I had the plan to put on the best show that DakKon had ever seen for a miniatures game.
I had the plan to continue to expand my Napoleonic 25mm collection.
I had the plan to continue to play out the bicentennials of the height of the Napoleonic period (1807 has EYLAU and FRIEDLAND).
I had the plan to win the best table display for DakKon.
I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER!
While I did not get as many players as I had hoped for, I got at least enough to make it happen and one or two others whom came in and out enough to make it interesting.
I would have had a better turn out at a minis based game event like SALUTE in Vancouver, but I will take what I got here.
Essentially I was the solo miniatures act for DakKon this year, one which sported more RPG events than any before and I was very pleased to learn that Paul won the best GM award (it was his first year in a competitive environment ~ he is a good GM and the atmosphere is different when in competition).
So the tale:
Minis prep and table stuff you know, since I have blogged about it before (and sorry about taking so long to get this out on the blog, but three boys under 8 and work demands took precedence ~ oh and my wife's parents decided to visit the week before, leaving on the Saturday of the event ~ more stress I did not need).
The table set-up, went inside the time as planned, my difficulty was in not having an assistant whom could be out beating the bush for getting the starting players.
It took a lot more time than I had anticipated to get the players, then it was time to get them organized and understanding the Order Of Battle ~ so that they would know what they were working with.
Orders writing actually took less time than in past playtests, since my new play aids worked to perfection and had the players understanding the troops under their command faster and easier than in the past.
There were takers for the French and La Grande Armee, but no interest in the Russian commands. I had to turn to a convention runner to 'write' the Russian plans (essentially position the troops ~ since moving seemed a bad idea with the French having at least 2 flank forces out there...).
Troops went onto the table in exactly the same time as the playtest and from there the turns went really quite fast.
The only delays came during the planned 'breaks' when I pulled out my dry ice and did the 'special effects' that wowed the crowd.
Ok, so on to the pics:
A long view of the field from the French Left, Russian Right.
Here (seen in the foreground) a formation of French Hussars (in blue) did yeomans duty in breaking up Russian counter attacks and managed to not only chase away two groups of Russian Dragoons and a battery of foot artillery but was still on the table to join in a Grand Charge organized by Murat some 10 turns later!
Murat and his ADC had sent off two formations of Chasseurs and One of Hussars to thier doom at the top of the hill on the Russian center right. Not one unit came back and neither of the Russian Squares had been broken either. The Imperial Guard artillery was then directed to begin blasting these squares, too little too late though as the Russians were leading by a score of 6 to 1 once the French Cavalry Reserve had a chance to get re-organized on the French Left. While on the French Right and Center Soult had begun to surge forward, into Russian Guns which managed to destroy all of 2eme Division of IV Corps. While new orders were drafted for Augerau and VII Corps was sent hard into the Russian Left Center (at the angle in the town of Serpalten).
In the Center, the Russians directed mortar fire into the Guard Grenadiers inside the city of Eylau, setting the city on fire, which managed to force the Guard out into the open. Then the Guard was subjected to concentrated artillery fire from 3 Foot and 2 Horse batteries. Even under this withering fire coming in for nearly 90 minutes, before a greater blizzard blinded all guns, the Guard did remain on the field, though battered and retired back alongside the burning Eylau, using the buildings for cover.
General Grouchy was pressed into service as the Reserve Cavalry force commander as early on General Lasalle was put out of action during the first advance of the cavalry on the French Left. Here he is seen leading the return of the Cavalry, just moments before Murat marshalled the cavalry into a Grand Charge!
Battered Cavalry press-on across the French Center, in response to the call from Murat, and the Grand Charge was going to cross the center (under the cover of the hills from the fire of Russian guns) of the field to try and exploit the collapse at the left-center of the Russian lines.
Here along the French Right, before the arrival of Davout, as the French needed to hang on at all costs and not loose one more unit ~ otherwise the Duc d'Auerstadt & Marshal du Fer would only be arriving to see the entire French Army in retreat and provide the rear-guard.
The game was played out and hard-faught from 11 am Saturday 24 Feb, (first die rolls for artillery) till 1 am 25 Feb.
Score at end time was Russia = 14 : France = 6. Davout had arrived and was looking to deploy into the French Right. The Russian Left, under Count Tolstoy, had not yet been used and so was ready to react and press home into the fresh French troops...
It would have been great to have reversed history, but the outcome was not clear at the time we ended...one thing was certain the death toll was very, very high as this shot of the battlefield at the end amply demonstrates.
One other shutter-bug claims to have filled his camera's memory card (for the first time ever!), his latest email came in today says that he has 250 images from the event, and I managed to max out one of my computer drive partitions with all the images from the two digital cameras I had going and I have not yet reviewed the entire video that I have from the event.
The special effects were what put this game 'over the top' for the display purpose and it was loads of fun, and work, to put it all on!
LOS SOLDADOS ALEMANES DE LAS S.A. . por ZHANG XING
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