I decided to start the New Year off on a solid footing with pie for breakfast and then a game to get a bunch of my new stuff on the table.
I opted for Sharp Practice with the Bavarians escorting their new supply wagons and being intercepted by the Prussians.
Both forces came to 90 points.
Part of what I like about solo gaming is taking the time to set up a nice elaborate table. I set this up on the 30th, then sorted out the forces and played the first turn on the 31st.
|Spot the Bad Squiddo bunny|
|The new cottages fit in with my old mill pretty well|
|Another bunny raids a garden|
I also like setting up vignettes to give the table some life.
|The Hausfrau asks the Tinker how much to get a pot fixed|
|A gentleman rides up to the inn asking for a room|
|Probably far too complex a table for big battle games unless you ignore most of the terrain as just being there for pretty|
|Bavarian convoy enters at bottom, must exit over the bridge|
|Peddler worries about wolves and bandits|
|Bavarian column enters the table, getting three moves before the game starts.|
|Initial Force Morale. Bavarian 11 (blue), Prussian 9 (red)|
|Prussian force. 4x groups of musketeers, 4x groups of Landwehr 1x group of dragoons, 7x Big Men and 5 Command Cards|
|Prussians rolled a 5 and got to choose where to position their Deployment Point. I was thinking a quick thrust to cut the road and force the fight while the Bavarians were still debouching from the hills. Maybe I should have given them more room to maneuver.|
|Bavarian force. 1x group of Chevauxleger, 2x groups of schutzen, 2x groups of grenadiers, 2x groups of fusiliers, 7x Big Men|
Franz trudged along, he smiled at a bird singing in the branches of a fir tree. "Hey Hans, how much longer you think? I'm hungry."
Hans sighed. "Weiss nicht. We stop when Der Scharf says 'halt'. Until then..." he gestured at the road before them and kept walking.
A green clad cavalryman galloped up to Hauptman Scharf, commanding the convoy escort. He saluted and pointed off to the left, where Franz couldn't see because of the rocky hills and pine trees. "Saupreißen!"
"Scheisse!" hissed Hans as he unslung his rifle.
They watched as Scharf looked across the fields past the woods. He quickly started bellowing orders. "Vogel! Keep the road open. Wahl, bring your grenadiers up between the woods and that inn! Schutzen vor!" He pointed with his sword towards the woods on their left.
"Raus!" bellowed Feldwebel Harfner and the green coated schutzen filed off over the rocky hill and into the woods.
"Fire!" shouts Scharf and the first platoon of riflemen begin peppering the oncoming dark coated Prussian infantry.
The Prussian force erupts into view, flooding over the fields around the inn, trying to seize control of the crossroad and block their way.
|End of Turn 1|
|End of Turn 1|
|Prussians explode onto the table in Turn 1|
Lt. Vogel leads his cavalrymen ahead at the canter. A brown coated junker sits his horse in the middle of the road, stunned by the sudden flurry of violence erupting around him. "Mein Gott!" he swears and sidesteps into the courtyard.
With a shout and 4 Command Cards, a troop of blue coated Prussian dragoons rounds the corner of the inn and charges into the Bavarian cavalry. Steel crashes on steel, men shriek and horses scream as the battle rages in the lane beside the inn. The Prussians are bested, leaving half their number in the dust and recoil down the road.
|End of Turn 2|
"Keep firing, lads!" Scharf urges them on. Hans and Franz fire and reload as fast as they can. Thick clouds of powder smoke cling to the tree branches around them.
Harfner brings his platoon into line on their left and begins firing too, putting shock and wounds onto the right end of the Prussian formation as it's trying to form a solid line.
After getting his command untangled, Lt. Wahl brings his company of grenadiers up to plug the gap between the inn and the woods. "Present! FIRE!" he bellows and a well delivered volley slashes into the Prussian ranks. An already wounded sergeant is killed and a lieutenant is wounded.
Scharf uses a couple of instances of 4 command cards in Turns 2, 3 and 4 to get extra activations. With his 3 Command Initiatives and a bugler, he is able to really get the Bavarian force moving, bringing up the grenadiers faster and getting extra shooting from the schutzen. Shock is piling up on the Prussian line. One group of musketeers recoils, thus breaking the Prussian formation.
Lt. Vogel gets the initiative over the Prussians. "Vorwarts! Raus!
" he bellows and points his saber at the Prussian officer. The melee swirls along the road and into the rye field. Vogel slashes the Prussian officer's sword arm. His troopers are dead around him and he gives his sword and parole to Vogel. The Prussian Force Morale tumbles to 3! (In hindsight the Prussian commander, breaking down the road into the Landwehr, carrying all that shock with him, might have been a bigger hit on the Prussian Force Morale and put some shock on the Landwehr too. Which might have helped Vogel in the next turn.)
|End of Turn 3|
The Prussian line halts and levels their muskets to give a ragged volley. Two schutzen drop clutching wounds.
Major Klink stops his Landwehr astride the road. Now he just needs a right face to form a solid line to block the Bavarian convoy.
"Achtung! Mein Herr!"
a lieutenant shouts and Klink hears horses thundering down behind him. Vogel has seen his chance and spurs his troopers for one last effort!
The tired cavalrymen roll low, the Landwehr roll high. Many of Vogel's troopers are casualties, overwhelmed by superior numbers of Prussian bayonets. He takes one in his arm. The Landwehr are only defeated by one and recoil in disarray, but the depleted Bavarian troop is shocked and broken. They ride back to the Inn to dress their wounds, water the horses they have left, and drink some beer. Both sides take a hit to their Force Morale.
The Prussian musketeers give another sad, ragged volley. They have so much shock they lose 14 out of their 19 dice.
"Fire!" Lt. Wahl orders another volley which rips across the field. Three of the four Prussian groups break with double shock and flee off the table edge, ending the game.
And that was that. All very dramatic and demonstrating the importance of speed and concentration of effort. The few Random Events that occurred, were actually beneficial. The Landwehr got an extra move, helping them to get into position and the Schutzen got an extra firing activation and the grenadiers got an extra move too, which helped seal the Prussian's fate. The musketeers trying to advance into that maelstrom of musketry was just brutal. But I was trying to get them into a solid four group line to deliver a well ordered volley. But the Bavarian rifles just put too much shock onto them too quickly. In hindsight I should have backed off and put the musketeers into the inn, which would have effectively blocked the road.
Lt. Vogel was sitting on a barrel in the courtyard of the inn, his orderly bandaging both his and his prisoner's wounds. He poured the Prussian a glass of brandy and saluted him. "You fought well today."
"You bested us today, but your Emperor is kaput!"
Vogel smiled sadly. "Not my Emperor. Your health, mein herr."
A pair of green coated schutzen ambled into the courtyard, obviously sent to fill their comrades canteens at the water trough where Vogel's grey was busy drinking loudly. "Hey! Hans! Sausages!" One of them shouted excitedly. "Fraulein! How much for sausages? And cheese! Hans, have you got a spare pfenning?"