Spring sprung VERY early in god's country this year: no ice on Lake Harriet - early March!
setting up...yes, that is an actual rock from Gibraltar in the foreground
We continued our renewed love affair with EiA on a FABULOUS early spring day in March. This was our 21st session since restarting our EiA group 2 1/2 years ago (after an absence of 2 decades having then served as apprentices under EiA Jedi Master Don Peterson)
Nathan at First Minnesota Historical Wargame Society indicated he had asked Santa for a copy of EiA for X-MAS. Apparently, he was not on the naughty list in 2015. His wish was granted. Subsequently, he got bit by the EiA bug. He knocked on our EiA nest door around 11AM and gave the secret password. Granted admittance, he was served a Bloodie and consequently observed our antics Saturday.
It's always great to still witness recruits enlisting to play this 30+ year old EPIC design.
And speaking of new blood, we are ALWAYS on the look out for integrated econ/poly/mil wargames. Two great mates at the 1st MN, Gordo & Drew, have been raving about Polis: Fight for the Hegemony for a few years now. Last week Sir Patrick dungeon mastered the game for me. FABULOUS game. Got bit real bad and have played a dozen games since. A whip smart design. Very PoGish/BKN/Go-ish. Will try to get an AAR up regarding that game sooner than later.
I did an analysis of integrated poly/mil/econ multiplayer games; will have to do that with favorite 2 player games these days. Will definitely include Polis. P.S. You can play it online at Board Game Arena or Yucata.
Added a few titles to the image recently
Ok, back to EiA...Bloodies prepared...while we had a few last minute cancellations this Saturday, it wasn't a real problem - since, we're in the middle of the 3rd Coalition War Cage Match: the Coalition is unified! So, we decided to push on.
OCT: Charge that Mountain, Boys! ...3.29 Morale...1, thin SP
Oct: Frenchman looks on...
...while Kutuzov orders an assault
So, with Rabid Bob's last session COMPLETE Austrian debacle on the southern front, the combined RU/BR/AU Army Group north was left alone facing NAP and gang (a skeleton French force garrisoned Vienna). While most of the RU army and a good chunk of the Brits where fighting in Turkey and in North Africa/Spain, the creme of Kutuzov's boys, a few brits and 4 Austrian INF corps pondered their options.
4 French corps under Napoleon were reachable in northern Austria; they were fat, dumb and happy occupying a mountain space. Kutuzov decided on a surprise strike before the French could concentrate (the frenchman would later remark, "I successfully baited you").
So, roughly 100 factors on each side faced off. When chits were revealed, Kutuzov had attacked with an outflank (in the mountains - going for a VEGAS!), while NAP defended with Escalated Assault. While figuring morale, Corey the Turk remarked, "Your morale Kutuzov is 3.298...so 3.3....if you would have left 1 SP, it would be 3.4".
First, the artillery corps exchanged blows. Then, battle die were tossed. The Russian whiffed, while NAP rolled a 6+1...for a 7. OUCH!
As the Russian was about to toss the critical outflank roll (in fact, he had even went to the kitchen cabinet to select a lucky glass to toss it in), Corey, said, "Hold up, big boy - I think the French just broke you!" Much shouts of laughter, while the life drained from Kutuzov's face. Sure enough, the French had inflicted 3.3 morale loss. It was the first time, in a LONG time, any of us could recall a big coalition army breaking on the first round of combat.
Luckily for Kutuzov and the Coalition, the French managed to "only" inflict 6 pursuit losses: painful, but, not deadly. Total losses were around 23 SPs vs 3 for the French - a spank, but, not a real pranging.
The turn ended with the Turks being chased out of Astrakhan by a few rampaging Russian corps. And, in Spain, 4 spanish corps approached 2 swedish corps manning the walls of Lisbon. In North Africa, The Brits snagged Algeria and positioned its joint RU/BR expeditionary force to snipe Spanish MED properties.
November began with 110 Turkish SPs attacking the Coalition's Army Group East of 80 SPs. For the 4th time in a row, Corey out selected Wellington & the Russian (despite this, no Turkish victories) : PROBE vs OUTFLANK.
The critical decision occurred in the 3rd round, when Wellington decided to commit the Prussian guard for one additional pip on the die in an attempt to break the Turks. When the die stopped spinning, the Turks had been broken (the additional pip was the difference!). Turks inflicted 20+ SP losses, while suffering 15 SP losses. More importantly, the BR/PU/RU all received 3 political points for the victory, while Turkey fell into the instability zone.
In the MED, BR/RU corps landed and took Sardina, Corsica and Naples.
In the West, about 120 French factors caught Kutuzov's Army Group North 80+ SPs. Chits were selected. France went, again, with a PROBE, while, the madman Kutuzov had risked yet another WITHDRAW. After the usual recriminations in the evil empire camp ("Why the hell, NAP, do you select PROBE, given your advantage at the moment?"), Kutuzov slithered away to the safety of the Baltic coast.
DEC 1808: And now, the end is near; And so I face the final curtain...Last Stand of the Vaunted 1st Russian Corps...5.1 MORALE!
Dec East: RU/BR/PR surround Turkish horde and move forward!
December began with Wellington & team seeing an opportunity to surround the Turkish horde and cut off its supply. Russians corps and cossacks took cities and enemy depots. Turkey was left with no options but to forage in place; which it did - hey, they're just feudals and it was December. Despite some tough forage rolls, the Turks escaped with minimal losses. However, their position was now disadvantageous. The Coalition was really shadow dancing, given the pressure they were feeling in the West.
Dec: Looking east from Spain...a can of Surly beer in the foreground
Spanish forces finally entered the outskirts of Lisbon. They attempted to break into the city, but failed miserably. We now turn to the main act of December 1808: showdown at Stetin...
After some diplomatic discussions between the Turk and the Russian - and endless browbeating by NAP of the Turk , a fateful decision was announced: "The Turk will be stack splitting at Stetin". Despite previous Coalition attempts at urging Rabid Bob to "DECLARE on the Turks, dammit, when you fight the French. Otherwise, the Turk could stack split us"., Austria had declined. And, now, the price would be paid.
Sadly, the Coalition force was split in two: 60 Austrians fled south, leaving about 60 BR/RU factors (brits had been able to reinforce in DEC) to face 125 FR SPs. After the Russian bitch'd & moan'd about this unfortunate development, it was time to select chits. Kutuzov thought long and hard...try withdrawal yet again?....or...make a stand that would echo in EiA eternity? Chits were revealed.....NO PROBE this time, NAP went with ESCALATED ASSAULT. "Finally", commented one of his lackeys.
"What say you, Kutuzov?"
"DEFEND!" was the answer.
So, on came the French orcs. On and on. The legendary BR/RU defenders received a +1.0 bonus for their balls of steel selection, resulting in 5.1 MORALE! The French rolled miserably (I think three "1s"!).
Kutuzov committed the guard in the 3rd round and was rewarded with a Pyrrhic victory: only 20+ Coalition factors emerged (guard, cav and a very thin RED line - the artillery was pushed into the Baltic sea to prevent its capture). However, France zoomed down the Political Display (loss of 5 political points!), while both the Brits and the Russians ended the turn with 12 beautiful VPs.
In a final twist to the turn, the Frenchman tossed the leader loss roll... one "6", followed by another (we toss them one at a time for some reason)...BOX CARS. As a cheer went up, and drums were beat, NAP endured a 1 in 4 chance of being the target of the causality roll. The dice gods today decided to spare him and smited some other poor slob (out for two months).
After the feckless stack splitting had removed the Austrians, the RU/BR stand heroically alone against the French army.
NAP's death roll...
One other note, if your are in Stettin, you will see a monument for the vaunted Russian 1st Corps of EiA Sawatdee Game III.
Their journey below:
The Vaunted and Legendary 1st RU Corps: Spent the entire game on the march and in battle vs all evil empire comers.
The 1st RU Corps fought the Orge and Turk almost continuous, and successfully, the entire game. They even had the Spanish leader still caged and would periodically bring him out for display.
At that point, we decided to pack this game in. The Germanies were in tough shape...France had ALL the western and Italian minors...Spain and Turkey were both stuffed (position and VPs).
The Russian was WAY ahead in VPs, but, it was clear that if he and the Brit failed to prop up the Prussian in FEB (when Prussia/France could declare war), Moscow or St.Petersburg in 1810 would be a possibility - depending upon RU/TU relations.
Although short on victory points, the Brits were in great naval shape and might be in a position to mine points via the Turks and Spaniard.
We all agreed there was still a lot of game remaining, but, the age old EiA problem was staring us in the face: Why not restart so that all players are "back in the game", instead of asking a number of players to keep showing up to take a regular beating (or face an uninteresting situation)?
At that point someone suggested, "Let's play the 1792 scenario we haven't touched in two decades". Some beers were cracked open and someone said, "That sounds like a great idea".
EiA Sawatdee Game III ends...
On to 1792!
A 1st MN fav, the New Bohemia sausage house, just opened up a branch in Uptown.
I stopped by the new branch of New Bohemia in Uptown to slap together this AAR (they have GREAT beer and sausage) and reflect upon the great gaming experience EiA always is. We've now got three 1805's under our belt, since restarting our group. The 1792 scenario will be a blast. Hopefully, we will start in two weeks (or on the 4th Sat in April...close to the 224th anniversary of the start of the 1792 French Revolutionary War - April 20th) As always, anyone in our hood, please stop by and observe/participate; we frequently have a need for a substitute or co-owner of a country.
Recruit Nathan has been pencilled in as Spain. He will be complete our local EiA dirty dozen; the EiA Sawatdee band of fools.
Re: Valiant Russian 1st Corps and EiA Sawatdee Game III End Their Journey: March 12, 2016
Note that those optional rules in the 1796 variant weren't playtested until a recent campaign in Spain. That produced a lot of questions, some of them about the Irish revolt, some about other things. Please feel free to correspond with me if you want to try anything out of the 1796 campaign variant. I'm not always checking BGG, but I'll send you my personal email via BGG mail upon request.
You guys have a really fast and furious playing style which I can appreciate. Would be fun to develop a group like that in my area.
On the diagram I noticed that VG Pax Britannica is not on the list of multi-player diplomatic games. Of course, the military aspect in that game is really bad. It's not a game for war at all.
Re: Valiant Russian 1st Corps and EiA Sawatdee Game III End Their Journey: March 12, 2016
First, Pax Britannica, a colorful, innovative, atmospheric, and bizarrely fascinating game that has more than its fair share of problems. It's one of the few cardboard wargames left in my much reduced collection. Pax Britannica, like EiA, has far more simple math and calculations than modern players are comfortable with. The game is in need of an overhaul, but that hasn't happened yet.
The game has an unstructured and unsequenced main action phase unlike anything that I've seen in any other cardboard game, and that drives me a little crazy! The military system is very unsatisfying, a throwback to the 1960's in an otherwise innovative 1980's game. So all the fun is in the diplomacy and money strategy. If you want to see how crazy it can be, check out the "Play By Forum" section on the Pax Britannica BGG page and read the threads of the PBF game that I played in as Britain in 2012 here:
We should perhaps get together at the NHMGS Enfilade miniatures convention at the Red Lion Inn in Olympia, Washington in late May, Memorial Day weekend, not this year, but next. Enfilade is mostly about the miniatures, but there's a room used by the ASL guys all weekend to play with cardboard. And there have been some big monster cardboard wargames played there in past years. I could talk to the organizers about a room for EiA in 2017. Most of the Portland, Oregon, EiA and monster cardboard wargame players already attend Enfilade regularly, because most of them also dabble in miniatures.
NHMGS Enfilade is a really fun convention. For the last couple of years I've been staying there 4 nights, Thursday through Sunday night. That results in a very relaxing 5 day mini-vacation. This year I'll be presenting a slightly pulpy skirmish game of Indiana Jones types trying to find a temple in the dense jungle on an island in the Indian Ocean. The guy I rent a house with will be presenting a dark ages Viking raid on the Saxon coast of England. The First Minnesota might really enjoy that convention.