We were using a number of amends but not including a lot of Steves thoughts from Thursday so it gave me an opportunity to compare how that works. We reverted to the standard orders process including blunders.
Stats were all from the Last Argument of Kings supplement
We kept fire then move and we also kept brigade morals.
We kept moving and firing at two thirds range of rules.
We introduced that Cossacks and Allied foot could only charge opposition foot if they were shaken or dis-ordered as in Thursdays game.
We also introduced that supports retreated through or routed through are dis-ordered.
We stuck with rallying casualties as per the rules for now rather than Steves method.
We used the option to retire facing the enemy at 2 inches per move. I dont like the idea of a unit retiring at full speed facing the enemy. try marching backwards in formation at the same speed you walk forwards! And of course its unlikely that units would turn their backs on the enemy at close quarters so a slow march backwards seems appropriate.
Dave also took his Que from the other guys and provided butties, drinks and biscuits, cheers Dave thumbs up from me!
3 x Brigades of 4 Russian foot battalions
1 x Brigade of 2 Russian Grenadiers and 1 foot battalions
I x Brigade of 2 Foot Cossack Battalions
2 x Brigades of 3 Saxon foot Battalions
6 x Field Guns
2 x Siege Guns
2 x Brigades of four Cossacks regiments each
2 x Brigades of four Russian Dragoons each
1 x Brigade Polish Cavalry 2 Winged Hussars 2 light Cavalry (Winged Hussars with Lance and armour)
4x Brigades Swedish foot (2 x3 and 2 x 4 battalions)
3 x Guns
3 x Brigades of Swedish horse (2 x 3 and 1 x 4)
1 x Brigade of Polish Horse (1 Pancerni 2 x light horse)
All Swedes had ferocious charge and Foot had extra combat dice but only 2 firing dice as one third armed with pike.
So the forces stacked up like this
Foot 14 Swedes vs 23 Allies
Guns 3 Swedes vs 8 Allies
Horse 13 Swedes vs 20 Allies
All Generals were rated 8
60 battalions or regiments all told!!!!
The Swedes had overcome these odds numerous times both historically and using other rule sets but could the Black Powder reflect that? The command ratings being even would also probably hinder the Swedes who need to get forward quickly to minimise casualties.
The Russians for the most part took one move forward and the Cossack foot occupied the village near the middle of the table.
The next brigade charged the Cossacks and in turn broke the first two regiments, their supports both retreated dis-ordered.
This was how it was supposed to go, unfortunately the allies had not read the script and it was to be the high water mark for the Swedes.
On the right the Cossacks charged again and broke the first unit of Polish light horse and forced the supports to retire, following them up with a sweeping advance these were also broken and the brigade break test led to the inevitable result of the whole brigade gone.
Unhappily this left a brigade of cossacks on the flank and rear of the Swedish Dragoon brigade.
In the subsequent move the next unit along was disordered and charged and then broken.
|Daves best throw this year I reckon!|
The cossacks that had won now formed up on my flank and next go charged my slightly mauled horse, their reaction being to turn to face. The dice though at last deserted Dave for a moment and the last Cossack unit was destroyed on this flank.
Too little too late through. 2 of the 5 cavalry units remaining on this flank were shaken and I needed them on the other flank to stop my whole line being rolled up.
It was going from bad to worse.
The 6 battalions of Saxons in reserve were now marching forward with the rest of the Russian Cavalry in support, not that these 9 fresh units were in anyway needed, the battle was lost and it was all about what could be pulled out of the disaster without being over run by the Russian and Polish Cavalry.
By now it was past our 4pm deadline to close the all day game. A wonderful looking game (I hope you agree) that was unfortunately immensely frustrating to play as the Swedish commander. I did still enjoy the company and banter (And biscuits)
Well first of all I hate losing especially with my Swedes so I have to be careful not to allow sour grapes to influence my thinking. After all if I have lost then surely its the rules at fault, LOL!
What worked and what didnt?
Firing before moving is a must and brigade break tests instead of automatically breaking also work. I may have made the Winged Hussars too strong but will only know when we play it again and get the same result.
The Russians charging the Swedes when they are dis-ordered by close range fire seems un-historical, it meant that three out of four opportunities to close with the Swedes simply never happened, this means if we carry on this way the Swedes need parity of numbers in order to stand a fighting chance which wasnt what I was going for. However I am not sure how you stop that without taking all flexibility away from the Allies. Sigh, this in particular is a little disheartening, one step forward and two steps back. Remembering that the Allies actually have another 16 battalions and 5 regiments of horse to add to their horde should we play with all of our forces its a puzzler.
But all is not lost there are a few things to try. An easy fix is that regardless of the proximity rule a player must declare their charge before they fire. As they cant declare a charge on a unit that is not dis-ordered or shaken this means that they cant fire see the result and only then decide to charge, the unit being charged needs to already be shaken or dis-ordered before being volleyed. I think that might work. Alternatively we allow the Swedes to counter charge, they would need to be able to do this even if dis-ordered though probably not if shaken. In this case the Allies get a bonus for charging and Swedes a minus for dis-ordered but the Swedes still have agood chance of winning. Or we only allow units (except Swedes) to charge units that are shaken, not dis-ordered or shaken as per rules.
I appreciate this may all seem very much like me twisting things to improve the Swedish performance however our games will almost always have Swedes attacking a defender with double their numbers. If they cant reach the Allies to fight them the games will be over before they begin.
In all this we cant lose sight of needing the Allies to be able to get a fun game as well as an historically accurate game of course. There needs to be a flavour of the fighting abilities of each force engaged rather than a 100% accurate representation.
The Polish winged hussars were virtually un-stoppable. I am less concerned about that, the Allies need something good to play with and its easy enough to stick one unit on each side. In reality there were very few Winged Hussars indeed by this stage of History, probably less than 10% of the Poles were this good rather than the half we gave them in this game, they did however tend to be on the Saxon side in the civil war that erupted through Poland. I now know just how good they can be so I will use them wisely to balance games out.
Cossacks breaking regular Swedish cavalry? Again unheard of but if its impossible there is no point in collecting and painting the Cossacks I guess and between us we have a lot of them. Perhaps simply making their command role slightly lower? All generals were 8's for this game and it is a great evener of armies. If the Cossacks and Poles are less enthusiastic making their generals less likely to roll their orders helps or just downgrade their abilities a little from those listed in last argument of kings.
We discussed a morale test for being charged once closing fire had failed to stop chargers. This would be particularly useful for poor quality troops who might be more inclined to break rather than stand and take a bayonet charge. We didn't add it at this stage, as I only charged home once all day it hardly mattered, but will need to consider it for the future. One to put on the back burner.
Dave had some fantastic dice and mine were pretty poor so I don't want to make too many decisions without further play testing. No games this week but a planned Great Northern War at Steves next week to work some of this through.
I have a lot to digest here and decide on a way forward that is balanced and playable with the players and troops we have available.
I think I might have a week off and paint some more Irish!