Sunday, June 30, 2013

Eylau: the Morning

Josh and I played a Command and Colours game from the Russian expansion, the Eylau scenario for the morning of 8 February 1807.

Historically, the forces were facing each other on two parallel ridges, with the French holding the town of Eylau, which they had taken the preceding night. The day started with an artillery duel, which the French were considered to have won; then the French attacked the Russian center and left, but the Russian grand battery decimated Augereau's corps in the center and Soult was unable to make headway on the right.

In this scenario the French have two each of Light Cavalry, Artillery, and Light Infantry, plus nine Line Infantry, one unit of Old Guard, and four generals. The Russians bring two each Light Cavalry, Cossacks, and Light Infantry, one each Heavy Cavalry and Cuirassiers, four Artillery, three Grenadiers, six Line Infantry and three generals. The French under Napoleon get six cards, the Russians under Bennigsen get five, and the victory requirement is seven banners.

Turn 1: an artillery duel, with the French killing one gun, the Russians killing two.
Turn 2: the French pull back the damaged battery and bring infantry forward; the Russian guns keep up their fire.
Turn 3: both sides advance their flanks.
Turn 4: the Old Guard advances into Eylau; the Russian guns continue to bombard.
Turn 5: the French assault on the right with three regiments, but only kill two blocks of a Russian line infantry. The Russians launch a cavalry charge, forcing back Davout and his light infantry at the cost of a Cossack unit; a French line unit in square repulses the Russian cuirassiers.
Turn 6: Pressing the attack on the right, the French regiment with St Hilaire charges the left-most Russian battery, but a Russian First Strike forces them to retreat. The enemy Light Cavalry units engage each other on the far right. The Russians reply with Short Supplies, forcing St Hillaire and his regiment back the the baseline.
Turn 7: The French continue to try on the right; the combined Light Infantry and Light Cavalry are unable to finish off the Russian light cavalry, but bayonets destroy the last block of the Russian regiment they'd attacked in Turn 5. The Russians reply by wiping out a Line regiment and the Light Cavalry with their guns and heavy cavalry.
Turn 8: The two surviving units on the French right pull back to cover and attempt to look inconspicuous. The Russian batteries fire on the French infantry in the center, reducing them by 50%.
Turn 9: Having just lost half their strength, the French get the Bayonet Charge card, and mutter darkly about the rotten timing. Three units in the center and one on the left charge, but the dice are unkind and they do essentially no damage. The Russians reply with Cold Steel, destroying two regiments.

At this point the score is Russians 5, French 2, and the French right and center are broken; the French concede. This is pretty much the same as the historical outcome; Murat's charge and Ney's appearance late in the day allowed Napoleon to achieve a draw, and hold the field when Bennigsen decided to withdraw. That'll be the next scenario.

Josh said we can attribute this one to Russian luck, or more accurately, to karma catching up to me for all those lucky shots I got in the last MegaMek game. If I'd gotten the Bayonet Charge even one turn earlier, things would have been very different.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Josh  and I had a 19 turn game of BattleTech, using MegaMek.  The terrain was fairly open, although there were some patches of woods and hills in the middle; no unusual terrain or weather. 16,000BV battle. My forces came in from the north.

I had three Perseus LRM mechs, two Warhammers for general use, two Black Hawks for combat, one Marauder II and Striker for assault, plus two scout helicopters and a machine-gun armed gunship. Josh brought one each Bandersnatch, Awesome, Marauder, Patriot, Stalker, Perseus, Albatross, Yao Lien, Men Shen, and several squads of infantry.

My scout choppers quickly located the enemy and just as quickly got shot down. I advanced, sending my Black Hawks to my right flank and my Marauder and a Perseus to the left; then I pulled both wings in and struck at his center, with the Marauder getting there first and dying in a couple of turns against four mechs, but killing several of his and giving time for the Black Hawks to get over and melee. Things were going well and I'd pretty much wiped out his center, when his second line started firing and a Perseus suffered an ammo explosion which triggered an engine explosion. Fusion engine, that is. The explosion destroyed that mech and severely damaged four others nearby. Things went downhill from there; I was still able to take down another one or two of Josh's mechs, but he knocked mine out faster. At game end, I had one Perseus left; he had the Men Shen, Yao Lien, and an immobile Albatross.

14 Mechs dead. 2 unrecoverable, 2 salvageable, 10 Inoperable.

My mechs went down due to:
Warhammer - engine hits
Black Hawk - engine hits
Black Hawk - engine hits
Marauder II - engine hits
Perseus - engine hits
Stalker - head hit
Perseus - ammo explosion
Warhammer - ammo explosion

Josh's fell due to:
Bandersnatch - head hit
Awesome 10KM - head hit
Marauder - engine hits
Patriot - engine hits
Stalker - head hit
Perseus - ammo explosion
Albatross - gyro hits

Josh said "In general, your stuff was more heavily battered than mine, taking more armor damage and crits to kill, and often losing multiple limbs before dying."


  • That gunship was worthless--too easily shot down. I do need some anti-personnel capability but that isn't the way to get it.
  • Similarly, I need to keep my scouts back until they can TAG things, rather than risking them while my LRM platforms are still out of range.
  • The Stalker, with movement 3/5/0, was way too slow. If I'd been able to send it in alongside my Marauder, I think that would have made a significant difference. 
  • Don't stackpole.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Storms of Steel: Wounded Tiger

Josh and I had a Conflict of Heroes game today, using the "Wounded Tiger" scenario. The Germans, with two Panzer III L's,  a Panzer IVh and a tank recovery vehicle, are trying to retrieve an immobilized Tiger; the Red Army has sent four T34c and four T70 tanks to stop them.  The Germans enter the board in the southwest, coming through a village which gives them cover; the Tiger is parked north of the village, outside a small wood; the Soviets enter from the east, between two gullies which hamper their maneuverability.

As the Soviets, I sent four tanks left to deal with the German reinforcements, and four right to tackle the Tiger; Josh sent one of his Pzkw IIIs to guard the Tiger while the other two tanks dealt with my left and the recovery vehicle hid in the village.
I discovered that while the Tiger's 88mm gun has an 18 hex range, the T34s only have a 10 hex range, and the T70s have 6 hexes. Further, the T70's little 45mm gun has almost no chance to damage the Tiger, and the T34's gun isn't much better unless it can get a flank shot. I tried charging in to point blank range, losing both T34s before they could get a shot off; the two T70s got in close behind the Tiger, but their shots resulted in "Light damage / no effect" and a "Panic" chit which had no effect on veteran crew. If only I'd had better luck on the damage draw....The Tiger and its attending Pzkw III finished the T70s. On my left, I did manage to knock out one German but the other one took a position with its flanks protected by buildings, and I couldn't get through its frontal armor. I sent a T70 behind it, crashing through a stone building to take pot shots at the Panzer's rear from point blank range; unfortunately that "point blank" thing works both ways, and the Germans knocked out that T70 and one of the T34s.

Final score, the Germans lost one tank of four, giving 2VP to the Russians; the Russians lost six of eight, for 1VP each, for a German 6:2 win.

Next go round I'll take the whole swarm of Russians against the Tiger and see if I can roll enough dice to get some good hits.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Under the Lily Banners

I tried out the cavalry skirmish scenario, just to get a feel for the combat system. Two Croatian arquebusiers, which I suppose I'd call medium cavalry, attacked a French cuirassier. The French unit attempts to countercharge but fails his intercept roll; he reaction-fires one pistol but misses. Going into close combat, the Croats have momentum for +2 and outnumber the French 2:1 for another +1; the French unit has a morale advantage -1, expends his second pistol for another -1, and gets another -1 from the unit type matrix for being a cuirassier defending against arquebusiers, for a net modifier of 0. The roll is a 1, and both attacking units are defeated.

Not sure that makes a great deal of sense.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Concept: Activation Order

Each side draws one card per command, plus one card for quality level of the general (which could be negative...). Assign cards to your commands as desired. Count down in order from Ace, King, Queen, etc. A reserve would be valuable for soaking low cards.

Option: Aces can count as high or low, so even if you have a deuce, you're not sure you're moving last in the turn.

Option: draw cards based purely on the quality of the general, not "one per command", to represent command span. Average generals get three or four cards.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Josh and I are mostly playing MegaMek, but that's not entirely satisfying--he's on his computer, I'm on my computer, there's no personal interaction. And I've been looking for a game where I can put, say, Thirty Years War armies against each other, or against Aztecs, or against Byzantines...
I could do that with Field of Glory, but that's a wall of text written for tournament gamers. I was looking for something like DBA, but with some of the more glaring problems fixed. I thought about writing my own...but then I heard about Impetus, and got a copy of that plus Basic Impetus.

At first glance, Basic seems to be the equivalent of DBA, while the full thing has a little more chrome--multiple commanders, activation order, troop quality and such. Instead of being either pushed back or destroyed, units can take cohesion hits. Large units, such as pike blocks and deep formations of impetuous infantry, can be formed from multiple bases, and absorb damage with the rear bases--feeding men into the line. Units which pass a discipline test can respond during the enemy's activation, for instance by counter charging or firing.

There are some publishing problems, such as hyphenation in odd places, lack of paragraph indentation, and some typos; however, it's more readable than DBA (which I realize is damning with faint praise). It calls for units which are (when using 15mm figures) 80mm wide instead of the de facto standard 40mm. But it looks good and I'm looking forward to trying it soon.