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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Another DSLB Big Battle

Last sunday I was invited by the club "Le Aquile" from Gaeta to a DSLB Big Battle in Cisterna di Latina, in Luigi's game room. Stefano from "Le Aquile" organized a French vs. Russians battle, one Division per side. The location and hospitality was fantastic, and we all had  a great gaming day. I was given command of a French Cavalry brigade on our right flank, with orders to hold my position and protect the right flank of of our center brigade, commanded by Federico. Diego, with his left flank veteran brigade was to attack the enemy immediately, in order to break the enemy right. On the Russian side, Stefano was the CinC, Renzo commanded their right flank brigade, Luigi held the center and Fausto the left flank.
 After secret deployment we lifted the screen and started the battle.
 The stuation after the first turn. At the bottom f the pic my cavalry brigade (left) and - behind the wood - Fausto's cavalry brigade, bigger than mine but with 2 Cossack pulks.
 Another view, from behind the Russian cavalry brigade.
 After a couple of turns, Diego attack on our left is starting to ay some dividends, while Federico and I just held our ground using the artillery as best as we can.
The battle unfolds. The Russians: from left to right Renzo (blue cap) Luigi (standing) and Stefano (sitting). On the right of the pic Diego rolling his attack dice.

 Action in the centre: a Russian Cuirassier unit (the only Russian heavy cavalry present) aggressively moves towards our lines (top right). This was probably the turning point: the Cuirassiers charged our centre, breaking an infantry battalion. At that point they should have been recalled, but Stefano decided to breakthrough, charging another infantry battalion straight ahead. This unit was also broken, but the Cuirassiers were at this point blown (DIS3) and in our following turn a Dragoon regiment broken them.
 Almost nothing happened on my flank, with Fausto's Cossacks hidden in the woods and the Lancers circling around it. The real fight was in the center, where Luigi (above center) pressed on Federico's shaken brigade, and on the left, where Diego's veterans were gaining ground and inflicting heavy casualties on Renzo's brigade. The latter was soon shaken, also losing a battery.
 The final stages of the battle: we had two shaken brigades, but no artillery or cavalry losses. The Russians had also 2 shaken brigades, but they lost 2 batteries and the Cuirassiers. Furthermore, Diego penetrated into the Russian right flank with infantry and cavalry in command, so we got the final points needed to win the game. In all, we played about 3 hours with one player (Luigi) not knowing the rules at all.
The tradition of these big battles at Luigi's is that Mrs. Rita prepares a fantastic meal that we really enjoyed (left to right Luigi, Stefano, me, Fausto, Diego, Renzo and Federico).
After lunch, we went back to the gaming room (actually a dependance in the garden) and played a couple of turns more, "just to see what happens". I must say we confirmed the result achieved in the *real* game by inflicting even more losses to the Russians. Before going home, a last picture with the whole bunch...
"Le Aquile" club should  - after 15 years playing only Shako - decide in the next week or so to change to Drums & Shakos Large Battle. And I would be honoured if they will.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A different kind of batrep

A very nice mini clip made by Simone with pics from our last DSLB Big Battle.
Captions are in italian but I guess you can understand them.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

DSLB Big Battle

A great day of gaming yesterday in my living room, for the occasion transformed into a game room to accomodate a 300x180 cm table. We played a fictional scenario (French vs. Russian - 1812) that I designed to test some rules to play DBLS in multiplayer. Diego and Federico came from Rome; Marco, Stefano and Simone from Arezzo, Filippo from Florence and Narciso from Canino (even if he came quite late and could not take part actively in the battle). Andrea and Massimo (who were playing another game in the *original* gaming room) acted ad judges for the dice rolls of both the Commanders in Chief.
On the Russian side, Filippo was the Corps Commander and the 3 Division Leaders were Stefano, Simone and Marco. On the French side, I was the Corps Commander and took the 1st division (due to the absence of Narciso) and Diego and Federico commanded the 2nd and 3rd divisions.
The preparation of the table, Armies and game aids took more than a day as I wanted to identify all units with labels (below).

We started at 10.15 AM, and the Battle was over at about 5.30 PM (9 turns) with a clear Russian victory.

My battle plan before the battle - after watching the deployment - is in the above picture: while I (I Division) tried to take the hill in front of me (hills are orange), Diego had to split his II division: one brigade had to advance to the centre of the battlefield, while the second had to support the main attack by Federico's III division on our left. The intent was to crush the Russian division on their right, and roll the Russian front from the west, while we kept the other two Russian divisions pinned in the center and right of our deployment. Almost all my calculation went wrong - as we'll see  - and we suffered a bad defeat in the end.
The opening moves of my Division: my columns try to reach the hill, but the Russian III Division commander (Simone) is quicker and reaches the crest with a couple of battalions and his Cossacks. Marco (top center) Commander of the Russian II Division - is moving his troops.
The other side of the table, with Federico (left) watching his III French division fast moving towards the enemy, and Stefano (Russian Commander of the I Division) reading and order just received from his CinC (Filippo). The plastic glasses you see on the table were the containers of the Command dice that each turn the players received from the CinC according to the distance from the Corps Commander.
 Federico's advance continues, and he's now ready to attack the hill. My advance - on the contrary - is stalled.
 In the centre, Diego's French II Division is engaged by an unsupported attack of a Jaeger battalion, near the St. Nikolaj church.
 The attack is successful and a battery is destroyed, but the Jaeger battalion is also routed by Diego's counterattack.
 A view of the battlefield from a lower position (I love this kind of pics).
 The situation on our right at about mid-game (before pizza came for lunch :). My opponent Simone controls the hill, and he's ready to launch his attack. I took position behind the stream (lichens indicates where fording was not possible).
 Towards the end of the battle, the situation on my side was compromised: I tried to retreat and form a second line with the remnants of my (Shaken) division. The Cavalry I received from the Reserve (bottom centre) was too little too late...
Our entire line is about to collapse: Diego's center division is broken, and Federico- notwithstanding a foothold on the hill he had to take - has no more resources to press on. His Division is also shaken.
The final turn on our left: Federico gaines the crest of the hill with 2 battalions, but everywhere else the French Corps is in pieces. With a final score of 51-16 victory points the Russian side gains a smashing victory.
About 120 units (Infantry battalions, Cavalry regiments and Artillery batteries) took part in the battle, for a total of about 1200 figures. The multiplayer rules and Command system worked very well according to all the participants, and we had a clear result at the end.
A great day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

DSLB Big Battle tomorrow

As I did last year around december, I'm organizing for tomorrow a DSLB Big Battle.
10 players will meet in my game room to play a fictional 1812 battle between a French and a Russian Corps, both made of 3 Divisions.
This time I'll set up a 300 x 180 cm table (about 9x6): the biggest ever in my flat (I had to move some furniture to get space). As last year, players will come from Florence, Arezzo, Canino and Rome and I designed some new rules to play in multyplayer with a CinC and 3 subordinate leaders per side.
If these rules will be "approved" by the group, we could release them soon.
In he pic above, last year's session with 11 players and 3 tables (east, centre and west). This year we'll have a single, big table and a single Corps made of 3 divisions. The main problem of last year's battle was that the CinC had little *power* over his subordinates. This year - with the new rules I wrote - subordinates will DEPEND on the choices made by their CinC to play, so I hope it will work better. For the rest, it's just standard DSLB. Massimo and Andrea will not play but will assist me in taking pictures, so I hope to post a batrep soon after the battle.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Black Powder in Rome (again)

To properly close 2013, I went to Rome on December, Saturday 28th to play a BP game with Diego.
He prepared a scenario set in Spain, where a strong British force attacked a Fench rear-guard with the aim of breaking the French siege of a nearby town.
 While Andrea, Massimo, Paolo and Diego2 played with hundred of Zombies, I chose to play the French side, and tried to organize a defense against the overwhelming British force. I must say I succeeded and, even if I lost the village, I delayed the Lobsters advance for a long time.
It was as usual a nice wargaming day (we also tried a new Greek restaurant for lunch) in the ARSM club in Rome.