Monday, May 14, 2012

Borodino play test 2

Two weekends ago (May 6th) the we ran a play test of the Southern flank of our Borodino scenario that we'll be running a Historicon.  Peter who was kind enough to host has posted a write up of the action at Blunder's on the Danube.

Below are some photos of the action around the village of Utitza which was my command.  The main action of the battle occurred around the Fleches where the French swarmed over the hill.

Overall it was a good play test.  One major take away for us is we need to be sure to 'suggest' the respective Army commanders deploy their reserves early.  The 2 artillery batteries that were allocated to the Utitiza sector (my wing) on the second move card never did get into action.  Of course several one move segment rolls didn't help much either.

Russian set up, the 2nd Grenadier Division with its 2 artillery batteries are deployed on the hill among the Fleches. In the foreground is the artillery reserve of the 2nd Army of the West waiting to be deployed.

Greg H. conducting the obligatory pre-game photos.  On the right is Davout's First Corps, on the left  hill top the Russian 2nd Grenadier Division. 

Another shot of the Russian Grenadiers.  Yes, I'm biased, after all I'm the Czar.

The Russian 3rd Division initial deployment.  In the right back ground you can see some of the Cossacks waiting to pounce and on the left you can see the mass of Opolochenie (militia) deployed in the woods.

A closer shot of the mass of Opolochenie.  We had 11 units on the table, we need 12 by Historicon.

The Russian 27th Division with the 2nd Cuirassier Division await the French onslaught.

The Opolochenie and Cossacks start their moves.  At the top left of the photo you can see the French 1st Cavalry.

Another view of the Opolochenie surging forward to secure the North flank of the 3rd Division.  I had rolled uncharacteristically well on my first move card which allowed the 1st Grenadier Division to occupy the village of Utitiza and the hill (mound) to the South of the village on a triple magic move roll.  The 3rd Division rolled a double move which allowed me to support the Grenadiers but left me hanging out there being the only Russian command advancing until the 2nd Cuirassier decimated the French Cavalry - (at least that's how I remember it, I'm sure that's how Kutusov wrote it in his dispatch to the Czar.)

The table about half way through the battle.  At the bottom of the photo the Russian 1st Grenadiers occupy the hill and aline running into the village and are facing off with the Duchy of Warsaw Infantry.  The Cossacks wait just behind them to pounce on the unloaded Polish artillery.  Alas, the cards and dice were not kind and they weren't able to charge to glory.  
The Mass of Opolochenie can be on line with 3rd Division North of the Village of Utitiza.  Beyond them is the Cavalry action where the Russian Cuirassier had a good outing.
Beyond that, the hill with Fleches looks like an Island surrounded by a sea of French.  I think just about every move roll that Davout (James) had was triple move - maybe a few 2 segment moves - and he rolled even which let's you do 'fun' things in Field of Battle.  Of course in the Historicon game there'll be another 14 or so feet of table beyond the hill which may or may not allow such sweeping maneuvers.

Not the best photo I've ever taken but it shows the hill with the Fleches looking South towards the Village of Utitza.  There are still some Russian Grenadiers on the hill at this point but the French are behind the hill, on the hill, and to the front of the hill.  The action here got even more chaotic as a battery or two of the reserve artillery came on the table behind the hill and Joe began to withdraw off the hill.

All in all it was a good battle, good time, with a great bunch of players.  If any readers play as either Kutusov, Bagration, de Tolly or Napoleon at Historicon if one of the H.K. Rats suggest you think about deploying your reserves early on, just remember it could take a lot of move segments to bring the reserves on where you want them (hint, hint)

A painting update will follow soon.  So much lead, so little time.


  1. Nice photos from a great game!

  2. Some different pics and perspectives from my report, and definitely a fun game. Even with 3 players a side, it is remarkable how wrapped up you get in what is going on with your command and the immediate foot or two to either side; anything else becomes pretty blurry in your memory/consciousness. Imagine what it will be like with up to seven players a side... and that's without any smoke, or risk to life or limb. It's remarkable we get anything useful at all out of eyewitness accounts of real battles!

  3. Thanks for posting some more photos and description of a great looking game, Barry.

  4. Very nice report, and great photos!
    I love your opolchenies, got only a few pikes in my army.
    I'll come back, and thanks to James for the link!

  5. Thank you all for the kind words.

    Phil, the Opolochenie do look impressive (until you look at their combat die). In the game they actual inflicted causalities on the Polish Infantry. I can't express my thanks enough to the rest of the group for their willingness to paint up troops that they'll probably never use again.

    Peter, I wasn't watching the action on the Northern flank as closely as I should have, but every time I looked down there the French mass was closer to, then on, then behind the hill. Since it took me a week to write this up time may have made my memory fuzzy. Of course, as all good Russian generals know, the best way to a long life is to tell the Czar what he wants to hear.

    At Historicon we'll have to all make an effort to 'wander the table' to make sure we capture all of the action.