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Subject: The SPI Quad Challenge, Vol. 5: Lützen (Thirty Years War) rss

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J.L. Robert
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Setup

Just by an initial review of the rules, it looks like this system will result in chaotic, bloody affairs. No locking ZOC’s is going to be something for me to wrap my brain around. Does it result in units pursuing disorganized units? Or will freed-up units move to protect their vulnerable allies?

Using the historical designations, here is the game’s initial setup:



Turn 1

The initial Swedish artillery barrage is ineffectual. A defensive line is formed behind the ditch, while the cavalry north of the stream takes the bridge and disrupts Isolano’s cavalry troop.

With clear weather, the Imperialist forces respond by crashing into the Swedish wings after artillery disrupts a pair of Swedish units (Tiesenhausen and von Anhalt). While Westfalen and Leutersheim combine to disrupt a third (Courville), attacks in the north prove disastrous as Piccolomini and Haagen are both disrupted on the attack.



Turn2

With both sides’ artillery unable to be utilized with armies advancing, the game will move that much faster. Swedish cavalry swarm over the stream to engage the Imperialist wing. Haagen falls to a 3-1 attack as von Hatzfeld and Lohe both become disrupted. But Stalhandske also disrupts in an Dx result. In the south, King Gustavus leads an assault on Westfalen, disrupting him, while Weimar leads an attack that disrupts Leutersheim. Knijphausen prepares to rally the disrupted cavalry that falls back from the line.

The fog rolls in, and the disrupted Imperialist units withdraw, other units filling in the ranks to maintain a line of battle. A Dx result eliminates Stalhandske, but disrupts yet another Imeperialist cavalry unit (Corpes this time).



Turn 3

Under the cover of the fog, most of the disrupted Swedish cavalry units rally. North of the stream, Swedish units close in on their disrupted Imperial opponents. Corpes is eliminated and Isolano is disrupted. This attacking wing presses forward, threatening the Imperialist baggage train.

The shaken Imperialist cavalry continues their orderly withdrawal westward while additional cavalry forces replace them, attacking the Swedes from their rear. Goldstein is taken out of battle, but even more Imperialist troops become at risk, as Holck and Alt-Trcka are both disrupted in Dx results.



Turn 4

At last in range and in good weather, the Swedes attack! Alt-Trcka is finished off in the north, while Des Fours is crushed in the south. However, most of the attacks in the center (against the Imperialist infantry) wind up with no results.

The disrupted Imperialist cavalry in the north rally and quickly return to the fight to finish off the disrupted Swedish horsemen. But the disrupted forces in the south are not as fortunate; their numbers are beginning to be worrisome. Counterattacks eliminate Brandenstein’s Cavalry and Bose’s Infantry (the first infantry casualty of the game). But a series of other attacks leaves the Imperialist lines critically fragile.



Turn 5

Swedish forces break through the Imperialist lines, capturing their first artillery piece. Imperialist pieces fall wholesale, including the loss of Wallenstein!

The Imperialist cavalry reinforcements arrive and quickly engage the Swedish forces threatening the supply train. But they, too become disrupted due to Dx results in combat. The fight is still close as the map devolves into several pitched battles.



Turn 6

The Swedish forces now move to pursue routing Imperialist forces, and the infantry casualties move dangerously close to Demoralization levels.

Fog rolls back in, but the Imperialists are forced to engage at half strength, if only to try to exact some damage on disrupted Swedish forces.



Turn 7

The Swedes press forward, approaching the Imperialist artillery line. Little opposition separates them from dominating the battlefield.

The Imperialists respond with a wicked artillery barrage, disrupting several Swedish troops at close range. Their cavalry begins to push the Swedish forces in the north off the battlefield, eliminating Stahlhandske in the process.



Turn 8

Swedes rally under Gustavus Adolphus, and resume their attacks. While many of their attacks are ineffectual, two Imperialist infantry units are eliminated, DEMORALIZING their army.

Distrupted Imperialist forces withdraw from their engaged positions in the center, attempting to rally around the supply train. But the cavalry forces continue to mop up the Swedish cavalry in the north. Their artillery is all but conceded.



Turn 9

The Imperialists begin to be swept from the battlefield as Swedish formations continue to rally under their king and return to battle.

In return, the remnants of Wallenstein’s army lash out where they can. Most of the Swedish cavalry in the north is finally eliminated, and a desperation attack by Pappenheim succeeds in eliminating Weimar.



Turn 10

Pappenheim’s glory is short-lived, as artillery disrupts the infantry unit he commands, then is eliminated by the combined forces of Gula and Blaa. The king races back to help defend the rear lines from the surviving Imperialist cavalry.

A couple of cavalry units rally for the Imperialists, who pursue Swedish infantry in desperate hopes of demoralizing the army. While they do eliminate 1 infantry troop (leaving Swedish morale at critical levels), they are themselves disrupted from a Dx result.



Turn 11

Swedish cavalry charges wipe out most of the supply train’s defenders, and high odds attacks eliminate most of the other Imperialist forces south of the stream.

The Imperialist cavalry rushes south and finds Gustavus Adolphus exposed. Throwing all of their force into a single 2-1 attack, they get a Dx result, eliminating the Swedish king! The die roll does not affect the Swedish army, which now becomed DEMORALIZED.



Turn 12

Despite demoralization, the Swedes press onward, pursuing the now-demoralized Imperialist cavalry.

However, fog rolls in, allowing the surviving units to withdraw back across the stream.



Turn 13

In spite of the fog, Swedish troops continue to pursue and eliminate straggling Imperialist forces.

The disrupted Imperialst cavalry fails to rally, so they continue their retreat. Their reinforcements rush in to attack the Swedish pursuit forces.



Turn 14

The artillery on the heights zeroes in on the Imperialist reinforcements, disrupting a pair of them, which may be enough to allow the troops on the far west of the map to escape.

The final Imperialist turn allows them to take one last Swedish unit, as the remaining forces being to move back westward.




The final tallies:

SWEDEN: 126 Imperialist SP eliminated + 47 Demoralized Infantry SP eliminated + 6 captured artillery + Collerado, Pappenheim and Wallenstein eliminated + supply train captured = 126 + 94 + 30 + 45 + 10 = 305 VP.

IMPERIALISTS: 113 Swedish SP eliminated + 7 Demoralized Infantry SP eliminated + Stahlhandske, Weimar and Gustavus Adolphus eliminated = 113 + 14 + 65 = 192 VP.

A resounding final victory for King Gustavus Adolphus!


Analysis

I think I was too cautious at the start of the game. I soon determined that the Swedish advantage in numbers had to be used to gain a local advantage somewhere, while the Imperialists needed to refuse battle for as long as possible. But once the battle was joined, the Swedes needed to be relentless and the Imperialists had to counter-punch as much and as quickly as possible until their strength was depleted by demoralization.

I’m looking forward to getting the other games played from this quad set.
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G. H.
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My recent game with Sertorius21 played out very differently... I was pretty aggressive as the Imperial army. I will post this game in the 2nd edition 30 Years War quad section.
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