A random series of articles on war gaming in 40K, FOW and other systems. The headings are, WiP; Conversions and models in various states of assembly. PiP; Paint works on various models. Mission Critical; scenarios or missions to bring a bit of a twist to a normal game. MiA; rules for units and characters that could/should/might appear in a game. Dig In; How to guides on making various types of terrain for different game systems. Sit Rep; Battle reports and after action reports on games played

Monday, January 30, 2017

When Maurice met Blucher; the battle for providence county prelude


This is a bit text heavy post but it is a prelude to the Maurice meets Blucher big game.  The stars have finally aligned and the multi-players big game is a go after a couple of months of trying to organise things. In fairness December was a bit of a write off with  holidays, preparation for holidays, etc.  The first wave of Bluemoon AWI figures is painted apart from three regiments of British cavalry. This translates roughly into forty regiments of foot, five regiments of cavalry and six artillery batteries which a respectable twenty-five-ish units per side game.

Two dice and ICs volunteered to play while Zort and Antonio were drafted :)  TwoDice and Zort were given command of the British while ICs and Antonio were given command of the patriots or rebel scum depending on your point view. Both fractions were given a list containing the regiments available for the army with order to create their marching column (hereafter called brigades).  For game balance I used the points values in Maurice to balance out the armies so the less numerous British became higher quality to balance out against the more numerous Americans. But one of the joys of Blucher is even though the armies start of balance how the pre-game campaign works should create unbalanced but fair match ups.  To encourage the teams to get into character the brigades could be given names and named brigades go a brigade commander,effectively a minor character, who provide a little in game bonus.

The American forces in Providence county transformed into Washington’s (no relation) and Williams brigades each four regiments of foot and two artillery batteries. Greens’s and Morgans brigades each of five regiments of foot and Lauzun brigade with four cavalry regiments.  The British turned into Howe’s and Charlton’s brigades each of six regiments of foot, Riedesel's brigade of four regiments of foot with two artillery batteries and Clinton’s brigade consisting of two regiments of foot, two artillery batteries and the only british cavalry regiment.
The first major adjustment the Blucher rules was that both sides were asked to submit written orders for their brigades and the umpire used the blucher rules to work out how the brigades moved across the map.  It was the partly as a fun challenge, partly to help the game logistics.  The fun part was challenge of being given an army list and being asked to break into brigades and figuring out where those brigades should go for the campaign.  The players are trying to create a favourable condition to give battle with the added challenge of not having a clue about the enemy location or strength.

The game logistics part was to do time saving and visuals.  Even with four players and an umpire the experience with Blucher and Maurice ranged from zero to not a lot, in addition we only had a couple of hours in the afternoon to set-up and get through the game. Using written orders and blind deployment meant the campaign step could be resolved off line and the evening did not get bogged down in the campaign steps as players tried to understand the rules while in parallel tried to understand what should be happening on the map. The visual benefit is a bit of criticism of Blucher in general.  The game is designed to be played in 6mm (or without figures). At that scale the figures are visually less important than the terrain ideally you should feel like you are getting a helicopter view of the battlefield.  But it is not possible to set up the terrain in advance since you do not know where the battle will be and by the pre-game campaign the terrain goes down quickly to get on with the game. This means sometimes the terrain set-up look a bit last minutes because that is what it is.  Doing the pre-games moves meant the battle was know in advance and a bit more effort on the table set-up (plus I got to stick in some nice new buildings I am working on).

Once the forces were assigned and the orders issued the brigades were moved out. I was planning to adjust the set-up if need to ensure all the players started with at least one brigade under their control to avoid a scenario that someone shows up and has nothing to do for possibly the whole night. In any the event the orders worked out nicely with two British brigades making contact with two American brigades to define the area for the battle.  In another adjustment to blucher rules I picked the battlefield area rather than let players doit.  As a player it would make sense to pick an area that maximise your advantage but as an umpire the focus is on creating an interesting scenario for both sides.

Looking at the forces available at the start of the battle it seemed the Americans had a marginal advantage so on a roll of a D6 and on a roll of 3+ they would be the attacker. While a one or two would mean the British would go on the offensive.  The brigades who did not start the battle then moved as fast possible to get near the battle. Fortunately blucher maps tend to be a bit small so all brigades could at least reach the battlefield to arrive as reinforcements.  For the reinforcements arrival I was planning on doing something a little complicated like having the brigades nearest the battlefield arriving before brigades that were further away.  But in practice most brigades started near the battlefield So I randomly determined an arrival order. The Reinforcement cards were added to the playing deck after the first hand had been dealt to avoid and brigade arriving on turn one.

And so the scene is set for the battle of Providence county.

American Army

Lauzun’s Legion
1st regiment Continentals Dragoons
(Reg Cav)*
2nd regiment Continentals Dragoons
(Reg Cav)*
Lauzun legion (Huzzars) (Reg Cav)
Lauzun legion (Lancers) (Reg Cav)

William’s Brigade
1st Maryland regiment (Reg Inf)
2nd Maryland regiment (Reg Inf)
1st regiment Providence County Militia
(Reg Inf)*
2nd regiment Providence County Militia
(Reg Inf)*
A battery 1st Artillery Regiment (Reg Art)
B battery 1st Artillery Regiment (Reg Art)

Washington’s Brigade
1st New Hampshire regiment (Reg Inf)
Converged foot (Reg Inf)
2nd regiment Connecticut militia (Reg Inf)*
3rd regiment Connecticut militia (Reg Inf)*
D battery Pennsylvania artillery regiment (Reg Art)
E battery Pennsylvania artillery regiment
(Reg Art)

Greenes Rangers
1st continental regiment (Reg Inf)
2nd continental regiment (Reg Inf)
3rd continental regiment (Reg Inf)
1st regiment New York levies (Reg Inf)*
New Orleans Grenadiers (Reg Inf)***

Morgan’s Men
Lauzun legion (Fusiliers) (Reg Inf)
Dillion regiment (Reg Inf)
La Sarre regiment (Reg Inf)
Royal Deux-Ponts regiment (Reg Inf)
Bourbonnais regiment (Reg Inf)
British Army

William Howe's Brigade
Converged Grenadiers (Reg Inf)***
14th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)
15th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)
27th (enniskillen) regiment of foot (Reg Inf)
35th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)
42nd (highand) regiment of foot (Reg Inf)***

Charleton's Brigade
50th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)
52nd regiment of foot (Reg Inf)
Converged foot (Reg Inf)
85th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)*
86th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)*
87th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)*

Clinton's Brigade
88th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)*
89th regiment of foot (Reg Inf)*
16th Dragoons (Reg Cav)
A battery Royal artillery regiment (Reg Art)
A battery Royal Irish artillery regiment (Reg Art)

Friedrich Adolf Riedesel's Brigade
Fusilier Regiment von Knyphausen (Reg Inf)#
Fusilier Regiment von Lossburg (Reg Inf)#
Musketeer Regiment von Donop (Reg Inf)#
Grenadier Regiment von Rall (Reg Inf)***,#
A battery
Hesse-Kassel Artillery regiment (Reg Art)
B battery
Hesse-Kassel Artillery regiment (Reg Art)


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