EXCERPT 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

Monday, February 5, 2018

Debrief

Its always a little hard to judge a game when its been played in short spurts between non-gaming obligations especially when there were also pauses to consider the rules but we do what we must.

The game patiently awaiting my return.
As laid out in the first post of this series,the game was an attack by German forces on a thinly held French position with British reinforcements being rushed forward.

The German plan was to screen the French infantry, which was hastily entrenched on the objective hill with a battalion supported by cavalry, while attacking the thin screen of dismounted French cavalry with 2 battalions.

The troops laid out, ready to begin.
In retrospect, the attack was not as well handled as it might have been. The pinning attack got carried away and stormed the hill while one of the battalions making the main attack drifted a bit far to the right and took heavy casualties engaging the French infantry when they were supposed to be pressing the cavalry. Oops.

Mid game and the Zouaves have already had to retake the hilltop once.
Despite the action in the centre, the cavalry line did look hard pressed and all reinforcements were originally directed  that way with the cavalry and armoured car finally making it secure so that even when the French MG was FINALLY knocked out, the Germans lacked the strength to push forward into the gap.

The Lancers close a gap in the middle while the armoured car secures the extreme right flank.

At that point the German cavalry came forward to dismount and attack through the woods held only by a 1/2 strength  Company of Zouaves. They failed, twice, and then were evicted by a counter attack! Brave Zouaves! By the end of the game the Zouaves had been reduced from 4 companies to 1/4 of one company but they still held one length of trenches.

The battered Jaegers managed to take the hill top again and held it against several counter attacks interspersed with artillery, machine gun and rifle fire but finally on Turn 15, the last turn, a final counterattack by dismounted French cavalry managed to take back the hilltop for a narrow victory.

A close end.
So, what does this mean? Firstly, I'm satisfied that I can take this to a convention and run it with the hope that some players will enjoy the game. The rules don't deal in low level detail and don't have a fancy activation system but there is lots of uncertainty and following period tactics and basic military principles will generally help. I may have a good imagination but the games remind me of my overall impression of accounts in several  memoirs that I've read as well as some histories and that's good enough for me.

Secondly, there is ALOT of work to be done to get ready. I need to add units, make and mend lots of terrain and either tart up this cloth or preferably get a bigger cloth and do it up.

There was nothing new in the rules but I fiddled and then unfiddled a couple of things and identified some unwritten rules. I don't have a full version of the rules anywhere so I really should write one and at very least I need a better Quick Reference sheet to hand out. It may end up being 2 sided.

I did make an interesting discovery about terrain and the grid. Twice I had a problem trying to figure out whether opposing units in diagonally connected squares were in cover to each other or even capable of seeing and firing at each other. For example, when lining opposite sides of a hedge kitty corner to each other. Similarly when a unit captures a defensive position they are suppose to occupy it but if its a linear defence, it would then be behind them and not providing cover. These are plainly artificial situations created by the grid and rules. I finally realized that the easiest solution would be to run roads and hedges as well as trench  lines, through the middle of a square, not along the edge.

More importantly, I've been worried about the smaller number of 5 inch squares and so reduced movement which meant losing the option to move 1/2 and shoot. Movement in this game was just too slow for the time limit and speed of action. Even if the German attack had been successful at the first go, they didn't really have time for a turning movement or to cross the full distance to assault the second objective. I needn't have worried about the slight reduction in grid areas so the movement rules will go back to move 2 being slightly more vulnerable or move 1 then shoot or attack.

2 comments:

  1. Nice write up Ross. This is Jeff and I am interested in contributing some terrain building or figure painting to your Huzzah project. I haven't settled on a project to take myself so I have some free time and think your game looks great.

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    1. Thanks Jeff, I was thinking of asking you. Need to do a bit more planning first but things like hasty defences, hedges and possibly a ruined farm come to mind. Hay stacks though come up a lot, just not sure how to treat them!

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