From the Desk of Charles Stampley:
I wanted to thank Pete for hosting a game of Wellington last night at his place and letting us drink all his beer. Pete and Kevin teamed up as the French against Austin playing the Spanish and me representing the British. I didn’t feel any guilt about the beer since the Brits and Spanish received a thorough ass-kicking after some truly legendary bad dice-rolling on my part.
The Allies started out well. The Brits captured Ciudad Rodrigo on the 1st impulse which begins the game besieged and the Spanish were successful capturing almost all of southern Spain. I built up troops in Portugal and helped Austin eliminate some isolated French garrisons; then toward the end of the 1812 turn I launched what I thought would be a game winning attack from Portugal into Spain along the Carceres-Merida-Ciudad Real line which would have sealed off southern Spain from Madrid.
My first couple of battles went well but that only got me farther from my base and isolated into Spain. When Kevin counter-attacked things went downhill and the dice gods cursed me. After 2 battles–16 dice–I failed to get a hit on the French. So not only was I pushed back into Portugal, I lost all my forces.
I used a resource to buy a card but it was the dreaded “Invade Canada” card which forced me to remove my few remaining troops from the map.
Austin soldiered on without British support and did well. But with Portugal denuded of British troops, both Oporto and Lisbon were captured. Actually all of Portugal but one space was captured.
During the 1813 turn we built up both Spanish and British reinforcements and launched a counterattack. I rolled 10 dice and got two 5s. So I was back to bad rolls and to make it worse lost Wellington. Austin joined in the fun with more bad rolls on his part.
We limped to the end of the 1813 turn and conceded. We didn’t bother counting duchies–it was a clear French victory.
Even though I didn’t do as well as I wanted, I still had a good time. I honestly wouldn’t have done anything different. It was just one of those nights when the cards and dice were going to work against you no matter what else happened.
So ends Charles report. Was it really all the dice?
Lets take a look at what really happened shall we.
This is a game I have not played before. I dont like point to point games. Why? I’ve never played one so how would I know? I just don’t, I think they look ugly, and it “ain’t HEXES MAN” Nor am I a super fan of CDGs. To make matters worse, whilst I think Wellington is a superb General and a icon in history, he strikes me as all that is or was wrong with the British Military in those times. On a bad day I think Welly was an effete snot.
If not for the intervention of his mother and good luck in an election to Parliament in Dublin he would have died a poor rich boy, who spent his time waltzing at galas for the 78th Regiment, just one more lazy wanna be aristocrat infecting the British Army from the junior officers down.
Much like a game designer wanna be I know who thinks the world is his purview after one game, and a life time of snotty high minded driveling writing. Perhaps the upper middle class in England is the new Junior Officer of the Early 1800’s? I digress.
Having no clue as to what to do I had to rely on a skim of the rules, and Pete Atacks advice. I’ve always thought the best way to learn a game is to get yourself into a combat as quickly as possible. It requires, the play of a card, movement, possible interdiction in this case and the mechanics of fighting in a game.
Of course I headed for a fight off the bat. Once the options were explained ot me it seemed apparent that combat at this early stage was unwise. But the hell with it. Before I moved, I took the opportunity to throw the card below into Charles move. Unfortunately we only voided his battle rating for the turn…Now that would have been a hoot, knocking the old Duke off on Impulse one!
Lets carry on with the ill advised battle. So Soult rocks into Malaga and attempts to thrust his forces in between the hip holding General on his left.
This did not end well. I won but took heavy losses, was almost cut off and had to retreat before I was cut off.
All in all a good learning exercise but a disaster for the Southern French, with a now depleted army for his best General. Needless to say once the ribbing had subsided, and the head shaking had stopped it was time to be a good little soldier and play to win!
Ok, so I lied about being a good little soldier. It seemed to me that if you dont attack here, nothing much was going to happen. The overall strategy as I saw it was to soften up the bad guys enough so you had a chance later in the game before their reinforcements kicked in, and they ran all over you. So another attack seemed to be in order. Whilst Welly attended the ball in Madrid we got serious.
Now having the troops hidden behind your empty beer bottles on the General card is just poor sportsman ship. So this combat was painful too! But we let Austin off as he was comic relief to Charles’s soon to be groaning about die rolls.
Having seen the French fritter away resources in the South the British summon some Dutch courage and attack my leader just to impress the Duke I am sure.
We retreat, or evade as the game term is used. The British fop Beresford, follows along, converting cities as he goes. He is SO gallant, don’t you think. His army of about 11 SP’s is really all out to seek the death of the overly masculine and manly Soult.
As Charles states above….really the dice were unfair….to HIM. Ha!! It brings to mind however if this mechanic for combat is effective? At this abstract a level, I think you lose a lot, but hey its a card game!
So on we play, there are measured choices that need to be made, but much less so than say Julius Caesar by Columbia, as regardless of your plans, there are 2-3 other players doing stuff, so a well thought thru stratagem can go up in smoke pretty quickly. Pete as the Northern French force, simply skirted the board edge, killing hapless Spaniards for almost no losses. At turn end we would pay some price in terms of a plethora ( “Would you say I have a plethora of cities?”) of insurrection rolls.
At turn end I use a resource card, pulling a 6 CP! I ponce on over to the other British, wannabe and give him a serious ass kicking as well….all the way across Spain to Lisbon Portugal.
This is a disaster for the British, here is a shot of SW Spain. The bottom left 2 Portuguese cities remain, and Charles will eventually bring reinforcements in. The Italian and Canadian adventures are played.
T1 ends poorly, the British receive limited reinforcements, the Spanish likewise. I beef up the Eastern portion of the map by consolidating units on the coastline for a push on that side. At this point I must leave, so Pete takes over the reins and completes the French Victory!
So was it fun? Yes for an evening game, but it was the banter, the friends and the game generated interactions that made it fun. I learned little about the Peninsula war that I did not already know. Hey I have read Sharpes Novels you know! :).
The portrayals of the leader abilities is interesting enough. The game mechanics built around movement, ownership of locations, sieges and the like are very well done and are easy to grasp. The game feels tuned to be fairly even. Would I buy it? No. Would I play it again? Sure.
Lisbon is ours! More amazing rolling. Now even I am starting to feel for Charles! I must read some reviews and AARs from others to learn more about the game and what people think of the combat system.
The end of 1812:
At the beginning of this post I commented that Wellington, could have ended up not amounting to much. His Peninsular campaigns changed the man for the better, as he built upon his skills developed in India.
His diligence, work ethic, command skills, logistical abilitieS, battle tactics and ability to succinctly order his troops in great detail made him the icon he was in his time. He was one of the last Generals to lead from ‘near’ the front in the lead up to the quantum changes that the combination of technology, logistics and the American Civil War would play in changing not only the location of the General but his role in battle.
Thanks for hosting us Pete, I think we all enjoyed ourselves! See you at Great Hall Games Friday.