Friday, 26 May 2017

Blucher - French tears of 1814...

Last night at the uni, to get warmed up for our big Waterloo bash on the 18th June, we had a small game of Blucher, the Army level Napoleonic rules from Sam Mustafa, which we helped to play test.

Largely pitting Caesar's Russians against my French...

And a few stray Italians...

My Conscript units were Marie-Louises, which meant that despite a parlous Elan of 5, they also had the Shock attribute...

reflecting their youthful enthusiasm to defend La Patrie – I would exploit this ruthlessly!

My colleague David had the Cavalry Reserve and the smaller infantry corps.

The layout was a nondescript French valley, with a road intersecting a minor river and a small town , with a couple of large woods. Still in Team Yankee mode, I was about to cover half the table with terrain, until quietly but firmly reined in by David, and I think the resulting table provided just enough terrain to be interesting. One result of the valley effect, and the rules of objective placement, is that the 3 objectives had to be placed well into each corner of the table, giving the French, as defenders, a strategic conundrum! We couldn't defend both objectives without leaving ourselves very weak in the centre. We left one objective completely uncovered, as it was somewhat separated from the rest of the table by the river and a couple of bogs...

Alan briefs Caesar on the finer points of French architecture...the Coaltion were very confident throughout...
I had forgotten about Reserve Movement, and the rather ungentlemanly Russians showed no qualms in occupying it in their first move!

In the spirit of 1814, we decided to gamble all on an all-out reckless offensive a l’outrance! Given that Caesar had already captured one objective, the Russians, despite being the attackers, could realistically sit and wait for us to take the attack to them…

Which of course, despite knowing it was folly, we did – well you do attack, don’t you, as French players! Whilst wanting to maximise our young troops’ Shock attribute, of course the Russians all had the Steady attribute, and were possessed of a higher Elan value to boot!

However, owing to some fine heavy artillery volleys, Marmont’ Corps initial wave of attacks went well, driving back a couple of Russian brigades. So far, so good! However, as Marshal Ney observed; You can’t just kill those Russians – you have to push them over as well!

Meanwhile Caesar had been carefully husbanding his heavy cavalry corps across the river and was starting to present a credible threat to the deep French rear.

Marmont’s Corps could no longer simply be content just to push the Russians back, they would have to be destroyed in the hope of breaking Russian army morale value before the centre was ridden down by rampaging Kuirassiers and Cossacks!

However, that traditionally strong arm of the Russian Army, massed artillery...

now weighed in, and a typically Alanesque throw of four sixes from five dice with his opening salvo decimated an entire brigade of Marie Louises, and the French offensive in the center began to falter – it was the French Army morale that was starting to dwindle!

Despair really set in when a Russian pike armed Milita unit captured our Grand Battery – had the Grande Armee really come to this? David attempted to restore the situation with a well-planned but nevertheless desperate massed cavalry charge against prepared Guard Infantry in square.

C’est magnifique, mais c’est ne pas la guerre! The gallant charge ended in a mass of ruined horseflesh, with the stoic Russian Guards suffering but a few casualties…

With dusk deepening, and French Army morale nearing the red line, our brave, tearful young Conscripts ceded the field of honour to the hordes of Muscovy, trudging back to the next desperate battlefield of home…

C'est la guerre! An engrossing and enjoyable game, with 10 moves played in about 2 hours of play - we just love these Blucher rules - but we would say that, wouldn't we!


  1. A nice AAR and great figures

  2. Brilliant vista and AAR Sparker as usual
    By the way Napoleonics wise gave you tried the new new rule sets
    Over the Hills by Ady McWalter (AT 1&2 for BP) and Quinton Dalton
    General D'Armee by Dave Brown


  3. Thanks Peter! No you've just given me the first mention of Over the Hills. I have looked at Dave Brown's grand tactical set, but to be honest I wasn't too fussed by GdeBde so will leave it. I think Black Powder for Tactical and Blucher for grand tactical will do me!

  4. Sparker def have a look at OTH then as it's Ady's advanced BP thoughts and more
    Check out the Facebook page
    And their company
    Stand to Ganes

  5. Once again......" Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl"

    Great AAR and some nifty photos to boot as always.

  6. Lovely stuff! The 1814 campaign has so much to offer the wargamer.

    I'm still wedded to Black Powder, though...

  7. Thanks Robert! Oh yes, I agree, Black Powder for me for 28mm tactical level battles every time!

  8. Great report and beautiful pictures! I love your figures, wat scale are they?

    1. Ah wait, just saw Kaptain Kobold's report. 15mm. Looking great!

  9. It's great to see the Napoleonics out for a trot my Dearest Sparkles. Especially with all the illustrations.

    Another bout of Waterloo incoming is interesting news also.

    von Peter himself

    1. Thanks your Vonship - yes sometimes Art has to stand in for crap photography!

  10. Nice report, a great looking game, and the close ups on the cavalry units are very impressive!

  11. Thanks so much Phil, praise indeed coming from the author of your excellent AARs!

  12. Lovely stuff! The 1814 campaign has so much to offer the wargamer.


  13. I agree 1812-14 throws up so many troop types and problems for Commanders/generals especially Napoleon
    Also the Perry's Eclaireurs really fire 🔥 up 1814with rebooted development of Gardes D'Honneur for 1813-14

  14. Thank you for sharing valuable information.