Quasi Kolin in quarantine. 3/2020
The rules are short (too short they could have done with more examples and a few sketches of manoeuvres) very much to the point . The idea is pretty much to depart from so many rules who, want to show bataillons and have shooting and recoils etc. I played them many times and unless you have a huge area, a lot of time, 4+ players... you never can play Leuthen. So most of the time you have an army of échantillons as they would say back then.
Mr Dorell departed from this approach from a decively top down approach, units are brigades (but you can have smaller regiments or detachments to occupy a feature.) The various characteristics and modelisation of them is very fine tuned and allows for your own meddling. I was originally diapointed with the absence of command and control. But I played it and read his design notes saying the armies were arthritic. An excellent appraisal. No command or very free as in many games end up easily in something that is mid 18th century only because of tricorns. Too much, too rigid is no fun and also obviously wrong (read history please). Here you can do seemingly what you want, but initial deployment and set up is vital. My understanding is this was one of the things that differenciated napoleonic ways and "ancient regime": they could not fast redeploy initial mistakes, if at all . You want a period game or not? This system is a bit uneasy at first as unless you move straight ahead everything needs a test. The fighting is a bit as a board game, your guys get close, meaning business then the other side tests "morale", actually a bunch of situational and unit modifiers that will end up with one fail (called morale fail- but a sort of step loss), only cavalry recoils, the rest stay in till they evaporate err rout. Anyone with a very low dice can evaporate at first contact (from the enemy). Fast and furious unless the dice are too good, meaning no losses, then it can last several turns.
The systems does not forbid a lot of things, gamey things. It leads you by using it nicely and wisely leads to period deployment, to keep depth, to go slow and safe with rear supports. It smells nicely of 18th century. As you will see in my game report I did give up to traditional tricks, which ended in the loss of a wing. I started with a couple of turns of approach and deploying. Made a mistake by believing troops could do many moves if passing the action test. It was soon corrected after an email to the author who nicely answered , very fast and comprehensively,
The initial deployment.
If playing right, there should be dummies and fog of war. The prussians opted for all fast columns approach.
The Austrian reserve was not deployed as in the scenario book, but kept behind. Well it was called reserve no? They are probably with indsight, spread too much.
Using my old syw troops we get two regiments of 16 figs total 16 cm frontage, for a brigade. It gives the Base width, the unit to count distances as 8 cm.
Cavalry has 4 stands of 3 figs on 16 cm front too. Artillery was more chaotic, originally made to show different numbers of guns. As the Austrians are better, having less guns per shown piece, they get slightly smaller bases and the Prussians’ bigger ones. It does not matter at all but suits my stock. .
First 4 turns brought troops in place, the Prussians piling on towards the center and left of the white whale.
Grenzer rushed on the road to take the unpronounceable village on the Austrian right, just deploying in time before the onrush of dark blue.
The Prussian right stops pretending it will stay, rushing left to the center leaving its cavalry to hold the Imperials. I added a few troops and a general on each side.
The right wing Austrian cavalry started behind a stream but had to rush forward to meet the Prussians ahead of it, they outnumber their foe nearly 2 to 1, but many being lightweight hussars. They had to, not to let the center get flanked.
The reserve with way too many guns stupidly not forward. I might have screwed the terrain as historically this was deployed mostly to the right center, with the main body; here no space.
The way the rules are done you are pushed to mass troops in depth to get a fighting benefit. It ended up doing so for both sides, putting the main effort in the center. Not sure it is the best way for Fredo, his guys better at manouevering..
The Austrian left had its cavalry prudently waiting behind a stream, the rest being wasted facing 3 Prussian cavalry brigades, the infantry fast joining the center.
The fight for the village which lasted 6 turns. A Grenzer unit bravely defended it vs 2 brigades of good Prussians, one grenadiers+. Had I put behind them a support to get that needed +1, they might even have repulsed them.
The Austrians moving forward in the center but fumbled the deployment dice of their guns, ending with the Prussian battery deployed first and making casualties on the line. (in game : losing one morale fail).
At the beginning I played too much "like before", too fast, not enough groups, too greedy. The elite combined squadrons of carabiniers and horse grenadiers, alone in line facing the Prussians. They rolled an appalling 4 which destroyed them allowing the Prussian to pursue the flanked column behind.
The flanked hussars were then heroic getting a 11, stalemate to the onrushing foe... But they failed to deploy (not sure they could in the rules) and finally were repulsed, actually lucky. Nadasdy (proxy, he was drying on the workbench) screwed his re rolls.
The center prior to the Prussian attack, trying the artillery play. I wanted these 4 lines to maximise the bonuses. I slowly inserted the Austrian reserve behind the center.
On the Prussian left the cavalry combat. was a mess, they lost their initial advantage when the more numerous Austrians deployed and I was losing the 2 lines need for short term advantages.
I left the elite black hussars alone to stem the Austrian reserve cavalry; even more stupidly on the crest to be shot by the artillery. They were swept away.
Charges, flankings, moving back and forth, long "melees" when no casualties were inflicted on both sides. The Prussian left should have played possum, covering the attack.
Several units routed on both sides but because each wing had an infantry component elsewhere no one collapsed.
Lots of dice rolling with everything possible, but probably not the way to do it.
Until the last Prussians, unable to disengage by then, were eaten up..
The whole thing a bit after the middle of the game time. After the first 6 turns I went on the game and elsewhere, had a night in between so lost track of the number of turn to reach a decision, but I did a lot, maybe 20…
On the other side one unit of Grenzer tried a wide long move to get on the rear flank of the Prussians.
One dragoon had time to turn and go to snuff off the men in red. It did not go as fast as expected as these did a very good die, resisting one turn and even inflicting one fail on the dragoons.
But I mismanaged the movement ahead of the rest of the wing wanting to wait for the guns, not trusting the whole, in case the Prussian cavalry attacked before the Austrian cavalry column were safely accross the stream. leaving the poor Croats alone.
The Austrian left wing crawled forward as I wanted the guns to be used. The stream crossing was not done in an orderly fashion.
It allowed for more Prussian cavalry to come with Seydlitz from the center. The whole thing here would be useless; Prussians taking some casualties from artillery but no one wanting to go into risky charges.
End positions on the Austrian left wing. They could, and should have moved forward earlier, and be deployed to be able to do so. In a game Prussian dummies facing them could have prompted such a deployment.
The center fight. The Austrian resisted, replacing their fighting lines with fresh ones, so did the Prussians. Some turns no casualties and it went on for a long time.
The unhinging move: the village was finally cleared, even if the brigades were damaged, and they went on to flank the line.
It brought the recoiling Austrians (as they lost the first line-losing then their height bonus ) to a disavantage, only one support point etc.
One unit went away, more bad dice than anything else, it could have gone the other way. So history was reversed!
I misused/ forgot the infantry break off action, which would have made the Austrian defense far more active.
Then in 2 turns the center collapsed. the units behind the flank (I presumed they don't have to face, after all we are talking of brigades not batailons) doing the kill.
The battlefield at the end. I need a marker, to see those units who had a fail previous move as they have a decisive -1 to manoeuver (the action test). My numerous subcommanders might prove useful, mounted officers trying to sort out things?
I will play more. If you master the subtilities, it would be quick, even more if you don't try manoevers, but go for close fighting fast. Some things can be fine tuned, like the number of guns to have a battery up or down with the calibers, but truly back then, they mixed a lot which complicates uselessly possibly many other systems. Obviously it could be that 12lb would engage further than 6 or long 4 but does it matter much, if they hit very little? The infantry has a tendency to stick in fight till dispearing (rout) which might not be true, but if you have multiple lines, you should replace them. If you can afford it, not chance the troops to their last "fail" not to lose them and provoke a wing test, the beginning of the end. I would love to play with another human. ;)