Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Great Northern War Notables for Maurice

The rule Maurice allows for the use of "Notables" which represents subordinate officers or characters which are attached to a specific unit which is granted some benefices specified in the Notable Card. They are fictional and introduce some chrome. However nobody prohibits to design your own Notable based on an Historical character.

Accordingly I designed some Notable cards for the Great Northern War with the battle of Poltava in mind. They were first drawn in Power Point and then converted in jpeg. This allowed me to use some nice portraits of the most important general officers which fought at Poltava.

The Swedish bunch:

The Russian gang:

Since I draw them from scratch I don think there will be copyright issue: in any case, if somebody notices copyright infringement, please let me know and I'll remove these cards from the blog.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

More Danish Infantry, step by step.

This is my Danish Army thus far: all the cavalry, 9 bases, 7 Infantry regiments on 12 and 2 guns on 3.

The long waited box of Mars GNW Saxon Infantry is finally arrived. When I opened the box, I get a pleasant surprise: the plastic is a nice medium grey, not the abysmal bottle green of the first production (see the review at PSR for a full appreciation of the original color).

This time I’ll spend some time to describe the process of painting I use. First of all, after washing the miniatures in lukewarm water with dish soap, I spray a coat of cheap hobbyst matt white, brushing some spots with acrylic white (I generally use LC01 Matt White by Lifecolor). Then I mount the figures with white tack on ice sticks, three each, already organized by bases.

A liberal wash with GW Devlan Mud (which now is called Agrax Earthshade!) and they are ready for the “mass painting”step.

First of all two passages of dry-brushed white, for all but the Drottingen regiment which is instead coated with Vallejo Scarlet 70817.

Then face and hands with GW Kislev Flesh and Vallejo Chocolate Brown 70872 for hair, gun, poles, partisans etc. (notice that my soldiers, aside for an handful of Officiers, all has dark brown hair. The belts and any leather detail are painted with Vallejo Desert Yellow 72073. Finally, black tricorne, scabbards, hair tie and cartridge/grenade pouches.

All these parts are washed with GW Gryphone Sepia. The mass production stops here: at this point I take any single unit (6 miniatures) and finish it before proceeding to the next one.

I begin with Fynska regiment, that with green facings and uniquely, a red collar: for the green I use GW Warpstone Glow (sic!) whereas the red is the same as before. First the facing colors: cuffs, breeches, gaiters/socks, waistcoat and only in this case the collar.

After this passage I correct all the mistakes done in the previous phases with white, used also to highlits the shirt around the hands and the neckcloth. The hat lace and the shoes are painted at this stage, as well as the base which is painted in the color of the unit base (I paint most of my unit bases dark brown: I choosed to leave those of the Danish of the natural color of the stone texture to add some variety).

The metals: gunmetal, silver and brass. The flag is done completely at this stage (I draw and paint with brown ink the parts which are then painted with brass and highlighted with gold): having no idea at all of the flagpole color, I paint it in a contrasting color, in this case red. Some final finishing touches (for instance Gryphone Sepia on the neckcloth which, according to Snorrasson, was also used as a towel…..) and details and the unit is ready to be mounted on the bases, made with thick cardboard and painted with the same sand as the miniatures base.

The terrain is made with the Vallejo Stone Texture “Brown Earth 26219”, unpainted and liberally sprinkled with hamster litter.  The bases are then sprayed with a matt transparent varnish.

The next step will be to wait 24 hours and add some static grass; the following day the grass in excess shall be removed and then we shall be finished. It the next post I’ll present all the regiments which completes the Danish Army at Helsinborg.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Markers for Maurice

In the two refight I did I used makeshift markers to count the Disr level and in Kolin, using two rectangular bases to represent an unit, I needed also Column markers.

I did them in a nicer way for the next refights,

The Disr marker have an image of a wounded or distressed XVIIIth century soldier, which were taken from the Knotel Uniformkunde prints.

For the Column markers I used instead pictures of flats, which are intended to depict generic infantry and cavalry rather the specific Austrian, Prussian and French units they actually represent.

These files are in jpeg and can be downloaded if you like them; they must be reduced according to your BW.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Kolin. The refight with Maurice: Part III, the analysis.

To analize the replay, in order to compare the same battle played with three different rules (Maurice, Volley and Bayonet and DB-Hx), I’ll try to answer to these questions:

1) How many “3”x1.5” bases the scenario needs?

2) The replay replicated a global situation in some sense comparable to the real battle, or developed in a total different way?  The final result was a plausible one with respect of the historical data?

3) There are some parts of the scenario (troop numbers and quality, terrain, special rules) which are too heavy and drive too much the final result?

4) There was in the replay any unlikely or awkward situation generated by the rules or by the scenario itself?

5) The playing area was adequate? Too small with crammed troops or too big allowing for unlikely maneuvers.

6) With this Rule the scenario replay playing went smooth?

7) With this Rule the scenario was funny to play?

As you’ll notice, I never mentioned “historicity”: I already said that this argument is out of discussion whenever we move models on a table. I prefer to deal with the matter as pointed out in question 2).

A typical after-battle discussion

Going into the specific, when the battle of Kolin is played with Maurice we can observe that:

1) Austrians 41 bases, Prussians 27 bases. 1,51 Ratio.

2) Yes. I decided to follow the historical pattern for the Prussian attack, and the following situations were similar to the historical ones. The Cavalry battle was inconclusive. The Prussian attacked gaining local successes but hammering to the pulp their infantry. The Prussian committed two main errors, the first was to lose too much time with the cavalry battle and the second was that the infantry attack was not supported by any kind of reserves. The Prussian right and the Austrian left remained unengaged. The global historical results with, of course, local difference in the battle development.

3) No, the special rules and the National Advantages are not intrusive. The only thing I noticed is that the Austrian superiority could make the difference if in the final phases of the battle the morale are close to the breaking point for both armies.

4) No. In fact there were a couple of lulls in the development of  the battle and I noticed also that the most diffucult thing to achieve was to maintain the attack momentum, two things that appears “realistic” and ask to the player a good deal of planning.

5) The playing area was 150 cm x 112.5 cm, not cluttered with towns or too much difficult terrain. There was room to maneuver and no terrain represented an insormontable barrier. The scenario represented adequately the area were the battle was fought, given the scale and the nature of the rules. To measure the “clutterness” i take the ratio between the area of the bases and the total area which, in this case, is  approximately 10%.

6) The replay went smooth, with no complicated bookeeping or nasty calculation. Even the die-roll procedure was easy to deal with. In this sense the Rules are enough “intuitive” making the game easy to deal with.

7) Yes, absolutely. I like these Rules.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kolin. The refight with Maurice: Part II, the Battle

An overwiev of the starting positions with place names:

The Prussian moves the cavalry in the plain to his left and attacks the Austrian right wing cavalry. This starts a see-saw battle which runs for some turns.

In the following picture an example of how a tipical Combat works: Prussian cavalry C engages Austrian cavalry A. Prussian cavalry D engages Austrian cavalry A and artillery B. D is not outnumbered because A is engaged also by C:

The Austrian response is two-fold: move aggressively their left-wing to distract the Prussian and send two cavalry units to the menaced wing. 
The main Austrian problem appears at this stage: the front is huge and to activate a force on the wings a lot of activation points is needed. Five cards are very few. The Austrian has indeed a real command crisis which requests a couple of Pass to be fixed.

In the meantime the Prussian presses the cavalry attack which is unsupported by infantry: the volley fire from the Croats garrisoning Kreckhorz disrupts most of the attack.

The leading cavalry unit panics and retires backward, disrupting itself and another unit (the cunning Austrian plays “Confusion!”). Behind their cavalry the Prussian columns move to wheel to their right and aligns in echelon, whereas the Austrian cavalry reinforcements with a back-breaking cavalcade arrives on the right wing, taking Disr in the stream crossing.

The Austrian is forced to spend a card to move Daun where the action is:

The final Prussian cavalry push is confronted by the regular infantry unit which advances in front of its cavalry to stop the Prussian. (A “Passage of line” card is welcomed for such a move). 

The subsequent volley fire take an huge toll on the Prussian cavalry, whose remains, to make room for the infantry attack, are retired by using a “Retrogade” card.

There is a lull, in which both armies plays either Pass or an Event, to replenish the card pool for the incoming main phase of the battle. The terrain, already wet, was reduce to a quagmire by the repeated cavalry charges. At least this is the effect of the Austrian plays of the most-dreaded Maurice card: “That’s not on the Map!” and in a very Prague-like fashion the two elite infantry units find a big patch of very soft and wet terrain in the direction of their planned advance.

Nevertheless, Frederick moves towards the area and finally orders the whole infantry of the left and center to advance towards the Austrian position. This is intended as the attack that will break the Austrians: unfortunately, as we shall see, this attack shall broke the Prussians.

This is the crisis of the battle, but not that intended by the Prussian. In the ensuing firefight, the Krezchor garrison and a regular infantry are destroyed but subsequently bad rolls and cleverly played cards destroys two prussian units of the center. The leftmost elite units wins their fights but remain stranded with the back to the swamp and loaded with Disr results.

The cards are running fast from both sides and the Morale becomes low: 3 for the Prussian and 5 for the Austrians (the rule which make the morale loss impredictable worked very well to bring both armies on the verge of exhaustion )
At such a point the Austrian centre counterattacks “a là Torgau”, whereas the cavalry reinforcements on the right wing awakens too and attack their Prussian counterparts (The austrian played “Coordinated”). The heroic death in the heat of the charge of FML Graf zu Wied inspires the Austrian soldiers in their attack. (the Prussian plays “Death of an Hero” reduceing the Austrian morale to 4, but the Austrian plays “Rogues! Do you want to live forever?” bringing it to 6): such a combined attack breaks the Prussian morale.

The battle is lost, the Austrians too tired to engage in pursuit, and the remains of Prussian army stream in some kind of order towards Prague along the Kaiser Strasse, their right wing still uncommitted. (All of this was obtained with only 1 Card Deck, which finished exactly when the Prussians broke).

It was smooth and fast play, very interesting and with only a modicum of book-keeping. In the next post I will write my analysis of the refight with these Rules and some comments.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kolin. The refight with Maurice: part I

Fresh from a Maurice solo play I decided to start the analysis of the battle of Kolin from that Rule. I shall use my 6mm collection based for Volley and Bayonet on 3”x1.5” bases.

To represent a unit I shall use 2 bases: no problems for the line and massed formations; to depict the column I simply shall put a paper arrow on the line.

The BW is 1.5”=3.75 cm, accordingly, since the Scenario calls for a map 40BW x 30BW, the playing area shall be of  150 cm x 112,5 cm (60”x 45”). Since my table is 100cm x 200 cm, I shall left off 12.5 centimeters from the Austrian side.

My hills collection didn’t comprise the big hill suggested by the Official Scenario, so I get it by assembling three smaller hills. The ravines simply doesn’t exist, the only problem will be some awkward deployment.

In the pictures the river toward the west is still missing. I didn’t represent the Kaiser Strasse since in the real battle didn’t played a substantial role.

The Austrians: 2 Irregular Infantry (Croats), 1 Elite Infantry (Grenadiers), 8 Trained Regular Infantry (IR26/IR2, IR56/IR21, IR59/IR50, IR31/IR42, IR7/IR12, IR 38/IR27, IR3/IR17,  IR8/IR20), 1 Elite Regular Cavalry (Carabiniers and Horse Grenadiers), 6 Trained Regular Cavalry 2 Hussars (HR 34/HR32, HR 2/HR11) 2 Dragoon (DR19/DR31, DR38/DR28), 2 Cuirassiers(CR12/CR(iii),CR26/CR14) and 5 Artillery, Morale 18. The national advantage is Skirmishers.   

· I tried to display most of the regiments which took part to the 
  battle, but some aren't in my collection which is based on the 
  Torgau OoB; the Bridge equipment and the carriage represent 
  the Prussian Objective.

The “bad boys in blue”: 2 Elite Infantry (GB 35-36 ,9-10/GB 5-20 , 33-42, IR15/StGB 1-GB 21-31), 5 Trained Regular Infantry (IR26/IR30, IR21/IR17, IR41/ IR35, IR20/ IR7, IR22/IR25), 1 Elite Regular Cavalry (CR2/CR8), 4 Trained Regular Cavalry, 2 Hussars (HR4/HR6, HR2/HR3), 1 Dragoon (DR3/DR11), 1 Cuirassier (CR1/CR12) and 3 Artillery, morale 14.

The national advantages are Great Captain, Steady Lads, Lethal Volleys, Oblique Order.

The initial positions

The sun of Kolin enlightens the Daun position; the infantry center with the croats in the two towns and the grenadier corps in reserve on the hill:

The left cavalry wing: 

The prussian deployment seen from the austrian position

and in detail:

The Prussian plan is more or less historical. Since the Austrian left wing has a powerful concentration of cavalry, the Army shall attack the right wing. The cavalry shall cover the infantry deployment and then, by using the various national advantages and the 10 cards the prussian left wing shall roll the Austrian position.

The Austrians are ready to defend, counting on the superior artillery, sheer number, and on the vicious cavalry counterattacks.

The Armies are ready, the battle can start.