Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Avec Infini Regret

Marco came over and we tried Avec Infini Regret, by Vae Victis, available through GMT. It's a somewhat simplified version of Ben Hull's Musket and Pike system, as seen in GMT's Under the Lily Banners, Sweden Fights On, etc, The GMT series are all Thirty Years War or English Civil War, whereas Avec Infini Regret is set a little earlier, during the French wars of religion. The particular scenario we played tonight was the Battle of Coutras of 1587.

In the game, the Protestants under Henry of Navarre have cavalry in the center, with infantry on the wings; the Royalists have a single lengthy line of infantry and cavalry, plus a forward body of cavalry. I took the Protestant side.

Each formation gets an order (Charge, March or Rally) at the beginning of the game; when that formation activates, it can either stick to its current order or try to change them. It's relatively easy for cavalry to change to Charge, for instance, or for a badly cut up formation to change to Rally--but the change is not guaranteed. If your formation has Charge orders, you must move closer to the enemy (a point which would get me in trouble); March orders allow you to move closer but not make contact; Rally orders are for repairing your units. Gunfire doesn't always cause casualties, but even the most successful melee always means you take some casualties, and may destroy a unit. If you move close to a cavalry unit, it can try to countercharge; if you close on an infantry unit, it may be able to fire defensively.

I initially sent my left wing infantry into a Charge against the enemy's right, which occupied a treeline; I held steady in the center and right. I pushed back some of his line but took heavy losses myself. Unfortunately, once committed to a Charge, I had a hard time changing my orders, and only managed it after half my units were destroyed and the other half shaken. I did manage to convert to Rally, eventually.

The Royalist commander, de Joyeuse, led his heavy horse into a charge against the right edge of my center. One of his units broke through my line, but was quickly surrounded and destroyed; two others were broken and fled, although my own cavalry was rather spread out and disorganized. Due to being unable to change from Charge to March, I had to commit some of my units to attacking his second line, which I would really rather not have done--but the troops were eager to press forward, at least until the enemy horse countercharged them. My enfants perdus were destroyed, but they helped break up the enemy charge, and that's what they were there for.

My right wing infantry, under March orders, advanced a couple hundred yards before halting, and  didn't make contact.

We called it during the third turn, due to time. Each side had four units destroyed,

Two key points:

  • In melee, you always take casualties. Your charismatic leader, charging with an elite unit, hitting a hapless enemy in the flank, with enough DRM to max out the result even before you roll? Still takes a hit. That happened in this game. And if you roll badly and you can be wiped out.
  • You may not be able to change your formation's orders whenever you want, so make sure that you think about what you want them to do, and not do.
Good game, and I expect to order a copy soon.

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