Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Battle at Jeff's

Last Sunday saw a contest at Bluebear Jeff's table.

This time round was a second encounter with Victory Without Quarter rules.

The differences this time were, a storyline, complicated battlefield terrain and a time limit (of sorts as my eldest son and I could not stay on and on till a final ending).

The setup saw Vile Stagonia opposite a river (with fords) and Duchy of the North, marching in parallel lines, Jeff has the battle that this is based upon.

Essentially the Stagonians must overcome working on exterior lines of communication while the Norden troops have the advantage of interior lines of communication.

Another problem with the Stagonia situation was totally dependent on early luck, as the river fords could only be crossed at 1/2 speed, something that the movement rules run by random cards make even harder since on many turns NO ONE may get to move at times.

The Victory Without Quarter rules are a 'game' as opposed to a simulation, something that must be taken into account and I would certainly never run a tournament with them nor use them with any historical simulation players.

Here is the situation at the end of turn one, not much change from setup other than the one bit of luck for Stagonia was the entire left wing got to move (sadly only 2 units on the right - the ones that have to cross the river fords - got to move).

Turn two and more movement on the Stagonian Left Wing, so was the Norden Left Wing busy, again only 1 unit crossing a river even got to move.

The big VILE STAGONIAN MOMENT came when my son decided to first charge at (not allowed by the rules) then SHOOT AT the Duke of the North, who was just inside charge range and definitely in pistol range of his Vile Stagonian Trotters. IT was a resounding success with many hits and a failed save. BANG the Duke of the North was dead!

Needless to say the player handling him was not impressed, actually figuring the battle was over ~ not so said I and I was ready to trade him my crummy situation in a heartbeat ... he did not take me up on it. (darn)

Turn three, plenty of movement on the whole Norden line, only the Stagonian Left was moving, nothing at all from the Right wing, no cards = no move. Now the one unit that had got to move was totally out of position, alone and being shot to pieces, with no return fire allowed, in this GAME no card = no action - nothing, zip, zilch Nada.

Now at turn four I was seeing shades of Austerlitz in this battle.

And I was on the 'allied' side.

Stuck behind a river and forced to sit still for three turns while my opponent got his shooting lines set up...the battle was really over here ~ we just did not fully accept it.

I got a hit in with some great dice rolling, then it all went downhill for the Black Foote veterans I had, they wisely fell back across the river and then I decided to move the Right Wing Horse to the Left, sadly with this GAME rules what I decided means nothing since unless I get the cards to take action my units can do NOTHING, which they did for the next few turns.

The other ford was similarly totally blocked up, now with masses of infantry catching my foot working valiantly to push across. A foolish order to attack at all in my view as only 2:1 odds is useful in any attack situation, and with this GAME rules even a force at 3 or 4:1 will have trouble if their cards do not come up.

Then four turns of maneuver and finally the cannon showed up (cards not drawn means no action remember?)

My son did yeoman work alone on the Left Wing, taking and holding a hill that I told him to after Killing the Duke of the North, certainly the winner of this game. This formation that he used to move forward made me think of some proposed changes, especially in light of what masses of infantry can do to horsemen, I really think that such a double block when facing ANY horsemen should get HUGE bonuses in close combat, for the block of pikes would be everywhere here and NO CAVALRYMAN would ever charge into such a mass of men with no clear way past them. Yet in these rules only the lead unit must or gets to fight with NO bonus for the MASS of so many more men RIGHT THERE!

Once again I remind myself, this is a GAME and not a simulation.

Over at the river ford, the death toll mounted, again all I could do was watch as none of my cards came up here.

Turn ten, game si essentially over as the VILE STAGONIANS have managed to get at least half of their army killed at this point.

Odd dice rolls make our host shake his head, though the contest was not in any more doubt since turn 4.

Turn 12, too little too late.

At long last I get some cavalry move cards (the others are gone from the deck now), it was a futile move, mostly to permit my son to finish enjoying the day.

I'll wrap it up here with some more minis eye candy.

Next time a simulation, if the demand is for a cards game, I'll choose poker.