11 August 2008

Stollen's Darkest Hour Is at Hand. . .

"I suppose in Krankenstadt, they will say I have been beaten." General von Drosselmaier and his officers reviewing the battlefield a final time before turning up the postal road toward Krankenstadt.


General Phillipe de Latte and his closest officers, Captain Paolo di Biscotti (left) and Major Heinz von Gherkin (right) riding triumphantly into Pelznikkel at the end of the battle.

As the sun set last evening and the shadows grew long, General von Drosselmaier made the difficult decision to withdraw his remaining forces from Pelznikkel and begin moving up the postal road toward Krankenstadt, remarking to one of his officers, “I suppose in Krankenstadt, they will say I have been beaten.”

For his part, Zichenauer general Phillipe de Latté moved into Pelznikkel with his usual French flourish, called for his pipe, Colonel von Finknottle, and his fiddlers three. He then sent word to Princess Antonia III, informing her that he had won the day, von Drosselmaier’s army was in flight, and the Stollenian capital was just a day’s march away march away. De Latté also mentioned in his dispatch that the Duchy of Schleiz would almost certainly become Zichenauer soil again. Finally, he turned to Colonel von Finknottle and, in recognition of his Newt’s performance at Zollamtstadt and Pelznikkel, promoted “Gussie” to the rank of acting general of infantry. Imagine what Lady Madeline Bassett will say in Britain when she hears news of this!

Now, several of you have asked for my thoughts post-game. Well, I thought it went very well for a solo affair, although it was a bit different from my games with green plastic WWII soldiers and tanks in the sand pile when I was eight!

Moving the individual Stollenian and Zichenauer soldiers around didn’t take too terribly long although the battle that unfolded turned largely into an infantry versus artillery affair with only a minor cavalry and infantry skirmish that ended quickly. I attribute that to each general keeping his "cavalry in a bandbox” as Lord Raglan is reputed to have said about the British cavalry in the Crimea because there was so little of it available.

The tactical chance cards worked well, introducing a sudden summertime cloudburst at the beginning of Turn 2, which halted all activity on the field for two turns, quickly advancing the game to Turn 4. Oddly, General de Latté continually drew chance cards that had a bad effect – infantry with damp cartridges, cavalry stumbling onto rough ground, and the like.

Von Drosselmaier, on the other hand, drew cards that had relatively good effects -- plusses to musketry and artillery fire -- and yet he still lost the game. I think that the chance cards, and the random events they introduce, will also have their place in a standard two-payer game, helping to introduce a bit more of the frustration factor for the respective player-generals. Parenthetically, I’ve combed through Christopher Duffy’s Warfare in the Age of Reason, and added to my list of random tactical events, bringing the list up to a nice round 50!

The Charge rules are fine for the type of games I am after. I do need to draw up a referral sheet or two to speed play a bit. Yesterday, I used the Charge reference sheet from the Files section at OSW, but it needs a few more details added to it, so I don’t need to refer to the book repeatedly. All in all, the game took just over three hours with a dinner/coffee break about 7:30. In short, I had a blast playing with my soldiers, and it was almost like being eight years old and in the sand pile at my grandmother’s house again! Now, comes the clean-up. :-(

14 comments:

Martin said...

'Twas a famous victory! What a great way to initiate the game table. Is a linked campaign lurking in the wings? All of Raubenstadt anxiously awaits the latest dispatches from Stollen.

tradgardmastare said...

Stokes
when is the next game...
best wishes
Alan

ColCampbell50 said...

Stokes,

A truely fantastic report and wonderful pictures!

Glad to know that the chance cards worked.

Jim

Bluebear Jeff said...

Stokes,

It was a visibly stunning "Action". You are to be congratulated and should feel justly proud of this accomplishment.

However I fear for the Grand Duchy's survival. I hope that Irwin-Amadeus can find some way to halt this cruel invasion.

I find that I am rather fond of him as a character and I wish him well.

Wonderful photos of delightfully colorful "toys".


-- Jeff

Fitz-Badger said...

Wonderful!

We can only hope Stollen will be able to pull out of this defeat, regroup and in the end prevail.
It may not be an apt comparison, but the American forces in the coming Revolution will pull victory out of defeat many times.

Maybe what Stollen needs is some reinforcements in the form of allies from other ImagiNations?

MurdocK said...

Perhaps the Grand Duke may need to make hasty plans to 'hold court' in a friendly port, from which to plot a return...

Mieczyslaw has harbours in the province of Krol...or there is the Free City of Danzig, very near the Mieczyslaw borders?

CWT said...

Stokes,
An excellent report - great job! I also liked the 'close-ups' on the generals, with their attendants crowded round them.

Regards,
Craig

Grimsby Mariner said...

Following defeat at Poltava Charles XII spent some time in the hospitality of the Ottoman Empire trying to get back to Sweden. does such a fate await the Grand Duke?

guy said...

Stokes,

You well deserve a hearty cheer from all of us. Months of plotting, planning ,painting, theorising, dreaming (enough ..ing's)and the proof is in the pudding. The table and collection look more than superb. The game sounds exciting, believable and fun especially with your chance cards which adds that element of uncertainty especially in a solo game. Onwards and upwards.

regards,
Guy

A J Matthews said...

A lovely game, Stokes, and congratulations on the set-up. I hope that the Grand Duchy of Stollen can hang in there in this terrible time. Had circumstances been otherwise, Hetzenberg would be happy to march to Stollen's aid.

Der Alte Fritz said...

It looks like we'll be having Lobster tonight! sayeth the Newts.

Nice battle report and pix.

Poruchik said...

Very Nice report Stokes and inspiring pix! The Electorate of Vulgaria would gladly send a force North to assist Stollen except for incursions from the Pedastool Empire from the South.

I really need to get back to work on my project!

Snickering Corpses said...

An excellent battle report, Stokes, and I'm glad you had such a fine time of it! I'm hoping to manage a battle of my own in the near future, though mine shall not be as lovely since my troops are still mostly unpainted.

Meanwhile, Major Rudel and his small patrol of the Hussars of the Garde du Corps Prinzessin Gertrude have taken the occasion of the evacuation of the city to break camp from the Grand Duchess' gardens and return home with their report on the situation.

tidders said...

Hopefully Stollen will recover and defeat the invaders.

The chance cards are a good idea; may have to think of using some

-- Allan

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