Friday, 30 December 2011

Austerlitz 1805 re-fight

Spending the day refighting the Battle of Austerlitz round at a friends house. We are using 20mm figures and Grande Armee rules by Sam Mustafa on a 12' x 6' table.

It has been a real see-saw game with each side launching attacks and counter-attacks. I've not taken many photographs of the game as it progressed  as they would have looked quite similar.
The rules have been around for a number of years but I've not played them before. So my nominal appointment as Napoleon was a bit wasted. I was pleased that Nigel, one of my co-players, was well acquainted with them.

Grande Armee are a tactical set of rules with bases representing whole brigades. I suppose this is quite a common concept these days but it is unlikely to appeal to everyone as the visual appeal is limited due to the basing all being the same. It did appeal to me once the game got going.

The variable length turns also appealed to me. Turns are taken in 'phases' and after each phase in which each army will have had an equal opportunity to skirmish, shoot, move and fight a six sided die is rolled; a score equal to or less than the phase number means that the turn has reached an end and you then get a chance to rally troops. I was told that it was rare for a turn to go to six phases but I managed to keep rolling sixes and we had several 5 phase turns. They took the die off me in the end!

As you would expect each brigade had variable strengths (SP) but there were also different capabilities in terms of march speeds between the French, who were faster than the Austrians and Russians, and skirmishing abilities. You will notice the use of 'death caps' in the photo above to help record casualties.  This method was the choice of my host for the day but you could equally use casualty figures or even dice. You would just need to do what is best for you.

Once a brigade had reached a number of casualties equal to its SP it is removed from play. However, when a turn ends (regardless of how many phases it may have lasted) there is a chance to rally lost brigades. The ability is easier for a Guard unit than a Raw unit and if you fail the test the brigade is lost for good. Brigades that return will still have casualties and be recorded as having broken thus reducing their effectiveness in subsequent rounds.

This made the game most interesting; as you thought you had created a gap the turn would end and you would be facing more brigades albeit weakened ones. I've not played a game that ebbed and flowed so much but there again I've not played a game that started at 11am and finished at 10.20pm. Not that the game really finished - we just needed to get back to our respective homes. So some of the players will be continuing it next Tuesday but I, unfortunately, won't be able to due to a prior commitment.

On the whole it was a very good game indeed; excellent company and a generous host who fed and watered us all. So thank you Peregrine.

I shall look forward to trying the rules again on another occasion.

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