Friday, July 15, 2011

Battle of Hervir Enconada Part I - Empire Napoleonics

Six brave players gathered to play Empire (V) at the specific request of the three total newbies to the period and rules.  Two experienced and one new player controlled the British and Portuguese while one experienced and two new players took the French and Westphalians.  (Yes, I know they didn't fight at corps strength in the Peninsula but it's a fantasy game anyway.)

My idea of introducing new players to the game is to have each player control a division with no cavalry or "grand tactical" movement, just get to the playing.  As usual though that went by the wayside as we had the French show up with such an army as to go table edge to table edge.  They didn't even have room for the 200 cavalry!

Anyway, after many delays because of schedules or miscommunication, we started the action.  Here are the initial looks at the table.  Clicking the images enlarge them.

The French and Westphalians (foreground) are ready to step off.  The Portuguese (foreground) and British (stretching off camera) await in quiet ranks.  The table is 9x6' so about 30" separate the two armies.

The Westphalians approach the Portuguese on the right.

On the French left they reach engagement range.
Mixed Order is the French tactic of the day.
Action is fierce and quick.  The French wasted little time attempting to bring mass into play during close action attempts.

Daunting numbers make a French victory look inevitable.

Here some Spanish guerrillas slow the renowned "Terrible 57th."  They fell back in good order after the first charge.
A break through as broken Brits stream back, guns overrun.

Fortunately for the Allies, the French artillery was largely ineffective at first.  Only later did they begin to exact a toll among the defenders.  A see-saw battle began with the French bravely charging again and again, the defenders knocking many down and grudgingly yielding ground.

Allies in depth with room between lines for force-backs.
The "Ogre" looks on, indifferent to the losses.
 It seemed like the first French rush was running out of steam.  Although losses had been hard among the out-numbered allies, the counter-attacks were breaking many of the exhausted French.  The allied second line had been committed, now it was the time for the French second.  And always, off table, awaited French cavalry reserve.

Some French recoil, but others sit on captured guns.

The guerrillas are gone, but two battalions in line await the 57th now.
Desperate hammer and tongs fighting on the French left.

 With the new players needing a lot of coaching and runs through the charts the game started slowly.  We will continue it this coming Wednesday.  It is also way too large a game for an introduction to Empire so I should have exerted more control as the host.  Yet, excitement runs high as the result is poised on the proverbial knife edge.  A final report will follow.

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