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Thirty Years War (first edition)» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Nordlingen: Why Don't the Imperialists Just Go South? rss

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Stephen
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I should start by saying that I'm mostly a euro player, but I'm interested in trying some relatively light wargames. I enjoyed my play of this, but I found it very imbalanced and I'm looking for the thoughts of more experienced wargamers.

It seems like the way the battle is 'supposed' to go is that the Swedes attack the southern hill where the Imperial artillery is defended by only a few units (this being the only way they can use their first-turn attack bonus), and possibly send some cavalry in this direction, presumably around the western side of the large area of waste. They might send some units along the north edge of the map but probably don't want a general advance because that would block their own artillery. The Imperials must reinforce the southern hill, but are apparently supposed to balance this with advancing on the main Swedish line, which is more viable for them because their artillery is on hills and can shoot over their own units to some extent.

As the Imperial player, though, I couldn't see any reason to attack the Swedish main force. Instead I moved a lot of my units south to fight the southern force and hold off the reinforcing cavalry, while the rest of my army withdrew to the hills holding my other artillery. The southern battle took some time because the Swedes were on the hill when my reinforcements got there (and because even when disordered some of those units are really strong), but once all the Swedish units were routed (much of which was accomplished by point-blank cannon fire) I was able to make it impossible for them to rally and was slowly mopping them up. Meanwhile in the north the bulk of the Swedes had no choice but to walk through my artillery and attack my defended positions.

It seems like unless the Swedes are extremely lucky in the first round, their southern forces will be broken, and once they're wiped out the Swedes are most of the way to having their cavalry demoralized. The game is probably much more balanced it the Imperial player is determined to make a frontal attack, possibly because they want to mimic the actual battle. Probably I'm expecting too much from a 40-year-old wargame, but I'm curious if there's just something I'm missing.
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Tim A
United Kingdom
Wellingborough
Northamptonshire
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It should be possible for the Swedes to clear the southern hill and establish themselves strongly along the ridge lines before the Imperialists can arrive in strength. If at the same time the Swedes move sufficient reinforcements to the south, with cavalry skirting to the south of the terrain and infantry struggling through it, they should be able to construct a tough line stretching across most of the map.

The onus of attack is then on the Imperialists, whose favoured option is probably attacking the Swedish main force and guns in the open, which are by now rather thinned out. Due to point blank fire from the guns, this is a risky proposition, and will lead to a desperate melee.

Despite initial appearances, I've found the game pretty balanced. Note: all my games have been opposed between highly experienced players.
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Mauro Bertolino
Italy
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I arrive late to this discussion, sorry.

Anyway, if you read the "Sweden fights on" rules (game by GMT), you discover that the historical battle was very different from the typical Nordlingen quad battle.

Historically, the main Swede army was near the Schonfeld hill, and attacked the main Imperial army which was located on those hills, in order not to let them reinforce the Allbuch position. If the Swedes did not do so, the Imperialists could do what you are suggesting: shift their main force towards the Allbuch and defeat peacemeal the Horn forces.

The typical way to play the game derives from and old wargame book, by Carl Palmer, in which he presented a turn by turn replay of the battle completely mistaken: in his replay, the Imperialists attacked the Horn forces and in the same time they attacked the main Swede army. Why should they do so is a mistery. If the main Swede army doesn't attack, the best Imperial solution is what you suggest: they must shift their forces towards the Allbuch and destroy Horn.

Historically, the attack on the Allbuch position went badly, and so went the Schonfeld attack, and the Swedes lost the battle. But a lot depends on the attack on the Allbuch.
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