Sunday, March 2, 2014

Battle of Kore Una Mirror World! (pt2)

I previously wrote of the game that Doug and I managed to play of a holding action by Prussians to hold a village where they will evacuate to the Sea. The French are persecuting their expedition before it can escape to the sea. It is roughly based upon a similar action in Spain by Moore and Soult. Although of course, no self respecting Prussian would have a name like Moore, no....more like Mohr.

The previous writeup is HERE. This was the second game he bashed out in about 5 hours. This time we swapped sides and it was my job to run a holding action with the Prussians. I declined to roll for initiative as I felt the replay should as closely match as possible and let the French go first.

I definitely think that I had the advantage here, having played the stronger side the first time, and then getting a chance to try out an alternative strategy for the weaker side after seeing how a stiff defense at the base line went (not too well, actually).

The french managed a great PIP roll to start and (using a rule I had forgotten), you can chain together your units to extend your command range. The ENTIRE french force (except for the cavalry) managed to aggressively push forward on French turn one. Luckily Doug didn't have the same artillery luck I had managed, but he still took out 2 strength points with cannonades.

Doug had left the French cannon perilously close to the front line however. In Prussian turn 1 (hence forth to be abbreviated P1), I moved up to engage them. Cannon receive a +2 for combat to the front, but if they lose they are destroyed. I believe we gave the Prussians a +2 for fighting on the hill, which made it a straight roll. Luck was with me and I halved the French artillery strength. Considering what it did last game it was a worthwhile gamble (as Doug had tried in the previous game with less dice luck). The combat involved the adjoining French infantry base which lacked the +2, and so it lost and recoiled as well. Battle line disrupted the Prussian commander thought as he patted himself on the back.

Meanwhile half of the troops on the hill turned around and starting moving to the embarkation point. There was a bit of discussion around movement here. The rule is (roughly) you measure the farthest distance the base moved with a move stick. The problem with this is during turns and retreats, the stick will need to cross the base and all you're nicely based miniatures. Doug fiddled to try and make it possible to measure off a different corner with a shorter (cannister range) stick. I think it works, but I'm a bit hazy on the entire thing, I think I need to see a written rules with a diagram to fully grok it.
The long and short is that reversing direction causes you to lose about a base width of move distance.

F2 - Doug manages another great pip roll and uses some of his excess points to advance the cavalry. This could be useful late in the game, but I still felt it was too far away. You'd really need a lot of pips to get them into combat and I'm not sure they'd be able to do enough to make it worthwhile (I find cavalry hits hard, but is pretty brittle......fairly historic I believe).

Meanwhile, back at the hills the French move their troops through the village, and aggressively advance a block of troops to turn the right flank of the Prussians.
P2 - The Prussian continue to retreat a column of troops, while one more stand marches off the hill to follow. The rearguard in the foreground abandons any hope of covering their flank in a gamble to destroy the unit emerging from the village. The cannon assassinating troops close on the flank in a joint attack.

In a reprise of the last game, the worst result of locked in combat results. The Prussians are in a bad BAD position for flank and even rear attacks.
F3 - A lower pip round for Doug. Still enough to close the door on the 2 prussian units locked in combat. In the foreground they are flanked. In the background it's just possible to see the poor guys hit in the back.

Rear attacks gain a +2 bonus, and if the enemy loses they are destroyed.
We diced off to see if the Prussian (mostly) on the hill would get the defended obstacle bonus. They did and, miraculously, survived and recoiled backward. The situation at the end of F4

P3 - the Prussians forgo an attack this round and continue to march their columns away (off screen). Instead they reposition their rearguard to slow the french and threaten the flank of their rapid advance.

In the background the last unit has moved off the hill crest to avoid getting cannoned to death. He's done to 1 point.
P3 full table view. In the bottom right you can see the Landwehr (2 strength unit) reserve has moved up to threaten the french advance as well. It was a tough decision as I really wanted to be withdrawing, not moving forward, but it would give Doug some tough decisions I hoped.

End Turn 4. I missed a picture or 2 here. The french have cleaned up the rearguard pinwheel near the village. They also advance their cannon toward the crest.

The prussians steadily march away. One of the units in the pinwheel has advance to the left of the picture and is now beside the commander Mohr.

The landwehr has a double line of defenders, but traffic control will be tough for the remaining 2 turns. The cannon coming up on the ridge will also be a problem for the Prussians.

F5 - The cannon advances and starts laying waste to everything on the plain. One unit disappears under the terror of bombardment. The Advance along the rough terrain resumes.

P5 - The withdrawal continues. I struggled with charging the furthest unit away towards the cannon, as a sort of forelorn hope, but I wasn't able to get close enough. In hindsight I probably should have left it close as a threat, but I was very focussed on withdrawal. I also didn't think they'd appreciate those orders much and might choose that moment to mutiny and rush the boats on the beach (not of course anything that is even remotely possible in the rules)

F6 - the last turn has double pip costs as darkness falls. The cannon and some infantry move up. It's too little too late to kill much more. The Prussian expeditionary force has managed it's holding action against imperialist french aggression. Soult may get a dressing down by his superior.

The game was actually fairly close, Prussians managed to kill 1 unit (with 2 more on 1 strength). They evacuated 6 vs a loss of 3. Another round of shooting could easily have killed 2 or even 3 more. The rear guard was looking VERY brittle (lots of 1 point stands around). In hindsight killing off artillery was very critical to squeeking out a win in this scenario. One wonders if the artillery might be just a smidge too good. I could see that increasing the rate of attrition (1 in 3 perhaps rather than 1 in 6) would nerf it more, while giving the artillery commander some more difficult decisions.

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