Saturday, October 17, 2009

Martin Wallace's Waterloo session report No. 2

I had another rare Friday night off from work so I took advantage of that good fortune to head over to Windsor for the biweekly game session of the Central Connecticut Wargamers. I wasn't sure what I might get to play, but I brought four game I'd be interested in trying. The three that didn't get played this time were Onslaught, War of 1812 and Red Dragon Rising. Maybe next time.

The game that did get payed was Martin Wallace's Waterloo, which is what I played the last time I went to the CCW session.

I did better this time with the French, although still coming up short of victory at the end as the British took advantage of a couple of mistakes to win the battle of attrition. The final score was 22 to 17 casualties. While I reached the target of 13 British casualties before the British reached their target of 16, they were able to come back in a very bloody turn that saw every attempt of mine to stay ahead in the casualty count more than matched.

I think the French side is a bit more challenging for new players because there's a lot to figure out in this game, so I decided it was only fair for me to take the French side because I had played once before, while my opponent had not.

Once again I sent a flanking cavalry force around the Allied left, but I ended up not pressing that attack after an initial repulse. I suspect that is a dead end. Instead I concentrated on capturing the three strongpoints and eventually succeeded without too much loss. I committed some Guard to exploit that success, but I'm not sure that was wise as that exposed the Guard to losses and they count double for the casualty victory condition.

We found that attacking infantry has to be careful about being caught by cavalry counterattacks, both sides lose several brigades that way and I discovered that unsupported cannons were vulnerable as well. The British player in particular got a couple of good action draws that let him just cut through my artillery park without opposition. He ended up losing most of the force, but most of it was Prussian or cavalry and did not count for victory.

It was a very intense game and definitely provokes a strong desire to study it in order to do better. I think the Waterloo situation is inherently challenging for the French in any game on the topic. Usually the French have to get off to a good start in order to win. early missteps tend to snowball. I didn't feel satisfied with my progress during the first two turns. By the time I felt like I was hitting my stride the Prussians were starting to be an issue. Because the game is so different from usual wargame norms there's a pretty steep learning curve, but I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it. I can't wait to play again.

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