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Subject: Epic Eggmühl - 2v2 Battle Report rss

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Stanislav
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My group and I played our first game of 2v2 EPIC Napoleonics and we had a blast.

Some initial thoughts on the EPIC expansion before I get to the battle report: I am very happy to see how well the C&C system adapts to this larger scale. It is hard to describe, but it truly felt epic with a larger battlefield, more units, more decisions and an even more vivid representation of manoeuvres in the different sectors. The team play also added an additional dimension of both fun, interaction and immersion. We allowed free communication between the two team mates, but only the designated Commander-in-Chief was allowed to look at his side’s hand of command and tactics cards (and was not allowed to explicitly say what cards he held). This added an extra layer of fog-of-war where orders were debated (and sometimes outright questioned!) by the respective side’s junior officers. These dynamics cannot really be replicated in standard C&C:N. For our group it added a lot of immersion and excitement.

So even though it requires a significantly higher time investment than standard Nappy, I can definitely recommend the EPIC experience to all CCN generals out there. Now for the battle report!




Eggmühl (22 April 1809) Day 2

After a draw of lots, Alexander stepped into Napoleon’s boots (with Mikkel as his junior commander), while I got to be the Austrian C-in-C (with Rasmus as my second-in-command).

The two sides had set up for battle with multiple objectives to fight over. The Austrians started with control of the village of Unterlaichling and the Bettelberg Ridgeline, netting them two starting victory banners. Aside from these two objectives, the French could win further victory banners on the Austrian right in addition to breakthrough victory banners by exiting beyond the Austrian army’s baseline.

With Napoleon in personal command, the French enjoyed a hand of 6 Command Cards and 6 Tactician Cards. The Habsburg field marshals had to do with 4 Command Cards and 2 Tactician Cards. The Austrians, however, had the advantage of a relatively strong defensive position.


Order of battle. The Austrians start with two Victory Banners (not shown)

With plenty of interesting options on the Courier Rack, the French generals opted to go for an aggressive start. Using a Force March, Field Marshal Alexander Bonaparte pushed the bulk of the French left wing forward. On their right, the French took some long-distance shots at their counterparts.

The Austrians responded with a devastating Fire and Hold order executed on their right, aimed at the hastily advanced Frenchmen. Opting to concentrate their efforts on that flank, the Austrians simultaneously refused their left wing, withdrawing their units behind the woods, baiting the French to come forward if they so dared.

The French attempted to re-establish their weakened line on their left, but the Austrians kept outshooting them, with the Grenzers distinguishing themselves. An Austrian unit of Line Infantry claimed the battle’s first combat victory banner on the points of their bayonets. The French thrust on their left had been halted, while they advanced slowly on the opposite flank.


The Austrians beat back the French assault on their right flank while refusing their left wing.

Aside from dealing blow after blow to the French on the far right through incredibly effective musket fire, the Austrians had been slowly maneuvering in the centre as well, ensuring maximum support for the Austrian line infantry (which is ever so prone to costly retreats). The French now attempted to shift the point of their attack to the Austrian centre-right, opting to contest the village of Unterlaichling and the adjacent forest. The Austrians deployed their elite Hungarian Grenadiers once the initial defenders had been weakened. The French pushed on dangerously with their Light Cavalry, but the Austrian Line Infantry in the village and the grenadiers in the forest held on desperately.


Fierce French cavalry attack on the Austrians in and near Unterlaichling. The brave Hungarian Grenadiers would go on hold out in their weakened square for many subsequent turns

The French left flank had suffered horrific losses and most of the infantry was being slowly withdrawn. At the same time, Alexander and his (sometimes unwilling) subordinate advanced methodically on their right flank and in the centre-right. The Austrians had withdrawn their left wing, seeking to delay a confrontation and commenced to fire at the advanced French from the ridgeline with some effect (which was later reversed by a good French Rally).


Status after the first phase of the battle: Nine Austrian victory banners to Napoleon’s zero. The French left has been decimated. Austrians maintain tentative hold on Unterlaichling and have successfully refused their left. French have advanced menacingly on their right and centre-right.

Massive French casulaties were sapping the fighting spirit from the Empire’s commanders. Field Marshal Alexander Bonaparte maintained his determination to win, but his subordinate general Mikkel descended into an increasingly defeatist mood. The fight continued, however. The French executed a swift and daring assault upon the hinge that connected the Austrian left with the central formation on the ridgeline. A devastating combined arms attack finally secured a victory banner for the demoralized Frenchmen. As the laws of probability would predict, the Austrian dice luck also turned for the worse at this stage of the battle, and the spirits were lifted in the French camp.


French score their first victory banner with a determined combined arms attack in the Austrian centre-left.

The fighting was now taking place across the entire battlefield. The junior Austrian general Rasmus continued rolling dice like a man possessed on the extreme right, crushing the French foot in that sector. In the centre, the French kept throwing men and horses at the Austrian positions in and near Unterlaichling. The grenadiers held on (but the continued cavalry presence kept tying down 1 of the 4 Austrian command cards). The French managed to gain possession of the village (and its objective victory banner), however.

The Austrian left bore the brunt of the reinvigorated French assault. A series of offensive Grand Manoeuvres, Cavalry Charges and First Strikes forced a total of three units of Austrian Line Infantry into battalion masses. Combined with infantry support, the French claimed numerous casualties. However, the Austrians fought back. A Bayonet Charge proved useful in the confined space even when accounting for their slow Line Infantry, and a combination of musket fire and melee attacks ultimately beat back the French assault, including their fearless and highly efficient cuirassiers who had probably advanced a bit too far. The French casualties continued rising at an alarming rate.


Status after the bloody second phase: French finally gain control of Unterlaichling after bitter fighting. The strong, but costly, French attack on the Austrian centre-left has run out of steam. The Austrian right flank continues it slow, but deadly push forward.

With both wings beaten back or in disorder, the French C-in-C decided to make the most out of his breakthrough on the right side of the ridgeline. He ordered his units forward and sideways in an attempt to gain the ridge and push back the Austrian artillery batteries. At the same time, an artillery bombardment of the beleaguered Hungarian Grenadiers finally shattered that resilient unit.

This French success in the centre would prove to be short-lived, however. Even as the Austrians failed to finish off a number of weakened French units, they never lost faith in the ultimate victory. One of the hussar squadrons was ordered around the ridge, attacking a French cavalry unit in its rear, while an Austrian artillery battery provided point-blank fire support.


In the final phase, the French bombard the courageous Hungarian Grenadiers to pieces and conduct a desperate, coordinated push for the Bettelberg Ridgeline. However, the Austrians survive the onslaught and subsequently encircle and destroy a unit of bold French chasseurs a cheval for the final victory banner.

This final attack proved to be the final blow for the battered French army. Charging the centre had been a valiant attempt to salvage some more victory points of honour for the Grande Armée. Yet it proved ultimately futile. The Austrians had won the day, rewriting history.


Final result. The Austrians gain control of the field, as the French withdraw and commence plotting revenge for another day

Result:
Austrian: 17
French: 7




* * *



All in all, I must thank my three good friends for a tense and entertaining clash. As described in the introduction, we all agreed that EPIC works splendidly in the 2v2 format and provides yet another way to enjoy this excellent system. Regarding the outcome of the battle itself, CCN experience was probably not spread out evenly across the two sides, so some lessons were definitely learnt (the hard way) for the less experienced commanders. I continue to be fascinated by how the game tends to punish suboptimal tactics (and I continue to make mistakes myself). Last evening’s losing generals definitely want to do it all over again. There was even avid post-battle discussion of how they would have done it differently if they got to try it again – especially with regards to different unit types supporting each other in both attack and defense for maximum effect.

So even in defeat, the experience is a good and educational one. Again, for me this proves the quality of the game and its system.
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Mark McG
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excellent report.. but an enquiry needed into the checked shirt & striped tie decision..
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Stanislav
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Haha thanks. I will relay this enquiry to the French general. We Austrians were content with a more conservative look:

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Philip Royce
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An excellent report, with some of the best accompanying pictures I have seen. Have some geek gold!
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David Groves
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Congrats to the Austrians, I loved it; great report.
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Jon Snow
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Thanks for the entertaining post!

Its usually quite a challenge to win with the Austrians.

Its interesting that in Tricorne, where the French units are also white blocks, they have the same extra block in their infantry units as the Austrians do here!
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Stanislav
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Yeah - I find it quite fun to play with the Austrians. That extra block for Line Infantry provides both firepower and resilience, but their slow movement and devastating 2-flag retreat require some very considerate maneuvering. In this particular battle, the Battalion Mass capability was also extremely helpful. Otherwise, that heavy cuirassier charge on the Austrian centre-left would have been both devastating and reduced our command to almost nothing.

I haven't played Tricorne myself, but I guess the match-ups and the resulting balancing considerations are somewhat different. Is French infantry stronger than the British counterpart?
 
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Jon Snow
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The French had bigger battalions in general!
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Stanislav
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Makes sense.

Mostly, I agree with the design decisions for the individual armies in C&C:N, including unit size. My only scepticism (and I have limited experience with them) is regarding the Russians. I understand the "paper strength" argument, but it seems counterintuitive for the Russians to have so brittle units who are instead very skillful at conducting move-and-fire. The ability to ignore a banner is nice for sure, but they just need to be withdrawn from the front much faster than even Spaniards and Portuguese, so a flag against is often a welcome result.

But I'll be playing more with them since I just got the Russian expansion, so I'll see how it goes.
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Jon Snow
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goo The Russians seem to do their best behind fortifications and backed up by artillery! But then, who wouldn't?
 
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David Martin
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Three cheers for an excellent report. I personally find the Austrians a great match for the French in this game—which fits their role as Napoleon's historical nemesis perfectly.
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David Martin
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Sunnycool wrote:
My only scepticism (and I have limited experience with them) is regarding the Russians. I understand the "paper strength" argument, but it seems counterintuitive for the Russians to have so brittle units who are instead very skillful at conducting move-and-fire. The ability to ignore a banner is nice for sure, but they just need to be withdrawn from the front much faster than even Spaniards and Portuguese, so a flag against is often a welcome result.
Agreed. The Russian line infantry are uncharacteristically brittle. I think the better way to have handled it would've been to nerf their firepower values in exchange for giving them a bigger 'punch' in melee.

That being said, I find the Russians a joy to play. They have a lot of different units and tons of cavalry—including both cossacks and a six-block unit of guard heavy cavalry.
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Is not the Guard Heavy Cavalry only in one scenario? I do not think we have every actually gotten it into combat.
 
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clay stretch
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Oh my goodness, there’s wine! And you are not dressed like you have just mowed the grass yesterday afternoon. Well done indeed. I wish more people would take care of their appearance whilst playing. It would shed a much better public light on us grogs.
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clay stretch
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David, I agree, and I am certain there are many different ways to approach the Russian Line and Jeager infantry strength issue equal to the number of Russia-Philes here. Including myself. I generally do not use the mother Russia roll per sè, instead, I allocate a fourth block to foot regts Equal to the number of command cards I hold. The other regts make do with three. If I have an epic battle in place, I simply add a fourth block to 1/2 of the infantry regts on the field. I always run cannon with 3 or 4 blocks, at a rate of 2(3) to 1(4). Rounding down. Cossacks I don’t really convey a need actually, on the battlefield they were fairly willy-nilly unless they were guards.
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David Martin
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NimitsTexan wrote:
Is not the Guard Heavy Cavalry only in one scenario? I do not think we have every actually gotten it into combat.
Not honestly sure how many scenarios they're in. But I know they definitely played a big role in winning my last Borodino game for the Tsar.
 
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Mark McG
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NimitsTexan wrote:
Is not the Guard Heavy Cavalry only in one scenario? I do not think we have every actually gotten it into combat.

they were at Austerlitz and Borodino

they aren't something easily forgotten.. especially if you have to face them..
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armatiman wrote:
Oh my goodness, there’s wine! And you are not dressed like you have just mowed the grass yesterday afternoon. Well done indeed. I wish more people would take care of their appearance whilst playing. It would shed a much better public light on us grogs.

Thanks. We usually make an effort. For the record, the Austrians were "equipped" with Austrian wine, while the French were offered a bottle of Bourgogne (if I recall correctly). A final tiny touch that's difficult to spot is the pin I'm sporting on my blazer (a Roman eagle with "SPQR" inscribed). It is the trophy of our Commands & Colors: Ancients torunament, which is passed on from one year's champion to the next.

armatiman wrote:
I generally do not use the mother Russia roll per sè, instead, I allocate a fourth block to foot regts Equal to the number of command cards I hold. The other regts make do with three. If I have an epic battle in place, I simply add a fourth block to 1/2 of the infantry regts on the field. I always run cannon with 3 or 4 blocks, at a rate of 2(3) to 1(4). Rounding down. Cossacks I don’t really convey a need actually, on the battlefield they were fairly willy-nilly unless they were guards.

That's actually an excellent way of handling it. It maintains the flexible element of Mother Russia, but without the randomnes/variability, thus keeping things more fair for a two-battles match.
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