Okay, over the years I've learned that I have to play my games by myself, ever since I tried to teach my father how to play the Young Jedi TCG. And that one game of Risk in 2002 or 2003. So, when I decided to play my Eagles: Waterloo campaign after nearly completing the set, it was going to be solo. For ease of playing two simultaneous battles, the British and Prussians had a turn, then both French forces, and back and forth. For this game, corps integrity rules are in effect (a general less than a corps commander can only give a command bonus to troops of his own corps).
Opening off, both sides drew poorly (6 troop cards for each side) in the Quatre Bras battlefield, the French opting to place de Valmy with two calvary on the left, Reille in the center and Ney with calvary on the left. The British lined up 2 infantry in the Bossu Wood, Lietenant-General (LG) Karl Alten in the center with two cards, and LG Perponcher- Sedlinsky with two on the left. The French are immediate at a disadvantage, since the calvary cannot attack the two infantry in the woods. LG Alten and Marshal Ney are the senior officers on the field.
The Prussians and French at Ligny are both in a better position to fight early. The Prussian commander is Gneisenau, but neither he nor Thielmann were on the field to start off. The French, with both Napoleon and Soult present, start the same way, with Lobau on the left the only general on the field.
Allies go first.
Turn 1a: Artillery fire, scoring hits on the French center at Quatre Bras (QB) and the French left at Ligny (LY). No reinforcements for the British, due to the card "Late Reserves".
Turn 1f: Artillery reply, hitting all along the Prussian front and the British center. Ney advances on the British left (QB).
Turn 2a: No casualties. How the Prussians low so many low numbers, I don't know. Alten lobs shells at Reille, and Perponcher-Sedlinsky fires at Ney. The Prince of Orange arrives at Quatre Bras, becoming the senior commander present for the British.
Turn 2f: Two cards lost (one of Reille's, one of Ney's), but Ney fires back, and the "Defection" card eliminates one of the units facing him. In Ligny, the French batteries damage cards in every Prussian position facing them. Gerard and Exelmans join Napoleon in the reserve.
Turn 3a: three Prussian units are eliminated in the morale phase, but they immediately land four hits (of four dice rolled) on Lobau (the French left). 3 hits are put on Ney, and another artillery burst puts a hit on Reille. Picton joins the Prince of Orange in the reserve.
Now, the game was interrupted by our kitten, Glinda. Glinda likes things that make noise, but she is also easily frightened. My kid sister is riling her up, and Glinda jumps on the table twice in quick succession, with me tossing her off the second time. After cards are put back in place, the game continues.
Turn 3f: No losses for Lobau, although a "Rally" card is used. Ney loses another unit and retreats. Another hit is struck by the French artillery on the Prussian center.
Turn 4a: No losses, and Picton takes charge of the infantry in the Bossu Wood. In addition, the "Cherry Woods card is played in Perponcher-Sedlinsky's position, making another infantry card invisible to the French cavalry/artillery.
Turn 4f: This is going nowhere for the French. Gerard and his corps replace the troops in the French center, and are formed in column (LY). This will allow his troops to shock, allowing more hits on the Prussians. Exelmans charges from the reserve with calvary on the Prussian left.
Turn 5a: Alten's artillery puts another hit on Reille's troops, and Gniesenau takes command on the Prussian left where Exelmans is. He leads a troop in column into the fray. Blucher is drawn, and stays in the reserve. When told his chief-of-staff is on the field, Blucher said he might lose his head.
Turn 5f: Exelmans's calvary shocks the Prussian left, putting 4 hits on Gniesenau's troops and one on Gniesenau himself. (To do this in the game, a "1" rolled at an engaged position counts as one hit on the general; during the morale phase, each hit on a general is rolled for, with a "6" killing him.) Gerard's infantry, in column, advances against the Prussian center (LY). Ney moves ver to the French left (QB).
And again, the damn cat jumps on the table. Again, she is thrown off, and play is resumed after a quick cleanup. I'm glad I'm keeping notes at this point.
6a: The Prussian artillery on the right successfully hits Lobau's units (still the French left, LY). The Prussian center scores two hits on Gerard's troops, and the troops under Gniesenau only score two hits on Exelman's calvary; however, 6 hits are placed on Exelmans.
Yes, I really rolled six "1"s from 12 possible dice rolled.
6f: Unsurprisingly, Exelmans is killed! The French lose two cards at Ligny, one of Gerard's and one of the recently deceased Exelman's. Napoleon send his Chief-of-Staff, Soult, to take over the French right at Ligny. (As an aside, both the Prussiand anf French Chiefs-of-Staff are fighting each other on the battlefield, while their commanders are in the reserve. Tee hee.) 2 hits are put on Gniesenau's troops, and Gerard uses the "Bayonet Charge" card to use more dice in the center; 3 hits are applied to the Prussian center. In addition, Lobau's artillery lands two hits on the Prussian artillery facing them. Over at Quatre Bras, Ney advances his troops into the Bossu Wood on the French left.
7a: All hits against Gniesenau's troops are shrugged off. Niiiiice. Gniesenau's troops put 6 hits on Soult's command, and 3 on Soult. In the center, 1 on Gerard's troops and 3 on Gerard.
Apparently the Prussians want to kill the commanders rather than the troops they command.
At Quatre Bras, 4 hits are put on Ney's infantry by Picton's men, and 1 hit on Ney. Major-General Cook joins the Prince of Orange in the reserve.
With Glinda watching my dice, I realize I need to use one of my units as a diversion to keep her off my flanks/front. So, I toss a die on the floor, which she immediately pounces on and begins to bat around.
7f: All of Ney's troops make their saves, but Ney is killed! Soult loses two units, but the French lose no other units. Both Gerard and Soult survive the hits on themselves. To avenge their commander, the French left at Quatre Bras put two hits on Picton's men and one on Picton. Reille's troops in the center lurch forward, with the "Battle Confusion" card allowing one of his infantry to move and shoot, putting 2 hits on Alten's troops and one on Alten.
At Ligny, Lobau's artillery lands a hit on the Prussian right. The "Ammo Depletion" and "Fatigue" cards are played on Gerard's troops, with one card retreating (to lose the "Ammo Depletion"), and no hits are landed by Gerard's troops. 5 more hits are landed on Gniesenau's troops, and one on Gniesenau.
8a: Of all the hits last turn, only one card is lost (Alten's artillery). The Prussians under Gniesenau are leading charmed lives.
At Quatre Bras, 2 hits are put on the French left, 1 each on the French center and Reille. At Ligny, 1 hit is scored by the Prussian artillery on Lobau, 1 on the Frnech center (2 on Gerard), and 7 on the French right, outright destorying one infantry unit (1 hit is put on Soult). In addition, the "Sombreffe" location is put into play at the Prussian left, giving a Morale boost to the troops under Gniesenau (as if they need it). Also, LG Zieten joins Blucher in the reserves.
8f: I'm missing here how many cards the French might have lost. In any case, they retreat on the left (QB) and the right (LY). The only troops still engaged are the centers of both battlefields.
9a: At Quatre Bras, two hits on the French center (2 on Reille). At Ligny, two hits are put on Lobau by the Prussian batteries, and three more on the French center (and 2 on Gerard). The Duke of Brunswick is drawn, and stays in the reserve.
9f: Oh hell. Reille was killed! That's the third commander killed for the French on either battlefield. 1 troops is lost in the French center at Quatre Bras, and 2 of Lobau's at Ligny. Soult, on the French right at Ligny, get reinforcements, including a horse artillery unit who moves and shoots, putting a hit on Gniesenau's troops on the Prussian left. 5 hits are put on the Prussian center by Gerard's troops.
At Quatre Bras, one hit is put on Picton (British right) by artillery, and 2 hits are put on Alten (and 1 on him). De Valmy, the only French commander left on the Qautre Bras battlefield, leads calvary into the center against Alten.
10a: 2 of 3 cards are lost in the Prussian center (Ligny), but the lone card puts 3 hits on Gerard's troops before it's reinforced by Zieten and two infantry units. The artillery puts two more hits on Lobau.
At Quatre Bras, a hit is put on one French troop in the center and de Valmy. The Duke of Wellington and his second-in-command, the Earl of Uxbridge, are drawn.
10f: The French take no losses on either field. Excellent.
At Quatre Bras, 1 hit is put on Picton's troops by the artillery on the French left, 4 hits are put on Alten's troops (and 3 on Alten).
At Ligny, 4 hits are put on Zieten (and 3 on Zieten), and Soult re-engages Gniesenau on the French right.
11a: The center crumbles! With both infantry units failing the morale save, Alten is killed, and the Battle of Quatre Bras is over, with a French victory!
The remaining cards for the British are removed (they retreat), and the remaining French cards are shuffled into the Ligny battle's deck.
The Prussians lose a card on their right, two in the center, and one on their left. In addition, Zieten is killed!
Bravely, they continue on, forcing hits on all the French positions.
11f: The Prussians play "No Quarter!", which puts one addition hit on all troops on Soult's troops. The downside, of course, is realized as only one unit is routed and each surviving card gaining +1 CV (combat value).
The French put 4 hits on the Prusian left (and 2 on Gniesenau), 4 on the Prussian center, and 3 on the Prussian right (by Lobau's artillery).
12a: Game. The Prussian center crumbles, allowing the French to gain a victory here as well.
Analysis of the first day of the Campaign: The French lost 3 commanders of their 12, including a wing commander (Ney). That means the only two commanders who can use Reille's II Corps is Napoleon and Soult.
The Allies lost two generals, true; but neither one was vital. In addition, the many Prussian cards lost were from the I and II Corps, who will not be available for the campaign's second day anyway. No cards from the III Corps were used, so all of them are still available for Wavre.
Quatre Bras losses: 2 generals and 6 of 14 units (French); 1 general and 4 of 16 units.
Ligny losses: 1 general and 12 of 49 units (French); 1 general and 23 of 54 units (Prussian).
Historical Accuracy: Besides the generals killed, it played out very well. The Prussians took frightful casualties at the Battle of Ligny, and that happened in this game as well.
I see now why historians have been so critical of d'Erlon, the French commander who marched his corps to and from the battlefields, but never actually fought in either. Ney could have badly used the troops, and maybe taken the British positions. In fact, Ney was outnumbered in this scenario, and the British successful drew out the battle, delaying the French from winning until the cost to do so was Pyrric.
On Glinda: Once she was given a die, she played with it until it ended up under a couch; retrieval, however, allowed me to be unmolested until it went under a couch again. She slept during turns 9 onward while I was playing, so maybe that's a good sign.
Next time though, I may try to play on the dining room table, as it is higher up.
I hope to play out the second day of the scenario (Waterloo and Wavre) by next weekend, if not sooner. But playing by myself and writing everything down took roughly 3-4 hours of play.
Todays avatar: Last time I saw Axl he was waiting for his forever home.
Pet photographer, that's me.
I used to play this a lot in the late 90s. I loved it. I tried it recently with my new regular gamer guy and all he could focus on was how easily Generals got killed... (bitch bitch bitch)... it won't hit the table around here again.
It's a reflection of what really happened.
I mean, how many general cards in this game have either a star (wounded) or a cross (killed)?
The answer: 4 British generals, of 12, were wounded, and two killed outright (Duke of Brunswick, Picton)
The French had 3 of 12 wounded. The Prussians have none, which is surprising given Blucher was trampled twice (or was it thrice?).
Bottom line, of the 30 general cards in this set, 10 (counting Blucher) were wounded (if not killed outright).
One out of three, basically.
I lost the sheets for the Battles of Waterloo and Wavre, so I'll just post the gory details here...
France won Pyrrhic victories. In the end, only Gerard was left alive of the 12 French generals. The Brits and Prussians lost 6 and 3 generals, respectively, so general casualties came to 66%.
And of course, with Napoleon gone, there's not much hope for the French.
So, from now on with these games, I'm substituting this rule in:
A general takes a hit when all other cards at his position have taken a hit. If all cards take two hits, then the general has two hits on him, and on and on. During the morale phase, for each hit on a general roll a d6; on a result of "6" the general is killed.