Friday, January 24, 2014

Missions, Leagues, and something new!

I'm 3 games in to the BFS League, with a not very inspiring record of 1-3!

My first game was vs. Ed Miller and his super biker heavy army. I did not get forewarning. I failed grim on turns 2 and 3. I let Fateweaver get blown up for no real reason. I think I was tabled in 4? Ed did everything right, his list is perfect for 'missions', I played like an idiot and had no good powers or rewards to save myself, so I lost!

Second game was vs. Sean Nayden and his double beast pack. This was a test of a new missions, even now I'm not sure I entirely understand what I was supposed to do...I was doing the Relic, while Sean was accruing points every turn he held an objective. But my points were weird, getting 1 point for holding relic at the ends of turns 2, 3, and 4, and 3 more for holding it at end of game? I somehow got things confused and thought I got points for holding objectives too, so wasted a fair number of troops fighting for objectives. First turn first shot killed about 1/2 of one beast pack (no Forewarning, but lots of FF!), they failed morale and ran off the table. Second beast pack hit the screamers, who tanked it well with their 3++. Princes assaulted the 'rear' of the Beasts, their S6 hits going on Razorwings. I won combat by about 30, and he rolled snake-eyes. Vect then tanked the Screamers until the bottom of turn 5. Sigh. I was never able to get on the Reclic thanks to tank-shocking Wave Serpents, but nearly tabled him before the game ended after 5...all he had left was 1 Serpent with 1 Hull Point. I claim moral victory.

Third game was against a new guy at the club and his Nurgle CSM. I was able to avoid his Nurgle Spawn unit long enough to avoid getting tied down, and was able to pick on some easy Kill Points for a minor win, I think it was 5-3? A fun game, where again I did not get Forewarning.

Maybe all this lack of Forewarning will come around in Templecon and I'll get it every game!

Or not.

But my new awesome...after decades of wanting to try it, I finally got to play a Napoleonic Miniature Wargame! A friend at BFS (Burt!) introduced me to DBN, a game made for larger-sized battles using relatively few miniatures and bases.

Each "base" has four figures on it, and represents roughly one Brigade. 1" is about 100 yards. The playing area was in the area of 2' by 2'. Turns are supposed to represent roughly 15 minutes. Units can shoot every turn, but to represent Clausewitzian "friction", a commander receives a random number of 'command points' (PIPs) to use to get units to move and assault. A very simple and stream-lined idea that takes total control out of the tabletop general's hands and really throws a wrench in the works of the best plans!

Of course historical scenarios can be played...that's kind of the point...but the game has a very simple (simplicity a recurring theme!)  points system to field evenly matched armies (basically, 1 unit...or 1 point!). We fielded 12 point armies (12 points seems to give a pretty good sized army corps, and is the 'standard' for competition...yes, competitive napoleonics apparently exists!)

All the figures used were Burt's...mine are still in their bags for the most part!

12 points for me was 1 Commander, 2 Light Infantry, 7 Musket Infantry, 2 Light Cavalry, and 1 Foot Artillery

In the first game, by random roll, I was the defender. I got to set up the terrain, and my opponent got to choose (semi-randomly) which board edge he's attacking from. I deployed first, and he got the first turn.

I put my cannon and several units (probably too many!) on a hill to my left, my Legere in a forest on my Right, with a small reserve behind them. My cavalry went to my right flank, left flank secured by board edge.

Burt formed up in one long line opposite my right, with is Cavalry overlapping mine...

He advanced his line up to just outside my artillery range, where it paused while everything pushed up to my right...
My Cavalry feeling very outnumbered...
The lines clash! My cavalry got the shit end of the exchange against his, but my Legere in the forest were TOUGH (as expected!), fighting off twice their number!
On the other side of the forest my reserve is committing, while two brigades from the hill move down to work on the flank of his attack...

His artillery was able to support his isolated unit enough to come out roughly even though (despite me outnumbering that unit significantly!), my reserve unit blundered forward and got charged instead of charging (my mistake!)

 The first game was great...I think Burt expected me to be easy pickings, but I came within a 4+ on a d6 of winning...he displayed great relief to not having lost to a complete newb! But, really, I've gamed Napleonic stuff a LOT, just not on the tabletop, so understand what I needed to do, it was just learning the rules to do it in this particular game!

So, having done one game in about 2 hours (and this with Burt VERY patiently dealing with all my millions of questions!), I talked him in to another!

Again I was the French, again the defender...

I deployed my Legere mid-table in a forest, and extended the line to the right from that. My Cavalry on their left. I kept a larger reserve in column this time, ready to support either flank depending on how his attack developed. He came STRONG on my right again, with 3 attack columns, so I quickly marched the reserve to that side to hopefully hold the line!

My reserves going in the end of the line...looks like I have no time to get them out in to Line before the enemy hits!

Which actually worked out ok, as I was able to keep half his army isolated with 2 Legere and my 2 Cavalry, I was able to crush his you see only 2 units of the 6 attacking units remain after some fierce firefights and back-and-forth melees!

Thanks to Burt for the AWESOME intro games! I'm really psyched to have finally gotten to play some Naps!

Now, while the game was fun, a word about the game system. It feels and reads as if it's written intentionally to be a rules-light quick and fast game. This is not a bad thing. It seems to lend itself very well to playing small corps-level clashes in an hour, or massive battles in a playable amount of time and space. Waterloo is done on roughly 3' by 4' table with the French having less than 50 units/bases...that's only 200 models!

The trade-off though is that it simplifies and abstracts a lot of the things that I really like about the Napoleonic period...different formations, reactions to charges, different sized units, and really just more detail in general. The units looks small (they are! just 4 models!) and the 'suspension of disbelief' isn't there for didn't look like I was fielding two Army Corps, it looked like I had a handful of guys, and a cannon!

This is not meant to be bashing the system, I think it does what it's meant to do VERY well, and it's something I hope to play. This is IMO a GREAT introductory Napoleonic game! I also think it will lend itself well to 'campaigns' at the club!

Which, speaking of that, I'm hoping some of my BFS and Ordo Ineptus friends will be interested in starting a campaign soon!! :)

Vive L'Empereur!!

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