Thursday, 1 December 2016

A Clash at Kutzdorf - A Black Powder Napoleonic AAR

Being able to meet up for a game over the past few weeks had been a bit of an issue for Dave and I, which seems to have become a bit of a theme this year. However last night we were able to get together and we decided upon giving Dave's newly painted Napoleonic Prussians a bit of a run out as it was all a bit short notice. We plumped for 'Black Powder' as the ruleset, mainly because we could set up a simple game without any real pre-game prep. In terms of scenario Dave came up with the good idea of using one from the 'Honours of War' ruleset. The 'Clash at Kutzdorf' offered a nice sized game so we settled for this and simply used the OOB pretty much as written. Victory conditions were simply drive the enemy from the field. Simples.

Both sides deployed as per the scenario, with the stream delineating the table edge. The French were designated as the Attackers and therefore got go first. I did not have the time to make notes during the game, so some annotated photos (sorry for the poor quality but I forgot to turn on the flash!) will hopefully suffice.

Both sides deployed for battle, with the French on the left, the Prussians the right.
The French push forward, as do the Prussian cavalry. The Prussian Brigade on the bottom hill fail their order when they really needed to get moving.
The French advance.
The French have stormed forward ready to assault the units on the top hill. The Prussians finally move off the bottom hill, albeit rather slowly.
Both sides exchange artillery fire, with a Prussian unit taking a hit and becoming Disordered.
The French Guard cavalry Blunder forward.
The French assault the top hill, whilst the cavalry admire each other and the Prussians struggle forward, somewhat aware of the two rather nasty guns facing them.
The French assaults go in across the hill, but first blood to the Prussians as a French Guard unit breaks and flees the table.
The Prussian cavalry gain a moral vicotry as they break a Guard cavalry unit. However on the hill things are not looking too rosy.
The Prussian cavalry gain the upper hand, but the Prussian infantry brigade find it hard to advance in the face of the French guns.
Prussians all lined up but no where to go.
Two thirds of the Prussian Brigade breaks and flee down the hill. Not good to say the least.
The cavalry continue to knock the living daylights out of each other, whilst the infantry battle continues.
As the cavalry continue their grudge match, the Prussian Brigade tries to advance, but achieves little.
The remnants of the Prussian Brigade must fall back, but do so in good order, despite being persued by the French, who in turn are Shaken.
The Prussians, seeing that the game is up, start an orderly withdrawl.
The Prussians pull back.
A view from the hill towards the wood that divided the battlefield.

Post Game Thoughts
Well for a quickly set up game, we had great fun and it all played out pretty well. Apart from the Prussians losing of course! So as always a few thoughts on the game:

  • To be honest we were both a little unsure about playing 'Black Powder', as previous games hadn't been too much fun, compared to the likes of 'Honours of War' and 'Bloody Big Battles'. We were both pleasantly suprised at how well the game played and had little recourse to the rules. We may have got a few things wrong, but to be honest this didn't bother us during the game.
  • We did make a few house rules, which may have led to it being a better game. Quite simply at the start we decided to use alternate Brigade activition and rolling for Fire Inititative as per 'Honours of War'. This worked really well and made for a much better game and added a nice level of friction to the game. Hats off to Keith Flint for these and he is to be commended for these simple yet effective rules mechanisms.
  • The scenario worked well but the wood between the two hills effectively split the table into two areas, which allowed the French to defeat the Prussians in detail, or at least that's how it felt. At least the Prussians we able to retreat in relatively good order, as the French, despite being in command of the field, were somewhat bloodied which would have made pursuit more difficult.
So that's it for Dave and I gaming this year, as we both head off towards our respective 'Winter Quarters'. Next year we plan to kick things off with the same scenario, but using 'Bloody Big Battles' as the ruleset. It will be interesting to see how these work for a smaller and non-historical scenario. Our gut feeling is that they will work perfectly well and hopefully lead to some smaller scale games such as this in the future. I still hope to get in a few more games, whether solo or with friends before the New Year, but only time will tell if I'm able to achieve this.


  1. Faced with French guard, it is not surprising that the Prussians withdrew. Surprising that both French guard units took a bit of a licking against the Prussians.

    1. The French Guard were the Young and Middle 'variants' from memory and a tad better on the to hit die rolls. Nothing too major but enough to give them the edge. We both had a chuckle as the initial French assaults were repulsed by 'weaker' Prussian troops.

  2. Good to see the cavalry neutralising each other and the game being decided by the infantry.
    It'll be interesting to see how Bloody Big Battles compares. I've read good things about those rules.

    1. I heartily recommend BBB as a ruleset, which we've played a lot of earlier this year, mainly ACW and 1866 - 1870. Well worth getting IMHO and work well for solo play, which is a bonus.

  3. Nice to see a black Powder game being played in a smaller space with lower unit numbers than is often shown in AAR's - much more sympathetic to my own set-up.

    1. Smaller size games that can be completed in an evening with around 8-12 units per side really appeal to me these days. It makes putting together a force more manageable, both time and cost wise, yet still produces a great game. I will definitely be using Black Powder again for these smaller scale actions.