Thursday, 21 February 2008

Sacile (sort of)

Hi all

First, in answer to a comment I have received and following on from a conversation at the club, it takes me 2-3 hours to paint the figures for ONE base. I paint from 1hr to 1hr30 each night so I can usually complete 3 bases in a week, 6 days of painting and 1 day of basing and prepping the next batch of figures.

On to last night's game...

The scenario was loosely based on Sacile (April 1809). The battlefield consisted of a 6 x 4 table with 5 villages (4"x4" bases) arranged in a crescent with the "points" facing the French table edge (one of the 6' edges). The Austrians were allowed to deploy behind an imaginary line cutting the table diagonally - meaning that 3 of the villages started in their deployment area.

Forces were based on those at Sacile, but each side had a small reserve formation of heavy cavalry added

The Austrians had 3 formations:
1. 3 line infantry bases, 2 granzer bases, 1 hussar base, 1 chevauleger base, 1 cavalry artillery, 1 foot artillery
2. 2 line infantry bases, 1 jager base, 1 grenadier base, 1 cavalry artillery, 1 foot artillery
3. 2 cuirassier bases

The French also had 3 formations:
1. 4 infantry bases (1 veteran), 1 light cavalry base, 1 foot artillery
2. 4 infantry bases (2 veteran), 2 bavarian infantry bases, 1 bavarian light cavalry base
3. 1 carabinier base, 2 cuirassier bases

The French were attacking but lacked a numerical advantage and were light on artillery. In reality Sacile proved a stretch too far for the French and the game went much the same way as I failed to mass enough force to take individual villages, wasting time attacking several with small forces and being repeatedly repulsed.

The Austrian flank did eventually crack but not until around 7.30pm (game time) and with nighfall occurring at 9pm this did not leave enough time to deliver the coup de grace, so a tactical victory to the Austrians, ably commanded by Lau, who did well to contend with the awful subordinate commnders he had on the table.

Overall the rules worked well. It is VERY difficult to push units out of built-up-areas, but this is probably quite accurate so any tweaking will be minor.

Using the Polemos combat system (more or less) but with average dice felt much better as the extreme results were reduced, so there was less point chancing your arm on speculative cavalry charges. I might revert to d6s for infantry attacking built-up areas though as this seems a less-predictable form of warfare. The one major change to Polemos combat I have made is to allow infantry to take 2 "steps" of shaken before breaking on a third. This makes them more resilient than cavalry and it feels better when you are playing.

The skirmish rules (lifted and adapted from Fast-Play GrandArmee (FPGA) also worked well. The initiative player can skirmish attack with eligible infantry up to 1 BW distance, but I have also allowed non-initiative infantry in built-up-areas to skirmish attack too (skirmishing represents not only the brigade's skirmishers going forward, but also the use of inherent artillery not separately represented on the table)

Adding-in the artillery evade rules based on GrandeArmee also worked well, although the guns still got overrun :-)

Lastly, I have added a "countdown clock" mechanism. An average dice is rolled at the end of each turn, representing the number of 15 minute periods that the turn took (ie 30 mins to 1hr15). Thanks to Lau rolling lots of 4s and 5s the time really slipped away from me and helped me to spur my plan into action - just a little too late!

We plan to fight the same scenario next week now we have a better feel for the rules and see if I can display some better generalship...

Cheers

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