Monday, May 11, 2009

Tournament Game Night at AJ's

Last Friday night I had a few friends over and we played two more of our Napoleonic tournament Volley & Bayonet Road To Glory games in my basement. I split my 6'x12' table into two 6'x6' tables (it's designed to do this for just such an occation, or for double-blind games). On the far table Ed Mueller (standing) and Bob Ouelette (sitting) played their game, and at the close table Phil Hammond and I played our game.

Ed's French army ended up narrowly edging out Bob's Austrians in a close-fought chess match. I was mostly focused on my game which pitted my Russians against Phil's French army. Our game was a back and forth slugfest for most of the game in stark contrast to Bob and Ed's game. I've been requested to keep the photos to a minimum, so for those interested in seeing a lot more photos, particularly of Ed and Bob's game, you can go to the Northern Conspiracy's events gallery where I've posted all the photos I took.

Here's the after-action report for my game against Phil:

Our initial deployment cards were very similar mirror images of each other with both of us losing our right wing and our reserves at the conclusion of turn one. Although it was initially difficult, I was relieved to see that Phil's troops returned to the table a turn earlier than mine, which meant I most likely could count on a slight (1/2 point) advantage in starting victory points. This wasn't enough for me to go full out on defense, but I did assume I had the luxury of making cautious attacks.

About half way through the game, I have had to throw two of my cavalry divisions up against Phil's Swiss guard, which routed two of my Musketeer brigades on the Swiss guard's first charge. After a couple turns of cavalry charges I finally exhausted Phil's guard, and withdrew my bloodied cavalry divisions, each with only one exhaustion point left. I was able to stabilize the left flank with portions of two different infantry divisions pulled from the center and returning right wings, all commanded by the wing commanders and CinC. This photo shows the flank just before the final Russian cavalry charge that exhausted the Swiss guard.

I chose to post this photo as it shows the turning point in the game, where my remaining cavalry division (on the far table edge) makes a fient towards Phil's line of communication (LOC) while my Cossack division screens Phil's infantry that was attempting to guard the flank. This was a 'trick or treat' moment I presented Phil - follow the battle cavalry or attempt to range shoot the Cossacks in hopes of an easy victory point. Phil chose the latter, but the Cossacks survived his ranged fire.

This is the following turn. As you can see my cavalry has charged Phil's infantry in the rear, and with the Cossacks to the infantry's front the infantry had only one way to run when they lost the melee with the cavalry. This congestion cost them dearly with all three brigades ending up in rout, squeezing out towards my lines. Although the fresh infantry didn't exhaust from this, I was able to finish the job a few turns later by following up with my infantry.

In the left-center my guard infantry (with the yellow marker) didn't fare as well and two turns after this Phil's French line infantry counter-charged my guard and destroyed them in detail in one of the bloodiest turns of V&B I've ever seen. In two combats we each scored 6 hits on each other's units, the equivalent of 3,000 casualties in 30 minutes of fighting. The casualties remained fairly even for the rest of the battle and I edged out a victory, the difference in points was approximately what it would have cost me had I lost the 2 extra points on the two cavalry divisions that fought early in the battle. Phil fought an excellent battle and we both had a good time rolling fists full of dice most of the night.

This is a photo of the aftermath of Ed and Bob's game. As you can see it is a much more orderly affair with the difference beeing the exhaustion of Bob's converged grenadier division (marked with the red marker in the far center of the table). Ed and Bob had a fun time playing the "thinking man's V&B". That's the great thing about these rules. They don't dictate a particular play style. They're flexible enough to work under many styles. Also noteable in this photo is Bob's table felt, which he purchased from Hots Artworks. It's quite nice and makes a great travelling table cover.

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