Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yesterday I was invited to participate in Paul Olszanski's massive Leipzig game (Day 1). The system was Age of Eagles, an Napoleonic adaptation of Fire & Fury in which the players control a certain number of brigades and have to roll every turn for every brigade to see how they handle. It is a simple way to simulate command and control difficulties on the battlefield; you may see what the enemy is doing but be unable to react in time to it or at all.
The game was played on a table that was about 20x10 feet and at the apex, we had 17 players. Despite the size, Paul kept the game going at a decent pace. The players who were there were there to play as well and not waste time, so after some initial delays, we got down to business. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so these few pics are from my phone. In the above picture, my Austrians are preparing to support the Russian cavalry in the assault on the strategic hill to the south of Leipzig. I have unlimbered a few guns on the hill and my lead brigade is a turn away from taking the hill. That cavalry charge you can see almost got Old Boney himself. Luckily the French brigade missed totally routing by the narrowest of margins. (1 pip on the die or else the charge would have carried into the Emperor!) To the right, the Russian Grand Battery decimated two entire units of cavalry that charged them and their infantry is moving to take the other small hill in the right center of the picture. You can see the hole in the French line, but that is the Old Guard in reserve! In the backround you can see the French columns moving into town to support Poniatowski and the Poles on the other side of Leipzig. It was at this point I had to leave. They were planning on another 8 hours or so (and it was already 5pm!). I doubt even then they would get near a conclusion.

A view from the south. Two French corps march toward Leipzig while another hold off the Prussians in the upper right corner. Right behind the French on the roads are two more Russian corps in pursuit! (Not yet on table) The Austrians in the top center facing the Poles weren't historically placed but even on a table this size, Paul had to make some concessions.

This a view of my Austrians from their starting positions moving to cross the bridge to their right and link up with the Russians to assault the hill where Napoleon himself was commanding the battle. Besides, we didn't like the thought of assaulting the fortress to our direct front and realized there weren't enough troops in there to sally forth and cause us much problems. What *was* a problem were the Polish Cavalry that was on the same road to our left. I had two small but elite brigades of Lichtenstein Cavalry and two skirmishing light brigades and several horse artillery units, but the Poles were massed! I doubt I could have held. Fortunately (for me), the went the other direction and tried to turn the Austrian flank on the very north of the board instead of mine.

This a view from my perspective south of the town of Leipzig. The Emperor is sitting on the center hill with Murat and some of his staff. The Allies have just begun to move toward the French positions.

A view from the other side of the board trying to encompass the whole thing. Hopefully everyone will get to see better pics as there was a photographer from Wargames Illustrated who came from England to take photographs. When he landed his rent-a-car broke down and then the tow truck sent to get him broke down! That is why we were so delayed in getting started. Eventually Paul just had us start and when the guy arrived we stopped for a bit so he could take a bunch of pics, then he kept snapping as we played. It was a massively good time as befit the game. My thanks to Paul and everyone for a rip-roaring good time.

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