Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Black Powder 7YW

Jim's Prussians v. Steve's Austrians

Both sides had 2 infantry & one cavalry "brigade" (as they call them in BP but they feel more like divisions) plus 4 guns.  The Prussians had a bigger cavalry brigade, but one infantry brigade was smaller.  Deployment was Prussians drew a map in secret, Austrians put down, then Prussians to the map. 

All pics are taken from behind the Prussian left.

The Prussians anchored their right on a  farmhouse deploying infantry with guns between in two lines across the centre.  They put all their cavalry in the open ground on their left.

The Austrians put their 2 cuirassiers on their right facing all 6 Prussian cavalry.  Infantry in the centre and far left.  The hussars & dragoons were between the infantry brigades, the artillery between the cuirassiers and the infantry.

The Austrians advanced along the line.  The command system made it a bit disorderly, but advance they did.  On their right the cuirassiers charged their opposite number (pic 1) and although initially successful were beaten back and their brigade broken.  It fell back into the cornfield, but French attempts to get their cavalry to the right were delayed by bad command dice.

The advance of the Austrian left was delayed by slow command (that was their dumbest commander) & terrain.  The hussars marched up the road over the bridge in column, then blundered into a charge on a French battery.  They bounced back and spent the rest of the battle trying to recover.

In the centre the Austrian command was a bit too successful, the infantry moved forward so quickly their right was exposed - covered only by a massed battery.  The Prussians seized the opportunity and attacked the flank with infantry.  They sacrificed one battalion to the guns while the Austrian line was rolled up.  See pics 1 & 2.  When the centre brigade broke the Austrians failed army morale & it was game over.

The Black Powder rules are not for the faint hearted.  The dice gods can be fickle & cause all sorts of mahem, but they are easy to learn, fast paced, exciting & fun to play.  The combat & morale systems are delightfully simple & easy to use.  The command system can be frustrating & chancey, but there is a lot of skill in it too.  Certianly you get a realistic feeling of not quite being in control of things.  We had 3 "blunders" (double 1 on command test) in this game - with very mixed results:  The Austrian hussars charged deployed guns while in road column & were beaten off but not destroyed.  The Prussian dragoons moved backwards instead of forwards to exploit the retreat of the enemy cuirasiers.  The Prussian grenadiers got a blunder order to wheel right - which was actually what their commander was trying to get them to do anyway.

In the last week I've also had a good look at the Napoleon & Lasalle rules.  All three sets have some things in common, but big differences too.   I'd like to try Napoleon & Lasalle if someone put on a game, but they don't have enough appeal to make me want to go to the trouble of learning them to do so myself.  Black Powder on the other hand had immediately appeal to me on first reading.  I'm usually hard to please with rules, but for once I found little I didn't like & much I did.  The only item I instantly disliked was that the command test has high dice bad - the only place in the rules where this is so - it just isn't right that double 6 is a blunder rather than double 1.  But this was easily fixed by a house rule reversing the test. 

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