Friday, 6 June 2014

Trial PoW game with Austrians and Garibaldini 1859

Setting our battle in a river valley somewhere in Northern Italy, we set up terrain consisting of a broad  strip of cultivated land with settlements and at the east end of the valley - a larger settlement.

We diced for attack / defence or meeting engagement  and point of entry using house rules. We also diced for season, weather and time using house rules. We ended up both walking onto the table on the same long edge in thick morning mist before dawn! It was the middle of summer so dawn would last turns  (although in reflection it should be much shorter) and the mist would last for up to four hours before it was burnt off.

Due to the thick mist we would have to blind navigate onto the table so we devised a simple deviation system. This would allow units to follow their command marker but with a 1/3 chance of deviating left 45 degrees and a 1/3 chance of deviating right 45 degrees. Troops would use their commander's level to adjust their deviation dice, so High quality troops could amend the die by 2 + / -, meaning they would always navigate in the right direction. Averagely led troops could amend the die by 1 +/- and Poorly led troops got stuck with the result.  The mist also created a further 2 column shifts for spotting and reduced maximum speed to Speed 2.

I sent a column of Croat cavalry north to try and spot a settlement.  My poorly led Croats deviated wildy turning 180 degrees in the first 3 turns! The Garibaldini column  headed North-East, straight for the settlement. At first we used counters instead of movement bases, each counter representing the front and centre of a movement base, and representing the commander on deployment ( I still need to paint up a load of command stands).

By the end of turn 3 the mist had burnt off and several columns of Garibaldini were driving North-East towards the flanks of  the Austrian cavalry, now reinforced to three regiments. The cavalry quickly  filed north to avoid being shot at, letting the following infantry brigades deal with the problem. The three Austrian  brigades moved on to the field in parallel columns. The west column was closest to the enemy so it stopped once on table and deployed in line facing West. The centre column continued until it had cleared the west column's deployment and the east column headed for the large settlement. The Austrian cavalry made a wide flanking move to the North-West - hoping to draw off the numerically superior Garibaldini, dropping off one dragoon regiment and  the Horse artillery.

The picture below shows the scene around midday.

Top left -  The first columns of Garibaldini have deployed into line and been shaken by  fire from the Austrian brigades. Fresh columns  rush forwards to  support them.

Top centre -  The Garibaldi artillery are able to fire on the flanking cavalry and the cavalry reserves. Infantry and cavalry stand ready to contest the Garibaldini left flank.

Top right -  Croats are about to go shaken as they have left their command marker behind, A dragoon regiment moves up to support them and maintain a viable threat on the Garibaldini left flank.

Looking west ( towards the bowl of tortillas chips!)

Bottom left - the Austrians are formed into a firing line with one heavy artillery battery. A battalion is formed up behind ready to reinforce or counter attack.

Bottom centre - The centre brigade is gradually forming into line from column. Below that is the silver marker denoting the right brigade in the process of moving into the settlement.

Bottom right -  A battery of Horse artillery and a regiment of Dragoon wait in reserve and protect the flank of the  centre brigade whilst other  troops deploy in the settlement.

Midday looking North
In the centre the Garibaldini are forced back retiring behind the next wave. Two battalions of Garibaldini are in close formation ready to attack. On their left, infantry reinforce the cavalry and artillery. The Garibadini artillery successfully scare off the Austrian Horse artillery. It's now nearly 2pm and the heat will be too much. We call a halt to the game as it's late and we've tested a few new rules that we will use for a sci-fi system plus a new simpler terrain effects systems that will do away with all the PoW tables and reflect much more terrain variability given the ground-scales in use.

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