Monday, September 23, 2013

September SHAKO battle - rookie game

Chasseurs à Cheval
With a downpour that lasted all day, it was a perfect sort of day to set out the tabletop and game.

This was to be a pickup game teaching SHAKO (version 1, with the Chris Leach amendments for cavalry) and having a good exposition to the game and elements for a new player.

The match was a 1.5 to 1 in favor of the Prussians over a French force.  French had 4 battalions of foot with one of them being rated 'grenadier' or "Elite", 2 squadrons of regular cavalry, 2 'stands' (one full battery) of horse guns and 1 stand (1/2 battery) of foot artillery.  The Prussians had the same except they had 2 more regular foot battalions for a total of 6.

The new player chose to take on the French and after a short briefing about the ground situation in defensive and the option of using his cavalry in flank attack, he drew up his plans.  Likewise did my son, an experienced SHAKO player for the Prussian attackers.

opening situation
The 'random' ground consisted of two steep hills, one low hill, a 2-sector town and a forest.  The French were more or less 'in' the hills in this situation with the woods fully covering their left wing.
The Prussians put their cavalry in the open ground on their left, two brigades of foot in the center and the foot gun with Grenadiers to the right flank.  All forces had MOVE ORDERS right from the start ...

French right, can you spot the rookie mistake?

Prussian center and left

It took three turns to really get into contact with each other though, as the Prussians were ordered only to go to the center of the field and chose to march in lines forward and give fire.  The cavalry used the brow of the low hill to shadow some of their maneuver from the French guns, but in the end were faced with squares to have to deal with.

On turn 4 is when the real action got moving, as the French flank attack showed up with a die roll of "5"!

situation at end of turn 4
By now the French skirmishers of the far left had pinned down the foot battery (indeed scoring two hits!) and by the end of the turn one Prussian horse squadron was run off the board flank with nowhere to retreat to that was not also in range or contact with an enemy French unit!

French on the right hill - holding fire to blast any charging horsemen
French squares looking towards center of the field
the Prussian advance is halted, there are French horsemen to the rear!
With the score 2 (of 4 needed) for the French and 1 (of 3 needed) for the Prussians, the situation looked grim for the Prussians, my son chose to withdraw from the game.  I happily took over the position for I saw that the French cavalry would have to win all or risk loosing all ...

situation at the start of turn five
The Prussians got some early success scoring hits with Artillery, then with skirmishers on a trapped French square in the center of the field.  This made up for losing an entire battalion in the earlier part of turn 4.

Prussian artillery scoring hits at last
The French cavalry committed to the battle, Chasseurs to a square and the Hussars to a line, that failed to form emergency square!

French Cavalry Brigade commits to battle
Meanwhile the Prussian center closed up with the French center, placing a half battery of horse guns at point blank range on a vulnerable French square.

Prussians closing on the center
The melee for turn 5 mostly decided the game, both French attacks were thrown back, indeed they both came down to the tie breaker - #3 the side which won the move option - which for turn 5 was the Prussians due to a die roll as both sides did not have any active moving divisions.

Prussian Hussars, smashed through a horse battery and contacted the disordered Chasseurs still reeling back from the Prussian square (seen in foreground)
The charges as seen from the Prussian Hussars perspective.
This put the game at a tie 2:2 going into turn 6.  The Prussians again won the move option, charging the only slightly recovered French Hussars, the battle was not even close this time with the French taking some 4 casualties on top of the one already sustained, the French also lost a battalion that was marching in column (got disordered and could not recover) and was blasted by artillery.  Also the much beleaguered square in the center was also pounded again by artillery fire.  Final score Prussians 5 (of 3 needed) French 2 (of 4 needed).

Great game for a new player to setup the plan and move about the troops!


James Fisher, FINS said...

Sounds like your rookie player did all right; forcing your son to withdraw and bring in the 'boss'?!

MurdocK said...

Well, the boy is 14 and 'took himself' out of the game ... at least before his anger got any worse.

Yes, he is a competitor.

I did give the 'rookie' a fairly good terrain and troops use briefing.

Rafael Pardo said...

Not my ruleset (I use Lasalle or NB) but it seems funny!