set the victory conditions to breaking half the opponent's army, so three units.

Another couple of turns of shooting saw Alex and Neil facing off each other with a single battalion each on the hill, which slowly ground each other down, and the two elite battalions shooting each other and then fighting in close combat. Brent shot to pieces Ron's next most right battalion, with the cavalry rallying and reforming to hit the gun.

However, before Brent could charge in and obtain the easy victory, Ron's last battalion joined Neil's elite troops in defeating Alex's elite battalion in close combat and with that unit breaking, the game was over....a close game.

This is only the second time we'd played together and everyone hand a good time. The rules gave one a better sense of the flow of combat during this period in contrast to our well known understanding of the ebb and flow of a Napoleonic battle. There was some surprise when oblique movement was not allowed, when falling back while facing forward was disallowed, and when wheeling or reforming was the only way to change a unit's facing (at least without routing). Also, they all saw how brittle unsupported cavalry can be...and Brent already indicated he will be running his cavalry differently in the future.

The major change I am going to make for the campaign, with these rules, is that in close combat, the victor can only ever lose two figures, while the defender can lose up to 13, in a single round. I am going to change this, I think, to having the victor roll a die for each increase in the combat differential, beyond the first, any 1's resulting from this roll will cause an additional casualty to the victor.  I think this will work better for the campaign.

I highly...highly recommend these rules for NYW, WSS, and GNW gaming. I also like Maurice, but the two systems do not game the same types of battles and so I find each fun and will use both...with Maurice being more for my SYW army in 15mm.

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