Tuesday, May 30, 2017

General D'Armee - French versus Russians (heavy on the pics and verbiage)

Game today of General D'Armee against Stephen so a proper trial of the rules.

I used the terrain generation tables from General De Brigade to set up the table.

We used points system (2200 each) and I selected a Young Guard force using Grenadier trait which means they are treated as Line but test Discipline (Morale) as Veterans.
I had 10 such Infantry with a Battery of medium (6-9pdrs) Foot Guns in 3 Brigades but with back up of a Guard Cavalry Brigade of Battle types - Elite Polish Lancers, Veteran Dutch Lancers and Line Garde D'Honneur with a Horse Battery.

Russians had a mix of Line (some with Grenadier trait) and Veterans totaling 14 Infantry with a Cavalry Brigade of 2 Dragoon (1 Veteran) and 1 Hussar divided into 5 Brigades .
But crucially they had a 6th Brigade of Artillery comprising 2 Large Batteries one of which was heavy (12 pdrs).
Stephen actually had 3 Batteries but we both decided this was probably too much for game so he swooped one out for an Infantry Battalion.

However having 6 Brigades versus 4 proved to be a huge advantage in that this generates 6 vs 4 ADCs which in game terms this yields a so much more efficient Command and Control ability.
This was meant he averaged 3 ADCs per turn (often 4 or 5) whilst French struggled with 2 (with only 3 twice and 4 once due to double 6).

This allowed his Artillery in a Brigade to operate very efficiently as 2 ADCs allocated to Artillery Assault (usually with a 3rd ADC for Brigade re-roll purposes) meant both Batteries could assault fire for the one order.

We both deployed fairly conventionally but both had our Cavalry Brigades as on-table Reserves (of which more later).
As battle opened the Russian guns were able to inflict damage even at long range on my central Infantry Brigade and I therefore used a Forwards Order (adds 4 x D6 cms to move) to get forward as fast as possible.
However this then placed a Battalion in Cannister range of both Batteries and being on Assault Fire plus gaining an extra Casualty Dice for being Large Batteries at short range they had potential to devastate my unit (you know whats coming don't you ?).
So of course Stephen being a well known (at least in these parts) dicing Demon (not sure what deal he struck but it works !?) he rolled 2 hits from Casualty Dice with both Batteries and then rolled double 6 twice (!!!!!!) giving me another 10 hits (!!!) and giving him 2 rolls on the Destiny Table which saw my Brigadier die and Brigade Falter (which it would have done anyhow as unit Dispersed as now on 13 hits).
This hapless Brigade then managed to fail 6 Command Rolls (despite my allocating a Brigade Order ADC for 3 turns) and 2 Infantry units left the battlefield taking my Foot Battery with them.
I did manage to Rally the one remaining unit on table edge but this Brigade was therefore Demoralised from then on !
This left a gaping whole in the middle of my Lines.

We both activated our Reserve Cavalry with Russians coming from behind their guns towards the gaping hole.
I had planned to send my to turns Russian right but discovered that the field on the right counts as Rough in the rules and therefore Cavalry cannot enter so I had to re-direct them to the center.
This lead to a Cavalry encounter which at first went against me as I threw in my Polish Lancers against his Veteran Dragoons.
Lancers are pretty good gaining an extra dice vs other mounted (2 vs foot) in melee.
Of course I failed to get into melee as his nibs threw another 12 in Charge phase forcing my Lancers to Retire Unformed.
I then charged with the Gde D'Honneur as Dutch Lancers were re forming having been passed through by Polish colleagues (in rules Close Order units interpenetrating Unforms both parties) and these too were replused.
I then hurled in the Dutch and glory was theirs as they managed to take no casualties from his supporting guns in Charge and got into Melee against Unformed Dragoons causing them to Rout.................Huzzah !!

But all this activity was taking all my ADCs each turn leaving two other Infantry Brigades on my left and right to suffer several Hesitant outcomes and watch as the ADC rich Russians advanced under Infantry Assault Orders (this allows multiple Inf units to engage in Charging process as otherwise its only 1 per Brigade).
Russians pushed a unit out of an Orchard on my left and then a unit on my extreme right although I did have my Horse Battery to meet their conquerors.
When a second Brigade Faltered I call a halt and surrendered the field.

I should mention that throughout all this our Brigade Skirmish units put in a manly days work and we both really like how this all plays out in the rules.

All in all a good run through of the rules in which we encountered no major problems we could not answer from the text satisfactorily.
However as stated above we both felt that 6 ADCs vs 4 was a definite advantage and somewhat unbalanced the game and we have agreed that in future we will field 5 Brigades maximum on our size tables (6' x 4') at this points level and also that we would disallow Artillery Brigades as they seemed more like Grand Batteries which we also felt was out of kilter with Divisional Scale of the game.

We certainly enjoyed the rules especially the ADC system and the slick Charge, Firing and Melee systems (ie just about everything !)

Compared to Over The Hills they are not as tactically nuanced or 'flavour-some' in some regards being closer to Field Of Battle in ease of play and inherent inertia factors but certainly my own opinion is that I would would happily play a game of any of these three sets (plus Shako and Black Powder) for this lower level scale of Napoleonics.
All give plausible and indeed similar outcomes (despite arriving there differently) to battles and actions therein but with each having its own strengths and weaknesses.
You pays your money and takes your choice.



French deployment






Russians opposite








Doomed French center









The game is afoot






Hesitant Brigade on left (just for a change)









Those damn Russian guns









Advance on right










Guard Cavalry in Reserve







Russian pressure on my left








And my right








I had a Brigade here once............................







Remnants cower at rear













Real pressure on my left










And right............................












Guard Cavalry shifts to center













And engage Russian Mounted










Right flank about to fold









Orchard position lost







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