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Eagles of the Empire: Napoleon in the Desert» Forums » Sessions

Subject: BATTLE OF CAIRO 1786 rss

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Paul Brown
United Kingdom
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This is the one scenairo without the French being a throwback to the mid 18th Century and the Turks taking on the Mamelukes for supremacy in Egypt. The historical battle was a crushing victory for the Turks.

Here are the starting positions; the armies are well balanced with the Mameluke cavalry (all elites) leading the pack for the upstarts and the Turks depending upon their infantry and artillery to carry the day. The battle runs from 9am in hourly turns and I was (mis)using the EOE v3.1 rules from Compass games as a bit more comprehensive and sharper than the original rules that came with the game.

Sure enough one of the first activations sees the Mameluke Qasi cavalry (7 units) storms forwards en masse against the right flank Turkish cavalry (2 units) and promptly ride right over them. In response at 11am the Turkish infantry battleline surges forwards with the artillery attached and assaults the static Mameluke divisions. The Turks are repulsed to a man and things are not looking too good for the Turkish commander Yusuf Baba.

An activation lull then descends over the battle field for two full hours until Yusuf gets his act together and at 2pm brings his cavalry reserve to try and see off the Mameluke Qas cavarly milling around his right flank. The Turkish attack kills Ibrahim Baba (clinical double six for leader casualty) but the combat is indecisive. Murad Bey seizes the initiative and orders a general advance by his infantry; the Mameluke divisions have lowish morale but they are large and their push forwards starts to grind the Turks down. Together with another charge by the Qas cavalry they have won the battle by the end of the 5pm turn. Yusuf is left with a few cavalry units and the rump of his divisions bottle up in two villages; Murad still has the entire Faq cavalry (7 elite units) ready to unleash on the Turkish survivors and the Nile gunboat crew left wondering why they bothered to get out of bed.

Final result - Mameluke decisive victory - their losses 20, Turkish losses 43

The system and this game in particular seems to be either love-it or loathe-it. This is my first contact with the system and I am enjoying both it and the NITD scenarios. The system works best with the bigger battles apparently but is still a good exemplar of the problems involved in managing a horse & musket battle.

Command control is a key focus and the activation/initiative process neatly models the interleaving of frenetic activity with static lulls that characterised Napoleonic warfare. Heavy infantry divisions form the core of the armies but each arm is differentiated with both cavalry and artillery having their own specific role. Throw in step losses; leadership; cavalry charge effects and the obligatory 'form square' and you have enough chrome to fuel the suspension of disbelief. Sure there is none of the La Battaille minutiae but that is expected given the different scales and anyway I am leaning towards the 'less is more' approach to game design. At least I managed to get to the end of the stop Mount Tabor!
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