This week just Mike and I gathered at my place. Naturally we had to start off entertaining the boy and we broke out RoboRally. The boy's sister joined us and appropriately took Spinbot as she spent her time in the game basically just turning in place on the spot - maybe this game is not really a six year old girl's cup of tea? Eventually she left to join her mother watching Eastenders - hmm it must have been a bad gaming experience.
Roborally was over fairly quickly as the boy killed me early on, and in an entirely inappropriate manner I spent the rest of the game killing him back (when he was not busy falling off the map by himself).
The boy suitably entertained we switched to the main event - another outing at Austerlitz. Mike bagged the allies and generally gave the impression that a fair proportion of the past week had been spent thinking about this game - my nerves were not reassured by this!
Now I shall try and do this a bit differently to my last two reports and give a bit of insight into the thought processes, I may get Mike's wrong as this is just based on what we discussed afterwards so I apologise if I misinterpret his motives.
Initial Strategy - France
I decided that Mike had already had two bad experiences attacking the South and that his good successes had come in the Centre attacking between Robelnitz and Buntowitza, I would consequently overstrength St Hilaire. Being a nice central position he could also switch units fairly quickly to other sectors. I would also give sufficient strength to my left that if the Allies decided to hold back I could attack them. I placed the Fixed Battery with St Hilaire and moved the whole of his corps into the East facing approach. Lastly, St Hilaire threw out a 2 str cavalry squadron to annoy any approaching allied corps.
Mike had decided his main effort would come on the right, he would send three strong corps down the main road whilst leaving my right with nothing to do and fixing the centre with apparently strong corps that would only demonstrate in front of me.
7.00am - 9.00am
The allies moved their Centre and right forwards. The French spread their right out towards their centre so as not to lose contact. It became clear to the French that attacking on the left was not going to happen today.
I comment to Mike that I suspect that both of us, having played a couple of times, are rather nervous of making a mistake as we no longer have the cover of being complete newbies. He merely gives me a dirty look. He probably suspected some deep psychological warfare attempt on my part. in fact I am just hoping he feels as pressured as I do.
10.00am-12.00pm some fighting breaks out in the Centre, it's all pretty mild but the French have the worst of it. I am also starting to feel really nervous of Bagration's huge corps bearing down on me down the main road and he's somehow got Constantine to his right swinging down North of Bosenitz - it's completely open and I don't have time to get an infantry unit into the approach to block it. I suspect it is cavalry and will roll over whatever I put there. I throw a 2-inf into the reserve anyway.
Surprise my 2-inf is rolled over, we head backwards. Murat's understrength corps tries to look dangerous, but having detached most of his units I am really afraid Constantine will crush him.
Meanwhile Bessiers and the Guard cavalry have switched to the centre where Mike has allowed a gap to open up and Kollowrath (Mike's cavalry corps) switches to the centre to hunt him down, fatefully weakening the attack on the right.
At this point we made a fatal rules blunder. Bessiers all cavalry corps retreats from an attack, and should have disorganised but for some reason we keep thinking that it does not have to as it is cavalry. sadly this messes up Mike's situation no end as he has to send his own cavalry corps round to hunt them down. Although something of a mirror image of what happened last week it does, when discovered rather spoil things.
There is a fair amount of fighting breaking out in the Centre with the line swinging back and forth as attack and counter repeatedly oust troops from the area North of St Hilaire's line. Meanwhile St Hilaire and Langeron trade artillery assaults.
1.00pm to end
Sitting back I see the board absolutely covered in units, there are no French corps with more than 4 units in and not many with 4. A slew of cavalry is slipping through the middle of the allied line to menace the rear of their right as is, bizarrely a French artillery unit that slipped from Lannes corps over the Santon and into the village (in the end this unit did not fire a shot in the whole game). The French reinforcements have not been committed but unless Constantine kills off Murat I don't think I am going to need them.
At this point I note that Langeron has taken two artillery casualties and can't have any 3 str infantry left (the kind of calculation that comes back to bite one in my experience). The fixed battery launches another bombardment and then St Hilaire's troops go in. Langeron is crushed and flees with 2 men and a couple of horses to the village behind his position. Sadly the Allied counter can not be stopped so St Hilaire immediately retreats when another attack goes in from his left.
Even Legrand gets stuck in at this point assembling a 2 unit corps in the South and descending towards Dokturov. Kienmeyer feels intimidated at this and retreats (his only move of the whole game).
Mike feels the pressure and pulls back Constantine. With that his last chance of taking an objective evaporates and he shortly resigns.
My first victory. Sadly spoiled by the "cavalry corps" error which was probably significant as at one point Bessiers was my most effective corps, if he'd been disorganised things would have been much worse, and Kollowrath may have been able to spend more time helping the Allied attack in the North.
Mike managed to confuse himself thinking that cavalry could move two spaces and kept needing to remind himself that any unit can move 2 on a road. Cavalry can enter an approach. This too may have been significant as he had calculated that he could kill off one of my corps by repeated feint attacks leaving an unopposed attack, however, this relied on cavalry moving twice in the open.
There was also some confusion over how artillery worked - that a second attack could go in after a bombardment, and the exact effect of naming artillery in the defence (it's a 1 point unit, but reduces losses, and can "pass losses" to friendly units also defending).
Overall, we're still not there yet, and the game could have gone either way I think. Still looking forward to a final play where we both know what we are doing!