Sunday, September 18, 2011

Might and Reason 7 Years War game

I recently started using to look for gaming groups in my area. I found a somewhat nearby group that does historical gaming about twice a month, and so I went to one of their gaming meet-ups. I played in a big multi-player game of Might and Reason. The game was a hypothetical 7 Years War battle between French and Prussians with Hanoverian allies.

I don't know much about the 7 Years war, and I had no experience with the Might and Reason rules, but the guy running the game did a good job of explaining the rules and the historical context and reasoning behind the rules.

The scenario was that a small Hanoverian force allied to the Prussians was in a good position on a hill right next to a river. Their Prussian allies have disappeared in the night to go on a long flanking maneuver to outflank the large French army across the river from the Hanoverians. So the Hanoverians, in a strong position, have to hold off the much larger French army long enough for the Prussians to arrive. The French do not know when or where this will happen.

The Prussian players got to secretly select one of five roads on which they wanted to arrive. The turn they would arrive on depended on the road selected, but the French players did not know where or when they might show up. The French army was split up between the players, with one controlling the center, one the right wing, one the left wing, and one the reserve. I was controlling the right wing, including the Guard regiment of four infantry battalions, another infantry regiment of three battalions, and a cavalry regiment of three squadrons, I think.

The plan of the French commander-in-chief was for the entire front of the French army to advance at full speed to sweep the Hanoverians from their strong position, and in order to not be where the Prussians were expecting by the time they arrived. The reserve would stay back to delay the Prussians if they arrived too soon, so the rest of the army would have time to reorganize to face the bigger threat. On the far left and right flank, cavalry regiments would move down the river to find crossings and get in behind the Hanoverians.

In practice, this didn't work out so well. Between command difficulties and the delaying effects of the river and surrounding hills, the front Infantry regiments advanced slowly. The cavalry moved faster, and the Hanoverians only had a single cavalry regiment to deal with two of ours. On our right, my cavalry regiment reached the river crossing just as the Hanoverian cavalry arrived to deal with them. These two regiments spent the rest of the game in a pretty inconclusive cavalry battle. My regiment lost a squadron to an enemy charge, and both sides took a lot of casualties, but both sides were also held up and unable to have any effect on the infantry battle in the center.

My two infantry regiments started forward toward the river, but then got tangled up with each other. Their commanders spent much of the battle arguing about which one was holding up which, and who was in who's way, and who was going to get blamed for the delay, which of course caused even more delay. Meanwhile, the center was moving forward and slowly crossing the river to engage the Hanoverian infantry on the hill, who outclassed the French infantry and were in a better position.

The Prussians arrived much sooner than expected on the far French left, very close to where the French infantry were advancing toward the river. The French cavalry on the left did make it across the river at the crossing just before the Prussians arrived to cut off access to the crossing. As soon as the Prussians arrived, the French left had to turn to face the coming onslaught, and the reserve was moved as quickly as possible in that direction.

The infantry of the French left wing took the brunt of the Prussian attack, and was completely wiped out. They did, however, delay the Prussians and wear them down a bit, which is what was needed. The reserve arrived in time to form a pretty solid two-layered battle line to engage what was left of the Prussians, who were unable to break through.

Meanwhile, the French Commander-in-Chief came over personally to find out what was going on with the Infantry regiments in his right wing. He personally visited one regiment commander, and then the other, no doubt dealing harshly with their childish arguments. This finally got them moving. At this point, the infantry of the center was mostly spent, and the Hanoverian battalions were weakened, but still holding their positions.

The right infantry crossed the river in unison, four battalions in line in front, with another three right behind in reserve. At the same time, the French cavalry from the left had made it's way around, free of the one Hanoverian cavalry regiment which was tied up elsewhere, to charge the flank of the Hanoverian line. Between the cavalry in their flank and the strong infantry attack to their front, the brave Hanoverians could hold no longer. They had held out longer than could have been expected, and still the Prussians had not reached them.

The Hanoverian Cavalry regiment was getting the better of the French cavalry regiment on the French right, but now they were completely cut off. With some of the French army turning to face them, they decided to retreat. This is where we decided to end the game. Neither side had yet reached the victory conditions, which was to eliminate a certain number of enemy units. But the French were closer to their victory condition, and the momentum was certainly on their side.

The French also seemed to hold the field, with a long line starting on the hill where the Hanoverians had started and stretching left all the way to the table edge. A pretty solid double line faced the Prussians on the French left, and the French right would now be able to turn toward the Prussian flank, though this would take a long time. It seemed that if the sun were going down at this point and the battle had to end, the Prussians would likely be obliged to fall back, and the French would hold the field. So we agreed it was a minor French victory.

All in all, it was a fun game, and the guy controlling the Hanoverians was a fun opponent. I wasn't paying too much attention to what was happening on the left flank, but it seemed like quite a brutal contest between the French Left and Reserves against the Prussian army. I know the battle in the Center was pretty dramatic. I look forward to more historical games with the group, and getting to try out more periods and rules that I haven't tried before.

1 comment:

  1. Damn. That sounds awesome. Pictures next time!

    Was this 10mm?