Friday, 14 January 2022

Une Bouffée de Fromage

 One thing that often occurs in our small (but growing) regular games group - and I suspect we're not alone - is that when one side announces that things are looking so bad that they are inclined to give up it is immediately followed by the wheels coming off their opponent's master plan and the party of the first part ends up winning. Well, it's happened again; quite astonishingly Vimeiro was won by the French.

"D'you know who's going to win?"

Obviously I was exaggerating for effect when I said in my earlier post that I thought my command would be destroyed in half an hour, but not by much. The morale rules are, shall we say, complicated but what it boiled down to in this scenario was that was either side could win by breaking the morale of two large and one small command group of the other side. Reviewing the table at the start of the second evening's play - whilst collectively laughing contemptuously at the Prime Minister - it was easy to believe that the British would achieve this quite quickly. However, from the off the dominoes, cards and dice seemed to have other ideas, and their progress was slow. It was still progress though and eventually they had broken two divisions and the French commanders (James and I) were moved to launch a number of columns forward into melee just to do something while we were waiting to lose. Perhaps inevitably those forlorn hope charges succeeded and before we knew it we had also broken two divisions. In the end it came down to who was first to cause a couple of UI losses to the other, and it was us. It gave a bit of tension to the evening and one player (no names, no pack drill) got quite excited. For me, it was a bit gamey: in both senses of the word.

However, having said that, let me make two points in favour of the way things panned out. Firstly, there has to be some mechanism for ending the game. If not this one, then what? Secondly, the aim of the rules, and the reason we're doing all the playtesting, is to give victory to those who do what commanders of the time would have done; or perhaps it's better to say that it is intended to deny victory to those who don't do what was done historically. In this case the relevant factor would be cycling spent divisions out and fresh ones in. The British had the chance to do it and didn't do it. From that point of view things worked out appropriately.


  1. Well done the French! This sort of thing happens quite often in games and even occasionally in real battles - there is a line in the Waterloo film where Rod Steiger says something like "At four o'clock, I had lost the battle....but at six o'clock, I had won it back again!" (I cant even remember the battle - I think it was an early one, in Italy.....). As you rightly say, unless you want to keep on going to the bitter end, there has to be a way to say "This side is the winner" within a reasonable time frame, and I think most of us want to have a game that lasts three to five hours and concludes with one side winning and the other losing.

  2. Whilst concluding my previous comment, I noticed for the first time the
    label "Tory Bastards". As this aligns quite nicely with my own view of British politics, I have just spent an enjoyable quarter of an hour or so laughing at many of your earlier posts similarly labelled :)