Friday, 30 March 2018

March to the sound of the hammers

Any general readers straying here by mistake should look away now, because as ever I am sticking rigorously to the subject of wargaming. (As an aside, Prufrock has once again veered off topic with a paean to test cricket, in response to which one can only say "Hear, hear".) On his own blog James has posted about the latest game in the legendary wargames room and I should like to elaborate on a few points arising therefrom:

  • James inexplicably failed to mention that he has devised a shiny new rule for what constitutes a flank, an issue which has dogged all - and I mean all - of the wargaming that I have ever done with the Ilkley Lads and associated splinter groups. In a stroke of genius he has banished all argument about the definition of a flank for ever simply by rewriting the rules so that the word does not appear in the first place. Respect.
  • I played the Russians this week, but one thing that didn't change was that their commander once again rolled up as abysmal. This resulted in two Command Indecision cards being added to their deck ensuring they would not be able to utilise all initiative won by the draw of the dominoes. In fact there were two occasions when this card was turned with seventeen impetus points left. Even ignoring the rest of the pips lost in ones and twos that adds up to more than a complete turn of every card in the deck; a severe handicap.
  • The scenario was the same but different, with changes made by James based on our previous experience of playing it. I hadn't seen the dispositions before arriving and made a snap decision as to what to do. That in itself isn't such a bad idea; my carefully thought-through plans rarely work anyway. However, having subsequently been saddled with an abysmal commander I probably should have thought better of an approach which relied upon moving elements from several separate commands more quickly than the Prussians could cycle their deck and build the bridge.
  • What I would certainly advise others to do if trying the same assault on the bridgehead is to first bring all the Cossacks back across the river to screen the build up.  This could actually have been done very quickly (acting on Native Mobility as well as Cavalry Move cards) - even more so as they would have had to be in column to cross the bridges - and I think any slight delay in launching the attack would be outweighed by reduced losses among the infantry.
  • And finally, Piquet allows units to be transferred from one command to another on the payment of a morale chip and a successful dice roll. Doing this to meld the units from the three different commands which I brought together into one would have made it easier to coordinate movement and to rally back losses. It was a no-brainer and, having no brain, I didn't do it.

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