I've had the NAW rulebook for a couple of years now , well two rule books actually because I kept winning them at Lasalle Tournaments but hadn't really looked at them a great deal due to the different basing system.
It was only after Kevin decided that Lasalle wasn't for him and had wanted to know if I would mind trying NAW with him as soon as he had painted his French Army. That was over a year ago, Kev finally finished painted his army and we played half a game which had to come to an abrupt end due to my underbuild flooding. (My fault entirely because I had switched off the pump so the noise wouldn't get on our nerves). Only for my wife to discover all the water when she started wading through it with our cups of tea whilst we were sitting there oblivious to it all, carefully reading our rulebooks.
Although we only managed half a game, we both liked it especially the special rules that give the armies their distinct flavour, which is certainly lacking in Lasalle. We didn't play another game due to playing Bolt Action and still playing Lasalle at the club with the other guys. Then towards the end of last year the guys in Barcelona announced they were changing the annual Napoleonic Wargame Tournament from using the Lasalle Rules to the Napoleon at War rules. Kevin jumped at the chance straight away and asked if I would play some practice matches with him.
After the first game I was hooked, although we went slow getting to grips with the mechanics there was hardly looking up of charts but what was the best thing was that it felt like a Napoleonic battle should be, without getting to complex. I then decided that I would enter the competition as well. At first I wanted to enter with my British but because there were more coalition players than French, I volunteered to swap over to the French.
My French Army was from the Hundred Year War book, it consisted of
Young Guard Division 1500 points
1 Young Guard Brigade 4 infantry Units & 1 Artillery
1 Light Cavalry Brigade 2 Light Cavalry units (1 understrength)
1 Infantry Brigade 7 Conscript Units all under strength
My Conscript Brigade officer valeur was upgraded
I was attracted to the Young Guard due to it having artillery included in its force therefore harder for the other player getting 1 VP by killing a single artillery unit.
I used the Light Infantry ability of the Young Guard to give all my conscripts a extra skirmisher base. However this meant that now all my infantry units were understrength. In the three practice matches we played this didn't seen to matter as we could only manage one attack and then no time to rally.
We drove up to Barcelona from Alicante on the Friday (took about 5 hours) and stayed in a Hotel so we would be fresh for Saturday.
There was twelve of us playing in the tournament, six French and six Coalition. The tournament was to be umpired by a couple of guys from the Man at War business that own NAW. So there shouldn't be any problems with rule intreptations.
My first Game was against David who was also quite new to the game. He had a Russian Army containing:
2 Heavy artillery unit that could form a Grand battery.
2 Infantry Brigades of 3 units each.
1 Light Cavalry Brigade of two units
1 Cossack unit
and I think a Heavy Cavalry Brigade of 2 units
The first game was the Fight at dusk scenario. Myself and Kevin had played this game as one of practice matches, so we were quite familiar with it.
|My Conscript Brigade advancing.|
I was the attacker, so David deployed his Vanguard of infantry around the village. I chose to use my reserve Infantry as my Vanguard and decided to just go for his objective.
His other infantry Brigade appeared on the flank of the village and his Grand Battery covered his objective.
I then bought on my Young Guard to attack his right flank and hopefully catch him in a pincer movement.
His Grand Battery fired on to my conscripts and severly reduced a couple of battalions. My other conscripts battalions began to move away from the fire zone, the attack on the objective came to a halt.
My Young guard Artillery managed to set a enemy occupied building on fire and in the next turn a Young Guard Battalion unit assaulted it only to be repulsed. Then one of my conscript battalions had a go . This time they managed to clear the Russians out of the house.
David rolled for his reserves on turn one and managed to get a one which also meant Dusk had arrived in the first turn. This was a blessing because it meant his Grand battery could only fire cannister so it had lost most of its threat.
On turn three my reserve cavalry finally arrived, unfortunately on this scenario you have to dice where they come onto the table. I threw a five meaning they came on my far right, which wasnt a ideal position because his cavalry were in that area and were able to attack. I could not fall back because it would mean they would retreat off the table and be eliminated so I went into combat. Unfortunately I came off worse and lost a unit and so my cavalry force was exhausted and David had won his first VP.
Due to a few discussions on the rules we only managed to get up to turn 4 and time had run out. The game ended in a draw with David gaining extra points for exhausting one of my forces.
At this point, I have to mention Kevin's first game on the adjacent table, I know the rules are classed as fast play but he must hold the world record for winning a game, as it only took him five minutes.
His opponent Josep Maria with his Austrian Army had mistakenly placed his objective near the middle of the table and his vanguard at the back of the table. All Kevin had to do was advance his cavalry up to the objective and game over. After making a quick note of the points won, they then carried playing on and the now renamed "the unfortunate General Josep Maria" lasted for another three turns before losing again.
My second game was against "the unfortunate General Josep Maria" so I was feeling pretty confident although it was me who had made a mistake . The scenario was a game I hadn't played before called Flank attack. I opted to be the attacker once again.
Josep Maria had placed his army in a long line with a single infantry battalion guarding his flanks.
|My Young Guard advancing in column attack|
My plan was to create a diversion with a attack on his right flank. Whilst my cavalry kept the rest of his line busy and then my Conscript Brigade would come on his left flank and grab the other objective.
My cavalry keeping his left flank busy
For the first time in playing NAW, I threw a one on turn one for my reserves to come on. Actually I wanted them come on a bit later because I hoped to pin most of his army with my Young Guard, but their was a problem. The mistake I had made was that my Conscript Brigade had 7 Battalion and with a Austrian Battalion positioned in the middle of each flank, my brigade was too large and could not physically fit on either flank to be able to come on in one go. Like I said this wasn't a great set back at the moment because I was planning for them arrive on turn three.
My artillery firing on his line whilst the Young Guard advance quickly in column.
My objective now was to get rid of the Austrian infantry on his right flank with my Young Guard and artillery to give room for my conscript Brigade to come on this flank instead.
Joseps Maria's Austrian "thin white line" holds up against the Young Guard.
Unfortunately my Young Guard's first attack was repulsed and because they were out shot in the firefight due to them being in column two battalions ran away.
I moved my cavalry brigade to support a new attack by the Young Guard. This time I approached in line to make my musket fire more effective. It worked and I managed to eliminate a Austrian Battalion. With my cavalry moving across , the Austrians had no threat to their left flank and centre, so Josep Maria moved them of his "Pratzen Heights" to reinforce his right flank.
This was the moment and I saw my chance, he had left his other objective behind the hill unguarded so I advanced a cavalry unit in the movement phase and support move twenty four inches to capture the it.
The other objective was still being contested and I needed to eliminate a Austrian Infantry Battilion to do this. It was in front of my artillery so luckily I threw enough dice to kill two bases and eliminate the unit. Now both objectives were mine and I had won with one initial phase left. It truly was victory grasped from the jaws of defeat.
The Battlefield at the end of turn six.
|A photo of Kevin's second game against a nice looking British NAW army which also ended in victory for the French.|
The Tournament was supposed to be three games but with the first two rounds taking longer than expected, the organisers deemed there was not enough time for the last round. We still had nearly two hours of game time, so I played a quick friendly game with Alex and his British Army. As we were playing, they gave out the prizes and first Prize went to Kevin, I just missed out on the prizes coming in fourth place. Which means our club in Alicante has won the tournament three years in a row.
In conclusion, yet again another enjoyable tournament and thanks to the organisers and sponsers with special thanks going to the NAW guys for coming all the way from Murcia to umpire and answer all our questions . Also there were plenty of other Napoleonic demonstration games going on in the hall and trade stands. Unfortunately both my games went to the maximum times so I didn't get much time to have a look around.
The two guys from NAW as well as umpiring had put on a demostration game with their own figures which did look superb. I have a few boxes of NAW Prussians I had been given as prizes at Lasalle Tournaments before and I thought they looked a little to big to mix with my normal figures. However after seeing this demo game, this year, one of my projects is to paint and base a Prussian NAW army hopefully to use in the tournament in Barcelona next year.