David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Saturday 14 December 2013

"The British are coming!"

Earlier this week Phil and I managed to arrange for a day's gaming here in GHQ. We decided to give the 'Maurice' rule set by Sam Mustafa another tryout, as our first effort had been somewhat confusing as we only had the 'lite' rules at the time, and set the game in the AWI. I had n't really warmed to the rules myself, but Phil was keen to give them a go so who was I to refuse?
The table layout for the game. Phil chose to defend as the Rebels and I was to attack as the British and Loyalist force. My objective was marked by the 'outdoor facility' gracing the main farmstead!

George Washington Robinson had drawn his forces up with his right and centre covered by his infantry, while his left consisted of his cavalry and the Continental artillery battery ~

As my objective lay towards my army's left flank, I decided to attack directly towards it with four infantry units, while deploying only two in my centre and my artillery battery and cavalry on my right ~

After an initial failure on my Right, the cavalry regrouped and drove off their Rebel counterparts ~

In the meantime, my main attack snarled up in a firefight which lasted for several turns ~

But unfortunately for my cause, Disruption markers were building up and attempts at Rallying them off were a dismal failure ~

To relieve the pressure on my left I advanced the weaker centre force hoping to flank his strong defence while my cavalry turned behind his artillery to take his centre in the flank  ~

In the centre I managed to overrun his C-in-C! Phil threw the dice and the score resulted in his capture! Hurrah! I got all of his cards as a result, to add to my paltry two at the time. Things are looking up for King George's cause! Here you can see the moment George Washington Robinson was marched away into captivity as 'Gentleman Johnny Bykleigh' surveys the battlefield and notes his army's progress ~

Decisively on the left my infantry suddenly broke under heavy fire, while on my left appalling dice throws resulted in my cavalry failing to beat the flanked infantry!!! My Army Morale reached zero and the remnants quit the field. A victory for the Rebel cause snatched from the very jaws of defeat! A hard end to swallow to an excellent and closely contested game.

Our game lasted some three hours and drew to a conclusion when only two cards remained to be drawn from the pack. I've no idea how many turns were involved though. I have to say that despite my sad loss, I actually enjoyed the game far more this time around. Having a rule book each and the time to consult when we were unsure definitely helped us understand the flow of the game and the nuances of the rules.
The game is demanding in that it causes you to consider all your options, opportunities, and difficulties, continually, rather than in a more conventionally structured game where one side activates any or all or its forces, followed by the other side repeating the sequence. In a sense there is a more realistic sense of time passing as you 'visit' an area of the battle at a certain moment in time, rather than sense it all happening at once. I've never been entirely won over by the notion that a move in a game represents a certain amount of elapsed real time and here Mustafa seems to have addressed and solved the problem rather neatly.
Of course, some will not like the way the game is structured, being used to the I Go - You Go game which most sets follow and I have heard others describe the game more as a card game than a wargame. I'm won over I think at the moment by the way a story seemed to unfold in the game which was believable to both of us, even if seem from different perspectives. Crucially neither of us proved successful at Rallying off mounting Disruption points and at a crucial moment Phil's firing dice became overwhelmingly successful causing me to loose three units in a thrice!
We have decided to give the rules an extended trial in 2014 by playing out an AWI campaign using them. Look out for further battle reports over the coming year!


  1. A splendid write up and pics of an exciting and mentally taxing game, whilst been fun at the same time. Huzzah! for Maurice.

  2. Interesting idea about time. I find TFL's CoC offers something similar for a different era, I really like the asymmetric turns.

  3. It strange, but very few folks seem to like their first game of Maurice, but then warm to afterwards a lot more. It was that way with me and now it's one of my favourite games. Great looking game and AAR and look forward to following your Maurice campaign.


  4. I'm glad you enjoyed your game David but I am surprised how much movement you both seem to have gotten from the rules, in the games I've played neither side managed to get all of their troops involved. It seems to be the case that as soon as there is a break in a continuous line of troops it is impossible to get the distance or reserve troops to move because of the distance from your commander unless you use virtually all your cards which usually results in you having to do nothing and pass on the next move just so you can pick up some more cards to do something.

    1. Well, there are problems in making a transition in your mind from a conventional game structure to Mustafa's, but once you understand that 'turns' don't really happen its easier to plan an unfolding action of two. The key idea I think in movement is the Force, not individual units.