Thursday, 2 July 2015

Battle Report - Trying out Blucher - French vs Austria

Hello good readers. So on Tuesday we decided to try out a game of Blucher, the new (ish) Grand Tactical Napoleonic wargame that seems to be making the rounds. There is allot of ways to play this game, but we settled on jumping into the full thing. So we have set up a 200 point game with the advanced rules in place and the mini campaign to start. Apparently I like to just jump into things randomly and see how all the bits working. None of this slow build nonsense.


One way to go for a game of this is to use a pre-game map campaign to flavor and set up the resulting classic wargame. Effectively it is a more flavorful way of generating the random terrain you might use, and can add an extra layer of strategy to things.

Basically you divide your army into a series of march columns and they move around a grid trying to take over important towns and out maneuver the opponent. So instead of rolling to see who is attack what you can play a little game to find it. We kept things pretty easy and just put one corps in each column, at least I did.

The campaign represents 5 days, and a player can call for a battle when certain conditions are met.

So here we have the final layout of the map. As you can see we are fighting in Flanders, I am the Austrians in red and the French are blue. Serge has called for a battle in locations a-b 4-6, so everyone now has to get their columns into one of those squares or they will be in reserve. Sadly I have spent my time trying to capture the victory point towns, as you can see they are mostly red. So my second column has been forced into reserve, this is my main attack column with all th good units so that is not great. I was later explained to me that the points on this map basically don't matter so that is not great.

Each square is a 2'x2' piece of table so that gives you the terrain and where every unit starts, so that is pretty cool.

The Game

So then we set up the terrain and units as prescribed, the big road has an objective on each end of it. in this game your units start as turned over cards and then you flip them and put down some troops when people get close.

So here we are a bit into the game, like turn 2 or 3. The French are attacking across a little river and I am desperately trying to on until my next Corps appears behind them and they are crushed.

I set up some infantry to block one crossing, and then a bunch of cav to counter charge people as they came across the river. I started with my cannons way ahead to attack as a forlorn hope and disrupt the French a bit. By now they are getting charged by 2 units at once so end of the day for them.

This game has an interesting activation mechanic where your opponent rolls to dice and that controls how many units you get to move. But you don't get to know what he rolled until you run out. So maybe you can move one thing or maybe allot.

So here we are a bit further on, my guys blocking the bridge are prepared (in squares), and are a powerful Avant Guard division, so they have no problem sending the pesky French cav packing for awhile, but are building casualties. Meanwhile my cannons are dead, and the French cavalry Corp is pressing across the bridge while mine gets ready to hit them.

By now the Avant Guard Division has been beat up pretty bad so I pulled them back to save them from breaking. Sadly this has left a unit of conscripts to hold the bridge. on the left flank thou my cavalry units are doing very well, aggressively pushing back the French and even breaking up one unit.

Now you can see impending disaster closing in. My weak infantry units were no longer able to stem the tide so they have broken, and the French are rolling my flank. Meanwhile my heroic cavalary has pushed the French around but ran out of steam before they could break anymore units.

Around this time Serge explained that corps which are off the table don't count for army morale, so I was sadly left with a broken army. Meanwhile my other corps commander Johann von Klenau has had a grand olde time touring around Flanders, so at least there is that.

It was a pretty good game, I am not sure how much I like the map campaign, it's a neat way of generating a unique terrain, but I really don't like how some units an easily get locked out, especially if you don't know about that.

The idea is that you can play the big Napoleonic battles in a single sitting which is cool. I think it would be much improved with figures set up specifically for this with nice basing, instead of some Lasalle bases tossed onto a card. But look forward to giving it another try.


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