Friday, September 25, 2009

I turn 40 - and suffer defeat

The victors: Brad, Andrew and The Nameless One

I turned 40 this year, and have also just became the father of twins. Unsurprisingly, not much painting is getting done at the moment.

There is no better way to celebrate a birthday than with a massive wargame, so back on 9 August I got together with a group of friends to have a day of Napoleonic gaming while I still could before the arrival of the twins. I teamed up with Anthony, leading a Prussian/Wuertemberg/Saxon coalition (to disaster, as it turned out). Brad, Andrew and The Nameless One led a Franco-Bavarian force. All the figures were mine, apart from an Orc that Anthony insisted on bringing and deploying in a swamp. The rules were my own ‘Heads Up, By God’, that worked really well, especially given that a couple of the chaps were newcomers to miniatures gaming. The venue was an extraordinary warehouse belonging to a friend of Andrew’s (thanks!). The beer was Heineken, cheese was involved, and the soundtrack was Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

Prussian troops try to force the bridge

Anthony and I deployed our troops with a defensive left flank and an overwhelming concentration of cavalry on the right. They were all there, from Saxon cuirassiers to Prussian Landwehr, and a stirring sight they made. Unfortunately, The Nameless One is too familiar with my unsophisticated tactics of concentrating force, and withdrew the Franco-Bavarian left back behind defensive terrain and pushed hard on the right.

The result – Anthony and my left held on heroically with rock-solid infantry squares thwarting waves of French Dragoons. The centre turned into a bloody tussle for a bridge, where the Franco-Bavarians gained the upper hand, despite the presence of the Orc in the swamp. The right was a disaster for us. What should have been a great sweeping cavalry envelopment was instead a complete waste of our cavalry, most of which never came into action.

Saxon line infantry pushing through a swamp unexpectedly run into an orc

I’m trying to come up with a revisionist spin, but the truth is that Anthony and I were trounced, thwarted, vanguished and conquered. Vae victis, but Prussia will rise again. I had a great day – thanks guys!

The vanquished

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