Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Montmirail Historicon AAR #2: Deja vu all over again?

This was the second running of this scenario at Historicon, played on Saturday morning. It played differently from the game the evening before, as well as the original playtest.  I must say it was far easier running the game back to back than running two separate engagements - after game time Friday night as only about 20 minutes, no set up time at all Saturday AM, usual take down time Saturday afternoon, but sped by help from the players (especially Gabriel), and Barry packing up his own troops. Once again, the troops are 28mm, and the rules are Piquet: Field of battle, 2nd edition, by Brent Oman.

The Combatants:

Allies: from their Left to Right  Prussians (Peter), Russian Cavalry (Bob), Russian Infantry Corps (Dave Sweet), Russian Infantry Corps Kristina Young.  Allied  assistance by Barry

French: from their Right to Left:  Young Guard Cavalry (Noah), Middle/Old Guard Cavalry (Tim, Noah's Dad), Old Guard Infantry and Artillery (Jared), Middle Guard Infantry (Gabriel - arrives move 1), Ricard's conscript Infantry Division and The Guards d' Honneur (Phillip - cavalry arrives move 2). Advice and pithy comments by Tim C. of London!

My Scenario for Montmirail has been posted to the blog previously.

The game started out with a big run of impetus. Given the situation, the French opted to let the Russians go first, hoping they would exhaust many of their reload cards before the French had to move to the attack across the gap between the armies and all those nasty Russian guns! This is always a calculated risk; I well remember the Piquet Pickup game of FoB at Histioricon ? 2008, where Jimmy Mauro and Jeff Valent took complete advantage of such a gift, using skill and luck to defeat us pretty much before we ever played one of our nine cards! Here, had the Russians turned most of their Artillery Firepower cards, they might have completely destroyed the French artillery before it was able to "fire" more than once in return!

The Allies promptly turned a MOVE card, and Bob's Hussar Division rolled up a triple move, and sought to take the battle to the French!  A bold stroke indeed. Would it prove to be too bold?

The French won the initiative on an Allied "LULL", card and used a MOVE ONE COMMAND card to bring on the Middle Guard. Another Allied LULL card and another French won die roll resulted in a French MOVE card, and the Old and Middle Guard were launched at the surprised Russians!  Heavy Russian Artillery fire routed one Middle Guard unit, but the rest shook the fire off and kept on coming!

Meanwhile, Tim's  Old Guard Cavalry charged home into the Russian Dragoon Division.

Bob's Russian Hussars taunted Noah's Young Guard cavalry. Noah had cold dice most of the day; next time make sure he gets the Jalapeno dice, Dad!

The French Guard infantry of Jared and Gabriel close to engagement range with the defending Russian Infantry. 

Noah has better luck with his small Guard Lancer Division; here the "Hand of God" removes a Russian horse battery over run by them. 

Bob's Hussars are flanking and grinding up Noah's Young Guard Cavalry (disguised as French Line cavalry, and performing about the same!)

Meanwhile, not one to sit back and wait for the battle to come to her, Kristina realizes that Ricard's conscripts are at a decided disadvantage when facing her veteran Russian infantry, and moves forward to exploit her own advantage in both numbers and quality. 

Phillip has a fresh French battery slogging through the mud to reinforce his shaky conscripts, plus the Gardes d'Honneur (disguised as French Hussars) to provide Kristina's Russians with to reason to ponder the benefits of Square formation!

"Where are the Prussians?", the other Allied players ask. Sorry Guys; I couldn't roll a Triple Magic Move at the start of the game the way General Ken von Baggenstein did the night before!

Mon Dieu, that is a lot of Guard Infantry. They are soaking up Russian gunfire, and then shooting back, devastating their crews!

Facing fierce fighting in the towns, Dave's Russian Corps still has to be concerned about the threat to its flank posed by Tim's victorious Old Guard Cavalry.

Heavy fighting on the Russian Right!

The village of Les Genereaux has fallen to the Guard! On the right, Unloaded Russian Artillery semingly attempting to act as melee troops! Let me know how that works out for you...

Not too much left of Noah's Young Guard cavalry, as Bob's Russian hussars begin to threaten the right flank of the French army. 

Never lacking in pluck, some Russian Jagers attack a Middle Guard battalion. "This one's for making Moscow into a barbecue pit, Francois!"

Tim's Old Guard Cavalry have destroyed the Russian Dragoon Division; even their Divisional commander is a casualty of  War!

Threatened by the Imperial Guard Cavalry to their flank, some Russians seek safety in Square formation. They manage to repulse an Old Guard battalion, but there are more where they came from!

The Prussians  finally deploy to support the Russian Hussars. 

Overview of the French Right - some of the Old Guard Horse Artillery and cavalry have been detailed to prevent any real attempt at a breakthrough by the persistent Russian Hussars.

Fierce fighting between Phil's Marie-Louises and their supports, and Kristina's Russians! Meanwhile, the village of Marchais has now fallen to a unit of Middle Guard.

Out of Morale Points, the Allies turn an ARMY MORALE card. Sacken's D8 is unable to beat the opposing D12 roll, and the Allies quit the field. Victory to Team Napoleon, and glory for La Garde!


  1. Great looking armies/units and figures! Great battle report backed up with lots of photos which are marvelous to look at! thanks Pete..


  2. All that cavalry, magnificent!

    1. Definitely could feel the miniature hooves thundering!

  3. Nice bit of logistical foresight to schedule your Montmirail game back-to-back. Were you at all concerned with leaving the game laid out overnight? It might have given me a restless night!

    Game looks great and that is a lot of troops to maneuver and adjudicate for a multi-player convention game.

    Well done!

    1. No, I felt pretty comfortable leaving it all on the table - not unusual for a big game at Historicon.

      Montmirail was smaller than quite a few other gams I have run, and we had mostly players with at least basic familiarity with the rules (and several with considerably more experience), which helps immensely.

  4. Highlight of Historicon once again!

    1. Excellent! Always a pleasure to have you (and Noah) as a player, Tim.

  5. A great game, and a very enjoyable write-up.

  6. Thanks fopr the kind remarks, Lawrence!

  7. That's two top looking games, two different versions of history and two excellent reports; thanks Peter! You must have been most pleased with the two games and it sounds like the players had a ball; really got stuck in! It seems that this second version was a bit more like the real thing, wasn't it? The French line troops (and Young Guard in this case) pressured early, but the quality and quantity of the Old Guard decided the day in the end.

    1. Thanks, James., and yes, exactly! I was very pleased with how the games looked and played, and every one had a good time with it, which is the single most important objective. I'd say that this version played the closest to history of the three (including the January playtest).

  8. It seems we have played quite the same battle...with a similar result! Great report, the mass effect is much better in yours than in mine, love your Russian infantry especially...

    1. Thanks, Phil. The impressive Front Rank Russians are all from Barry's collection (aside from the two "small" hussar units of mine).