Saturday, July 23, 2011

Neverenufkski, circa 1813 (Historicon pt 4)

This game was played Saturday night using Field of Battle, 2nd edition (more or less). It was a fictional action set in Central Europe, circa 1813. The OOB was  a subset of that planned for our big Borodino game next year, with an emphasis on some of our Napoleonic troops that seldom see action on the tabletop. That explains the relatively large number of Guard and Elite units that will appear. Some of the figures used date back many decades (such as my Minifigs Austrian Cavalry), and others were just painted in the past few months and seeing their first action (such as my Grand Duchy of Warsaw Cavalry and Barry's Russian Combined Grenadiers and Cossack Battery, the miniatures for the later by Steve Barber Miniatures, IIRC).

The name of the battle is sort of a joke that there are "Never enough" troops; at Waterloo, Marshal Ney asked Napoleon to send him more troops. Napoleon remarked to his aides "More Troops? And where does he expect me to get them from?  Does he expect me to make them?!"   Of course, being wargamers, *we* can always buy/paint more, subject only to time (and the oversight of the Empress on the Imperial budget, of course!) In the event, there were actually probably a bit too many troops on this field, even using a 16 foot long by 5 foot wide table, something that will likely modify our plans for Borodino somewhat to include a bit less infantry (by changing the scaling factor) and a bit larger table!

Overview of the 16 x 5 foot table as players make last minute adjustments to their deployment, French to the left, and Allies to the right. Seen clockwise are Dan B. (Marshal Davout), Eric B. (Napoleon), GM Czar Barry (minus head), Brian C., Herman, Greg K., and the back of Tim C's head (to complement the anencephalic Czar, it would seem!)

Looking from the other ends of the tale, clockwise are Dave M (Russian Line Corps)., Rob B.  (Russian Left Wing cavalry), the now intact Tim C, ?, Philip K (French Right Wing cavalry), Michelle F (Italians, Badeners, Bavarians and Poles) (obscured is Gabriel F - French, more Poles, and Hessians), and Eric B (as Napoleon, commanding the Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery of the Imperial Guard).

Part of the large Russian Corps commanded by Dave M. Speaking of headless gamers, Dave managed to have both one of his Divisional generals and later his Corp commander as well die on D20 Leader survival checks - anything but a "1"! Maybe he had the Hurricane Dice, eh? Anyway, don't Barry's Front Rank troops look impressive - especially the solid wall of Russian ordnance?

Another long view of the table set up; the slips of paper have the composition and ratings for the various player Commands on them.

Close up of Michelle's command - Italian Footguards in the forefront, with Grand Duchy of Warsaw infantry behind them, then Badeners, then Bavarians. The French have their own artillery park to the fore as well.

Russian Left Flank cavalry, featuring Barry's beautiful Front Rank Russian Dragoons. In their first two outings, these Dragoons have established a record of under performance so impressive that the Czar has threatened them with Ebay if they don't improve their performance this time!

Barry's Front Rank Russian Uhlans. The Czar was seen whispering to them  "C'mon, guys - you're so much *bigger* than those puny French cavalry!"   (which are mostly Old Glory and Foundry)

French Legere and Ligne in overcoats, supported by more Polish infantry, and some Hessians in the distance, part of Gabriel's command. 

Italian Footguards wisely form square as the Russian Dragoons surge forwards, eager to avoid the ignominy of the threatened auction!

French Infantry advance in the Center.

French Line, backed up by Imperial Guard Infantry. Beyond them is a Grand battery of 3 Imperial Guard Artillery units. These made very effective use of 3 Artillery Firepower cards (plus Eric's hot dice rolling) at the outset of the battle to decimate the Russian Imperial Guard infantry opposite them!

French Infantry continue to advance in the center.

Russian Cossacks charge boldly into French Infantry in line, supported by a light Cossack battery - the sheep and pig denote units that are Out of Command.

Not surprisingly, the Cossacks appetite for Glory is diminished somewhat by close range musketry.
"Igor, dey has very tough Caviar hereaboutski, nyet?"

Michelle's Poles (more of Barry's Front Rank figures), supported by Kingdom of Italy troops (my Minifigs), as seen from the player's perspective.

Dave M's Russian Infantry Corps, supported by Rob's Russian Cavalry.

Another picture of the action on the French Right/Russian Left.

A nice view of Dave's Russian Corps from the side.

Just a few troops going at it in their sector!

Badeners and Bavarians advancing in support of the Poles

The Cossack charge was repulsed, but it seems that part it was a clever ploy to draw off French fire, and allow the cavalry of the Russian Imperial Guard to charge across the table in attempt to silence the (now unloaded) French Imperial Guard Artillery. "Into the Valley of Death rode the Several Hundreds!"

The Russian Guard Cavalry succeed in eliminating the Guard artillery to a man... but the Middle and Old Guard are up for blood now, as they hit the Empress Cuirassiers in the flank!

Frenchies maneuvering in the center.

Furious hand to hand combat over the village in the middle of the table!

On the Russian Right/French Left flank, the action has taken a while to develop as both sides had cavalry Divisions without infantry support, and a large woods to circumvent.

French (etc) Light Cavalry take the initiative; the French Hussars have fallen back after taking canister from an Austrian Cavalry battery, but the Chevau-Leger Lanciers, GD Warsaw UhlansCuirassiers.

On the opposite flank, in what seems like the twinkling of an eye, Philip's French, Saxon, Wurttemburg and GD Warsaw cavalry have overwhelmed the Russians, the hapless Russian Dragoons dissolving in combat once again! Barry, I'd change their facing colors to Pink, Fuscia, and Diarrhea Tan! 

In the Center, French, Bavarians, and Badeners press Dave's Russians.

View from behind Michelle's troops - Dave's Russki infantry has thinned out considerably, as I (blue shirt - headless is the style for this evening, I guess) finally have a seat to watch the evolution of the combat!

Napoleon (Eric B) *finally* gets the Old Guard Infantry and the Imperial Guard Cavalry to advance, having rolled "ones" for the Leadership dice of their Commanders several times in a row. "Monsieur Aide de Camp, who are *you* to issue orders to the Guard? We engage only upon hearing the word from His Majesty's very lips!" 

Dave's Russians continue to thin out, so Allied C-in-C Greg K. decides to call for the Austrian Grenadier Reserves to retake the central village!

Napoleon to Davout - "Get your Divisions moving, Monsieur le Marechal, and draw the fire of the enemy; I shall follow behind you with the Old Guard and mop up what remains!"

Russian Artillery and Infantry fire have convinced these Boys from Baden to head for the rear!

Davout's men advance, and are met by the remnants of the Russian Foot Guards.

Austrian Grenadiers, and yes.... pike armed Moscow Militia can be seen approaching in the distance.

Long view of the table at about this point; all of the Russian Cavalry on their left have been dispersed or routed, leaving half a dozen units of French cavalry on the flank of Dave's Russians. "I have a Baaaa-d feeling about this!"

The infantry combat in the center grinds on, by musket ball and bayonet, each in its turn.

The now unopposed French cavalry are causing many Russian Musketeer regiments to form square for protection!

Davout's attack grinds down Herman and Greg's Russians.

Forced into square by the French Cavalry, the Russian infantry suffers heavily from Italian close range musketry!

Having ridden down the Austrian Cavalry battery, the French Left Flank cavalry engages the Russian and Austrian horse, with neither side able to gain a decisive advantage.

At this point, the Allies reach zero Morale points (and below). The French have at least 20 left, and the Allies are paying them still more. The Allied position is untenable - their left flank cavalry have been eliminated, while Dave's Russians have taken heavy losses and are outflanked. The French hold the central village, and Davout's attack (with plodding support form the Cavalry and Infantry of the Guard) is poised to  break through the Allied right center; only the swirling cavalry combat on the far Allied right has been completely indecisive. The Czar orders a withdrawal, leaving the field and a hard-fought, Major (but not decisive) victory to Napoleon.  

Editor's Note:  the table was more crowded than desirable, especially in the French Left center, something that we'll adjust for in refining Czar Barry's massive Borodino scenario for Historicon next year (wherever and whenever that will be; hopefully the details will be settled shortly). With all of the players being experienced in the Field of Battle rules, the game moved on a quite a brisk pace; still, having started a little after 8 PM, it wrapped up well after Midnight. Eric and I kept going with Painkillers (although I'm licensed to prescribe the real things, here we're talking about the British Virgin Islands version$$), and most of the other guys wit beer and other spirits. The LA Piquet Kult, courtesy of Steve K, provided a very welcome midnight pizza to fuel the hungry players as well - a class gesture!  Even more welcome, at least to Barry and I, was the generous help of the players in packing it all up and carting it all away; having started setting up the first game of the day before 8 AM, it was still not until 2 AM that my head hit the pillow; needless to say, sleep followed *very* shortly thereafter!

"We never, ever, ever give up!"   (Motto of the LA Piquet/FoB group)


$$ - BVI Painkiller:  1 oz cream of coconut, 2 - 4 oz Dark Rum, 2 oz orange juice, 4 oz
pineapple juice; blend and serve over ice cubes, dash of grated nutmeg on the top (it really makes the drink!). Slips right down, especially beach side, and MUCH stronger than it tastes!

I made one mistake: freezing the mixture for the trip down, which made the wonderfully saturated fat in the cream of coconut partially congeal; I could have fixed that with a blender, but unfortunately, I didn't bring one... this time!   :-)


  1. That is an awesome amount of figures on table !!

  2. Another great 28mm Historicon Piquet Crew experience! Who cares about the crowded table?! The game was about pushing lead, tabletop chatter and banter, and throwing dice against friends. I had a blast.

    Dave M

  3. Wow! Looks like a better than Borodino!

  4. Fantastic !!! Very great look !!!

  5. Great looking battle. 28mm is the way to go. I can only field about 1/5th of that for each side. Looks great.

    Greg C.

  6. Bloody hell, that's impressive!!

  7. geat looking game lots of figures lots of great photos

  8. I have to say, I did do a doubletake when you said you had some painkillers for the convention!!

    Sorry to have missed this game...was feeling a bit under the weather at the time and just wasn't up for it.

  9. Thanks for all the nice comments, guys, especially on behalf of Barry, the GM. Andy, sorry you missed it, but you got plenty of other games in!

    As long as you have the space, and in the US that isn't usually a major issue, I agree re: 28mm. Your stuff is spectacular, by the way! I must confess that 15mm is a lot easier to transport, though, after bringing almost 3,000 figures to Valley Forge and back!

    Andy: Obviously, the non narcotic type only; had some Percocet after my elective hernia surgery this Fall - stopped that as of day three postop in favor of Tylenol!


  10. Peter, great write up. Thanks for taking the time to post this. It’s good to hear everyone had a good time.

    Gabriel, great photos.

    Now, about those Dragoons… I had a talk with them over the weekend (come on, you know you talk to your troops too) and their excuse is that all of their Allies are those tiny little 30 year old Minifigs of yours. It makes them feel like they have to carry the fight all by themselves. Which makes the solution obvious; I just need to paint more Cavalry. Look for a second Russian Cavalry Corps coming your way soon.

  11. Barry,

    Obviously the Dragoons misuderstood the old aphorism "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" to mean "going home". Condisdering there are no Front Rank cavalry at among the French or their allies, their protestations seem a bit disingenuous, LOL!

    I just got out my Essex Russian Cavalry to get them ready to paint - 1 Chevalier Guard, 1 Guard Hussar, and 2 cossacks; just waiting for the humidity to go down enough to be able to prime them! After that are 3 units of OG Russian Hussars to paint. Then the Vistula Legion.

  12. Two Dragoon, 2 Hussar and a cossack unit are forming for the Czar Barry in Unionville! No more pygmy horse

  13. Those Essex aren't pygmy either, although the OG still may be next to the Front Rank. Still, it's only the Russian Dragoons playing the "Size Matters" card; so far their performance doesn't measure up their, uh endowment,LOL!