Thursday, June 1, 2017

PRAGUE PASSES THE BAR

 BATTLES FROM THE AGE OF REASON: PRAGUE
     I'm usually a critic of this game system, but this weekend I decided to bite the bullet and just play the game as written right out of the box. I have to admit: I had a good time. I shut down my critical circuitry and re-wired my brain to just have a little fun.
     What do I mean by playing right out of the box? I mean just doing what the rules encourage you to do. So during play you'll see (as in the first picture below) stacks of units running around slamming into things. 100-yard hexes filled to the brim with gleaming bayonets and flashing sabers. It was fun -- just don't look too closely.

16-SP stacks of cavalry. That's 800 troopers jammed into 100 yards of real estate. These are cavalry regiments arrayed in something like 8-deep lines. Here three Prussian stacks charge 2 Austrian.
The result is 2 stacks of routed Austrians and some disordered, but victorious, Prussians
Early battle maneuvering. Prussian columns enter on the roads.
Winterfeldt's grenadiers shift to the left, forcing the Austrians to match them in order to prevent being flanked. The game has these 800-man grenadier battalions aligned shoulder to shoulder in 100-yd hexes, basically in "lines" 5-6 deep. Not since the days of Marlborough have we seen their like. Here the Austrians "extend" 2 battalions to cover 200 yards each. The proper frontage for each is 150 yards. But who's counting?
Tresckow marches toward the Austrian left.
The cavalry battle swirls back and forth. Here Wurttemberg prepares a charge...
...with mixed results.
Prussian reinforcements arrive on the battlefield, left, right and center.
The Prussian left. Winterfeldt's stacks vs. extended Austrian grenadiers.
The Austrians hold their own against Tresckow.
The Austrian right caves. Tresckow is reinforced and the Austrian left is now in trouble too.
Austrian left is reinforced...
...to little avail. Prussians storm the batteries from the rear and the Austrian left begins to crumble.
The Austrian right flank is gone. The cavalry is leaderless (Brown had to flee the onslaught) and the left is shattered. The game is called when the inevitable starts to cast a long shadow over the board. Easy Prussian victory.
Critics of the game often point to the similarity of the vying factions. The unit on the left is Austrian; on the right is a Prussian. The critics might have a point.
     This was a fun game and I'm eager to play again. Next time, I'm going to play the full battle scenario (which allows the player to develop his own attack, instead of using the canned setup). I'll also use my own slew of House Rules, which I will share with you next time. (I'm the Charles S. Roberts award-winning designer of Horse & Musket, so I know what I'm talking about. There! Dean Essig's got nothing on me! All I have to do now is come up with cute nicknames for all my rules...)

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