Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Battle of Polkfurt --

I knew going in that this battle could be a disaster. After all, it wasn't to be the "normal" sort where two armies face each other across a stretch of terrain.

This was to be one of Charles Grant's "Table Top Teasers". More specifically, it was the "Wagon Train" teaser.

Steve-the-Wargamer has a number of these "teasers" (including "Wagon Train") on his website.

I wouldn't know when or where my forces would arrive. I'd previously diced for my troops and had been a bit unlucky. I had one Elite, three Veteran and two Raw units (Pete had two Elites and three Veteran units plus another Veteran and his only Raw unit in the Town).

When I arrived at Murdock's, I diced for my units (in my "Tricorne Wars" rules, you have to dice to find out how much of each unit's "paper strength" actually showed up that day). Infantry units have a potential of having six companies each . . . I ended up with 5 and 3 companies for my Veterans and 5 for my Raw troops (the Grenzers).

In terms of mounted troops, I had one each Elite (von Kodiak Kuirassiers), Veteran (Edelbrau Dragoons) and Raw (Heineken Hussars). Each could have four squadrons . . . I ended up with 3, 3 and 2 squadrons respectively.

I also had two Light Guns . . . unless I rolled a "1" on one of my two d6s . . . you guessed it, one of my guns was gone as usual. Fortunately Pete also rolled a "1" for one of his artillery pieces (although certainly better than I did with his other troops).

I also knew (as Murdock indicates on his excellent battle report) that some of my troops would not be coming in early (having rolled a pair of sixes when dicing for my half of the entry turns).

So I started the game thinking I had a hard row to hoe. But as turn after turn progressed, Pete's troops became more-and-more separated. Then, on turn six, I got three units arriving in almost perfect spots.

The von Kodiak Kuirassier (with the Cavalry Commander, Brigadier Ernst von Bruin) came in from the north of the column and the Edelbrau Dragoons arrived from the south. With the latter was my Army Commander, Major General Otto von Lager and three small companies of Karlsberg Jagers (skirmishing foot).

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Pete, the Rheinfelden Grenzers and Infantry Commander Brigadier Wolfgang von Weiser entered under cover of the southern woods. It would take a number of turns for them to arrive . . . but they could be very dangerous coming out of the woods.

So, I'm feeling pretty good. Murdock's son, Alex is running von Bruin and the Kuirassiers. Our plan is to avoid the infantry guarding the flanks and to hit the supply column (our primary target).

But my "Tricorne Wars" rules are deliberately written to include lots of "fog of war" aspects.

We had entered with "Attack" orders . . . but when within 12" of enemy, a Brigadier or General needs to test to INTERPRET those orders knowing the actual situation on the field. von Bruin diced for his interpretation . . . and they went up to "Assault" . . . meaning his troops within his command radius had to charge at fires opportunity.

Alas, the Kuirassiers looked to be right near the limit of their maximum charge distance . . . and dicing for it, they fell short. In addition, my rules call for a variable morale. Elites (and the Kuirass were my only Elite unit) roll two "Averaging Dice" (numbered 2,3,3,4,4,5) and take the higher number as their morale number for that day . . . the Kuirassiers only ended up with a "3" morale (while the unit they charged got a "5").

Net result, Pete's unit opened fire and wiped out over a third of the unit.

Meanwhile, my Dragoons were close enough to charge . . . but I blew my "to charge" test . . . so they just stood there in Disorder. Emotionally, I crashed . . . bad luck, but what could I do?

Then the Kuirassier got mauled again d0wn to a single squadron now; but I was successful in out-maneuvering the infantry and my Dragoons charged into the supply column as the Jagers sucked up fire. My charge had over-run one wagon and routed a pack of mules -- effectively destroying two of the four wagons I needed to stop the Nordenites from re-supplying their troops. I'm really feeling "up" now.

And, while the matter remained in doubt for some turns, with several "ups" and "downs", it eventually became obvious that the Grenzers were going to loot enough wagons (now effectively "dead in their tracks" with a massive Cavalry "ball" preventing them from proceeding any further, and so Pete conceded.

Stepping back a bit now, as the rule designer, this was a very interesting test. It is not at all the sort of situation that I envisioned as I've been writing "Tricorne Wars" . . . yet I think that they worked well on this day. We plan on trying it again next Sunday and we'll see if it works as well (although I'm hoping that Murdock will "tweak" the terrain a bit, since it will be a different city -- Stinz -- that he's trying to resupply).

Oh, I nearly forgot. The photo above shows the penultimate turn played, with the Grenzers and Dragoons about to close in on the rear wagons while the Hussars and remnants of the Kuirassiers tie up the front of the column. (click on it for a better look)

-- Jeff


rpardo said...

It sound very fun!... At least you won!

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Hi Jeff,

I agree -- Looks like a lot of fun was had. What sparked you initially to develop your own rules? Are there any features of the Tricorne Wars rules that need some revision, or are all of you generally please with the sort of game the rules yield?

Best Regards,


Bluebear Jeff said...


Yes, over-all, I'm rather pleased with how they play. I am NOT pleased with their current lack of clarity and organization.

If you look at a lot of this blog's early posts I discuss quite a few of the rule mechanisms.

-- Jeff

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Ah, yes. I remember. Will do.

Enjoy the day,


abdul666 said...

Hi Jeff,
a pleasant battle, meseems.
Even better, if you play -and play also with your computer- it means that your health problems are under control?

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Hurrah! That has to be one of my favourite "Teasers" ... and now you know why! :o)) I think we've had a different result almost every time we've played it....