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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Blucher revisited

Bumped into an old friend a few weeks ago; many games were played in our later teenage years, including first edition DBA. Well, let the good times roll again! Like myself, Ed has found it difficult to find the time and energy to put figure to table. Fortunately, Ed has been dabbling with Sam Mustafa's Napoleonic game 'Blucher'. So we arranged a game with Daz for Saturday this week, with Ed playing a British coalition, and myself and Daz playing the French.

We used the cards from the 100 days set, so I chose to use the simple boards that I painted for a wargaming school club. Not as pretty, but functional and effective. Ed went for a large corps of quality troops on his left flank, with the Dutch and Germans holding a hill on his right flank, cavalry lurked in the centre. We went for 4 equally sized, average corps of foot, each with a battery of artillery; 2 small corps of cavalry, each with field artillery, finished out the force.

The early moves saw a see saw, with both army's left flanks moving forward to strike a telling blow. Both sides chose to ignore the centre due to the two large woods making manouvre difficult. The attack for both sides became difficult. For the English, the rough ground the French occupied reduced the effectiveness of their fire, with units waiting behind to push any advantage. The French attack stalled with a rather well timed Cavalry charge forcing the infantry to form square.

The game settled down to a grinding match. The French reinforced their heavily weakened right flank, with a fresh infantry corp propping up the position. The British continued to batter the French left, reducing them to a position of being unable to force the issue any further. Casualties mounted for both sides, with army break points being very closely reached (6 of the 7 units on both sides). Ironically, the battle was finally decided by a close combat between two battered brigades in the centre, between the two woods. The fight was so close, that the English lost by a single hit on a unit!

What an enjoyable game! Maybe it's because we had a whole afternoon, rather than a snatched evening, but the game went at a leisurely pace, with both sides swapping ideas and reminders of opportunities that could have been potentially lost. For the French, the use of strong artillery (along with some lucky barraging dice) suitably weakened British resolve, this was supplemented by taking the opportunity to shoot first when the British attacked, aided by strong skirmishers. For the British, the menace of charging cavalry kept the infantry brigades from moving forward.

Fortunately, we had time for another game afterwards, but my recording energy had gone by then. Needless to say, the second game was just as interesting, as we got to grips with the manouvre game options to maximize attacking opportunities.

We've decided that the next game will use the Scharnhorst mini campaign to generate the battle. With more practice, we're hoping to play the 100 day campaign, using photographs and email to manage the campaign section. Some little steps first though...


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