EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Aspern Off The Wall

A young crowd gathers at the Greenwood Sobey's Community  Room. 

It was a beautiful hot sunny summer's day today so it seemed natural to drive the hour down to Greenwood to play a game in the air conditioned Community Room at the Sobey's Supermarket. The event was to be Aspern-Essling in 15mm played with Grande Armee and at one point 7 gamers were on side. Life takes its toll as usual and we were four in the end. Valley Jeff (the Valley nickname being used o distinguish him from Yankee Jeff seen on the left above).  had organized the game and provided the troops (including a handful of my old Austrians). He was almost finished a run down on the rules when his cell went off, calling him to work for an hour or so.

Left on our own, we eyed the GA rulebook, did a quick consensus check  and  then I turned to the white board on the wall and quickly jotted down a back of a postcard set of rules based on the proposed 18thC rules posted last week but with some allowing for the Napoleonic setting and the  3" Brigade bases and what not. Not a perfect set of rules by all means but the dice flew, toy soldiers died valiantly in droves and five hours passed in a flash.

By the time Jeff returned,  Emperor Gary had nearly succeeded in driving the Imperial Guard through the middle of the Austrian army but the French flanks were on the verge of crumbling. Let me note here that Yankee Jeff & I, thinking without reason that it was Day 1, had agreed to mask the villages and strike the French center so things were not exactly going as planned.  We played another hour or so with the French staving off our best efforts to crack them. An army morale rule would have helped but I didn't think of it till it was time to convince the French that we had beat them. Both armies had suffered fearful losses but the French had lost more heavily than the Austrians and 1/2 of Aspern as well so it was close enough to the historical result to call it.


A good day of gaming all in all.     

20 comments:

  1. Glad that you had fun, Ross . . . and I'm glad that your "insta-rules" worked well.

    It is weird but the Napoleonic period has always left me cold. I know that it is a great favorite for most gamers . . . but for whatever reason it has never had any appeal to me. I've played it occasionally at people's houses but it lacks any romance for me . . . even though there is so much to love about it.

    Fortunately there are many other periods that do appeal (too many, I suspect).

    Well glad that you had a good time.


    -- Jeff

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    1. Jeff, parts of the period have occasionally caught my attention esp the early Revolutionary Wars against Britain, a bit of the Peninsula, and I've read more widely but I've never been able to maintain an interest in any of it.

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  2. Good that the crowd was so young!

    Great also that you got out and encountered these other tabletop game players!

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    1. I was a bit surprised to find that the last time I had joined a group game in the area was pushing a year.

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  3. Fascinating, doesn't sound as though the returning Valley Jeff minded his initial choice of rules being usurped by your quick-thinking coup de regles.

    I always felt that Grande Armee were a sound set of rules but were effectively a more complicated version of Volley & Bayonet, with no great advantage to be had from the extra detail.

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    1. No Jeff rather anticipated it in fact when he announced that he had to leave but I note he's thinking of re-staging the game ere long. I've only played 2 games of GA, both multi-player games so don't have a lot of experience but while I appreciate the value of uncertainty in a wargame and accept that the way command points are used might have the right effect, I find the mind set needed to manage them too far removed from any thoughts a general might have to be able to relate to them. That sort of things lifts me too far out from the illusion for my enjoyment which I regard as a matter of taste.

      Our impromptu rules certainly had less detail and fewer fiddly bits but did need some off the cuff rulings, luckily no arguments.

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    2. Indeed, I was grateful you could step in to run the game. I felt very bad inviting folks from out of town for a game and then bailing out at the last minute. Thanks for salvaging the situation. I enjoyed the game very much. The results were very sim;lar to the one time I played this scenario using GA with the French winning the centre but crumbling on the flanks.

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    3. Well Jeff, I appreciate your making the effort to get things arranged and bring us back together. The guys would have managed one way or another,

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  4. I hope you will publish your adaptations of your 18th century rules.

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    1. Unfortunately, since I have no interest in gaming the period and they were adapted to the particular basing of the brigades, the board was wiped clean without so much as a note taken.

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  5. Ross

    Great way to test the rules - when do they go live on the web?

    Cheers
    PD

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    1. Like a flash mob, they have already dispersed leaving almost no trace.

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    2. Not so fast. I took a picture of the white board before they were wiped. Although the board provided the framework and the GMing filled in the gaps. Ross did a fine job of GMing and that is why there was no arguing.

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  6. Splendid improvisation Ross! Maybe it's as well that no trace remains. I expect this was one of these moments when 'you had to be there'.

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  7. or "better in the imagining".

    However, there are actually traces, I was negligent not to link the mention to the 18th C base rules as these, imperfectly remembered, formed 80%, perhaps 90% of the rules despite the units being brigades organized into Corps.

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  8. I wish I had known about you chaps when I was in the Valley. All I found at the Greenwood Sobeys was groceries. :)

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    1. Mad Padre you might remember me from a few years back when you hosted a game at your home. It was I Ain't Been Shot Yet Mom and I recall the terrain was spectacular.

      Valley Jeff

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  9. Jeff started meeting there earlier this year I think, mostly fantasy gamers but he's working to broaden their horizons to include historical as well.

    Its the first time I'd been there, very nice venue. Something to keep in mind for other locations as well. Superstore has something similar.

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  10. Fellow wargamer Ross,

    Question about rally:
    can we agree that NO rally is possible when in melee?
    Rally only instead of moving (not instead of firing - to cheap and more difficult to monitor).
    Question about losses: with 3 losses, every further loss gives a loss of another stand ( so without rally: 5 losses gives: 3 shaken factors and 2 stands lost). correct?
    When retreating, you can interpenetrate your friendly troops? no restrictions?
    Pdf version of rules in view?
    Greeting,
    Lex(from Belgium)
    ps: concerning figs - different scales: i also know that problem: but i like them all, but more and more the 54 scale: ease of painting.

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    1. Lex, Yes, no rally in melee.
      I am sticking to only 1 action per unit when given an order, but you are welcome to allow firing & rallying if you like, I would include the penalty even if the unit is beyond 12".

      Your understanding of the losses is correct.

      Yes there is no penalty to retreat through friends. I have found penalties discourage players from using reserves and supports.

      No pdf in view. There will be some form of doc file or similar once I have played a game or 2 and am satisfied. Maybe a pdf later.

      There are many very nice, new plastic 54mm coming out now that I have gotten away from them!

      -RossLex, Yes, no rally in melee.
      I am sticking to only 1 action per unit when given an order, but you are welcome to allow firing & rallying if you like, I would include the penalty even if the unit is beyond 12".

      Your understanding of the losses is correct.

      Yes there is no penalty to retreat through friends. I have found penalties discourage players from using reserves and supports.

      No pdf in view. There will be some form of doc file or similar once I have played a game or 2 and am satisfied. Maybe a pdf later.

      There are many very nice, new plastic 54mm coming out now that I have gotten away from them!

      -Ross

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