Thursday, 22 February 2018

God still favours the big battalions

We replayed the Maloyaroslavets scenario and although it was a closer game we got the same result.

The Russians have advanced, but the French still hold the village

The consensus is that the French infantry units being a third larger than the Russians is the key factor, especially when you add on the extra dice in melee against infantry. In a sign that the game has some relation to reality cavalry and artillery have their uses, but you can't achieve anything without infantry to move in and occupy the ground.

Light Infantry aid two units in square using a tactic card

Two differences to the previous game were that the initial Russian assault on the village failed and that the French cavalry charge didn't take out any artillery. Paradoxically I think the failure to capture Maloyroslavets might have helped the Russians a bit in that the French, not having to mass their troops to retake it, rather fannied about elsewhere without achieving much. They were driven out several times, but only once did the Russians get a foothold. That ended abruptly when James once again demonstrated his ridiculous luck with the C&C dice and rolled four infantry symbols out of four. He doesn't have the same good fortune with normal numbered dice, it's just these ones.

The high water point for the Russians

So, another enjoyable game with a set of rules that seems usually to provide one. We like the tactics cards (although less ambiguous definitions would help) and we like the march moves provided by certain command cards. The rule we got wrong last time about attached commanders being vulnerable after losses swung straight into action when the first two such tests both resulted in double sabres being rolled and the officers dying. This time's incorrect rule was not playing that Cossacks ignore terrain penalties when in woods. In my defence the rules are - literally - all over the place, and we don't play them very often. Our house rule of a minimum of one dice in melee will stay. For clarity, the way we play it is to add up all the factors from unit size, type and any card effects and then if the result is still no dice then they get a minimum of one. Another house rule is on the horizon: I think that we shall try knocking off one dice for infantry fighting out of towns. Every other black powder rule set I can think off penalises troops for being in buildings and it just feels right. One option is only to inflict the penalty when they are ordered; in other words when attacked and battling back they would get the full dice. I shall think about it.

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