Friday, 14 June 2013

Maurice Doubles

Shock horror! Our normal room at the University was locked last night (something to do with exams), so we ended up having to use a meeting room in the Metals and Materials Science bit of the building. So our backdrop was a shelf of books on metals, crystals and all sorts of other interesting sciency stuff.

Our feature game was a Maurice doubles. Four of us each had an army of a different style - Caesar and I, representing a Riskovian/Confederation of Tea States Alliance, attacked John and Ralph, representing an alliance between Albion and the Duchy of Sans Couleur. We used one deck between us, with plans to cycle through it more than the three times

Here we are setting up. One again a lot of the figures were my still unpainted garish Risk plastics. However both Caesar and John have growing collections of painted metal figures.

My army featured lots of cavalry. Including elite Guard cavalry. This will come as no surprise to most people.

Here's my Riskovian infantry.

The other game - Peter and Geoff played DBMM. Or something of that ilk.

Lots of banners.

Caesar had Bayonets and En Masse as his national advantages, and pushed his infantry forward rapidly to engage John's line. This was odd, because he then stopped and tried to engage in a firefight, whilst the rest of us just looked baffled.

Here's Ralph looking baffled.

Fisheye shot of our temporary venue.

And a widescreen shot of the overall game. I have lenses for my iPhone, you know.

Another widescreen shot. Whilst Caesar had pushed a limited part of his army forward rapidly, and got stuck in (in a bizarre kind of way) I was advancing steadily, trying to keep my infantry, cavalry and artillery together. However, as I said, my infantry were only there to provide a vulgar brawl to which my cavalry could lend some dignity. Ralph adopted a defensive posture behind some hills, so whilst Caesar and John exchanged musketry turn after turn (and rallied a lot), our two armies saw very little of each other.

Caesar had some cavalry as well. Irregulars. They spent the whole game hiding in a wood looking attractive.

Ralph pushed a few units of cavalry forward in order to tempt my artillery into shooting. I didn't take the bait. Instead I advanced my infantry, hoping that covering Caesar's flank might encourage him to actually attack. With Ralph's cavalry threatened to the front I swung some of my many cavalry units around to threaten their flank. Things were looking good.

Some action in the main fight - one of John's infantry units got confused, and retired through its supports. Maybe this was the opportunity Caesar needed to launch that long-awaited bayonet assault? But wait? That patch of white marsh wasn't on the map! (We didn't have any spare terrain of a suitable size so used a couple of measuring sticks)

Finally! Caesar attacks!

And that was it. He didn't make any major breakthroughs, and ended up repulsed with a number of his units looking very shaky. The next turn would probably see some of them break, but we'd run out of time - the firefights between Caesar and John had used up a lot of the gaming time. Ralph and I never got to grips.

Playing doubles was interesting, but I think we needed a more coordinated plan. Caesar and John's side of the game quickly bogged down, whilst Ralph and I were able to complete our parts of the turn very quickly. I think I would have liked Caesar to have held back a little, perhaps. And sitting in front of a firing line in column didn't seem the best plan; the ability to rally in Maurice seems to offset a lot of the advantages gained by shooting your way into combat - when Caesar went in he'd gained virtually nothing from several turns exchanging fire. My plan was to advance all of my troops together, as far as possible, before launching any attacks. But with infantry, cavalry and artillery that meant three turns of march moves for each step forward. This could play quite quickly (especially as Ralph was content to pretty much sit and wait for me, at least initially), but not with the other side of the table engaged in combat every turn.

We're playing Maurice again in a few weeks, possibly as part of a mini campaign, but I'm not sure if it's doubles or a couple of one-on-one games. Maybe I'll get to shoot or charge something this time.


  1. Wot no burning tanks?

    Yes I was a little bemused by the enemy's tactics, which seemed straight out of the General Douglas Haig playbook - but perhaps that was the cunning plan?

    'Look we've spent the last 5 turns standing in the enemy's beaten zone just getting shot at - surely the last thing they will expect us to do this time is...stand in the beaten zone getting shot at! Bah!'

    And to be fair the CinC's drinks cabinet did get moved a few paces closer to the enemy...

    Overall an interesting game, thanks to Caesar for all the hard work.

    1. Thanks to all for a great game. I really enjoyed Maurice doubles though I apologise for monopolising game time with musket volleys and admit my plan was flawed. I should have moved my cavalry up first. As luck would have it, I uncovered a rather enlightening account of the battle from the Comte's point of view...

    2. Battle of Uber Boden

      The newly elected Emperor of the Confederation of Tea States, Oolong XXXVII, after humiliating defeats at the hands of the Grand Duchy of Sans Coleur, sought the advice of court mathematician, a one Amadeus Mozart. His new advisor declared that the Tea States age-old tactic of marching massed infantry into enemy lines had a solid 51% chance of success. Emboldened with this news, the Commander in Chief of the Tea States army, Comte de Cesare, embarked on a most cunning and innovative strategy to completely catch the enemy unawares and march massed infantry into enemy lines, in a renewed invasion of the Grand Duchy.

      In support of the venture Oolong’s distant cousin, Barclay de Tetley, pledged a brigade of his finest Cossacks from the border territory of Lapsang Souchong. Regrettably they did not arrive furnished with an interpreter, though by talking loudly the Comte was certain that they would obey simple instructions. Furthermore, Graf Kobold of the Principality of Riskovia, staunch allies of the Tea States, rendezvoused with the Comte on the plains of Uber Boden with an impressively array of his own cavalry, including the household guards, almost as well attired as the Cossacks. Success for the attackers was assured as the allied commanders plotted to seize their first objective, the burg of Schloss Schliptenstein.

      Arrayed against the invasion, the ever adroit Gross Herzog von Sparker enlisted the aid of Prinz Johann of Albion, an unconventional though highly regarded veteran of the Nikkerbocher Wars.

      The attack got off to a patchy start as an order to move swiftly through the forest and attack the Albion flank was misinterpreted by the Lapsang Souchong Cossacks as, “Stand around and strike a pose”, a directive most agreeable to the best dressed cavalry this side of the Urals. And whilst the forest obscured their spectacular cavalry uniforms from view, their infantry brethren trudged forward in orderly columns like automaton into the maws of the awaiting Albion line.

    3. Yes, my Benefit Of Hindsight plan would have included you moving your cavalry forward first, to threaten John's right. I should have had my cavalry on your right, able to exploit the fact that Ralph was deployed back from John, leaving John's left slightly exposed as well. My infantry and artillery could have moved up to screen Ralph's force and keep it around the town.

      And then we should have advanced steadily. And *together* :)

  2. Battle of Uber Boden (continued)

    Meanwhile von Sparker eyed the Riskovian forces suspiciously across his side of the field and… Continued to eye suspiciously. He took confidence in the knowledge that his elite Grenadiers au Chocolat would be a tough nut to crack as they garrisoned in the burg. In stark contrast to the aggressive and completely unsupported assault of the Tea States infantry, Graf Kobold advanced his entire force of Riskovians with glacial speed, the infantry, cavalry and guns moving together.

    Emboldened by the lack of resistance to the initial infantry advance, Comte de Cesare moved his HQ precariously close to the enemy lines. When asked by a nervous Aide de Camp, Earl Grey, if his lordship should perhaps display more caution in the face of the Albion gun battery, the Comte confidently announced that Albion gunners couldn’t hit a cathedral at this range. Shortly thereafter the massed infantry were visibly shaken as Earl Grey’s wig was removed by a stray cannon ball, along with his head.

    As the Tea States massed infantry began to slog it out within volley range with the Albion line, three things became apparent: the elite Albion highlanders were not going to budge fast, the unorthodox deployment of Johann had produced a considerable overlap, and there was a bloody great swamp that no one had noticed on the map. After an interminable musket dual which produced little result except the loss of an Albion battery and considerable jeering from the Comte’s subordinates as to what colour blouse he was wearing because he clearly wasn’t ordering a charge, the Albion ranks were thrown into some confusion in a dispute as to who was entitled to take the most enemy fire. In the ensuing reshuffle of two regiments, the elite Darjeeling grenadiers grasped the opportunity to boldly wade through the swamp and give the Albions a hearty taste of cold steel and then not-so-boldly wade back again. With the general assault stalled and von Sparker and Graf Kobold still eyeing each other suspiciously, we called it a draw due to time constraints.

    From dispatches informing the Emperor of the less than stellar performance of his massed infantry, it finally dawned on Oolong XXXVII that, through a quirk of translation, Amadeus was in fact a musician and not mathematician, who expeditiously regaled the assembled party with such splendid chamber music that he was completely forgiven for his mistaken former identity and complete lack of tactical acumen.

  3. Grand Duchy of Sans Coleur, Gross Herzog von Sparker

    Artillery x 3 = 6pt
    Cavalry regular trained x 3 = 18pt
    Infantry regular conscript x 1 = 4pt
    Infantry regular trained x 7 = 42pt
    Upgrade 3 trained infantry to elite = 9pt
    National Advantages (lethal volleys @ 12pt, steady lads @ 9pt) = 21pt

    County of Albion, Prinz Johann:

    Artillery x 2 = 3pt
    Cavalry regular trained x 3 = 18pt
    Infantry irregular x 1 = 3pt
    Infantry regular conscript x 1 = 4pt
    Infantry regular trained x 6 = 36pt
    Upgrade 3 trained infantry to elite = 9pt
    National Advantages (great commander @ 12pt, steady lads @ 9pt, oblique order @ 6pt) = 27pt

    Principality of Riskovia, Graf Kobold:

    Artillery x 4 = 10pt
    Cavalry regular trained x 6 = 36pt
    Infantry regular conscript x 1 = 4pt
    Infantry regular trained x 3 = 18pt
    Upgrade 2 trained cavalry to elite = 5pt
    National Advantages (rally to the colours @ 12pt, maison du roi @ 9pt, professional train @ 6pt) = 27pt
    Infantry regular trained mercenaries x 1

    Conferation of Tea States, Comte de Cesare:

    Artillery x 2 = 3pt
    Cavalry irregular x 3 = 9pt
    Infantry regular conscript x 1 = 4pt
    Infantry regular trained x 8 = 48pt
    Upgrade 3 trained infantry to elite = 9pt
    National Advantages (rally to colours @ 12pt, a la bayonette @ 9pt, en masse @ 6pt) = 27pt
    Cavalry irregular mercenaries x 1
    Infantry irregular mercenaries x 1

  4. Mein Lieber Comte de Caesare,

    As witty and entertaining as your account of yesterday's, er shall we say - skirmish - was; I respectfully beg to differ with your account of the energetic and arduous exertions of the glorious Sans Coleur Regiments.

    I would have you know, Sir, that the Gallant Officers of the 1st Chocolate Grenadier Guards (Sons of the Volsungs) had to have the staff orderlies move their luncheon tables at least twice during the fatefull afternoon in question, owing to stray cannon balls overshooting the more active end of the field of honour. And I furthermore have the honour of informing you, Sir, that as a result of this pernicious and unseemly inconvenience several bottles of Chablis from my very own estates had to be returned to the icehouse for rechilling...And to I really need to tell you how scarce clean ice houses are in the vicinity of Uber Boden? Pretty damn scarce, I can tell you! I also hear that a few servants lost their heads - literally. At least finding a suitable icehaus gave my Light Cavalry something useful to do...

    And clearly the dashing and forceful gadding about of the Sans Coleurian Dragoon Bde failed to catch your eye. They manouevered most prettily, Sir, and very nearly gave serious thought to mounting a charge...But their Brigadier was feeling a tad liverish after luncheon, I gather.

    And as you say, the day was not completely wasted, there were some reasonable daubs in the Uber Boden municipal art collection which will look very well in my gunroom...

    I remain, Sir, your obedient servant and look forward to seeing you once again accross the field of honour...probably through a spy glass...

    von Sparker

    Erzerhog Sans Coleur
    Chief of the Red Bedchamber to the Holy Riskovian Emperor (in exile)
    Holder of the Scented Chasuble of His Holiness Pope Gregory the XXV
    General of the Armies of the Grand Duchy

    1. Further to the reports above, it was noted a number of times that Prinz Johann of Albion appeared to fall of his horse, perhaps he was also wearing a blue cravat and should be seeking stress leave whilst using the resources of his army for free travel throughout the empire.

      I also wish to point out that half of Albion's infantry were disillusioned tea states citizens and it was a spy amongst these that caused the confusion as they convinced the proud and steadfast "Shirts De La Blue" That the enemy cavalry had advanced as per plan and were now to the rear, therefore requiring the attentions of one of the Elite infantry units.

      William James Stuart
      Court Reporter
      Albion Mercury

  5. Well of course as an Arch Duke one does not normally condescend to responding to the fevered scribblings of 'gentlemen' of the press...However on this one occasion I will observe that this common rag seems to have reported something akin to the truth concerning the steadfast and gallant conduct of the Albion Regiments. As I have noted in my post battle despatch to His Highness Prinz Johann, I am grateful for the efforts of his gallant little army, indeed I felt almost as secure as if it had been my own regiments guarding my right flank...

    Sans Coleur,
    Knight Commander of the Order of the Pregnant Elephant, etc und etc.


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