David Bickley's Wargames Blog

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

Friday, 19 February 2016

The SYW game, Part the Third

As the sharp of eye and mind amongst you will know, here in GHQ we have been playing the same SYW scenario using different rule sets and comparing the experience. So far we've used Black Powder and Honours of a War. Now it's the turn of Maurice, with Jon once again commanding the British and yours truly the French,so let's get straight into the action as you must be familiar with the scenario by now ~ God knows I am! I won't bother with the usual ingame shots of the moves, as there are none in the true sense in Maurice. Instead I've focused on some seminal moments which shaped the course of the game and helped determine the outcome.
The cards which you can play to influence your own or your opponents actions play a key part in the games structure. As the defender I only had five cards to use for activating and for extension to the play, so largely planned to hold my position with my infantry and use my cavalry to threaten the flank of any unwary or uncoordinated British attack. Well, that went well ~

Jon played a 'Confusion' card on my infantry, moving one unit forward as far as it could go. Now I face the choice of using precious cards to recall it to its position or hoping it will prove a move to my advantage holding up or disrupting the attack. I chose to take a chance! Meanwhile, Jon's British cavalry got in a bit of a tangle with the advancing infantry and I sensed a chance for a flank attack. I should have kept the cards in my hand I think ~

Just when it looked as if it might work Jon played a 'That's not on the map' card on me and I had nothing in my hand to counter it. Some rough going in the shape of an unseen marsh held up my cavalry attack! Back in the centre, my infantry so cunningly advanced by Jon were up against it and under pressure. Both units are close to breaking and sadly it was mine that failed.

Not only were the cards against me, but my own dice too! Back to the cavalry now, and I finally managed to attack his infantry and get a sniff of a decisive win! Once more, hopes shattered by a card! Playing his 'Hold the Line' card boosted Jon's chances in the combat and I duely oblidged with dreadful dice. Cavalry repulsed and then shot away in the next phase!

By now we were in the second turn of the card deck, having added a card which on drawing would signify the onset of night and the end of hostilities, with Army Morale points determining the result. Well, things were not going well for the French by then, with half my army lost, although I still held the high ground. We both seem to have forgotten the village of Kutzdorf by now as Jon tried to destroy my army and I struggled to hold on. Sadly about half way through the deck the card turned up to end the game. The result was clear as my Army Morale was down to 5, way below Jon's 9, so the British were the winners!

In all the game rattled along nicely, as we find Maurice always does, reaching a conclusion in under two hours. In contrast to the previous two run throughs which I reported on in earlier blog posts, both players were able to use their cards wisely to organise their forces in a cohesive manner; not withstanding the disruption Jon's cards wrought on the French at two crucial moments. As in the other two games, the French artillery proved useless and its cavalry was completely swept away by British volleys! The British cavalry never saw any action, but the infantry was suitably solid in performance and steady under fire. Sadly, General de Bykli quit the field having failed to live up to expectations, again; pausing only to ensure that he was properly dressed for the occaison!

I always enjoy games using Maurice, even though deploying larger forces usually give me a headache afterwards! I guess that's because we play so many different games in so many different theatres or periods that I never really learn any one set thoroughly! That was the thought that lead me to think I might desert all the different rules for the periods from the SYW to the War of 1812 and concentrate on one set, probably Black Powder. After this experience I'm not so sure as I enjoyed Honours of War more than I expected, given my overall poor impression of Osprey rules, and I definately enjoyed the tussle using Maurice, despite the outcome! I'll have to think on it I guess...
In the meantime next week should see two games here in GHQ: a 1914 game with Phil early in the week and later on an ECW game with Jon. Just time now to get back to painting my Reiver Castings FRW British Guards, only four to go!


  1. Seemed a grand contest indeed. Variety they say is the spice of life, keep at it Mr.B

  2. Replies
    1. Indeed, just for you on Monday we will play it out again with WRG 1685-1845 rules. Its your fault if it turns out duff this time!

  3. Another great looking SYW game David! Reading about you playing Maurice has me itching to play another game myself! Maurice are the best SYW rules imho.


    1. Thanks Christopher. For myself I think Maurice suits my AWI collection best. For the SYW I'm very drawn to the new Honnours of War set.

  4. I can confirm that was also the best of the three write ups.. Maurice does indeed seem to give a narrative to the game..! :o)

  5. I agree with that sentiment about Maurice Steve. As to the write ups, well, they are what they are. A lot depends on how I felt the game went really when I sit down to blog, as I'm sure it does with others too. Been out sailing yet this year by the way?

  6. As usual a most entertaining game. I really like the air slight confusion playing Maurice, the cards & counter cards work really well. The look on Mr.B's face was priceless after I'd lured his cavalry in only to plonk a marsh down right in their path. How we laughed!

  7. A very nice tripple story. Great miniatures, lovely terrain, and just my two favorite armies in my preferred period. I have purchased a copy of Maurice incl. card deck myself, but couldn't manage to enchant my gaming mates to give it a try, yet.
    Haven't had the patience to do a thorough read of the rules, as I hate reading manuals. Your article may encourage me to give it another try.