Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Napoleonics at Ambler Gamers

It has been about six months since I started spending my Wednesdays with the Ambler Gamers, and a finer bunch of guys you're not likely to meet. The groups guiding philosophy is fun and fast. I have never seen a sharp argument about rules in the time I have spent with them, although we do not hesitate to tinker to get things right.  We've played a lot of Black Powder, but recently we've moved to a set of house rules that keeps a lot of ideas from BP (like command roles, though with different mechanics), adds some concepts that we thought were lacking (like defensive fire) and removes others that we thought added little (like moreal rolls to reduce hits).

Tonight's game in Joe's most excellent game room pitted two French divisions against Scott's Austrians.  The French were trying to force a river crossing against a smaller Austrian force.  On the first turn, Steve turn moved his French cavalry to the center, where a big gap was waiting to be exploited. In reply, Scott came out aggressively with his Austrians, hoping to cause a little havoc of his own.

In the foreground, you can see my French division.  My plan was to use the cavalry to sweep around the Austrian left, force them into square. Then I would blast the infantry with my center brigade and force the bridge with my brigade closest to the road. Sadly, because of crummy command rolls, the cavalry never showed their faces.  I engaged in a long-range artillery duel, and my infantry went in piecemeal.

Oh, well.

Austrian Hussars force French infantry into square. This would start a bloody back-and-forth scrum that would determine the course of the battle over the next four turns.

Steve brings his French infantry to bear, deploying them into line.  Scott was able to pour punishment into them with his own large battalions on the other side of the river and from his artillery on the hill.  Once Scott's cavalry charge was repulsed (at high cost), the battle became a test of nerves.

Steve finally gets the upper hand, routing the cavalry and collapsing one Austrian infantry brigade.  Able to turn the flank, it looked like French success on our left.  On the advice of Mark (he's Mark mk.1. I'm Mark mk.2), I diverted my ineffective infantry columns to the left of the bridge, providing overwhelming force in that sector. It looked like a bridgehead would be ours.

Scott points to the last Austrian battalion to hold the river. Joe looks disappointed that his Austrians were not able to do more damage to me. Clearly my strategy of blowing command rolls and loitering just outside of musket range was working.  Those attack columns were just a bluff, apparently.

A fun night an a great road test for the rules. Still more puttering to do, but they play fast and fun.  Just the way we like 'em.

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