Monday, October 10, 2011

Combat at Aire

The Anglo-Portuguese forces are attacking a French rear guard, with the Portuguese in the center and the Redcoats on either wing. The French have a lot fewer forces, and are on the defense. I tend to "defend" rather aggressively; historically the French checked the Portuguese advance with a bayonet charge; I had the Bayonet Charge card in my opening hand. I didn't destroy the whole formation but I certainly broke it up, and subsequent Attack Center and Probe Center cards let me destroy a couple of units and force the others to flee across the river, although I lost my Light unit and one of my Line units in the process.
With his center weakened and his right eager to advance, Josh marched on my left, moving his guns and cacadores across the bridge. My light horse charged the guns and was thrown back; then my dragoons came lumbering up and rode across the battery, while the hussars pestered the cacadores and forced them into square. My cavalry units were each reduced to a single block, but were able to withdraw behind the ridge line into safety. My remaining units on the left then managed to hold off the Brits long enough for the infantry to march from my center (wiping out the last block of cacadores as they passed) and drive back the Brits (wiping out the the other cacadores as well). The cacadores always take a lot of losses; Josh so commonly reanimates them with a Rally card, that we are assuming there were zombie cacadores.
With his right and center thrown back, Josh pressed in on his left, advancing four infantry across the river where I had only one infantry and a gun battery to face them. It looked like my right was doomed; however, I had five victory flags and only needed one more. I launched a bayonet charge supported by artillery, one of the rare occasions when we've been able to put together a combined arms assault. I rolled seven dice, which should on average have killed 3.5 of his four blocks, but in this case only scored two. The massed British line started to pour fire into my lone battalion; fortunately the first volley scored two flags, so my battalion raced back up and over the ridge to safety. While the Brits were reloading, my battalion (who must have been wearing running shoes) ran forward over the ridge again and assaulted the weak spot in the enemy line, and broke that unit; that secured the sixth and last victory flag. Good thing the game ended there, as otherwise Josh's remaining units would have wiped out that battalion and probably the artillery as well.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CCN: Salamanca

Josh and I did Salamanca (Attack on the French Left) tonight. One would think with that title, I'd have figured out that the Brits are attacking the French, but that's not the way I played it. In the first few moves I brought my left forward (an easy decision as all I had were Left cards) and exchanged pleasantries with the two Portuguese ("Portuguese? Let me check that. Well, there are stickers for Portuguese Heavy Cavalry, I guess they really do have them. Who knew?") Heavy Cavalry. One cavalry unit was reduced to one block, which holed up in Miranda de Azan and started inventorying the wine supply. The Portuguese infantry advanced and pushed my left back, not destroying it but rendering it ineffective.
By this point I had a couple of cards for my right, so I charged to engage the Rifles and the British light infantry, driving them back off the ridge. The Rifles continued their tradition of being a bayonet-magnet and not getting anything else done. One of my divisions chased the Greenjackets down and destroyed them, and were destroyed in turn by the British lights.
I advanced and formed line in the center; Josh advanced the Brits and they also formed line, except they had six units while I had three plus some hussars hanging around on the right. I managed to take out the Cazadores but the return fire threw back the French assault. My artillery finally got into action, firing effectively on the ridge, but it was too late to salvage the situation, and the Anglo-Portuguese right swept forward and destroyed the remnants of my left.
Final score was 6:4, although the force ratio at the end was much more in favor of the Brits than the score suggests.
Moral of the story: an impulsive attack into against an equal or more powerful enemy isn't going to fare well.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Close Action: Cape Henry

The Rebel Seas supplement includes an alternate history version of the Battle of Cape Henry, with seven ships on each side. The wind is from the southwest, the French are close hauled heading northwest, and the British are on a broad reach heading north after the French. Josh and I took the British, while Tracy and Richard got the French.
As the Brits, our plan was "Go get 'em!" The French plan was "We can't expect to coordinate better than Team DeBoe, so we'll just turn around and head into battle and hopefully what happens will be fun."
And that's what happened. The French line immediately tacked and ended facing south, coming to meet us as we swept down on them. Our van met the left end of their line and then both sides piled on at the point of contact. By turn 5 we had 11 ships within an area 13 hexes wide; by turn 9 it was 14 ships within 10 hexes. Richard had three of his ships collide with British, and at one point there were nine ships involved in four separate foulings.
In the photo, British ships are red, French ships are yellow. My ships are British flagship and the two with Turkish flags (just so I could keep track of them more easily).
Richard got high roll of the day, a gunnery number 36 that scored a 6 on the roll for a 42 total. He also managed to launch a boarding action; Royal Oak had had time to get ready and repelled the boarders, but Richard deserves kudos for being able to get boarders away. Overall, however, the British were able to concentrate fire better, and although only one ship had struck when we quit, the British were ahead on points by roughly 140 to 50.

Quote board

There are no style points. Only victory points.
--Josh, referring to Close Action

Close Action: The Happy Return

As Josh is leaving for Australia soon, Richard came down from Fairfax and Tracy came from Hampton for a day of Close Action. The morning game was "The Happy Return" from Monsoon Seas, with evenly matched forces of three British against three comparable French. Tracy and I were French. We'd taken a bit of a beating but were doing reasonably well, until I guessed wrong and ended up taking a range 1 stern rake from Richard. That took me down by a crew section and I blew a morale check. I did manage to avoid colliding with Richard's ship, and thought we might be able to pull things out. Then Josh took a shot at me from medium range, purely because he didn't have anything else to shoot at. He scored a Critical Hit: Major Explosion. Guns dismounted on both broadsides, ship on fire, one crew section occupied trying to fight the fire, three morale checks, lost a hull section...we decided it was time for lunch and we'll start another scenario afterward.

Incidentally, Close Action uses d6 rolls to determine how effective your shots are. I recorded 13 of my rolls, of which 9 were the worst possible result for that roll.