Saturday, 30 November 2013

Maurice trial with counters

As expected, my trial Seven Years War game of Sam Mustafa's 18th Century Maurice rules confirmed that they are dramatic, exciting and fun. It was also a trial of my MDF counters, so figure manufacturers may wish to look away now! 

Each side had a team of two players whilst I acted as a less than perfect teacher and umpire, having read but not played through the rules before. But the players were quick to pick them up and play was smooth despite necessary checks for confirmation and detail.  This was a tribute to their clarity and user-friendliness, and a great deal of cunning design beneath their apparent simplicity.

As this was an exploratory game to try out the main mechanisms of the rules I restricted the armies to Trained Regulars, put down just a couple of woods for the terrain and dispensed with Scouting. No advanced rules were used. Otherwise play proceeded as normal, or, at least, as close to normal as I could discern from my limited understanding and experience.

I advised both sides to deploy historically. The Austrians were in defence with 6 infantry units, 4 cavalry and 3 artillery. Splitting the artillery was against my advice! As this was only a training game I didn't provide an objective, but I added it later in case the Prussians showed lack of aggression. I didn't really need to worry on that score.

The Prussians were in attack with 7 infantry, 4 cavalry and 3 artillery units. Using an Event card that allowed two formations to advance in the same turn (Coordinated), the Prussians told off both their right-wing cavalry (which had a numerical predominance) and all the infantry massed in the centre.

The Prussian cavalry were sent on a long detour around the wood on the Austrian left flank. The Prussian infantry swept forward gradually straightening up to conform to the Austrian line.

View from the Austrian side as the Prussian centre advances.

The Prussian right-wing cavalry destroyed the Austrian left-wing cavalry at a cost of losing one of their own units. The Austrian left-flank was now open.

The Austrains (left) blocked the gap behind the wood on their left flank by turning an infantry unit with a march move. This forced the Prussian right-wing cavalry (top left-hand corner) to stand off for the rest of the game.

A 'That's Not on the Map' Event card allowed the Austrians to place a marsh right in the path of the Prussian infantry thus forcing them to detour. However, with huge irony the marsh was soon to have disastrous results for the Austrians themselves.

The Prussians used an Event card (The Heat of Battle) to force an Austrian unit with 1 DISR to charge across the marsh suffering a further DISR. It then received  2 DISR in combat, bounced off and got another DISR from moving back through the marsh which broke it. This was the highlight of the game and a cause of huge mirth, but not to the Austrian players.

The single Austrian gun battery on the left flank was lost and  another Austrian infantry unit was stripped away leaving the other two Austrian gun batteries isolated and exposed. Austrian army morale was gradually crumbling.

Another marsh (marked in emergency by the plastic box!) appeared, but the writing was on the wall for the Austrians.

The Austrians had numerical superiority in cavalry on their right-wing but failed to use it. The cavalry remained inert while the Austrians devoted their time to ineffective bombardments. They were all the more ineffective because they had split their artillery. I think the Austrians fell victim to a defensive mentality when they could/should have launched a counter-attack with their right-wing cavalry.

Being of reasonable size and hence weight the counters worked well. The players found the counters acceptable, even a good idea, and one of them has subsequently bought the Maurice rules and is making Maurice armies his next project. I almost certainly got some of the rules wrong so it will be good to have two minds working on this.

1 comment:

  1. What a great way to try out the game, using counters. Nice, clear write up. Splitting forces is a trap easy to fall into when first playing Maurice (I know I did!).