With the weather still being unseasonably cool and rather wet (ie torrential rain) it was perfect weather both for ducks and for myself to get in another game of SotE. After the last game I had re-read the rulebook and everything was much clearer, so I decided to add in some cavalry and artillery just to see how they played compared to HoW and the SYW, which I'm much more au fait with.
I left the terrain pretty much as was, but added in another road and a house, both really for aesthetic reasons, with the latter having no effect on the game as it wasn't to be classed as a BUA. For both sides I once again used the 1809 Wars & Campaigns section as a guide, as well as adding in some Superior troops and Rifles, just to see how they affected the play. The OOB can be seen below:
C-in-C - Inspiring
Brigadier Generals - Capable
3 x Line infantry - Regular
1 x Line - Inferior
1 x Light Infantry - Regular & Independent
1 x Medium Horse Artillery - Superior & Independent
1 x Heavy Cavalry - Regular & Independent
C-in-C - Inept
Brigadier Generals - Capable
3 x Line Infantry - Regular
1 x Line Infantry - Inferior
1 x Light Infantry (Rifles) - Superior & Independent
1 x Medium Foot Artillery - Regular & Independent
1 x Heavy Cavalry - Superior & Independent
The scenario was nothing fancy to keep things simple at this stage, with the crossroads acting as the nominal objective for both sides with them advancing to contact from line of march. Hopefully the annotated photos will suffice to give an idea of how the game played out, so without further ado:
|An overview of the table, with the French at the bottom and the Austrians at the top.|
|The French left wing with the yellow die indicating the Inferior troops and the black Superior. I used horses with the artillery to denote that they are Horse Artillery rather than Foot.|
|The French right with their Cavalry providing some flank support, with the infantry in depth.|
|The Austrian right with the Foot Artillery on the road to gain a movement bonus.|
|The strong Austrian left with their Superior Light Infantry and Heavy Cavalry that would hopefully pack a punch.|
|The French Horse Artillery opened up on the inferior Austrian Line, but managed to miss completely.|
|The French left wing causes hits on both Austrian Line Infantry units, but takes none in return.|
|The French Horse Artillery takes a hit from their Austrian counterparts as their canister finds the Inferior Line Infantry to their front.|
|The Austrian Light Infantry manage to cause two hits on the French Line infantry to their front. the extra range provided by their rifles is very useful.|
|The Austrian Left wing has had the better of the firefight, with a French Line Infantry unit Weakened. In the Rally phase the French Brigadier General attached himself and was unable to rally off any hits on the Weakend unit.|
|The French Cavalry have taken a hit from the Austrian Light Infantry who once again use the extra range afforded by their rifles to great effect.|
|The French right wing continued to come off worse with the Austrians and the Brigadier General once again failed to rally off any hits from the Weakened unit.|
|A whiff of grapeshot was enough to finish the Austrian Inferior Line Infantry, who routed off the table. The French certainly have the upper hand on their Right Wing, but who would break first, given that both sides had a Wing under pressure?|
|The French Cavalry are destroyed, but the Austrians are Weakened in the process. (In fact I got this wrong and the French should have rolled to retreat, taking one hit and then see if the Austrians pursued).|
|Disaster for the French, as their Right Wing sees a Line Infantry unit rout, weakening and already Weakened unit in the process!|
|Fire from the French Light Infantry sees the demise of the Austrian Right Wing Line infantry, leaving a huge gap for the French to exploit.|
|The Austrian Cavalry poised to exploit and opportunities if French Infantry retreat.|
|The French Line Infantry in square unsurprisingly break, but the supporting Horse Artillery nearly routs the Austrian Line, who are severely Weakened.|
|The French Left Wing move forward but are unable to assist their Right Wing to any meaningful extent.|
|The French Inferior Line form the reserve to protect the LoC.|
End of the Game
With both sides bloodied and beaten, I called the game a draw, but the Austrians had the slight edge given that they still had their cavalry in play.
Post Game Thoughts
Well for a second game and with some new units to play with, that went remarkably well, with it already feeling nice and familiar as a game. What more could one ask for? So as always a few post game musings in no particular order:
- Using the half move or less for units when getting close to the enemy to avoid the Significant Move modifier made a difference when it came to shooting, something which I didn't do in the first game.
- I really noticed the difference between Superior and Inferior units in terms of staying power as well as shooting and combat modifiers. For the former, the Austrian Light Infantry with rifles were very effective as were their Cavalry. In contrast the Austrian Inferior Line Infantry had little staying power as one would expect. You really have to think how best to husband your resources, especially with a force containing a high percentage of Inferior troops.
- Rallying did make a difference this game, not only in terms of the die rolls actually working, but also for me to remember where best to position the Generals as the action unfolded. Passage of Units also helped but not to any great extent, due to some devastating die rolling at critical junctures in the game. As mentioned previously, having a reserve in bigger games will be crucial to aid either sides chances of winning.
- I forgot to use Skirmish Screens for Line Infantry, something which I really need to learn to remember for future games.
- I think I need to make some markers to aid game play, as whilst the coloured dice help, they can't cover all aspects of the game. Something to look into and ponder.
- Both Shooting and Close Combat proved to be rather effective this game, as both sides for the most part rolled well. Also not moving too far as mentioned above helped.
- I liked the difference between Horse and Foot Artillery, with the former really giving the feel of a Napoleonic game. Ditto the French Line Infantry forming square due to the presence of the Austrian Cavalry, but at the risk of coming under fire from the Austrian Infantry and Artillery.
- Having the Old and New Regime restrictions for various armies is a simple but effective mechanism.
Well I think that's probably it for now. For my next game I will be adding in terrain into the equation, to see how that affects things and am not sure whether to go with the starter scenario from the book or for a small historical action. Probably the former to be honest but we will have to wait and see.
To aid my limited knowledge of this period, I have just received a copy of Brent Nosworthy's 'Battle Tactics of Napoleon and his Enemies', which from a quick skim through looks to be excellent reading. A few books to finish first but I hope to be able to start reading it this week. with my wife away for a few days I aim to get another game in soon and who knows, even some FtF gaming as numbers finally continue to fall in our neck of the woods.
So until then stay safe and keep healthy!