Saturday, October 18, 2014

Glorious Zheltarussian Victory

Well, not really.  A pretty pyrrhic victory for the Zheltarussian forces by the very skin of their teeth.

Gus came up to Sheffield today and we played a game of Maurice using pretty much all of the basic rules.  After a brief solo try out and a game with Jamie, this was Maurice game number three and this time I branched out by having an elite and a couple of conscript units.  Maybe next time I'll try some irregulars.

Gus took on the Yesilkarans (Ottoman Turks to you), fielding four units of Janissaries (Trained Regular Infantry), six of Sipahi (Trained Cavalry) and four pieces of artillery.  Oh, and he got a unit of Polish Winged Hussar mercenaries too.

I had seven units of Regular Infantry including one elite (the Semionovski Guard) and two conscripts (streltsi).  I also had three units of Dragoons (Trained Regular Cavalry) and four guns.

With this being Gus's first game, I decided not to introduce notables or any of the other advanced rules.

Gus stuck with the default deployment I'd set up for him - infantry in the centre with guns on one flank and three units of cavalry on each wing.  I matched this except that my infantry centre was stronger and my right and left cavalry wings (one and two units respectively) looked vulnerable!

The dismounted Moskovski Dragoons approach the marsh
that I hoped would help protect my right flank.
The Zheltarussian infantry began on a ridge overlooking the enemy.
Gus began the game by playing a Death of a Hero event card that immediately reduced my army's morale.

After a little passing to build up our cards I then ordered the Zheltarussian artillery to begin bombarding the Janissaries...

Two cotton puffs per gun reflect the fact that early 18th century artillery,
moved by civilian contractors, was largely immobile once battle
had begun.  The puffs must me removed before the guns may march.
... whilst Gus began advancing his right wing cavalry.

Massed Sipahi
One of the Sipahi units is disrupted as they must cross
a field of crops.
Gus had obviously got the hang of event cards as his next play saw the lone mounted Dragoon regiment on my right flank move backwards nearly exiting the table!

I decided I had to try and destroy his Janissary centre before his numberless cavalry enveloped me.  I pushed forward my line but immediately encountered some that "wasn't on the map".  A cluster of pig-sties suddenly blocked the march of the Semionovsky Guards.

One Janissary unit has already been routed (from top left of this picture) by
a combination of artillery bombardment and musketry.
But those pig-sties are a nuisance.
At this point both sides began to lose units in the centre; me to Gus's artillery firing canister and Gus to the weight of superior numbers of infantry.  Fortunately, I was also able to bring some muskets to bear on the Sipahi threatening my left.  

Gus then hit me with yet another event card forcing the Semionovski to advance through the animal pens thus disrupting their formation and putting them in range of the enemy guns.  By the time I'd advanced the rest of the infantry to join them they were close to breaking point and only a hasty Rally order kept them in the picture.

The stage was now set for the main event; the clash of the two infantry lines.

The Semionovski were taking most of the punishment and eventually it all became too much and they broke leaving me with a gap in my line and nothing but the Streltsy to fill it.

At this point Gus launched a charge by his remaining Janissaries and there was a flurry of card play.

The fierce attack of the Janissaries (Grenadiers Forward! card) was partly deflected by stubborn defence (Attack Falters and Hold The Line! cards) but the Disruptions my infantry had previously taken made all the difference and two of my last three line infantry units were routed leaving me one loss away from complete defeat.

My only chance was to throw my left flank cavalry in a desperate charge at the Turkish guns.  Viatski's Dragoon Regiment were able to reach and engage two gun batteries.  We rolled the dice and, when the smoke had cleared, the crews of the guns had fled.  Gus rolled for the morale effect of losing the two batteries and one of the dice came up six losing him his last two Army Morale points.  

Viatski's Dragoons (left) about to charge through the gap in front of the
remaining Zheltarussian line infantry unit to engage the enemy
guns (off camera to the right).
So a narrow victory to the Zheltarussians who had only one point of Army Morale left at the end of the game!

We agreed that the game would go faster when the players were more familiar with what the cards did.  I'm pleased with the story that the rules told.  I'll certainly continue to use them.


Kaptain Kobold said...

"We agreed that the game would go faster when the players were more familiar with what the cards did. "

The game does go faster, yes. It also speeds up when you stop playing the effects of every event just because you have it (we'd never play Death of a Hero early in the game for example - you use it for its greater command span, or save it to take the last morale point from a beaten enemy)

Great to see two such interesting armies in play. Both are very much suited to the addition of irregulars.

Counterpane said...

Thanks Kaptain!

Two questions if I may?

Have you tried playing four player but with one deck? Each side gets two command choices per turn?

Can "Confusion" be used to march an enemy unit off the table thus burning army morale?

Kaptain Kobold said...

(i) I think the rules cover multi-player games, but you may need more than one deck. Remember the deck drives the game length, so the more players there are drawing on it, the shorter the game will be. You do get two command choices (in a four-player game), but there are limits on how they are applied to opposing players/commands.

(ii) So long as the move is legal, you can do it. I marched elite Russian guards off the table in my last game.

Counterpane said...

Cheers, KK! I'd come to much the same conclusions.