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Subject: BaM Ladder Round 10 Championship rss

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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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This is the fourth game for which I've provided a record of my moves as the Austrian Player. Why always the Austrians? From the beginning, I have heard people say that the French can't lose if they run away, and these games serve as my argument against that premise.

The first two, which I posted on ConsimWorld, were simple text transcripts, while the third was made available as an Illustrated Sample Game on the Simmons Games site, thanks to the artistic talents of Garry Haggerty.

This one falls somewhere in between in terms of presentation. I've put it together as a session report, and provided images of my moves on a turn by turn basis.

The big difference between this report and the previous ones is that this time I have done my best to explain what I was thinking as I made each move. I've never done that in the past, because I share with Bowen a belief that the most enjoyable way to learn is to plunge in and try things without being influenced by more experienced players.

Many disagree, though, and have urged me to share my thoughts about why I make the moves, rather than just letting the observer figure that out for themselves. I've attempted to do that here.

This was my final game in the BaM Ladder. My opponent was Scott Henshaw, who bid F15 to play the French. I had never played Scott previously, and really didn't know anything about his style of play going in.

We used the optional rules suggested by Bowen Simmons. I refer to areas throughout by their numerical designations.



Turn 1

Some players prefer to avoid waking the French early, and put four units in area 1 on turn 1, but I'm not one of them. It's a near certainty that I'll want to advance a unit into area 5 in order to flank area 9 at some point, and if I wait I'll then have to burn a command point (CP) that I'll need elsewhere. If I do it now, I'll use a CP that would otherwise be wasted. This is more efficient, and the Austrians absolutely must be efficient to win against good French play.

Austrian Moves: 2-inf to 5, 2-cav to 2, 2-inf and artillery to 1.

My moves activate the French units in areas 3, 4 and 9, and they use their free activation for 1 of the units in area 7.



French Moves: Two CPs to switch the positions of the unit in 3 and the activated unit in 7, and one CP to move the unit in 4 to 7.

Observing that move, I conclude that the French unit now in area 3 is almost certainly cavalry, assigned to delaying my advance along the main road to the north. I also assume that the two activated units in area 7 are infantry.


Turn 2

Austrian Moves: I maneuver attack (MA) with my cavalry along the road, am blocked by the suspected French cav, and enter the approach. I spend one CP to march the two units in 1 off road to area 2, and another CP to push an infantry along the minor road to area 5 to join the unit already there. The rest of my movement along roads and across the bridge leaves me with three units in 2 reserve and two units in 1.



French Moves: The suspected cav pulls back to reserve in area 3, one of the units in 7 moves by minor road to 20, and one of the units in 9 moves to 16.


Turn 3

That French move is very interesting. The fallback to 3 reserve and the unit moving to 20 (for support along the northern road) are expected, but the unit that moved from area 9 to area 16 gets my Spidey Sense tingling. I could see pulling both units back from 9, or I could see moving one unit along the road all the way back to the main road, but why would Scott move just one unit back to 16?

My guess is that the unit left in 9 is a cav, and he's baiting a trap. If I were to do an MA from 5 into 9, that would let him retreat the cav to 17 and thereby threaten my two units from three directions (8, 16 and 17). With the optional rules, the wide approach in 9/16 ups the ante for this situation. If he does an MA from 16 and I retreat, or if I block and put troops into 9/16 and subsequently have to retreat them, I'll take a two step loss.

I've never played Scott previously and have no idea how aggressive he is. If I bring a third unit into 9 to support the other two, will he conduct MAs from three directions? That would leave me with a single unit facing his two in the wide approach, which could get ugly.

I'll note here that I think learning to read the other guy and get a feel for how he is likely to respond is an important part of any wargame, but in BaM, which uses hidden units to provide fog of war, it is absolutely essential. The more accurately you gauge your oppnent's intentions, the more success you will have.

Austrian Moves: I decide to jump into the trap with both feet. With the 1st CP, both units in area 5 MA into area 9. The French reveal a cavalry which retreats to 17. A 2-cav in area 2 moves by road through 3 and does an MA against area 8 (this is only possible because we are playing with the optional rules). The French unit in Marengo blocks. This eliminates, at least temporarily, the prospect of three French MAs into area 9.

My 2-cav in 2/3 executes an unblockable MA for my 2nd CP. The French reveal a cav which retreats to 6, and my 2-cav changes direction and continues to the 3/7 approach. The rest of my moves are along roads, including one along a minor road that burns my 3rd CP in order to beef up the force in area 9.



OK, that was a pretty aggressive move. I've now revealed two of the three French cavalry, created a number of threats, and left myself in position to deal with any counterattacks the French might make. I'm hoping he will fight, because my goal is to kill French units.

French Moves: One CP to pull the units back from 7 to 13, another CP to move the units from 16 to 15, and CP number three to move the cav from 17 to 27. Also a couple of road moves, one of which brings the newly-activated unit in 64 forward to 35.

So I'm left to wonder whether Scott really was planning an ambush in 9, or was planning all along to suck me into spending a bunch of CPs in the South and killing nothing in the process.


Turn 4

My thinking this turn is that I have invested so much in my Southern push already that I can't afford to abandon it without reaping the benefits. I'll throw more resources at exploiting it, and either unhinge the French defense or go down trying.

Austrian Moves: I send a cav up the Northern road, and it ends up in the 3/6 approach facing the French cav. I spend a CP to push two units from 9 to 16, and a 2nd CP to send a cav along that well-traveled minor road to join them. The 3rd CP sends my artillery to 3/6 where it prepares to bombard the French cav.

At this point I've spent 6 of 11 CPs south of the road, and am threatening to gain control of the Southern road net very early. Entering area 7 can wait; I don't want to spend a bunch of CPs going in there in dribbles anyhow.



French Moves: Cav pulls back to 6 reserve, all three units in 23 move to 14, and the unit in Marengo pulls back to reserve. The cav in 27 moves by road to area 25, and the other three units on the Southern roads assemble in area 35.

Post game, Scott told me that he thought letting the unit get surrounded in Marengo was his biggest mistake. This is the only turn he had to prevent it, though, and he would have had to commit more units to buy time, and the more he commits the more I will kill. It certainly would have been a different game had he tried it.


Turn 5

Austrian Moves: Artillery bombards the French cav in 6 to draw first blood. The two infantry units in 16 move to 15 to complete the envelopment of Marengo, after which the cav in 4/8 advances to eliminate the defender (a 2-inf). I use my final CP to get my cav in 16 onto the main road at 37. I do an MA along the Northern road with another cav, and continue to the 6/11 approach after the French 1-cav retreats to 11. Morale is now A16 F12.

If I had done another MA into 11, Scott would certainly have blocked, and if he did so with only one unit, I would have retained the advantage of knowing which one was the 1-cav. I chose to continue to the approach instead, so he gets to shuffle his units at the start of his turn, but then has to either abandon 11 or defend by moving a unit into the 11/6 approach. That will cost him a CP if he wants to keep me in the Dark. He could continue there for free with the cav, but that gets us back to me knowing who is who. Providing him with tough choices gives me further opportunity to profile his tendencies.



French Moves: 1st CP puts a unit in 11/6. 2nd and 3rd CPs move the two units from 14 to 13 and 24. Everybody on the Southern road moves one area to the East.


Turn 6

Austrian Moves: I use cav to MA in the South. The French cav pulls back to 45, and I continue to the approach. With my 1st CP I move my infantry in 6 to the 6/11 approach. With my 2nd I push three of my units from 3 into 7, and send the fourth along the road to 6 (these units were shuffled at the start of the turn).

Splitting the force in 3 is a move deserving of special attention, because the value of disguising the location of the Austrian artillery can't be understated. A French player's decisions are an order of magnitude tougher if he doesn't know the location of the Austrian guns.

I use my 3rd CP to push the four units in 15 to 7, which may well surprise some people. My thinking here is that I need a presence on the Northern road, and I need it quickly. If I leave everything in the South, it is all too easy for the French to fall back one area per turn, screening with cav and taking no losses, and eventually leaving me defeated holding nothing but blue stars when night falls.

As the battle moves East, the French gain interior lines and can easily shuttle around to either front on the main road, while the Austrians must trudge overland. To prevent this, the Austrians must push along both major roads. This move gets me on track towards accomplishing that.

Other moves I seriously considered included running a unit to area 12, for a flanking position in case the French chose to block in 13, continuing to 7/12 with the cav unit to put pressure on the French main body, and using an MA against area 24. But to do any of these I would have had to give up something else that I wanted more.



French Moves: Three units move by road to 55, and one by minor road (for a CP) from 24 to 44. The force in 13 spends 2 CPs to put 3 units in 22 and one in 31, and the unit in 11 moves by road to 21.


Turn 7

Austrian Moves: Nothing to do here other than continue along the lines I chose on the previous turn. Any thought that Scott might stand and fight is erased by his abandonment of area 13.

I start by using the 2-inf in 6/11 to assault (CP). It dies, and the defending 2-inf is reduced to 1. (I now know that the unit in 21 is the 1-cav.) I spend a CP with my cav to push the French cav from 45 to 55, and continue to the approach. With my 3rd CP I move the force in 7 to 13. Other units move forward on the Southern road. Morale is now A14 F11.



French Moves: 2 CPs spent on the force in 55, three of whom enter the 55/45 approach while the other moves to 54. Reinforcements move to 53 and 63. Northern units withdraw along the road, with the 1-cav in 22, one unit in 31 and the others in 42.


Turn 8

Looks like I finally got his attention in the South. He had to make a stand soon in order to hold the entry area for the 4 p.m. reinforcements. With the noon reinforcements swinging down that way, he gains local superiority.

Austrian Moves: 1st CP to assault with 2-cav in 6/11. This knocks me down to a 1-cav and kills the French 1-inf. 2nd CP to MA with the entire force in 13 against 22. French 1-cav retreats to 30. Final CP to put the units in 45 into the 45/55 approach. Other units move up by road. Morale is now A13 F10.

This was a situation rich in tactical possibilities. One interesting alternative would have been to send my cav from 15 down the minor road to MA area 44. Since both 34/44 and 45/44 are wide, I could have done serious damage if the defender wasn't the third French cavalry. And even if it was, he would have had to retreat, thus relieving pressure on area 45. There are some really interesting options with this scenario: I could have pushed the units in 45 into 44 to give myself a strong force there, and pulled the cav in 45/55 back to reserve. Or used a free continue to add the cav from 45 to join the other one in 45/55.

In the end, I decided to use the commands to open up the Northern road, but it was a very tough choice. I left the cav in 15 because there are so many potential strong moves from that point.



Note that I have no idea where the French elites are at this point. If Scott has two of them in 55/45, and assaults with them, he'll blow me up. But he doesn't know that I don't have one of my own in there, and it would take incredible cojones for him to make that assault. My best defense is to act strong. Hidden units can really test your nerves, which is part of what makes BaM such an incredible game.

French Moves: Units in 42 move by road to 52. 1st CP to move unit in 31 to 43. 2nd CP to move 1-cav from 30 to 31. 3rd CP to push unit from 54 to 44, reveal it as 2-cav, and continue to 44/45 approach. Two units move along road to 64.


Turn 9

Well, he appears to be serious about threatening my force in 45. I must deal with it by spending commands which I'd rather be using to exploit my advantage in the North.

Austrian Moves: One CP to send a cav from 15 and do an MA against 44. The French unit blocks and the Austrian enters the approach. 2nd CP to make an MA with five units from 22 to 31, in response to which the blue 1-cav retreats to 42. With my 3rd CP, I push the two units in 45 to block the 45/44 approach.

My intention is to force the French to use two CPs to pull back from the approaches in 44. Unless of course the unit in 43 is the unknown French cav, but I don't believe that for a moment. I will be working for the rest of the game to keep the intitiative and force the French to react rather than leaving them free rein to act as they choose.



French Moves: 2 CPs to move back to 44 reserve from the approaches. 1 CP to push the units from 52 into 61. One unit moves by road from 64 to 62.


Turn 10

The French are settling into their final positions. I need to reduce the perimeter, as well as their options, before the 4 p.m. reinforcements arrive.

Austrian Moves: 1st CP to make an MA with five units from 31 to 42. The 1-cav blocks, and my forces enter the approach, where I reveal my artillery and prepare to bombard. 2nd CP to make an MA with two units from 45/44. One French 2-cav retreats to 33, and the other to 54. With my 3rd CP, I move the 3-inf from 45 to join the other two units in 44.

I considered starting the move by sending my cav in 31 along the road to MA 43. The defender would have been forced to block, which would have left my cav in position to prevent the French 2-cav from retreating to 33 when I took 45. I chose instead to put two elites together and create the potential for a 5 strength attack in a wide approach.



French Moves: 2 CPs to move units in 43 and 64 to 54, and the 3rd to pull one unit back from 55/45 into reserve. Unit in 62 moves by road to 52.


Turn 11

The other guy just blinked in 45/55. Time to press the advantage.

Austrian Moves: Artillery bombards and kills the 1-cav in 42/31. 1st CP spent to assault with a single 2-inf in 45/55. My unit dies, and knocks a French 2-inf down to a 1-inf. With the 2nd CP, I move the cav in 31 along the minor road to MA area 33. It ends up eyeball to eyeball with his cav in 33/43. With my 3rd CP, I move a cav from 34 and continue to the 44/54 approach. Morale is now A11 F8.

I considered spending a CP to push the large group from 31 into 42, but would have needed to leave the artillery behind.



(Image note: the units in the 31/42 approach still need to fall back to reserve)

French Moves: 2 CPs to move one unit from 54 to 52, and the others to 64. 3rd CP to pull the cav back from 43/33 to reserve. Unit in 55 moves by road to join units in 52. Reinforcements to 53, 63 and 66.


Turn 12

I know that he's got a 1-inf in 55/45. The million dollar question: is the other unit a 2-inf or a 3-inf? World of difference.

I could assault with strength four using my two cavalry units, but if he has an elite to go with his 1-inf the assault would fail. I can't risk it, so I'll soften him up with another 2-inf assault of my own. It will be interesting to see whether he lets me kill the 1-inf for an even exchange to keep his other unit hidden, or takes a hit on his undamaged unit in order to get 2 for 1 morale.

At least I guess that was what I was thinking! My daughter and granddaughter were visiting me at that time, and I made several hasty moves. This one in particular had me slapping myself on the forehead the moment I hit 'send' on the email.

What I would rather have done was assault with the two cavs. In the worst case, this would have been a 4-4 attack, with each of us losing a step, my two cav units falling back to reserve (from which point they would be free to go around the flank), and me holding the approach with an assault-proof 2-inf. Not to mention revealing and reducing one of the French elites. In the best case (which turned out to actually be the case), I would have killed two steps for one, captured area 55 with four turns remaining, and still had an extra 2-inf in hand on the Southern road. I honestly wondered whether the loss of tempo I incurred as a result of the move I sent would cost me the game.

Austrian Moves: 1st CP spent to assault with a single 2-inf in 45/55. My unit dies, and knocks a French 2-inf down to a 1-inf. I then do a free MA on the road with my cav on the North road, who joins the blocking French unit in the approach. With my 2nd CP I move the three units in 44 reserve to 54, and with my 3rd CP I push into 43 from the 33/43 approach. The French 2-cav retreats to 53. I use road moves to push three more units into 42, and to occupy 65 with my 1-cav, thus blocking the French cavalry reinforcement from entering. Morale is now A9 F7.

I also considered running a unit or two down the minor road from 42 to 60. I'll have to decide soon whether I'm going to do that. Should I choose to, I may well send the artillery along. 61 will be difficult to defend if pushed hard from both directions, and bagging the units there would give me a decisive victory.



French Moves: 1st CP is used to move the unit in 52/42 back to reserve, and the 2nd CP to add the unit that started in 52 to the defenders in 61. With the 3rd CP, Scott pulls one of the 1-inf units in 55/45 back to reserve. After some road moves, the French holds 53 with 3 units and 64 with 4 units.


Turn 13

The mobile phase of the game is now pretty well finished, as the French have no place left to run. But tactical maneuvering to achieve the best attacks will be crucial. I must find the weak points in the French line, and do everything I can to prevent him from guessing my intentions and reacting effectively.

With morale at A9 F7, I must kill 7 French steps in these final four turns, and can lose no more than 8 (if we are both demoralized, he will almost certainly get a territorial win). Since his flanks are secure, and we each now have an artillery piece, this sounds like an uphill battle. But I do have a nice assault to start the turn with, and the initiative.

Austrian Moves: I use my 1st CP to assault with a single 2-cav in 45/55 (he hasn't seen the other 2-cav, and I'm not going to reveal it). I'm reduced to a 1-cav, and he loses both the 1-inf in the approach and the 1-inf in reserve, which dies retreating. I continue to 55/64. With my 2nd CP I use my 2-cav in 42/52 to push out the French 2-cav, which retreats to 62. My cav continues to the 52/62 approach. I use my 3rd CP to move the pair of 3-inf units into the 54/64 approach. After road moves, I have the artillery and a pair of infantry in 52, and four more infantry (including an elite) in 42. Morale is now A8 F5.



The key thing to note with this move was that I've occupied 3 approaches, leaving him no option other than to use his CPs plugging those holes. Had I used MAs to reach those positions, he could have blocked for free and used his CPs elsewhere.

French Moves: 3 CPs spent to block with one unit in 62/52, one unit in 64/54 and two units in 64/65. One unit moves by road from 62 to 53, and one from 53 to 64.


Turn 14

I'm pleased to see that he put two units into 64/55 facing my 1-cav. I hope he assaults - that would be a 1 for 1 morale reduction, and would leave him vulnerable after advancing.

Austrian Moves: 1st CP to assault with a 3-inf in 54/64. I'm reduced two steps to a 1-inf, which falls back to reserve, and the defending 3-inf is reduced to a 2-inf. I use the other CPs to enter 43/53 and 54/53. Three more units move by road to 52. Morale is now A6 F4.

I've forced him to use 2 CPs this time. I had hoped to find a 2-inf in 54/64, which would have given me a one for one morale exchange, and left him with a vulnerable 1-inf. At least I found one of his elites. I wish I knew whether his artillery was in 53 or 64; it has to be in one or the other.



French Moves: 3 CPs spent to block with one unit each in 53/43, 53/54 and 64/54.


Turn 15

Nothing left but to prepare the final assaults. My best guess is that he must have at least 1, probably 2 of his 3 remaining elites in area 61. When he went in there, he didn't know whether I would attack it from one or two directions, and I don't believe he would have risked its defense with solely 2-inf units. My intention is therefore to hit him in the center (62 and 63). I'm hoping my assault last turn against 64 will keep him focussed there, rather than in the middle.

Austrian Moves: I spend 1 CP to move my elite infantry into 52/62, and another CP to put the rest of the stack into 52/61. My final CP is spent moving a 2-cav from 44 and continuing to the 54/53 approach. I use road moves to advance the 2-cav road into 55, and the 2-inf into 52, and declare a bombardment.

There is no point to the move into 55, other than a lame attempt to entice the French to assault from 64/55. That would be a 1 for 1 exchange, which would help my cause, but I'd be amazed if it happened.

Note that the big stack in 52/61 is mostly bluff, and serves only to guard the guns as they fire. The French will have to respect the fact that I could have a pair of elites there.



French Moves: 1st CP to put the last reserve into 64/54, 2nd CP to put the last reserve into 53/54, and 3rd CP to put three units into 61/60. Artillery in 64/54 declares a bombardment.

Scott's threat here could have been a game winner if I'd given him any leeway to set it up a turn earlier and held 54/64 with a regular. In that case, the bombardment would have knocked me down to a 1-inf, and a follow up assault with his elite would have caused further loss with forced retreats from 54/53 and reserve. The importance of holding the initiative can't be over-stressed.


Turn 16

Show time. After the bombardment I'll be making three assaults, one with a 3-inf and two with 2-cavs over open ground, so I'll get 1-for-1 exchanges if I hit regulars. If I run into his elites, though, I will suffer 2-for-1 losses. With morale at A6 F4, there is no question that I will demoralize the French, and if I've read his dispositions correctly I'll be victorious. But if I'm wrong and hit two (or three) elites I will be demoralized as well and lose.

My brain says I'm in good shape, but my gut tells me I'm in trouble. That is the true beauty of this game. Without the hidden units, it would be simply a math excercise. With them, it becomes a gut check.

Austrian Moves: Artillery bombards, reducing a 2-inf by 1 step. 3-inf in 52/62 assaults and loses a step. The defender is a 2-inf, which also loses a step. 2-cav in 43/53 assaults a defending 2-cav, and both units are reduced one step. 2-cav in 54/53 assaults a defending 2-inf, and both units are reduced one step here as well. Morale goes to A3 F0, and the French army is demoralized.



French Moves: Artillery bombards, reducing Austrian 3-inf 1 step and bringing the final morale level to A2 F0.

The big boys were indeed all in 61 and 64, so I survive a nail biter. My hat is off to Scott, who played a strong game and came so very close to winning. Note that if not demoralized, the two French elites in the 61/52 approach would be in position to launch a devastating 5-for-1 assault.



This game illustrates what I see as the essential weakness of an extreme French Skedaddle strategy. It cedes the initiative to the Austrians, who can control the tempo and orchestrate their final assaults as they please.

I'll note in closing that I attempted to upload the referee game file, so that anyone who was interested could step through each move in CyberBoard, but the admins rejected the submission.
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Dave Heberer
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Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast.
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Thanks very much for the session report. I found it very helpful.
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Mark Christopher
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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Fantastic report of a great session. Thanks, George, and congratulations!
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Awesome session report, George! I'll pass this along to a fan I know.
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Who Am I Now?
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I do not own, nor have I ever played the game, but this was a very interesting read.

Thanks for sharing.
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Paul Humphreys
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That’s a very interesting and detailed session report, thank you for taking the time to compile it. Its inspired me to do something similar for my recent game down towards the *ahem* bottom of the ladder.

Where do think Scott went wrong? Was it a move, a turn or an overall strategy that was to blame? I played a friendly against him sometime ago. His textbook French retreat led me a merry dance!

Thanks.

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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Vickers wrote:
Where do think Scott went wrong? Was it a move, a turn or an overall strategy that was to blame?


I think it was the overall strategy.

There is an interesting arc when learning to play BaM. Players often hit a plateau where they have learned to play the French competently, and find they can win with regularity by simply running away. Some at this point conclude that the game is played out, or start casting around for ways to "fix the problem".

But if you persevere and learn to play the Austrians well, running away becomes a losing proposition for the French, and they have to go back to the drawing board. That is when the game truly gets interesting!
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Mark Christopher
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I'll speak up to second what George is saying. I've played a number of games on the B@M ladder, mostly as the Austrians. It's very tough, learning to play them well, particularly as everyone has their own style of play (I say this as someone who is, at best, average with the Austies). I've played both Scott and George, and both games were very different. As George says, running too quickly with the French can spell disaster. Thus, in his game against me (he was French, I, Austrian), he kept throwing sacrificial roadblocks in front of me. While he lost quite a bit of morale, in the end, I didn't have the time to break either his army nor my way to the victory locales. There really is a bit more to learning the Austrians, but as they're on the attack, it's generally a very fun undertaking.

As an aside, my game vs. Scott was one of those weird ones that happens sometimes. I'll have to dig up the pics and text from CSW and post them here one of these days, just to show how different from the norm a B@M game can be.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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markus_kt wrote:
I say this as someone who is, at best, average with the Austies


Mark is too modest. He has recorded 5 official wins with the Austrians, which is more than any player other than myself. He pushed me extremely hard in our game.


Edit: Just discovred that Paul is sandbagging as well:

Vickers wrote:
Its inspired me to do something similar for my recent game down towards the *ahem* bottom of the ladder.


The man is undefeated!
 
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Clark Millikan
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Thanks for a great report, George. I'll have to spend more time looking at it later, but my biggest surprise from an initial read is that you put an infantry in 5 on turn 1. Although you often have to put an infantry unit into 9 to surround Marengo (especially without the optional rules), I try not to put any other infantry units in that no-mans land between the major roads. Crossing that gap takes 2 CP/unit, and I've never thought the Austrian could afford that for more than a couple of cavalry units. Do you often start with an infantry in 5? What is the advantage of an infantry there over a cavalry?
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Paul Humphreys
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Sphere wrote:
Edit: Just discovred that Paul is sandbagging as well:

The man is undefeated!


Yes currently i have 100% success rate!
(statistics based on 1 game played, 1 game won)

I'd certainly agree about the comments regarding French strategy reaching a 'plateau'. I played as the French in my recent ladder game and i ran as fast as i could! The result was a comfortable victory but this was mainly due to the Austrian failure to pursue effectively, the game was always on my terms. Against more experienced opponents, i don't think i would have succeeded.

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Mark Christopher
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Salem
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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spotcard wrote:
Thanks for a great report, George. I'll have to spend more time looking at it later, but my biggest surprise from an initial read is that you put an infantry in 5 on turn 1. Although you often have to put an infantry unit into 9 to surround Marengo (especially without the optional rules), I try not to put any other infantry units in that no-mans land between the major roads. Crossing that gap takes 2 CP/unit, and I've never thought the Austrian could afford that for more than a couple of cavalry units. Do you often start with an infantry in 5? What is the advantage of an infantry there over a cavalry?

I certainly can't answer for George, but I've found that I sometimes don't have the spare command point to ever move again the piece that initially goes into 5, and it's horrible if that ends up being a cav. Thus, I like to plan to retreat the piece from 2 into 5, and so that piece is my cav. Having 2 cav in 5 is more often a burden than a boon, or so I've found.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album
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spotcard wrote:
Do you often start with an infantry in 5? What is the advantage of an infantry there over a cavalry?


Those are good questions, Clark (who I should note is undefeated in BaM Ladder play).

Yes, I often start with an infantry in 5. If you look at the illustrated game I played with Jarvinen, you'll find that I did the same there. I don't always do it, because being too predictable is a weakness, but on balance I think it's a stronger move than putting a cavalry there.

It can be good to have a cav there if the French abandon area 9, but many French players will try to buy time by delaying here. If I end up facing French infantry in the 9/5 approach, I absolutely want to do so with infantry of my own. I have no compunctions about making assaults that cost me 2 for 1 morale in the early game, but I want to do so with infantry, not my cavalry.



 
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Clark Millikan
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Interesting difference in styles. I usually welcome a French player defending in 9, since it takes two units (one each in the 5/9 and 4/9 approaches). If I want to assault 9, I do it from locale 4, where infantry can get to the jumping off point on main roads. I usually want to get two cavalry units over to the southern road, and I thought the main advantage of a 5211 opening was that you could spend one of the needed CPs to do this on turn 1 when there isn't much else to use the CPs for. Putting an infantry unit in 5 seems to be losing that advantage. But I shouldn't be the one to list the 5211 advantages, since I'm usually a 1111 opener myself.

This, and the last thread has sparked my interest in the Austrian turn 1 move again, but I'll start a new thread so as not to sidetrack this one from the excellent AAR.
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