“Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it” - Napoleon
Le Duc is known in our little gaming circle as my 'FOB bitch' as he is very much a convert to the dramatic style of game it always results in and was keen to see SOB.
We used the Campaign Deck to set up the battle and it was interesting to approach this as two player rather than solo.
We both moved the initial engagement area by a couple of areas and the result of the campaign cycle was that French had initiative and gained advantage in Deployment allowing them to force one Prussian Divn to deploy at any time of French choosing.
Prussians gained a nice advantage in being able to Deploy further forward than default rear zones and a Strength advantage boosting their Army Morale for the upcoming battle (31 vs 22 in Prussian favour).
Le Duc enjoyed the Campaign Cycle and the seamless use of cards to establish a battle map and its parameters (Le Duc took some pics of this phase, I forgot !).
We set up the table and again I allowed a D4 roll of extra pieces which worked out at 2 each with no removals rolled.
So a couple of extra hills and a wood appeared on the otherwise fairly bare bones area.
However French did have a very defensible Town in the half of table but just outside their set up zone.
With their enhanced forward deployments the Prussian were able to set up a Divn within a couple of move segments of this town.
France used their forced deployment to make Prussians put out a second Divn and so were able to note where Prussian strength was and deploy accordingly.
The key initial tension in the game was who would get the Move opportunity to occupy the town and Prussia got the jump but only managed to get to the towns edge.
I could hear Le Ducs teeth grinding as he failed to turn a move card for ages but then got the golden card and occupied both town sections.
I dont know any other game system (bar original PK) that has this sort of thing being possible in a game.
Of course once in the town the French shooting is weakened (counts as Skirmish fire) so they only managed to force back one Prussian column.
The other Prussian unit was the ever active 3rd Grenadier Regt who then charged into the Town routing the French unit therein.
A struggle for this central town then developed with the 3rd Grenadiers Routing an artillery battery and then Routing the occupants of the other Town section a nice combination of high and even rolls against low French rolls on a couple of Move cards.
Again not sure any other rule set is capable of this sort of plausible activity.
A Landwehr unit supported occupying the other Town section and the French were unable to wrest control back.
On the Prussian left their weak Reserve Divn occupied a hill facing a strong French Inf Divn.
My Prussian Cavalry Divn was a bit out of place in centre but I was able to send it across the central stream to force the French Infantry into square allowing the Reserve Divn to advance and support.
They suffered a number of casualties but a Landwehr column did break a Square.
On Prussian right my second Inf Divn was facing the Young Guard Divn (weakened by 1 unit being Left Out Of Battle) and the potent French Cavalry Divn both of which sheltered initially behind a hill.
However once they advanced the Young Guard artillery managed two devastating barrages of Prussian Infantry routing 2 units in short order !
Worse for this Prussian Divn was loss of their Commander which placed all his units Out of Command effectively stalling the whole Divn and as it turned out he was never replaced in the game !
Meanwhile the French Cavalry poured into the gap created between my Infantry Divns and destroyed 2 artillery batteries (who at least went down fighting causing several casualties on the mounted troops before succumbing).
However the damage caused across the battlefield had now denuded their Morale Pool to zero and indeed they were beginning to gift them to Prussia.
Le Duc made the excellent point that in the campaign setting it now became self defeating for France to continue a losing battle (despite his surviving his 1st Army Morale test) and he was thinking about keeping units intact for the next battle and lessening the Prussian victory.
Not something we normally consider in our tabletop games as we normally fight to last gasp.
This makes for a interesting dynamic and one of the reasons I am keen to try this Campaigning system.
So again SOB worked really well generating a nice background to a battle and as ever FOB generated an exciting and dramatic game with such easy game mechanics.
Post battle seen a Decisive (but not crushing) Prussian victory with the French now down to a mere 2 National Will points ie in dire straits but still standing whilst Prussia now has some 62 Will points.
The French had another unit Left Out Of Battle for next game and had 2 units decreased but 2 increased in quality.
France also sacked their C in C replacing him with the 12+1 Guard commander who is himself replaced by a D10 leader.
Prussians saw 3 units degraded with 2 upgraded and with a unit returning they are back to full OOB.
They had 16 Reaction points half of which they tried to use to Pursue 3 French units but failed and half to try to enhance their own units of one was successfully upgraded.
So all in all another excellent game and great to see SOB Campaign Cycle used properly.
Initial set up showing forward deployment of Prussian Inf Divn in centre
French opposite numbers just outside the town
French left behind a hill
Struggle for town ensues as Prussian Cavalry Divn veers left and French left moves
3rd Grenadiers assaulting French battery in rear on road between town sectors
Prussian left holds back
Routing Prussian as French artillery bites (this could have been disasterous !)
French Cavalry begins to move
And suffers whilst annihilating Prussian gun line
Prussians now have control of both town sectors....huzza !
French left forced into squares and pressured by Prussian Reserve Divn
French Cavalry now in dangerous position but too late as Army Morale has collapsed
This could have caused all sorts of problems but the cost in Morale was too high
The Prussian right Divn inert as Leaderless (2 red puffs denotes he is hors de combat)
This left the gap the French Cavalry tried to exploit
Prussian Landwehr in square with all this Cavalry about
If only cried Le Duc !
A French square has gone but Prussian foot showing damage
The Young Guard not committed as being kept intact for next battle
To the Prussian 3rd Grenadiers go the honours of taking and holding the town
We failed to finish the game but learnt a lot about these excellent rules.
We feel that they are probably a bit more historical than FOGN and yet smoother playing overall.
Still not a fan of Veteran/Elite just equals stronger but in scope of game it works.
The need to select best orders and indeed to make an optimum deployment from Movement Bases was very clear today.
French in 1812 are very good with decent unit strengths and better Command & Control than poorly led Russians.
Interestingly the superior French skirmishing ability is very well represented as each of their foot can fire out to 4" at half strength whilst only Russian Jagers have this trait,
So once Russians went to Hold orders they could not respond to French under Engage orders as out distanced.
Hard to change orders for Russians as well so lesson was they need to be aggressive on defence ie the need to issue Assault or Engage orders to get up close and personal with the French to nullify the skirmish ability.
We are to re-try the rules next game now we have a better grasp of concepts and basic system.
A nice feel to the rules for a 1-2 Corps sized battle without the complexity of FOGN.
Meantime a game of FOB planned for tomorrow with Le Duc........................
Initial move on 'blinds' creating a limited but useful fog of war.
Russian Infantry Division spotted and deployed opposite French counterparts
Russian Grenadiers Division facing of against 2 Heavy Batteries
Russian Infantry and Cavalry stuck on Hold
Prussian pressure succeeded (barely) as they forced French morale to drop to zero (France then 'gave' 3 morale points to Prussians) just as their own was on a mere 1.
French then drew a Army Morale card which they promptly failed giving the day to Prussia.
However it was a rather Marginal victory with campaign staying in the Lutzen area.
Prussia lost a net 22 National Will points going down to 51 whilst France lost their entire 29 points so now on a dire 17 and in real danger of losing the campaign early.
Prussia used its Discretionary 4 Victory Points to attempt to pursue a unit of Young Guard unsuccessfully whilst trying to boost the fortunes of a Grenadier unit again unsuccessfully.
However both sides found that post battle played fortune played fickle games with the morale of their units.
Prussia saw 3 units suffer a Morale drop with one being left out of next battle whilst 1 unit of Musketeers were upgraded.
France had 4 units degraded with one also left out of battle but saw 3 units upgraded including one to Elite status.
Prussians have pierced the French centre
Forcing the French left to fall back to avoid being flanked
Prussians also across the stream in force on French left
The chaos of battle with French Cavalry activated too late and getting into a real log jam as Prussians advanced.
Despite French nominally being strategic aggressors I diced for stances in battle and attack status fell to Prussians.
After an initial lack lustre start (ie no bloody move cards) the Prussians have really taken it to the French !
A general assault across the stream and bridge has taken their central Infantry Divns into the heart of French deployment.
It has not been without loss however as 4 Prussian Brigades are now hors de combat.
France also saw 4 Brigades Routed but with they managed to recover 3 of these in short order.
Prussia is exerting more pressure in centre and 2 further French units have Routed.
A hum dinger of a slog between a unit of Young Guard and a Prussian Grenadier unit has seen both charge, be re-buffed, exchange volleys, drop and regain morale thus far.
The Prussian Grenadiers also saw of a charge by Polish Lancers managing to coolly form Square.
France lost a Divn leader and this could have spelled disaster with his Divn all Out Of Command but they held a a replacement was quickly found and order restored.
On Prussian left their Cavalry also managed to get across the stream but have been repulsed.
On French left the Young Guard Divn is holding off 2 enemy Divns and with the battle still ongoing the French Cavalry Divn is as yet (ominously ?) uncommitted to the fray.....
Field Of Battle excels at this sort of game 'narrative' with sweeping advances possible and dramatic swings in fortune possible.
Makes for exciting games even in solo mode.
My further testing of a 'Form Hasty Square' rule has worked well and am still toying with possible 'Cavalry Retire' (essentially for when approached by Infantry to stop standing still for devastating volleys).
I had considered a 'Cavalry Intercept/Opportunity Charge' but not sure it adds much.
Prussian cavalry cross the stream
Prussian assault in centre
French deploy on right to thwart Prussian cavalry
Young Guard holding forward posistion
The fierce onslaught around bridge
French advance from town but lose a Leader (hence the Out Of Cmd units)
Prussian Cavalry forced back across the stream
View from French left
Central struggle continues
French Chasseurs and Light Infantry routing leaving a dangerous gap in lines
Which Prussian seek to exploit
All the action in centre
The Prussian 5th Grenadiers and 3e Young Guard face off
Prussian pressure on French right of centre
Stalemate on French right (Artillery cannot cross stream)
French Cavalry Divn poised but where to go ?
This time setting is Napoleonic with Prussians facing French in 1813ish.
Was going to try SOB system with different set of rules but plumped again for Field Of Battle as just so solo friendly and I have a couple more house rule ideas I wish to try.
Using small 2 base units (for ease of play) as Regiments/Brigades (ie similar level to FOGN) to allow some scope for manoeuvre on a 6' x 4' table top.
I also used a points system I am working on for FOB to establish the starting forces (1600pts apiece) and see if any form of balancing can be achieved.
Both armies have 4 'Divisions' ie small Corps.
The Prussians have 2 Infantry Divisions of 2 Regulars 1 Grenadier 1 Foot Battery 1 Landwehr (Large units ie 5UI) and Landwehr Light Cavalry.
A third Infantry Divn of 2 Reserve and 1 large Landwehr with a unit of Uhlans.
Their 4th Divn comprises 2 Dragoon and 2 Hussars units with a Horse Battery.
They start with an Average deck and a Skilled D12 commander, lets call him Blucher.
Starting National Will is 72 (it is the War of Liberation after all)
The French have an Infantry Divn with 2 Regular, 2 Conscript and 1 Light Infantry backed by a Battery of guns.
Another Infantry Divn of 1 Veteran foot, 2 Conscripts, 1 Light Foot gun Battery and a unit of Chasseurs.
Their 3rd Divn has 2 Young Guard foot a YG gun Battery and Polish Lancers.
The 4th similarly to the Prussians has 2 Dragoons and 2 Hussars.
The have a Skilled Deck and D12 General who I shall name...um...lets see.....Napoleon.
Starting National Will is 53 (losses of 1812 still way heavily) and means 'Strategically' they will need to attack to increase their Will whilst hopefully reducing enemies.
For the preliminary battle in the 'Lutzen' region the map selection yielded a table with a stream running down the middle, gentle hills, several dense woods (I rolled odds/even for each area to see of light or dense) and a town complete the make up of the terrain (ala terrain card 19).
As a house rule I rolled a D4 to allow that many extra terrain pieces on table (with a roll of 6 on a D6 removing any) this saw 3 pieces of which only one remained; a small marsh.
Initial Campaign Card play (I used standard deck just ignoring any Battlefield Adjustment cards) saw French 'win' the set up.
The French gained 10 Strength points to starting morale (but rolled low so only 29 Morale) and won Deployment allowing them to deploy units one extra zone forward.
The Prussians have to deploy one Divn first but can amend the deployments of 2 Divns after French set up they start with 26 Morale points.
The Prussians also got to choose side of table to set up.
Encounter set up ready to go....................and so to war !
Prussians on hills to left, French ensconced around Town on right
Young Guard Divn deployed forward
French Cavalry behind Guard.
Infantry on right
Prussian left with a 'large' Landwehr unit (ie 3 bases)
Another try with FOGN today with Stephen fielding French 1814 against my Prussians.Another interesting game although we spent way too much time pontificating about armies and a tcs and comparisons to other rules !!French had maximum possible artillery 3 medium batteries 1 heavy battery and 4 attached batteries which made Prussian advance a very nasty proposition indeed.Thankfully I had a Cavalry Divn which was able to do an on table out flank otherwise it would have been an extremely frustrating day.Artillery are tough in FoGN as the get to shoot every fire phase and can prolong (with CMT) and can pivot for free 1" to bear on a target.With 6 dice at medium range they are hard to close with especially as they can generally get multiple shots before Infantry can close with usually being disordered or even worse wavered.With units only being able to recover cohesion at end of their own turn and only 1 per Cmd it's tough to arrive in fighting order and makes attacking pretty tough.I did manage to charge one battery (the veteran heavies with an officer) that miraculously failed to stand and so the crew abandoned their guns. But we could not find any way in rules to destroy the guns (fair enough) but also it seems you can't move through them either so they are effectively an insurmountable wall in that state ?
As ever with FOGN the most time consuming aspect is finding relevant rules for things.Eg Line Of Communication stand is mentioned in three seperate areas of book but one says the LOC. must touch table rear edge whilst another states it must touch rear edge and a road.Perfectly logical but less than clear.Also we failed to find what defines being in Cover ie all of a unit, most of a unit ??Again easy to adjudicate (we said you had to be entirely in cover to benefit) but no such definition in rules which only mention moving in cover ir firing from cover.
We are going to try a Principles Of War Napoleonic next as a direct comparison as set at same Regimentsl/Brigade scale.
Played a game of FOGN using my French against Stephens British in a Peninsular bash circa 1811.
Been a while since we played FOGN but found that it seemed less complex than first impression !?
Still a badly laid out set but does include everything.
We both feel that whilst more complex than Blucher or Principles of War (other sets set at similar Brigade/Regimental scale) it has a lot of options and decisions to offer players.
One big error we made was allowing units to become Broken by hits at Medium and Long range (can only occur at Short range) otherwise all flowed well and was an enjoyable game.
British & Portuguese line hills with Cavalry in reserve.
Young Guard approach on left supporting a Line Divn
French Veteran Divn on right overlapped by British (my Cav Divn off-table in reserve)
Polish Lancers support Young Guard
French push forward
Lancers clash with Dragoons (both Disordered and Spent)
Both sides taking hiits
French Cavalry arrives to support Skirmishing unit and forced British into Square
General action along the front
Also managed a couple more games of Labyrinth with my Dad.
I won both but he smit (infected) me with flu seemingly as revenge !!
Managed a try out of this with Dad.Took us awhile to get the concepts down but once we got going it flowed very well.No idea as to best strategies for either side or best use of cards for events or operations.Some similarities to Twilight Stuggle but otherwise an original concept and system.Hope to get more in depth play.