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Subject: Session Report rss

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Dick Jarvinen
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Bonaparte at Marengo
Session Report 3/9/05

Austrian Player: George Fagin
French Player: Dick Jarvinen

While we are both ramping up on the learning curve, I’m afraid that George is having a little easier ride than me. We’ve pretty much got the mechanics down, and now we are fiddling with the more gritty layers of tactics.

I took the Austrians this time, and used my first two turns building up my forces in the first area, thus not allowing the French any activations save the lone unit he gets at start.

During the third turn I moved into the area just Northwest of Marengo, while sending a cavalry down the northern road, and another cav south to C. Stortiglionia, which forced the French to block the approach from his starting area just east of Mareno.

(Side note: in future maps, I hope we can have some unique ID or other map indicator which would clearly identify what areas are being discussed. The ‘area east of Marengo and then one south’ is not overly descriptive.)

Interestingly enough, I later found out that both of the French elites started in this area, giving the French pause as his original plans did not really include having them there. And also interestingly enough, when I chose to assault the position, I did pick that area, which now pinned both of his Elites to the approaches. You would have thought this was a good thing for the Austrians, right?

My bombardment and assault took one Elite down to a strength ‘1’, but in his turn, he abandoned the approach with his remaining Elite; when I then maneuvered into it, he took the retreat loss with the last remnants of his reduced Elite, but the remaining one escaped unscathed.

Still, within a few turns, I managed to completely wipe out one of his two Elites on the board and establish a strong position around Marengo.

Now comes my first mistake. At this point I should have maneuvered against Marengo, which would either pin that unit on the approach, or forced a retreat. Instead, I went into some flanking moves around Marengo. The only effect this had was that while I dallied about the Marengo suburbs, this unit eventually had time to retreat along the road before I could close the ring, as well as keeping me off the road. I would have been far better off to force the Marengo issue early as slogging through the fields was just too slow.

In the northern front, our cavalry played our little dance, with me maneuvering, him blocking, then retreating back into reserve, and then me maneuvering again. Slow, steady, and bloodless. Time for a second mistake.

If you look at the approach penalties along the northern road, you will see a cavalry/infantry penalty, then an infantry only penalty, and then another cavalry/infantry penalty.

If you manage to get into an assault position with cav against cav on approaches that do not contain a cav penalty, then by all means do the assault! You will ‘lose’ the battle but effectively tie in points lost (one each). Since you have six cav units whle the French have only three (at start), a war of attrition using cavalry definitely favors the French. If you can wipe out one or two of his cav units early, you now have an immense advantage, as the cavalry dance is virtually stopped.

And actually, I don’t remember if I had that chance early along the northern road, but I do know that I didn’t even look for it. We finally ended up with our units staring at each across the approaches to the west of Castelceriolo, with no guns being fired for quite some time. I had a few support units (maybe only four or so) but my main push was now to the north of Marengo with a smaller force flanking to the south.

I was doing pretty good but the losses were not near enough to my liking. I was ahead in demoralization points but his numbers were still quite low (something like 15 to 12 but I misremember the exact points).

Time now for my final and most critical mistake. He had left quite a few units around Castelceriolo (too many, I thought) so I believed I had a chance to bust through the main road from Marengo to the southeast, so that’s where I concentrated my effort.

I considered (but only briefly) taking the force north and east of Marengo on a push toward the eastern approaches of Castelceriolo, and then on the road east to the coveted victory point stars. But for some inexplicable brain bump, I rejected that notion.

In a post-game analysis, we both decided that could have actually been a game breaker. Those units up there would have been completely isolated from the major portion of his forces, and would have forced to hole up in Castelceriolo, or beat a hasty and ignominious retreat east, where I should have find easy pickings among the disorganized stragglers.

Instead, I pushed on into the teeth of his army along the southern road.

Incidentally, George played his retreat/delay tactics superbly, using his cavalry to prevent losses that was almost not credible. At 5 p.m., the demoralization was only 15 for the Austrians, and 10 for the French. I was well ahead in that race but the problem was that I woke up too late. I looked at the clock and realized how few French units I had killed. I would have to kill two strength points per turn in order demoralize him as I was unlikely now to reach any of the victory stars.

Unfortunately, the French also knew how to count; he deftly retreated yet again, creating a line about one area east of the rolling hills, where his new reinforcements met up in a timely manner with his retreating units.

Except for one sole turn, I couldn’t even force three assaults, as the slimy French kept wriggling away, blocking, then retreating. At one point, I pretty much realized the game was over, and with no other options, decided on an ill-advised assault against a French strongpoint on the main southern road. No doubt about it, he had two Elites and an artillery waiting for me. The Austrian army was blown off the field. And to add injury to injury, he then counter-attacked and wiped out the remnants of that force, including my artillery.

Normally I wouldn’t have taken such a risk but the game was lost anyway. And it was kind of entertaining to see how quickly the tables could turn when the defender was in a strong artillery-reinforced position against a less than full-force Austrian army.

The French certainly deserved the win, as they outplayed the Austrians both tactically and strategically. The once chance I probably had for a win (cutting north to flank Castelceriolo) I threw away, partially through inexperience but mostly through poor analysis.

The only bright spot in my future is that I’m sure my skill level will increase at a faster rate than George’s as he already seems to be at the top of his game.
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Hannes Riener
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Re:Session Report
Thanx - was nice to read!

btw:
(Side note: in future maps, I hope we can have some unique ID or other map indicator which would clearly identify what areas are being discussed. The ‘area east of Marengo and then one south’ is not overly descriptive.)
Bowen is already working on it:
http://www.simmonsgames.com/tools/mapviewer/Frames.html#http...
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Rachel Simmons
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Re:Session Report
djarv wrote:

(Side note: in future maps, I hope we can have some unique ID or other map indicator which would clearly identify what areas are being discussed. The ‘area east of Marengo and then one south’ is not overly descriptive.)


Your wish is my command. A numbered reference map is now officially up. You can access it from:

http://www.simmonsgames.com/products/Marengo/Extras.html

which contains instructions on its use as well as a link to the actual map (suitable for on-line use or downloading and printing to 8.5" x 11" paper).
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Rachel Simmons
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Re:Session Report
djarv wrote:

(Side note: in future maps, I hope we can have some unique ID or other map indicator which would clearly identify what areas are being discussed. The ‘area east of Marengo and then one south’ is not overly descriptive.)


Your wish is my command. A numbered reference map is now officially up. You can access it from:

http://www.simmonsgames.com/products/Marengo/Extras.html

which contains instructions on its use as well as a link to the actual map (suitable for on-line use or downloading and printing to 8.5" x 11" paper).
 
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