Sunday, July 29, 2012

HISTORICON 2012 (Part 2 - Borodino)

The last two years of my painting a total of roughly 950 figures finally paid off at Historicon on Friday.  Starting at 10 in the morning Peter, Joe and I started setting up the Borodino battlefield even though the game wasn’t scheduled to start until 7:00.  The table was 30 feet long and 5 feet wide, with ‘wings’ on each end that were 7.5 feet wide.  It turns out starting set up early was a very good thing, since it took the 3 of us over 4 hours to set up the table.  This was the first time we had set up the whole table, and in our previous partial table playtest we had 5 Hofkriegsrats (Peter, Joe, Greg, Roger and myself).  All 5 of us contributed figures to the battle, and its really a shame that Greg and Roger were unable to make it to the convention to see the results of their painting efforts.   

The game started promptly at 7:00 PM, we ran through sequence decks around 12:30 AM and called the game with the advantage to the French.  I thought the game started out very well, although it bogged down a little around 10:00.  All in all I thought it played well given the size and the fact that we were never able to set up the entire table until we were at the convention.  I still don’t think we got the Borodino village sector quite right and probably should have made some more adjustments to Eugene’s Corps. 

If you want a more detailed review with a different set of photos check out Peter’s Blunders on the Danube blog.  But enough words, on to the pictures.

Borodino, looking down the Russian base line from the Russian right flank (Borodino Village  flank)

A wider view, Russians on the left, French on the Right.  That's part of Eugene's massive Corps on the lower right and Borodino village in the lower center, Utitza is at the far end of the table.

The Great Redoubt can just be seen in the lower left, the hill with the Fleches in the middle of the photo and in the upper right you can just make out the village of Utitza.

The Borodino village sector again.  The Russian Cavalry (bottom of photo) faces off against the hordes of Eugene's Corps.

This is the Utitza sector.  Russian Cossacks on the lower right, Opolchenie in the woods, and line infantry and Grenadiers in the right center.  To the left is Poniatowski's 5th Corps.  The lonely looking building is the village of Utitza.

Opolchenie in the woods at the top of the photo, Russian 3rd Division on the left, and 1st Grenadier Division on the center right.  You can't see it in this photo but Joe had painted up a stand of Russian Orthodox Priest, complete with Icon, to inspire the Opolchenie to greatness.

Another view of Poniatowski's 5th Corps.

Looking from the Fleches towards the deployed French.  The Russian position is looking a little lightly defended.

Another view of the Fleches, this time from the French side.  The Russian side is looking rather sparsely defended.  When do those reserves get here?

French line from the center of the battlefield looking towards the Borodino Village sector.

View of the Great Redoubt.

Center of the Russian line, with the Fleches and their lone supporting Division.

Action at the Fleches.  The French turned a couple of move cards very quickly and managed to get multiple move segments on most of them.  Here the French have reached the base of the hill the Fleches are on, and the French Cavalry is making a bee line to the exposed flank of the Russian 3rd Division just visible at the lower right.

More French units surge towards the Fleches.  

Eugene's massive Corps moves forward and contacts the Russian Guard Jagers defending the village of Borodino.  They would rather quickly expel the outnumbered Jagers.

Poniatowski's Poles have taken Utitiza while one Division rapidly advances to engage the understrength 3rd Division.  In the upper left you can see the French Cavalry angling in on the exposed Russians who couldn't seem to move the entire game.

More French units contact the hill the Fleches are on while part of the French Cavalry Corps peels off from their advance on the Russian 3rd Division to exploit the thinly held Russian center.  Where are those #$%# Russian Reserves??

The Great Redoubt in the bottom and the Fleches at the top.  The French forces just keep coming.

French forces have stormed the hill and are in the trench in front of the Great Redoubt.  

Back to the Utitiza flank.  French Cavalry has contacted the sole Russian Battery and the Polish Infantry is mixing it up with the Russian Infantry.  The Russian Infantry Crops very quickly ran out of morale points on this flank.

The Great Redoubt action heats up.

Borodino village, looking from the Russian side towards the never ending masses of Eugene's Corps. At this point, the Russian Guard Jagers still hold the two town sectors on their side of the river, but that will be changing soon.  At the bottom you can just make out units of the Russian 4th Corps ready to deny to defend the bridge.

Another view of the action at Borodino village from the French side.

Action at the Fleches.  French Cavalry mixes it up with the Russian 27th Division next to the hill. The Russian 2nd Army of the West Reserver artillery has deployed between the woods and the Fleches hill, and has a lot of French hose flesh to its front.  While at the top of the photo the French are contesting the Fleches.

A view of the Great Redoubt.  The French 3rd Corps continues to put pressure on the Southern portion of the redoubt.  While the Russian artillery has blasted apart the French tasked with assaulting the Northern portion of the redoubt. 

Action at the Fleches.  The Russians have been pushed back from some of their defensive works, but the French have not yet been able to occupy them while the Russian's are marching fresh units up to occupy the empty defenses.

Looking down the length of the battlefield from the Utitiza (Southern) flank. 

The Fleches again.  There appears to be more French than Russian's on the hill at this point.  

The Great Redoubt again.  The French are still swarming all over the Southern half of the redoubt hill.

Back at the Northern (Borodino village) sector.  The French have taken Borodino village, but Russian reinforcements can be seen crossing the bridge.  Russian cavalry has crossed the stream and is threatening the gap created by the effective Russian artillery fire.  Unknown to the Russians though on the next move card the Vistula Legion will deploy directly in front of them.

It was shortly after this that we called the game a French advantage.  The French still had a considerable number of reserve units that hadn't yet been deployed and as I recall all of the Russian reserve units had been deployed.  Hopefully I got most of the above correct, by the time the game ended I was really dragging.  By the time we had everything packed up and loaded it was about 2 in the morning.

I hope all of the players had good time.  I enjoyed the game and as mentioned earlier I was overall happy with how it played.  I want to extend my personal thanks to Peter, Joe, Roger, and Greg without them this game never would have happened, and a special thanks to Peter's voice, because mine never would have been heard over the noise in the room.

Now, what to do for 2013?


  1. Great photos and description Barry. I am not surprised that you were weary at the end of it all. It's such a slog-fest of a battle and such games are quite taxing; while ultimately enjoyable and, of course, 'just' games! You are all to be congratulated on such a superb effort—from all of the planning to the execution! I look forward to seeing the planning for 2013!

    1. Thanks James. While I’m not positive what we’ll do for 2013, I’m pretty sure it will be smaller and more realistic. Large games are fun, but you need a couple years between them to recharge.

  2. You got some great photos, Barry; especially some of the long views - much better than mine. It *was* exhasting, but I had a blast - I could have played another hourr or two (but paid for it afterward!)


  3. Thanks Peter. The Czarina did a lot of research before she purchased the camera, (a Christmas gift to me a couple of years ago). The game was a lot of fun. I wanted to keep playing, but my eyes kept getting heavier and heavier.

    Now, time to start planning Dresden?

  4. But of course! I am on vacation next week, and plan on doing a lot of the work for that then.