Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Big Battle King of the Battlefield

Ian decided to hold a big King of the Battlefield game for his brithday last night - a Russians vs all comers (well, Prussians, Austrians and Hanoverians)

We had 40 regiments of Russians with 7 guns and 15 regiments of cavalry, angainst slightly more of the non-orthodox allies, divided into approximately 3 equal national forces.

Theoretically, it was based on Rocroi - although Ian was the only player who could see any resemblance to that from the map he presented us with.

Regrettably, the weather intervened again, and the man himself was unable to get to the paying table until 8.00. He made up for this by launching 12 regiments of Russain cavalry in a death or glory charge directly into the Hannoverian lines, completely ignoring the mased combined allied cavalry covering their flank.

Mostly it was death, although we did get a running tally of the number of regiments he had swept away (6 in one charge), although never with losses incurred, it should be noted.

On the other flank, the AUstrians overran the Russian Hussars covering our right flank, and were soon in amongst the rear of that side as well.

In the middle, however, the main Prussain attack barely moved - you would hardly have known they were attacking at all, to be honest, and our initial Russain defensive positions on the hills were never troubled.

Had we had the extra hour of playing time which the weather denied us, a proper conclusion would have been reached. As it was, it was pretty clear that the Russains had lost both flanks, and were in real trouble - a hasty reformed defensive line covering the woods could have held off the Hannoverians long enough for the main body to retreat, but with all that untouched cavalry able to initiate a pursuit, and nothing to hinder them, well, why run when you can just surrender now and be done with it.

We understand that the rules author's club plays games of 600 points in an evening - this was at least 6000 points per side, and in 2 hours we had a result, if not a conclusion, plenty of drama and still maintained proper linear formations with reserve line supports. Not bad for a hasty arranged game, we though.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


We attempted a refight of Hochkirk using King of the Battlefield - with @ a dozen players all told.

The battle of 'Highchurch' - so named because we used Russians in place of Austrians (but I am afraid I will still refer to them as Austrians throughout this report) - seemed an ideal one for a multiplayer game, because we could make use of the multiple columns of attack / approach which the Austrians used historically to neatly divide up the players into independent commands, and because we could straggle any new players down the line, thus representing the order of arrival of those columns.

We had enough of a gap between the first and last arrivals to straggle them down the line, representing the time dispersal between each column arriving and taking out the sitting about waiting for a 6 which could otherwise have come about. Luckily we also had an overeager Prussian Mollendorf to jump back and forth over his defensive position when he initially thought he was unopposed on the first turn.

I was quietly hoping that both these forces at the far end of the field would be inactive for a couple of turns, and accordingly left the Austrian figures off table initially.

Dispositions were slightly hampered by forgetting the orbat, but thankfully, two weeks before we quickly laid out both sides in order to get an idea of the size of table we would required - we hastily removed them before too many club members had had a chance to see the surprises.

Frederick had deployed with a large dense wood to his rear - preventing him from retiring in that direction. The wood to the south of Hochkirk screened the Austrian advance to his rear. So the point of the attack historically was to cut both ends and tie the ogre up ending the war in a stroke. Given the limitations of Austrian command and control, it came surprisingly close to coming off.


Prussian commands

1 Zeiten and the reserve cavalry behind Hochkirk
a. 2 Cuirassier
b. 3 Hussars (elite)

2 Keith defending Hochkirk and the south east of the town
a. 2 Infantry (elite)
b. 2 Grenadiers (elite)
c. 1 Gun

3 Brunswick and main army part A - adjacent to Hochkirk
a. 4 Infantry (elite)
b. 2 Grenadiers (guard)
c. 2 Grenadiers (elite)
d. 1 gun

4 Saldern and main army part B - adjacent to Rodewitz and including the central cavalry reserve
a. 4 Cuirassiers
b. 1 Dragoon
c. 1 Hussar (elite)
d. 4 Infantry

5 Mollendorf, Seidlitz and the Prussian vanguard defending Rodewitz and the road back into Drehsa and Prussian territory
a. 5 Infantry (elite)
b. 2 Grendier (elite)
c. 1 Gun
d. 2 Hussars (elite)
e. 2 Cuirassier

6 - Two regiments of second class freikorp ineffectively skirmishing in the woods adjacent to Hochkirk (for the umpire to roll some dice with)
a. 2 Freicorps (second class)

Austrian commands

1 O'Donnell - approaching on the back table corner to the rear of Hochkirk
a. 3 Cuirassier
b. 2 Hussars
c. 2 Dragoons

2 Browne - assaulting Hochkirk from the angle
a. 6 Infantry
b. 2 Grenadier (elite)

3 Weist - assaulting Hochkick from the front
a. 6 Infantry
b. 1 Gun

4 Colleredo - a large force of second class infantry and some cavalry with orders to demonstrate in front of the main Prussian army in order to pin it in the trap
a. 8 Infantry (second class)
b. 1 Cuirassier
c. 1 Dragoon
d. 2 Hussars
e. 1 Gun

5 D'Arenburg and Durlach - the main attack to cut the line of retreat.
a. 12 Infantry
b. 2 Grenadier (elite)
c. 1 Gun
d. 2 Hussars
e. 2 Cuirassiers
f. 2 Dragoons

6 - Loudon and three regiments of second class Croats ineffectively skirmishing with the freikrop and given to any late comer player)
a. 3 Croats (second class)

The Prussians all started in pre fixed deployed positions.

Browne, Weist, Colleredo and Loudon were then placed on table, and Zeiten was instructed to address his disposition to the noises in the rear. O'Donnell was then placed, and the Prussians had first move (This was entirely an umpire decision taken on the basis that all troops began in deployed line. Had we started in march columns, then the Prussians could easily have been deployed undressed, and the Austrians given first move). As the Austrians were all starting within artillery range, this seemed appropriate.

As umpire, I was hoping for Mollendorf Saldern, Seidlitz D'Arenberg and Durlach to be later arrivals than the players happened to be. But we did get one over eager Mollendorf who advanced across his defensive stream in order to get stuck in.
The next Austrian move saw D'Arenberg placed, and Mollendorf go scuttling back to his starting positions. As far as fog of war goes, this was sufficient for my satisfaction.

After this, the players were given free rein.

The Austrians were not given an overall commander - being independent columns, they received a briefing on the plan (as they arrived as players, not collectively) - the most notable of which was instructing Colleredo that he was given a large second class command in order to pin attention but not attack, although he could if he wanted to, but he would probably fail, and instructing D'Arenberg and Durlach that they were to cut the road to seal the trap, and if possible, roll up the line.

The Prussians were simply given a 'Frederick' to issue orders if they had any doubt (this happened to be the Brunswick player in our case).

Narrative wise, the Prussians held out well, almost destroying Colleredo's infantry, and holding both Hochkick and the road to Drehsa until the final turn, when the Austrians did break through and take Hochkirck entirely, and D'Arenbeg cut the road. At this point, rather than declaring a Prussian 'well played' for retaining the escape route, I had to declare an Austrian total victory - the Seven Years war is ended, Prussia has no main army, and Frederick is likely captured.

Interesting points of play, were the total collapse of Zeiten - he simply could not roll to save himself, a regiment of 'Austrian' horse grenadiers (I did mention the figures were Russian, didn't I?) breaking through Salderns command and overrunning some of the tents before being driven off, the swift victory for louden's croats - and the remarkable ability of Keith to defend Hochkirk itself until that very last turn.

The secnario worked well. Making the Prussian infantry and Hussars elite, and the Austrian Dragoons and Colleredo's infantry second class (again, a Russian figures decision, as Russian Dragoons were essentially postmen on horses) made for a balanced game.

Had I remembered to put the designed orbats in the bag, it may have been different - you can try for yourselves, as those are the basis for the disposition layout map below.

Terrain wise, we folloed a simple adaption of this map - taken from Kronoscafe (

we placed Hockkirk on the only hill, had a large wood to its south, and a huge wood to the Prussain rear between Hochkirk and the only other town - Rodewitz. Hochkirk also had a redoubt to its rear.

A stream meandered along the Prussian front line, and the roads were for visual effect only.