This week saw a return to Maurice, which is probably the most consistently played set of rules in our increasingly varied wargaming club. We played a doubles game with each side choosing 60 pts ... or was it 80? I can't remember (work has been enormous lately as have the scotch's consumed before this post.) One side was a Russian and French alliance whilst the other was Prussian.
We fudged the rules of scenario or mission and deployment which allowed one side to completely out deploy the other through gaining a look at where their opponent was going. This dictated the game as for much of the game the out-deployed side strove to move its forces to respond to the direct assault of the side that deployed second. The French and Russians were able to combine an assault on the Prussian left. As seen in the top picture the Prussian right was caught completely out of position.
Above the Prussian right, it was a struggle to involve them in the battle. Maurice is always about he short term versus the long term game. New players will push only a segment of their army up and spend all available cards to win a section of the battle. More experienced players will learn when to spend cards on bringing up other sections for a more combined assault. These players will generally win as they did on this occasion.
The Prussian right threw forward their cavalry to force a reaction on this side which stopped further commands for their forward attack on the other side. The French had flung their cavalry so far forward they floundered with a single card left for many turns.
Above shows the snuffing out of the Russian infantry. Four brigades marched into the centre and none returned. Monsters by Infantry from both left and right of the Prussian army and also cavalry from the right their units crumbled. This is another example of an initial advantage of multiple cards being played to support a localised attack leading to a long term loss.
The Prussian reserve columns are thrown in. Conscripts match Russian guards with several National advantages. Another misconception as more units that move well will generally beat elite units.
The Prussian left, initially out generalled, moves to built a solid defence against the French cavalry assault. Flanking attacks were not possible and the French were forced to charge an aligned frontage on troops and rely on dice rather than any other advantage.
The French reserve were forced forward against the Prussian right cavalry threat. This soaked up cards and phased that could have been better used elsewhere. The result was indecisive for both sides.
Above shows nearish the end. The Russian infantry attack in the centre was unsupported and completely destroyed. The French flanking attempt was fast initially then froze to allow a Prussian preparedness that meant cavalry attacked well prepared forces frontally and did not sweep the enemy away. Therefore the victory went to Prussia as their opponents - despite out-deploying their enemy - launched two strong single attacks that were not combined and allowed a counter attack. Too many national advantages fundamentally weakened the Russians especially in regard to the morale score while the French spread their forces too thinly and relied on favourable dice.
As always with Maurice, husbandry of the number of cards so that each force might be able to launch a sustained and combined attack is key. It takes a while to realise that good cards come and go (as do sixes and ones rolled) but a good plan that is well timed and organised, will usually win.
This makes Maurice a prince among other wargaming systems. Maurice by Mustafa is undoubtedly out favourite club system.