Monday, February 22, 2016

Honours of War - St. Ulrich Solo Game - Part 1

Finally (!) I have enough painted figures at hand to play the scenario "The Combat of St. Ulrich" from the Honours of War ruleset:

The Combat of St. Ulrich (click picture to enlarge)

I decided on using the optional national differences for my Prussians and Austrians. The scenario section (page 58) tells you to keep the points ratio between the two forces equivalent to the numbers of units per side; in this case 5 to 4. Using the points system provided on page 52, the two forces are:

Line Battalion, superior                       120 points
2 x Line Battalion, standard                 200 points
Cuirassier Regiment, superior             120 points
6 pdr Medium Artillery, superior          60 points
Total                                                         500 points

2 x Line Battalion, standard                 220 points
Dragoon Regiment, standard               110 points
12 pdr Heavy Artillery, standard           65 points
Total                                                         395 points

Note that not only do the Austrians field one more Infantry Batallion, which on itself is enough to explain the points difference of 105 points, they also have 3 units of superior quality whereas the Prussians units are all standard.
The things the Prussians have going for them are higher mobility, potentially more reliable/agressive Brigade Commanders and higher Move Initiative and Fire Initiative (shown later).

All we need now is a little bit of evocative (albeit fictional) background to get us going:

In October 1756, after the Battle of Lobositz, Feldmarschall Maximilian Ulysses Graf von Browne has assembled a flying column to march to Pirna. The objective is to relieve the Saxon Army currently blockaded in camp by superior Prussian Forces.
The prussian Generalmajor Dietrich Reichard von Meyernick, who "had the reputation of an
Eisenfresser (man who chews on iron) as the governor of Berlin in peacetime" [Christopher Duffy, By Force of Arms, p. 33], has managed to intercept the austrian advance guard under Feldmarschalllieutenant Johann Sigismund Maquire Count von Inniskillin and taken up position near St. Ulrich to delay the Austrian force, intending to give them 'a bloody nose before retiring across the bridge'.

Before being ready for turn 1, one thing needs to be done: dicing for the rating of the two Commanders of the Infantry Brigades (including the respective Artillery): Dithering, Dependable or Dashing.

The Prussians roll a 5 and Oberst von Schlappstein is rated, in true prussian army spirit, as Dashing.
The Austrians roll a 2, Generalfeldwachtmeister von Krötendorf is rated as Dithering.

The setup for the scenario is shown in the picture above. Let us begin.

[Edit: The rules author, Keith Flint, clarified on the Honours of War Forum (post onn Feb29, titled : 'St. Ulrich scenario'): "See p.12, 'How Many Brigades and Independent Units'. This opening scenario was designed to have just 1 command figure on each side, who is both Commanding General and Brigade Commander at the same time." ]

Turn 1

1. Move Commanding Generals:  Both stay where they are for now. This is the only phase where the generals can be moved, so you need to anticipate where they may be needed.

2. Movement Initiative:  Attacker (Austrians) automatically has first turn initiative. Diced for later (d6 per player) with +1 modifier for the attacker and +1 for Prussians.

3. Movement Phase:  Alternating between players. First one side moves a brigade or independent unit, then the other side. Player with initiative decides who starts.

3a) Austrians decide to move with the Infantry brigade (includes the gun) first. Each brigade commander or independent unit has to dice for command performance using his/its rating, in this case Dithering. Now enter the commanding general. He, the mounted figure, as can be seen in the pictures, is positionend next to the brigadier (the figure on foot). If the commanding general is within 15 cm of a brigade commander or independent unit, the rating is increased one step, i.e. the brigadier counts as Dependable now.
A d6 roll of 5 results in a 'Steady' command performance, i.e. each brigade unit has one full move (execution shown in pictue below).

3b) Prussian decide to move with the Infantry brigade (includes the gun). Dashing brigadier with the commanding general nearby gives a +1 modifier. A roll of 2 +1 modifier results in a 3, i.e. also a 'Steady' command performance, one full move (execution shown in pictue below).

3c) Austrian Cuirassiers (independent unit). Dependable. Rolls a 4, 'Steady' command performance, one full move. Moves forward. Changes formation to line.

3d) Prussian Dragoons (independent unit). Dependable. Rolls a 3, 'Steady' command performance, one full move. Moves forward 20 cm and wheels to the left.

Situation after Turn 1 movement (click to enlarge)

 4. Firing Initiative & 5. Firing Phase: Only the prussian gun can fire. It must fire at the nearset target, the Salm-Salm Bataillon. A roll of 2 and a -1 modifier for long range results in no effect.

6. Melee Phase, 7. Rally Phase, 8. Check Army Breaking Points all do not apply.

Another view of the situation after Turn 1 movement (click to enlarge)

Are the Prussians able to use their superior mobility and fire initiative to obtain an early advantage? Can the austrian gun move into firing position quickly enough to be of any use? Will there be an early cavalry charge?

Things are about to heat up. Watch out for the next post.

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