Sergio's blog: hints, ideas, pictures and news about SDS (and more) from the author

Thursday, August 25, 2011

DS LB playtest session in Rome

Last week Diego and Massimo met at Diego's Club for another playtest of DS Large Battles. Diego brought his plastic 20mm (Bavarians Vs. Prussians) and prepared a scenario, adding some special rules (the Bavarians had to defend a Depot which was worth 1 point for the overall Victory). He also adjusted the battalions size according to their frontage in cm.: he used 3 bases for the Bavarians and 4 for the Prussians to reflect their number. This is accounted for in the rules, and shows - I think -their flexibility. Above the battlefield at start from the Prussian side.
A close-up on the Bavarian Dragoons charging a Landwehr battalion. As I said, Diego elected to have all Prussian battalions as "Big" (4 bases in his arrangement) and also to have cavalry regiments made of 3 bases, for a question of frontage.
A view from the Prussian right of the battlefield: you can see the 3-bases-Bavarian battalions (with skirmishers deployed in front) and the 4-bases-Prussians, all in line formation (with the exception of the Prussians on the left side which are in attack column). The markers on the table are for the Disorder level. And.... oops! one of the Prussian battalions seems to have advanced too much....
Having repulsed the Bavarian attack, the Prussians try to bring some artillery up for the counterstroke, supported by Landwehr cavalry (Lancers). The frontage of artillery batteries in DSLB should be twice an infantry base and I like to put 2 guns and 3-5 crew on each base for visual effect. Diego has his Prussian artillery with a single gun, but the frontage is correct, so it's OK.
The hill on the opposite site of the battlefield, from the Bavarian position. The Prussians are trying to climb up to attack, but only one battalion (right) succeeded in negotiating the slope. In this pic, you can see the Bavarian artillery battery based as I like (i.e. 2 guns, same frontage). The Bavarian ChevauLegere are in reserve, ready to fill gaps.
The Battle ended with a Bavarian victory, and Massimo (above) commanding the Prussian was defeated. (Note the poster on the wall behind him....).
Diego - who won with his Bavarians - made a great job building the scenario and hosting the playtest in his Club. Even more important, he sent me several pages of hints and questions that will be useful for the final trimming of the rules.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm back!

Still not 100% combat ready, but I'm here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Leaving for vacation

Tomorrow I'll leave for a week vacation to Greece.
A week of reading, sea and sun in a small island (11x4 Km!) is just what I needed.
Wherever you are, keep playing!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More pics from last playtest session

The French attack on the Spanish left Brigade: a Battalion of Rgt. Hibernia (right) and one of the Walloon Guards (left) under heavy attack from French Line and Light Infantry. Both Artillery batteries support the fight. The wooden blocks are the only markers on the table: they represent Disorder level (0 to 3) and are color coded - green, yellow, red,.... dead.
A view from the Spanish line: Artillery firing at long range to repel the French attack. The limber is just behind the 2 guns representing the Battery, Spanish infantry is deployed in line.
A Peasant Militia battalion in march column is hold in reserve with a Battalion of Voluntarios: they will see little action in battle. Their Militia status does not allow them to deploy in line, nor to form square. The Spanish CinC (right) is giving orders.
Just about to start the battle: Diego (left) and Alessandro (right) commanded the French Division, Marco (extreme right) did the same for the Spaniards, first with Massimo (taking the pic) and then with me. The table is a standard 120x180cm.
My Spanish brigade deployed before the fight: 2 line Regts in line (and my - still limbered - battery in the middle) with 1 Militia and 1 line Battalions in reserve (march column). Our classic 3 measurement sticks (long, medium and short) are ready for use. The Brigadier is in the middle of the formation, with his Rating written in the small adhesive white clip under the base.
A view of the French 1st Bde during the early stages of the battle. The Light (Legere) Regt. on the left is deployed in Attack Column, with its 2 Skirmishers deployed. The Line Battalion behind is in March Column, and the single Skirmish is not deployed. The 3 activation dice where in French flag colors :)
I played with the right Brigade in the second battle and made a big mistake allowing the French attackers (a Veteran Brigade well commanded by an "Active" general) to come uphill without too much interference. Once they were uphill, my Brigade was cut in pieces before a charge of my Pavia Dragoons could stop them. The Battle was almost lost at that time, and during our initiative we could only hope to come to a draw in order to drag play on... but we did not succeed and the French won.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A tight gaming day

Yesterday, Marco, Alessandro, Diego and Massimo came to visit me for a playtest of DS Large Battles. It was a nice occasion to meet the guys from Arezzo again, after so many SDS Tournaments during the past 2 years. While Diego and Massimo can be considered expert players of the game (Diego is my main playtester and his contribution has always been very valuable for me), Alessandro and Marco actually never played this game, even if they are very good SDS players (Marco won last year Italian Championship). Above, French 2nd Brigate deployed for battle.
I prepared a scenario set in Spain in 1809, where a bigger Spanish division had to face a Veteran French Division somewhere in north-eastern part of the Country. The number of troops was voluntarily unbalanced, but - as can be expected - the Leadership of the Spanish Division was poor and their big reserve difficult to employ. Above, you can see the Spanish 1st Brigade, with a first line made of a Line Battalion and a Battalion of Reg. Hibernia (Irish) and a second line made of 2 Battalions of Walloon Guards. A gun battery is deployed in the centre.
We played 1 battle in the morning and 1 in the afternoon (2 and 3 hours respectively) trying out some small variants of the rules to trim the playing time. Both times the Spaniards lost, but the second time it was a very close thing.....

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Poll is closed

Thanks to all readers (32) who voted.

The poll shows without any doubt that a playing time from 1.5 to 3 hours is what the readers of this blog prefer (68%).
15% can play up to 4 hours and just 12% more than that.
1 voter have very limited time (1 hour).

Therefore, for my Large Battle game I think we are exactly on target (2,5 to 3 hours).
I am happy about this also because I launched a thread on TMP asking more or less the same question. It came out that many players (mostly American) have few opportunities to play, but when they do they prefer to play for 4-5 hours and they have space enough also to leave a battle for a following session.
Any comments are welcome...

More books

Ordered (and received)

P. Hofschroerer's - Waterloo 1815: a German Victory
P. Hofschroerer's - Battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny
J. Gills' - 1809 Thunder on the Danube vol.2 (to complete the trilogy)

After finishing Lieven's Russia against Napoleon, I started reading The Spanish Ulcer by D. Gates. Just a couple of chapters read, very interesting........

The more I read, the more I want to depict somehow the last 2-5 days before a battle, with a sort of pre-battle sequence.....