Monday, October 21, 2013

Eylau: The Morning, redux

Josh and I played this scenario a couple of months ago, and decided to revisit it; I took the French again, hoping to do better than last time.

Josh commented "Clearly the cards know what they want me to do, and they don't care in the slightest what I want to do." I was in the same boat, with plenty of "Attack Left" and "Attack Right", but nothing for the center. In fact, we played for two hours before I even got a "Scout Center" card. But once they started coming....[cue ominous, foreshadowing music].

In the beginning of the game, though, I was stuck with Left and Right. On the left, I moved the Lights into the windmill hex and discouraged anyone from getting too close. The Russian artillery eventually whittled the Lights down to half strength, whereupon it withdrew. I kept the pressure up (and burned some of my plethora of Attack Left cards) by pushing a Line regiment over the hill and into the woods, where it broke the Russian's right Cossacks and generally tried to look menacing. Meanwhile my artillery took long range shots when it could. All told, nothing much happened on the left.

I didn't really want to do much on the French right, but when you have three Attack Right and an Assault Right in your hand, well, there you are. I reluctantly advanced, and then decided that I might as well see if I could take that pesky artillery battery on the hill. Unfortunately, Josh had First Strike, and my assaulting battalion was decimated. He then threw his cavalry at me, and my Lights and mangled Line formed square. This wasn't as bad as it usually is because the cards he picked were Attack Left and Attack Right, and it's not like I didn't have plenty; however, it did lock those two units in place. Over a turn or two, the cuirassiers, guns and an infantry unit destroyed my Line regiment.

The situation at this point was the left was stalemated, the right was ineffective, and the center was immobile. I was down 4:1 in victory banners. And then the cards smiled....I drew Forced March, Bayonet Charge, and Assault Center.

Masses of French infantry surged forward with Forced March. With Bayonet Charge, the Old Guard charged up the slope, shattering a Russian regiment and taking the hill. On the center-right, a brigade pushed forward, less dramatic than the Guard but still effective; another Russian unit was destroyed. The Russians attempted to counterattack. The Guard took heavy casualties, and an ordinary regiment would have fled (from two Flag results)--but the Guard never retreats, and the battle-backs took a toll on the Russians! I played Assault Center and decided to polish off wounded Infantry units instead of destroying the Artillery, trusting to the French skill with the bayonet ("French OP", Josh muttered) and the gamble paid off. All three attacks destroyed their targets. And the Old Guard had started their turn on the Russian ridge, which brought me to seven Victory Banners.

My lesson is that I should stop trying to take a couple of regiments against artillery on a hilltop; Josh invariably has First Strike, and it never goes well.  I'd like to claim credit for the win, but I have to say that my main merit was persevering until I finally got the hand I needed. The rest of it was all the cards.

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