Thursday, 31 January 2019

More bridgework

Not of the dental kind (although, just in case anyone is interested, I do currently have a temporary crown in place), but rather another game in the legendary wargames room featuring even more bridges than last time, but no hidden ford. It all looked very good - it was the wider rivers this time - and James took photos, so we can only hope that he comes out of his current blogging retirement and posts about it.

In the meantime you'll have to make do with a dry, unillustrated version from me. I have to say that once again it was a pleasant, but vaguely unsatisfactory, evening's entertainment. We tried out new rules for fighting across bridges, which, interestingly, but not surprisingly, bore no relation to those that I thought we had agreed to try out the previous week. On the plus side it was easier to get troops to cross the bridge; on the down side it seemed inevitable that they would evaporate as soon as they got over, which was hacking Peter off a bit. It would have been even worse for the attackers if the defenders' artillery had hit anything before being destroyed.

There seemed to me at least to be even more inconsistencies than usual. For example defending with one's back right up against a river seemed to be a positive benefit (*), which seems counter intuitive to say the least. And the longer bridges over the wide river took two moves to cross, exactly the same as it does to get across the medium river (**); thus begging the question as to why have two different widths in the first place. Also the rules regarding preference for standing in long lines of units close together when morale tested makes perfect sense for refights of large battles, but it makes for some challenges when trying to defend three widely spaced bridges with eight units of infantry.

The game is about threequarters of the way through. The Russians have so far managed to get five units across the river, all of whom have been either destroyed or routed. I can't see how the Russians can win unless they can force their way across one of the bridges without taking any significant losses and then just pour their cavalry across and off the table. It's possible - the defending units are thinly spread and very short of artillery plus one unit of dragoons has mysteriously decided to take time out to water their horses directly in front of two batteries of Russian guns - but rather unlikely. On the other hand we had a spate of games last year where the eventual winner had basically given up and only carried on because the night was still young.

*    Unless you lose the melee, in which case you are toast.
**  There are no narrow rivers, just wide and medium; it's like buying a coffee in Starbucks or Costa.

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