Monday, July 29, 2019

First Game of "A Gentleman's War", Using Imagi-Nation Armies

I got to play my first game of "A Gentleman's War" (AGW), by Howard Whitehouse and Danial Foley, this past Saturday under the GMing/tutelage of fellow HAWK Rob Dean; with his son Norman Dean as my opponent.  We used forces drawn from our homecast 40mm 18th Century Imagi-nation armies, normally used with the classic Charge! rules; my North Polenburgers, vs Norman's Wachovians.  We used the random force generation from AGW, which, when rolled up, looked to us to be some sort of pursuit scenario of Whachovians trying to overtake a retreating North Polenburg army, and being met by a North Polenburg delaying force.
     Wachovia had a flying column consisting of: 3 Light Cavalry units, 2 Light Infantry units, and 3 Line Infantry units; while my North Polenburg army had: 3 Line Infantry units, 2 Field Artillery batteries, a Light Cavalry unit, and a Light Infantry unit. So after a brief scenario discussion, we ruled Norman's army needed to exit 4 of his 8 starting units off my table edge, and I had to prevent this with my 8 defending units. It was an exciting battle with the fortunes seesawing back and forth and the outcome undecided until the last turn.
North Polenburg Initial Deployment
     We both sketched out our opening deployment on paper, and then set up our troops as per what we had drawn.  This allowed us to set up simultaneously, though we were locked in our deployment without having any idea of how the enemy was deploying.
     I set up symmetrically with my Line Infantry brigade in the center to block the road, with a Light Infantry Unit and Artillery Battery on each flank; figuring the maneuverability of the Lights, combined with the long range of the cannon, could help deter any attempt to sweep around my flanks. I deployed my Light Cavalry in the center, behind my Line Infantry, where I hoped it would be in position to catch anything that got by the Light Infantry and Artillery.  I had hoped to push forward quickly to give myself more room to delay them farther from where they hd to exit.  This did not happen.
Wachovia Initial Deployment
      Norman set up somewhat similarly, with his Line Infantry straddling the road, with a Light Infantry unit on each side.  He brigaded his Light Cavalry together, and set them up just below a low hill on his right.  It was clear his plan was to punch a hole through my left flank with the mass of cavalry at his disposal.
The brigaded Wachovian Light Cavalry come thundering over the hill towards my Light Infantry and Artillery on my left.
      Things started off ominously for North Polenburg, as Norman's Wachvoian's got the 5 first Activation Cards, allowing his cavalry to come storming over the hill, and smash into my Light Infantry holding the left flank.  My lights repulsed the first unit, leaving both units bloodied and the Cavalry falling back on the field in disorder, but the second fresh unit of enemy cavalry swept them from the field.  This left my Artillery extremely vulnerable.  Luckily, the charge of the third unit of enemy cavalry fell less than an inch short of my cannon, allowing me to let fly with a round of canister at point plank.  While it didn't have as big an effect as I wanted, it did disorder the horsemen.
A swirling battle develops and I turn my left Line Unit to help secure my flank. before my Artillery is overwhelmed. 
      Quickly, I was able to swing around my leftmost Line Infantry unit to face the enemy cavalry and protect my line; but it was an inevitable fate for my guns.  The remaining enemy Light Cavalry swarmed over them.   My Light Cavalry now also moved to protect the flank, as the enemy cavalry found itself all disordered and spread over the field.
Overview of the table about midway through the battle.
      My infantry shot a few rounds at the closed unit of enemy Light Cavalry as my Light Cavalry charged another.  The Wachovian horsemen countercharged and we met over the silent cannon of my battery.  In a fortunate turn of fate, I not only caused a number of casualties on the enemy, but the attached General with them was mortally wounded.
Cavalry vs Cavalry over the silent guns, and the enemy General falls.
      Meanwhile, on my other flank, my Light Infantry unit and Artillery battery had, from the beginning of the battle, been pushing forward while conducting long range harassing fire.  They had finally worked their way onto the flank of the enemy and were close enough that they were becoming a serious threat.  The Wachovian Light Infantry finally felt the need to come forward and discourage me rather than sit as a potential threat in the safety of a nearby woods, and my Lights found themselves split between fending off their enemy counterparts on a low hill forming the enemy right flank, and  sniping at the enemy Line Infantry in a nearby field.
Action on my right flank as I get dangerously close to their line, and their Light Infantry come forward from the security of their woods.
      With my left in an uneasy state  and the remnants of three enemy cavalry still on the field, the Wachovians seized the opportunity and were able to push a unit of their cavalry off my table edge, achieving their first victory point.  However, with a bit of luck, I was able to stabilize my left flank enough, to drive off the remaining two enemy cavalry units using my own horsemen and fire from the Line Infantry unit I had turned to face them.
     However, the distraction of dealing with my collapsing flank had allowed the other unit of the enemy Light Infantry, and their brigaded Line Infantry to get very close to my Line Infantry; the Lights pouring fire in the turned flank of my leftmost Infantry unit, and the brigaded enemy infantry firing at my infantry with a numerical advantage.
I prepare to drive off the last of their Cavalry, as their Lights rush forward on their right to stabilize their line.
       At that point a disaster happened on my right flank, as an effective volley from the enemy Light Infantry on the hill caused my lights to fail morale and fall back.  Their path carried them directly into my artillery, effectively blocking its fire.    The enemy Lights then seized thier opportunity, and raced passed my disorganized troops towards my table edge.  My guns were only just able turn in time to issue one round of ineffective fire, before the enemy Lights made the table edge, and were off.   A second victory point achieved for Wachovia.
Disaster hits, as my Lights fall back off the hill into my battery. Everybody's disordered.
      The end came quickly after that.  I was able to drive off the enemy lights on my left, with an effective charge; but the charge took my infantry unit well past the enemy line, and they were never able to get effectively back into action.  This left only two of my Line Infantry, and the remnants of my Light Cavalry, to hold the enemy line of three Regular Infantry units.  While my remaining Artillery and Light infantry were able to issue a few ineffective shots, their pursuit of the fleeing enemy Lights on my right had taken them far enough away from the center that they were't able to play an effective part again.
      With masterful use of the Hold cards, a well timed charge,  and good fire and morale results, the enemy was able to one by one eliminate my two blocking infantry units.  This left them with enough firepower to brush my cavalry aside, and evade my remaining light infantry and artillery; escaping off the table for the 2 remaining victory points and thus winning the game.
The end, as my Cavalry tries to futilely hold the road.
     While the game started off with some bad luck with the activation deck for my North Polenburg forces, things soon swayed in the other direction; and the fortunes of war swayed back and forth throughout.  While initially the enemy felt confident following his destruction of my left, things soon turned my way with the reestablishment of my left and the advance of my cannon and Lights into close range on his right.  It looked like I would be able to overwhelm him with firepower.  Then, with the breaking of my Light infantry on my right, and them falling back into my artillery, things seemed to sway back towards the enemy.   The battle then came down to the desperate fight in the road, and in the end, I think my inexperience with the rules, lost me the day.
     Nonetheless, I had a great time and look forward to having another crack at these fun rules. They really have a great old school feel to them and seem the perfect thing for Imagi-nations and big "toy soldiers".

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

The BARRAGE '19 Website is Open for Registration!

    Just an update to let everyone know that the BARRAGE '19 website is open for registration!   BARRAGE is being held September 27-28 in Havre de Grace, Maryland.
    Gamemasters get you games in, as the grid will fill up fast; and players, now is the time to sign up to get the slots you want!
     Barrage is a low-stress gaming event, focusing on having fun with miniatures games of many different genres, scales, and sets of rules.  In the past we’ve had a half dozen dealers, a few flea market tables, over 200 attendees, and thirty or more miniatures games. 
     Full details at the BARRAGE Webpage: BARRAGE '19