After Saturday evenings lost saw me drawn against Ben Jones’s (11th) Thirty Years War French. I have known Ben for many years from my old club at Oxford. Ben is well rehearsed with his army and I know from previous games it will have a lot of foot and regimental guns. The challenge will be getting some points off him as his foot will beat my samurai easily with either gunfire or having the advantage at impact. So a plan is called for.
Fill the board with terrian to slow him down and deploy as far away as possible so that he has less time to defeat my army. Hopefully I will be able to get some overlaps which could give me the edge in combat.
I went for forests which would not only slow down his army but also limit the fields of fire for his artillery. Most of the woods and a steep hill all landed in his deployment area. So far so good.
I deployed my battle line just in the board in a good solid long line. The average troops where kept hidden behind the samurai to avoid being picked off by artillery. I deployed my cavalry so that it could rush forward and delay his movement further. Ben deployed, expecting me to advance through the cover of the woods to fall on his firing line.
I had first move and rushed my cavalry forward, leaving the main samurai battle line on my rear edge drinking tea and eating rice on this overcast Sunday morning. After one or two more moves of this I could see Ben realise I was not going to impale myself on his battle line… So he began the long march across the table. Dropping into columns and bunching up.
I should mention on my right in the open bit of the board ben had deployed his superior veteran foot and artillery. The artillery was slowly chipping away at my end samurai units. Eventually these broke. He had unit of dragoons working the extreme right, but a unit of cavalry with armoured archers stopped them and they spent the rest of game hiding in the woods. The french superiors continued to advance. My cavalry slow dropped back. During this play the artillery where firing through a gap of less than one base width. This seemed a bit usual. A rule check by us both seemed to allow it, even though our feeling was there should be a min width to shoot through. The rules are the rules, so we continued. Later on in the game our umpire (Don Avis) ruled that this was not the case. A genuine mistake had been made by Ben and I and a bit of “horse trading” and generosity on Bens part we agreed that his artillery was now blocked. This meant Ben would no longer be able to target a unit of followers which was taking damage.
Now the French where half across the board but still bunched up around the woods. With hindsight I made a game changing mistake here. I should have pushed off by back line and closed to combat. However allowed the advance of the superiors to stop me. My thoughts where they would turn my line. In fact that was going to happen anyway and I should have gone for the points instead of having a rare moment of caution.
So after few moves the french arrived in good order. A few rounds of firing forced me to charge. I was able to pick on a few of his average units but it was not to be. An interesting deployment he made was to put his average cavalry unit in the middle and to the front of his battle line. This had the effect of stopping me being able to charge without the Horse interrupting on a double plus.
A few rounds of combat saw my army break and a 25-0 to Ben.