Saturday, October 26, 2019

Electronic Brigadier Napoleonic Playtesting Begins

With the American War of Independence working to my satisfaction in Electronic Brigadier, it's time to jump up to the 800 pound gorilla in the room - the Napoleonic period. I was strategic in picking the AWI for the first period for Electronic Brigadier as it's mostly an infantry on infantry affair with that infantry primarily fighting in lines. In terms of complexity, on a scale of 1-10 if AWI is a 2, Napoleonics is a 10. With Attack Columns, Battalion Mass, Lines, Squares, Heavy Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Irregular Cavalry and a much more diverse spread of unit types and nationalities, the Napoleonic period provides me with a lot of balance tuning to get things working.

I invited my friend Ed of Ed M's Wargame Meanderings Blog over for the first rough play test. I knew there would be some significant issues, so a one-on-one seemed best. I expected some of the testing would be intentionally doing things that might not be the best tactical decisions for the sake of testing.

Ed and I played a small skirmish with Elements of Davout's corps from Austerlitz matching up against a portion of an Austrian advanced corps from the same battle. The scenario was simple, secure the walled farmhouse to insure clear access to the road. The Austrians had larger battalions so more men in total. The Austrians had a section of two four pounder battalion guns with each infantry regiment, and six squadrons of Hussars. The French had better morale for their line infantry and four eight-pounder guns in two sections. The French also brought Dragoons which were sure to out match the Austrian Hussars.

Ed's French moved first and dashed towards the Farm while keeping their lines in good order to each side.  I charged Ed's Dragoons initially on my right flank with my Hussars, eager to see if I could get lucky.....I couldn't. Ed's Dragoons caused 97 casualties on my Hussars while suffering only 37 in return. Possibly there will be some adjustment in the calculations involving cavalry of different weights. The disparity was a bit high for my liking. Lucky that's why we're trying this to dial things in. My cavalry would recall, then retreat, then finally rout off the table over the subsequent turns.

Ed's right regiment deployed with an open-order skirmish line forward of two attack columns. The skirmish like pressured my battalion guns eventually driving the gunners from their pieces. Ed used his eight-pounder artillery well here softening up my middle regiment that was preparing to assault the town. Ed's right flank Dragoons flexed their weight and my other Hussars, knowing what was in store for them, gave ground while my Grenzers squared up hoping to secure the flank from the marauding dragoons. Ed's attack columns closed on my battered middle Grenzer unit, but one of his columns failed to close and I won the melee, then fell back shaken due to the cumulative damage on the unit. My left flank was in trouble, Dragoons in the rear, infantry to the front and my infantry squared up or in disorder. Combined arms used by Ed masterfully.

Later on my assaults on the town ended up in my troops pulling up into firefights. The same occurred when I charged Ed's attack columns. Possibly bad 'dice' rolls in the computer, possibly something to consider. Likewise Ed's charges on my infantry lines ended up with his cavalry refusing to close due to musket fire, which was fine, but my infantry's willingness to stand roll had numbers that were too confident for the tactical situation, so also needs some adjustment.

At this point time was running late and Ed granted me the favor of a last test of charging his dragoons into my grenzer square. This also ended up on the 'to adjust' list because Ed's cavalry was very willing to charge, and the 'to succeed' chance to close was off the charts. Once he did contact the square it was obliterated. It's ok for Cavalry to break squares, but in this case it wasn't ever in question, so that needs adjusting.

All in all this was a very productive evening of testing. Once I make the necessary corrections I think I'll need one more one-on-one test then I'll be ready to start doing real games with more people. Thanks to Ed for the help testing, constructive criticism, and excellent game play. Ed treated the test like a real game and gave me good 'data' in the computer to use for future self testing.

Also I got my work-in-progress windmill on the table for the first time. I still need to do a lot more painting on it, but this will motivate me to do so.


Mark Decoteau said...

AJ - It sounds like this is going along quite satisfactorily. I'm looking forward to playing it for the first time. Units look amazing as well.

DeanM said...

Very interesting gaming, Allan!

Phil said...

Sounds great, beautiful armies!

AdamC1776 said...

Good luck, Very interested in seeing how things develop.

siggian said...

I'm interested in your project, but that's quite a leap to go from AWI to Napoleonics. I get that the Napoleonic war dwarfs most periods in interest and it's eventually where you want to be, but maybe the Seven Years War might have been a good middling step between the two?

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

7YW would be a smaller step forward, but painting two 7YW armies is the prohibitive part. I have Napoleonic lead. Now ACW, maybe that should have been my next step. Instead I decided to try to eat the elephant in one bite.....Might be a rougher road, but I'll get there.

Dick Bryant said...

any chance this will be read for Huzzah! ? Please!, Pretty Please!
Dick Bryant

AJ (Allan) Wright said...

I wish I could say 'yes' Dick, but at this time it's a 'maybe'. Working on it as hard as I can. If I can't get it done we'll be doing AWI again at Huzzah!