Tuesday, February 27, 2007


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.


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!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Amendment and examples:

The amendment is the addition of light artillery battery being supplied by every Province (lesser or greater) that is not the Capitol Region (and thus providing the Ordonnance of Heavy or Medium artillery battery(ies).

Example, at start each player has one Greater and Two Lesser Provinces:
Capitol: 2 Medium batteries, Guard (or Elite - to start might be better) Cavalry (players choice of Heavy or 'other') and Guard (or Elite - to start might be better) Infantry (probably Grenadiers). The Capitol is also a Fortification.

Greater Province: 1 Heavy Cavalry, 2 'other' Cavalry, 1 Line Infantry, 1 Light Infantry = the Capitol is selected to be in the Greater Province and so no other artillery will be coming from here.

Lesser Province1 : 2 'other' Cavalry, 2 Line Infantry, and 1 Light Gun

Lesser Province2 : 1 'other' Cavalry, 2 Line Infantry, 1 Light Infantry and 1 Light Gun.

Giving a final force composition (for parade in the Fortification in the Capitol):
Guard Heavy Cavalry
Heavy Cavalry
5 'other' Cavalry
Guard Infantry
5 Line Infantry
2 Light Infantry
2 Medium Batteries
2 Light Batteries

Other possible combinations:
Guard Heavy Cavalry
2 Heavy Cavalry
4 'other' Cavalry
Guard Infantry
6 Line Infantry
1 Heavy Battery
2 Light Batteries


Guard Heavy Cavalry
5 'other' Cavalry
Guard Infantry
6 Line Infantry
3 Light Infantry
2 Medium Batteries
2 Light Batteries

by looking at the charts in the first posting other combinations can be found...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wars for Arcadian Glory
(or some such thing)

Jeff, of Saxe-Bearstein, has coined the phrase Wars for Arcadian Glory as the name of a campaign of 17-18th century fictional Duchies, Princedoms, city and nation-states.

In connection with this plan I have been thinking about the consistency of the field armies and the territories of the player-controlled lands & peoples.

Since the concept is to have a non-map or abstracted country I need to define a few terms.

Capitol = Obviously every ruler needs a seat of power, such a place would be a cross-roads for supply and social center; providing logistical support and control for the army.
Greater Province = A developed region capable of greater support for war efforts.
Lesser Province = A somewhat developed region that has been under the administration of the Duchy for more than 2 year (or more or less to be determined by the time of the campaign start).
New Territory / Marche Land / Undeveloped Province = A set of lands new to the Duchy, either recently captured or ceeded from another player or 'discovered' thru exploration (such as was done with India, or parts of Africa, or the Spice Islands, or Colonies).

The other premise was regarding the field army and the size elements of that army, for instance I had thought the campaign should start with a field army of 50% of the maximum optimal size of the field army. I say optimal size since capture of the territory of other players should include the ability to press troops into service from those new lands.

For sake of argument I begin the discussion with a definition of Capitol regions giving 10%, Greater Provinces 20% and Lesser ones 10% of the overall field army strength. New lands only give 5%.

In definitive terms, I have tried to set-out what the field army should look like.
Basing my starting point on the one proposed earlier by Jeff:
2 x Medium Batteries
4 Heavy Cavalry (one Guard)
2 Cavalry
2 Light Horse

1 guard Infantry
8 line Infantry
3 jagers (light skirmish Infantry)

To set the regions contributions:
Capitol: permits 1 each of cavalry and infantry as Guard Class units. Produces artillery either 1 heavy or 2 medium batteries. The capitol is also a fortification...in case we use such things in the planned game.
Greater Provinces: produces 1 each of Heavy Cavalry, Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Line Infantry, Light (or skirmish) Infantry; or 2 Heavy Cavalry, 2 Line Infantry; or 2 Cavalry, 1 Light Cavalry, 2 Line Infantry; or 1 Cavalry, 2 Light Cavalry, 2 Line Infantry, 1 Light Infantry; or 3 Light Cavalry, 1 Line Infantry and 1 Light Infantry.
Lesser Provinces: produces 1 each of Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Line Infantry, Light Infantry; or 2 Cavalry, 2 Line Infantry; or 2 Light Cavalry, 2 Line Infantry; or 1 Light Cavalry, 2 Line Infantry, and 1 Light Infantry.
New Territory: produces 1 Light Cavalry, 1 Line Infantry; or 2 Light Cavalry; or 2 Line Infantry; or 2 Light Infantry; or 1 Line Infantry and 1 Light Infantry.

This way each player, having a Capitol, Greater and 2 Lesser Provinces at the start of the game will have a number of options to establish a character to their field armies.

Whis is needed is to determine how long or under what circumstances a New Territory becomes a Lesser Province and similarly how a Lesser becomes a Greater Province, each 'improvement' then allowing for a larger field army. Another point of discussion will be the connection of new lands (not conquered). Possibly also will be the 'garrison needs' for each province/territory.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Imperial Guard Blasted!

From playtest #2, I got to have three 'free shots' at the Imperial Guard!

Taking out 1/2 of the needed kills to send the Grenadiers and 2/3 of the needed Chassers a Pied to send them off the field!

Then close combat began and I handed over a battery to the Chasseurs and was certain to watch the better part of the Russian Right Wing evaporate.

Mercifully for the right wing, the game was called due to time constraints...but the action coming for the Dak-Kon convention promises to be very HOT indeed!

Dak-Kon convention information:

The second play test has shown needed 'starter' player information, about army formations - like Corps, Division, Brigade and Battalions need to be defined along with their inter-relations, as well as the "Allied" versions of the same, Wings, Divisions, Inspections, Regiments and Battalions.

I also need to try and create a 1-page SHAKO 'starter' info sheet for those whom have never played a minis game, let alone one with 1000's of troops on the table.

Does anyone know of an online primer for these things (that I could 'nab' so as to save my typing time)?

I shall also have a one page summary of the events leading up to the battle in a blizzard...EYLAU!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

More from Playtest #2 Day 1

The Prussians and Russians also got the feature treatment and their shots were of no less caliber!

All these pics were done with my wife's new camera (gift from her mom & dad = so that the grandchildren's pics would go to them often), I have only had this one opportunity to put the camera to use, and it has some great macro functions.

As these really close-up pictures should attest to!

These shots include:

Benningsen (or the mini I am using for him).

Bagration (again, just the mini planned).


A Prussian Division Commander

Russian Artillery.

Pavlov Grenadiers.

and just for Jeff....

A Prussian unit (pressed into service for the Russians) wearing TRICORNES!
Tell me what you think of the effects?
Playtest #2 Day 1

WOW what a busy day!

With both tables set up I finnaly got to see what all my terrain efforts looked like fully assembled.

The general Snow effect is going to work out...not as well as I had hoped, but in general it should be good. Especially once I add the extra layer of thick and thin snow fall (only to be done at the actual event, otherwise I am wasting my materials).

After full setup I was then busied with unit photos.

This was when the image effects were at their best!

I am including some single shots featuring Napoleon Bonaparte (of course), Marshals Murat and Ney, a couple of artillery batteries (to show off the new base stands effects) and the French Imperial Guard Grenadiers.