Monday, 31 December 2012

Battle of Austerlitz

This was a game we should have played during the summer, but with one thing and another it was put on a back burner. I have always had a fascination with the Battle of Austerlitz and it was my first boardgame I ever brought when I was still at school. We played it similar to a campaign, when counters entered combat on the map, we transferred the game to the tabletop game in my bedroom. Like all campaign games though I don't think we ever ended it.
View from the French side before the Armies arrive.
For the table with it being Christmas I decided to go with the snowy look, however after laying the white cloth over the hills you couldn't really distinguish between the flat and raised parts. I had some some cork granules that they use in Spain to make Nativity scenes and spread this on the flats parts to represent the partly melted areas. The hills are left white to look like they have been covered in snow. This is a very cheap and effective way of modelling landscape that can be easily transported and reused for other battles.
To simulate the early morning fog I borrowed an idea fron the website of the Wargames Centre and had 3 levels.

 The first (Dense Fog) reducing visibility to 4BWs and also reducing movement to 4BW.

The Second (Fog)  visibility 6BWs and movement 4BW

The Third (Mist) visibility 10BWs and movement restricted to 6BW.

 The Pratzen was clearing on a 4,5,6. the areas North of the Pratzen on a 5,6, everywhere else on a 6. This is rolled after each defenders turn after movement and the visibility would improve by one level on the result of the one die roll.
Steuart had the honour of rolling for the weather but for the first few moves he rolled under 4 so there was no change, so we amended this rule in case we played the battle again. second roll add 1 to the dice, third roll add 2 to the dice and so on.
To simulate the forces not being able to see each other we used blinds to represent each unit. For this I used playing cards that were the same size as a 4 base unit and on the face side I stuck a small plastic bag that contained a small card with the units details. When units were spotted by enemy units they are turned over and replaced by the actual unit. I included 8 dummy blinds for the French and 4 for Coalition these represented mounted light cavalry scouts that could still able to spot and be mistaken by the enemy as units.
The French blinds are deployed
We had six players altogether, so myself, Jose and Steuart played the French side and Toni, Salva and Kiefer played the coalition. I was in control of the French left and commanded Lannes' V Corp and had the Cavalry Corp under Murat in reserve. Jose commanded the centre and had Soult's IV Corp with the Imperial Guard in reserve. Steuart held the French right flank with the I Corp and the Grenadier Division in reserve, also he had Davouts III Corp hopefully reinforcing him during the day. We also placed all our dummy blinds on the extreme right flank to hopefully make the enemy think there was a large force there.When we finished placing our blinds we left the room whilst the coalition placed their blinds.

                                                The Coalition Players deploying their ¨blinds"

The Coalition were classed as the attackers and moved first, we noticed that the forces facing Stueart was quite large, so we thought they may have believed our decoys. Steuart moved the dummy blinds as ordered over the frozen lake and on towards the village of Satschan. The weather was rolled and it was below the score needed so it was still dense fog.
The first units were sighted on my left flank where the French Infantry unit deployed in the village of Bosenitz spotted a Russian infantry unit supported by Cossacks emerging from some woods.
Also on my flank the Infantry in the village of Blasowitz found themselves surrounded by the Russian hordes, another French infantry unit caught in the open quickly managed to form square, before a Russian Dragoon unit could charge them.
In the centre, Jose quickly advanced the IV Corps on to the Pratzen heights and even took the village of Pratzen without resistance.
On my flank I realised by holding the villages my units were strung out and could not be all under command at the same time. Even though I still held the villages I felt they could fall at anytime and so I ordered Murat and the reserve cavalry forward to push the Russians back.
The view of the whole Battlefield from the French left flank.
On the French right flank our little ruse with dummy blinds had been discovered and Steuart was forced to retreat over the frozen Lake. It was now discovered that he was up against the Russian Imperial Guard and still no sign of Davouts III Corp.
French and Russian Infantry face each other over the frozen lakes of Satschan.

               Murats Cavalry charge starts to get stalled due to lack of space to manouvre and the village of Blasowitz  falls to the Russian troops under Toni.

A view of the French left flank from the Coalition side. The village of Baseonitz against all odds is still holding and the French Artillery on the Santon (in the centre of the photo) rain hot lead on the Russian infantry attacking it.

Finally the French are driven out of Bosenitz and the Coalition forces begin to outflank the Santon.

   In the centre there is still heavy fighting with the French Imperial guard being thrown into the battle on the right hand side.

Finally Murat's Cavalry begin to make a breakthrough.
Also Davout's III Corp finally arrives on the French right flank but has a hard job on its hand, because Salva's Russians have  begun to outflank them.

                                   Murat's cavalry push the Coalition forces further back and threaten to                 breakout, although Toni still has a few cavalry units still in reserve.

      With the Russian artillery bombarding it from the flank "The Santon" has finally falls.

As the "Sun of Austerlitz" begins to set it comes evident that even though the French are holding its own in the centre on the Pratzen heights, there are no more reserves to throw in and take advantage of the position.

The Russian Imperial Guard now begins to support its allies on the Pratzen Heights and finishes off the last of the French Imperial Guard and with it the hope of a French victory.


This was a very enjoyable game with the players wanting to play it again another time. There were a few things I would have done differently. The fog due to steuart's low rolling wasn't changing and so we changed the rules after a few moves to keep adding +1 each time we rolled. We had used the Lasalle rule of throwing for the commander's vigour and Tactics that gave very disappointing results for the French, in hindsight for game balance it would probably be better to start the French commanders on fixed +1 and just roll for the Coalition Commanders.

The command rule for Lasalle made it difficult to have everybody under command at the same time on a large table. An idea for next time is for and deployed units in villages to be  classed as independent units and they may take the recovery test, also they are classed as under command in combat.

 I also found the blind rule worked very well and will definitely use it again and will incorporate it in my "Gettysburg rules".

Special thanks goes to Juan Marcos and Miguel for lending us some of their figures even though they could not make it, hope you both  will be able to join us next time we play.

Special Rules


Visibility is set with three levels,

 The first (Dense Fog) reducing visibility to 4BWs and also reducing movement to 4BW.

The Second (Fog)  visibility 6BWs and movement 4BW

The Third (Mist) visibility 10BWs and movement restricted to 6BW.

 The Pratzen was clearing on a 4,5,6. the areas North of the Pratzen on a 5,6, everywhere else on a 6. This is rolled after each defenders turn after movement and the visibility would improve by one level on the result of the one die roll +1 each time roll accumulative until the fog clears automatically.


French Deploy First, they may deploy upto the town of Pratzen. The Russians Deploy second 8BWs from their side. To simulate fog each side uses Blinds when they are spotted by the enemy they are replaced by the actual units.

Davouts French 3rd Corp is a reserve and will appear as in normal Lasalle rules. At a predetermined point on the board.

Each army has a number of dummy blinds that can be used to confuse the enemy when spotted they are removed.

Special Rules

Generals and commanders can only move up to  12BWs in any direction.

Limbered artillery can not on  purpose move within 4BW of an enemy unit.

Streams and lakes are frozen and units may move across them with out penalty, however artillery may bombard lakes if the lake receives 10 or more hits, the ice is broken. If any units were on the lake when the ice broke they are considered lost and the lake is considered impassable.

Austrian and Russians must use the Linear tactics:

Infantry in Attack Column may not charge and all units require their full movement allowance to change formation, regardless of what formation they are in.

Victory Conditions

Either the destruction of an Army or at the end of the game total up the points of each town that is controlled by either side (They must have a unit deployed or occupying the town area). The Side with the most points wins.

 Order of Battle
French Order of Battle

Commander  Napoleon

Imperial Guard   Marshal Bessieres Command Range 6BWs

2 Guard Units Valiant/Experienced/SK2/Guard
1 Old Guard Cavalry  Valiant/Experienced/Guard/Shock
1 Horse BTY 2 cannon/1 How Medium

I Corps  Marshal Bernadotte Command Range 8BWs

7 Veteran Inf Units Reliable/Experienced/SK2
Reserve BTY   3 cannon/1 How  Heavy

III Corps Marshal Davout Command Range 6BWs

2 Veteran Inf Units Reliable/Experienced/SK2
1 Dragoon  Unit  Reliable/Experienced/Pursuit.
1 Light Horse BTY 2 cannon/1 How Light

IV Corps  Marshal Soult Command Range 14BWs

10 Veteran Inf Units Reliable/Experienced/SK2
1 Chasseur Unit   Reliable/Experienced/Pursuit
1 Hussar Unit    Valiant Experienced/Pursuit
Reserve BTY   3 cannon/1 How  Heavy
Horse BTY     2 cannon/1 How  Medium

V Corps  Marshal Lannes Command Range 7BWs

6 Veteran Inf Units Reliable/Experienced/SK2
1 Hussar Unit    Valiant Experienced/Pursuit
1 Division BTY  3 cannon/ 1 How  Medium

Grenadier Division  General Division Duroc Command Range 6BWs

3 Elite Inf Units  Valiant/Experienced/SK2

Cavalry Reserve  Marshal Murat Command Range 8BWs

2 Cuirassier (+) units  Valiant/ Experienced/Shock
2 Dragoon units  Reliable/Experienced/Pursuit.
2 Hussar units    Valiant Experienced/Pursuit
2 Horse BTY   2 cannon/1 How  Medium

3rd Coalition Order of battle

Commander  General Kutusov

Russian Imperial Guard  Grand Duke  Constantine Command Radius 10 BWs

4 Guard Infantry units Valiant/Experienced/SK1/Guard
4 Guard Cavalry  units Valiant/Experienced/Shock/Guard
1 Position BTY 4 Cannon/1 How Heavy
1 Horse BTY 3 Cannon/2 How Med

Advance Guard Russian Army  Lt Gen Bagration Command Radius 11 BWs

2 Jager Units  Reliable/Exp/SK1
3 Musketeer Units  Reliable/Exp/SK0
1 Cuirassier Unit   Valiant/Experienced/Shock
1 Dragoon Unit   Reliable/Experienced/Pursuit
1 Hussar Unit  Valiant/Experienced/Pursuit
1 Cossack Unit   Shaky/Irregular/Pursuit
1 Light BTY 4 Cannon/1 How Med
1 Horse BTY 3 Cannon/2 How Med

Advance Guard of Gen Buxhowden Marshal Von Keinmayer Command Radius 6BWs

2 Grenz Units  Valiant/Amatuer/SK2
1 Austrian Hussar Unit  Valiant/Experienced/Pursuit
1 Austrian  Uhlan Unit   Reliable/Experienced/Pursuit/Lancers
Cavalry BTY Horse 2 cannon/1 How Med

First Column   Lt Gen  Dokhturov Command Radius 9 BWs

5 Musketeer Units  Reliable/Exp/SK0
1 Grenadier Unit  Valiant/ Experienced/ SK0
1 Cossack Unit   Shaky/Irregular/Pursuit
1 Horse BTY 3 Cannon/2 How Med
1 Position BTY 4 Cannon/1 How Heavy

Second Column  Lt General Langeron Command Radius 8 BWs

1 Jager Unit  Reliable/Exp/SK1
4 Musketeer Units  Reliable/Exp/SK0
1 Grenadier Unit  Valiant/ Experienced/ SK0
1 Dragoon Unit   Reliable/Experienced/Pursuit
1 Horse BTY 3 Cannon/2 How Med

Third Column  Lt Gen Przebyszewski Command Radius 6 BWs

1 Jager Unit  Reliable/Exp/SK1
3 Musketeer Units  Reliable/Exp/SK0
1 Horse BTY 3 Cannon/2 How Med

Fourth Column  Lt Gen Kollowrat Command Radius 6 BWs

4 Austrian Infantry Reliable/Experienced/SK1
6 Russian Musketeer Units  Reliable/Exp/SK0
1 Grenadier Unit  Valiant/ Experienced/ SK0
1 Austrian BTY Horse 2 cannon/1 How Med
1 Position BTY 4 Cannon/1 How Heavy

Fifth  (Cavalry) Column Lt Gen Liechtenstein  Command Radius 6 BWs 

2 Austrian Cuirassiers units (+)   Valiant/ Experienced / Shock
1 Russian Dragoon unit   Reliable/ Experienced / Pursuit
1 Cossack Unit   Shaky/Irregular/Pursuit
1 Austrian BTY Horse 2 cannon/1 How Med


Sunday, 25 November 2012

My new Jacobite Army and Maurice

In the summer I won an auction on E-bay for 2 English civil War Armies and the seller very kindly sent me an additional free army of Scot Covenanters. I decided to use these for an army to use with the excellent "Maurice" rules by Sam Mustafa and so they became my early eighteenth century Jacobite Army. 
In Maurice your Army is made of units adding up to a 100 points, There has been quite a bit of discussion on  the official Maurice forum of how to portray the Jacobites, I decided to make a list as below

Two national cards La baionnette and En Masse 15 points.
 4 highlander units at Elite status 38 points.
  4 Lowlander trained units with 1 base of pikes each 24 points .
                    1 French Trained Infantry unit. 6 points
                                                    2 Scottish Cavalry Conscript units 8 points
 1 French Cavalry Trained unit 6 points.
 2 Artillery units 3 points.

The thinking behind giving the Highlanders Elite Status was because of their reputation of being argubly the most ferocious fighters in the British Isles and also to counter this I  restricted them to formations of en masse and column. When Researching the Jacobite army they seemed to have very little cavalry, but due to the 3:1 ratio rule in Maurice I decided to give the Scottish cavalry, conscript status and to make the numbers up by having a French trained cavalry unit as well.

                                        My Jacobite Army with My Commander on the right and the Objective marker to the left on the picture.

          In order to get in the mood in using my new army and for a bit of fun , I borrowed a Kilt from a friend from work, the day before the game. I thought it would be a good idea to see if it fitted ok and so I just put it on and was just asking my wife if my arse looked big in it, when some of my Spanish friends called around to take me to a local bar. With no time to change (the lads are only let out for a hour a week) I made my first public appearance a bit sooner than I had thought. However we had a great night and after a few beers my Spanish improved dramatically although my Scottish accent left a lot to be desired. The problem was I woke up with an almighty hangover and vague memory of organising a Scottish themed fiesta at my house a few days before Christmas.  

Me, complete with Kilt and hangover (observe the narrowing of the eyes), prepared for the battle with dice ready in the Sporran 


We played at Jose's house and I played against his English Army, he won the initiative and decided to defend, so I formed up for attack with my highlanders in the middle in the first line and my low landers on their flank and making up my second line. My cavalry were deployed on my right flank.

Jose drew his army up into two lines as well, with his objective placed automatically in the town.

My cavalry wing were helped by the  notable Michel Georges who gave a +1 attack modifier to my horse.
My Highlanders began their attack however I had forgot about the rules of which units can move in a force in only the same formation and my lowlander units were left behind.

The English elite infantry units leveled their muskets, I used my "fire first" card but with little effect and the English fired with deadly effect.

I managed to rally one unit but as soon as I steadied one unit another volley would hit them, my right hand Highland unit broke under the heavy fire.
Caught in no mans land there was nothing else for it but for my Highlanders to drop their muskets and to charge with a little luck they might  get into close quarter combat.

My left hand unit was the only one successful and managed to push the English back.

The Highlander charge was finished with all the units broken, An English unit that was  over confident had strayed near to my second fresh line and one of my lowlander units charged and broke it.
Whilst both side centres halted and reorganised, I saw a chance to unleash my cavalry on his artillery. I charged and managed to take out one of his units. 

                  Jose countercharged with his cavalry an broke my cavalry and I was now only 1 point away from my army morale breaking.

Just a our centres began to engage once again, Jose used a "Death of a hero card"  and my army morale collapsed prematurely thus ending the battle in Joses favor.

Even though I didn't win, I enjoyed the game very much, The main problem I had was against the heavy firepower from the British units with all their rerolls etc, also using the cards more effectively for close combat. Hopefully next game should look more like Prestonpans instead of Culloden.

Friday, 5 October 2012

FOG Napoleonic Tournament Alcoy

On the 22nd of September, I took part in our first tournament using the FOG Napoleonic rules. We have been using these as a replacement for the Lasalle rules. However due to the very mixed up way the rules are set out in the book, when we have a game there seems to be more questions unanswered rather than answered. Also I am a native English speaker, so hats off to my Spanish friends for making sense of them better than I can. I have played a few games already but it has been quite sporadic and due to concentrating on My Gettysburg Rules. I still managed to get a sneaky practice match in the night before at my local club against Salvador's Russians.
It was an early start the next morning, having to get up at six o'clock to travel to Alcoy. We had 8 players in our tournament, and also there was a small tournament of Napoleon at War being played and another club Estandarte were recreating the Battle of Albuera.
For this tournament I decided to use my British, I used the BEF to Walcheren army list due to it letting me field 2 British Mixed Divisions. My first opponent was Danny with his French, We rolled for initiative and I was the defender. I managed to select a second road and so was able to place my Line of Communication in a corner.

Danny deploys his French Army on a wide frontage with two units of cavalry on his right flank.

As his centre troops move forward, his cavalry begin their flanking manouvre around the and over the hills. My flank is quite weak to meet this threat with 2 small units of light Infantry and a unit of KGL Hussars.

 Upon seeing the French cavalry come thundering over the hill, both infantry units go into square, and the  KGL Hussars form line to protect my flank and rear. Also Danny unlimbers two artillery batteries to fire on my squares while his cavalry unit waits for their chance.

The KGL Hussars evade to a hill and then countercharge, but the French are too strong and rout them.

The KGL manage to rally behind my reserve infantry unit, but the French are now well and truly behind my lines.

My two squares on my left flank have been finally destroyed and I have to form squares with my centre infantry units to ward of the victorious French Cavalry.

This is the last picture which I took of the game, my KGL attempted once again to charge but were heavily defeated and routed. The remaining British squares with no cavalry support were quite helpless, and  my first game ended in defeat.

Playing Danny in the first game was a bitter sweet experience, it was good because he has a great understanding of the rules and so I learn´t alot, but bad because also he is a very good player.

the score was Danny 22 and myself a miserable 3

My second game was against Jose and his French Guard, again I was the defender but this time I was luckier with the river stretching to my side of the board and it was impassable. Again my line of cummunication was in the corner, but with having a secure right flank next to the river, I was able to strengthen my left flank.

Jose, short of cavalry deployed his force as a battering ram marching straight down the road. I thought I might be able to alleviate the pressure by attacking his unprotected right flank. However due to the rule of the defender not being able to cross the halfway line straight away. He was able to react to the threat.
In the centre Jose's cavalry lead the attack, with my Impetous light Dragoons advancing up the road to meet them.
Unfortunately my Light Dragons were no match against the Guard cavalry, my infantry had to form square and with the french cavalry threatening my artillery flank on the hill, I had to abandon the guns. Due to having to break for dinner and finishing the game to schedule, I was defeated but only marginally, I put up a better show this time resistance but due to Jose's Guard troops being able to roll 1 or 2's again he had the upper hand. 
The score for the second match was Jose 15 and myself 10 so slowly improving. 
My last game was against Javier and his French army, this time I decided to forget about choosing hills and placed rough and difficult terrain instead. I placed my Light infantry out in front with my line infantry in support and my cavalry protecting my flanks. 
Javier advanced but found the going slow through the difficult terrain, also my heavy artillery began t take effect on his infantry columns.
With stalemate between our 2 cavalry units on my left flank, his infantry in the centre began to cause a blockage, his troops began to waver, so I began to advance my second line forward.
My right flank was not faring so well and my light dragoons were once again routed, although Javier's victorius cavalry had been given a bloody nose and needed to reform.
His cavalry begin to make a nuisance of themselves, but before they could charge it was time to finish the game.
The result was 14 to Javier and myself 11
The overal results were
1. Danny's French Army 51 points

2. Salvador's Russian Army 45 points

3. Sergio's Spanish Army 45 points

4. Juan's Polish Army 42 points

5. Toni's Russian Army 36 points

6. Javiers French Army  32 points

7. Jose's French Army 25 points

8. My British Army holding up the rest with 24 points.
The good news is with coming last I had first go in the raffle and won the first prize (I think ).

Picture of the winner Danny in the centre with runners up Salva on his right and Sergio to his left.
I have started to get a better understanding of how FOG plays, and for me as in Lasalle it will be a challenge to see if the game can simulate what actually happened with tactics and formations on the napoleonic battlefield. I just need to cut and paste the rulebook into more logical sections.
If you would like to see more pictures of the FOG N Tournament or the Napoleon at War tournament or the excellent recreation of the Battle of Albuera please go to

   Finally thanks to everyone for taking part and special thanks to the organisers who put in a lot of hard work into making the event such a success.