Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday Night at the Fights

Philippoteaux' Combat de Montebello
Yes, once more into the breach of the Battle of Montebello.  Having faced off against Jake in two earlier battles for Montebello, one more replay is in the offing.  In the third of our running battle series fighting over the ground in the foothills of the Apennines, sides will be switched and I take the role of commanding the French and Sardinian forces under Forey.
View towards Voghera with Genestrello
and Montebello in the far distance
In the second of our FtF games (see Battle of Montebello), Jake's French penetrated the Coppa River line using lightning strikes from his Sardinan cavalry with support from the French Chasseurs d'Afrique.  Will I, as the French commander, experience the joy of running amok in the Austrian backfield?  Will Jake's Austrians muster more resistance than I managed when commanding The White Menace?
Initial deployments
With Jake visiting Spokane and a free Friday evening, what better test than to reset the troops onto the table and give Montebello 1859 one more trial.  The prior two FtF games against Jake have been tough fights and the scenario's continuing interest has not dulled.

Besides the camaraderie of a one-on-one game night, a bite of dinner, and conversation, the rules have been enhanced with the recent frequent outings.  Processes thought sound when developing a system in isolation can be refined quickly when tested against an active opponent.  While it is said no plan survives contact with the enemy, I find a corollary might be that rules' development thrives on contact with the enemy.  Of course, that enemy ought to be a live opponent willing to stretch the confines of the rules.
Combat de Montebello
Given the two previous FtF encounters, the QRS for Friday's game will see slight modification.  Visualization of the Response Test results has been molded into a matrix making results much easier to see at a glance.  Emergency Response actions have seen modification to include Opportunity Fire range determination on a probabilistic basis, and an upgrading of artillery from Very Small to Small BMU.

Likely the biggest change to undergo testing Friday night is the introduction of the notion of an Enemy Zone of Control (EZOC).  To allow mid-19th Century cavalry the ability to perform a more "sticky" screening task, EZOCs will be enforced.  I thought cavalry screening worked well before to slow, hinder, and harass an advancing enemy.  We will see if this change makes a difference.  The EZOC rule itself is simple and should cause little increased overhead to game play.  Finally, Reinforced Line (Attack Column) has been given a little more punch and resiliency in Close Combat.  Perhaps this modest upgrade will encourage attacks or defense in depth?  We will see.  That is about it for the changes.  Really, all of these amendments are minor tweaks to the game engine.  The QRS still fits on one double-sided 5" x 7" card.

This might be the last replay of Montebello 1859.  With an OB for Montebello 1800 in place, it may soon be time to switch attention from the western half of the game table to the eastern half.  The eastern half of the game table (battlefield) will likely see the brunt of activity when we turn back the hands of time and tackle the 1800 Battle of Montebello.  First, I must plot a strategy for tonight's game.

16 comments:

  1. I like the use of sticky EZOC's. I am using them in my current ACW dablings, though mine come about to prevent units 'slipping past' a largely infantry environment. Your use to reflect cavalry screening is a very good way of giving light cavalry a proper flavour of function without a lot of rules overhead.

    There is an Osprey book about the tactics of Napoleonic light cavalry in my local bookshop, I almost picked it up the other day (but didn't as I am not ready for 'that' particular project!) and I was interested because I feel few games give light cavalry the full range of roles that would best reflect their nature.

    Anyway, enjoy your Friday game ..... Quality time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Norm, the sticky EZOCs are meant to hinder cavalry formations from sweeping passed infantry too closely too. That, in addition to cav-on-cav constraints. We will see if the introduction of EZOC provides significant "historical" benefit. If not, it will be dropped. It may have been that our use of cavalry has not yet developed with respect to tactics fully. Two or three games is likely not sufficient to develop proper tactics to employ or counter cavalry in a screening role.

      More answers following this evening's game.

      Delete
  2. I like the sound of those changes too, Jonathan. Light cavalry frustrating heavier troops is always an interesting portion of a battle to play out.

    Enjoy the game!

    Cheers,
    Aaron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Aaron. It is always enjoyable having a live, like-minded opponent to face off against.

      Delete
  3. I first saw that Philippoteaux painting in the Musée de l'Armée publication "L'Armée de Napoleon III" and it is my favourite image of the war. Your series has really got me thinking about the period. Maybe net year... Great stuff Jonathan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Philippoteaux's painting is a dandy. I saw it in the Musee L'Armee in 2001. On that visit, I picked up "L'expedition du Mexique (1861-1867) et la Guerre Franco-Allemande (1870-1871)" which is either Volume 2 or 3 in a series. I wish I would have had the foresight to grab the earlier volume covering the Franco-Austrian War.

      Very good to read that the Montebello series has provided a bit of inspiratio, Mark!

      Delete
    2. That series of books is superb. On a number of visits I have picked up all the titles on the First and Second Empires. On my last visit I intended to pick up the remainder of the series, but sadly they are no longer in print.

      Delete
    3. Too bad the books are no longer in print. Our loss.

      Delete
  4. I shall look forward to the report of the battle.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks like it will be another good game and I look forward to your earlier battle as well.
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iain, it will be a fun challenge to reverse roles and command the French this time. Hopefully, I will not hash it up too badly.

      Delete
  6. Good luck commanding the French this time, mon ami!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As reports filter back from the battle, French press are attempting to put a positive spin on events of the day.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...