Thursday, 18 June 2020

Programmed Wargames Scenarios #11 - Crossroads!




Not a blog about a minor long running, UK soap opera from the 1970's! Given the pestilence that stalks the land, most of my wargaming is conducted on a solo basis. Time therefore to dust off CS Grant's Programmed Wargame Scenarios, which allows you to set up a scenario against a 'virtual' opponent. The maps for the scenarios are presented in 3 different sections so you only know what the first third of 'your' force is entering, before you dice for the rest of the table. There are also tables to dice for the enemy's response to contact, and so on. The only real decision you have to make for the enemy is to decide their order of march, within the sensible guidelines - light cavalry first etc...

I picked the Crossroads scenario as its a scouting / encounter battle which allows you to progressively feed in more and more forces, and I like the natural progression from light cavalry scouts, to skirmishers and infantry, then some guns, then the heavy cavalry, and so on...I set the scenario in 1814, somewhere in France, with myself commanding a French Force as 'Red' forces and a Prussian force as 'Blue' forces - assisted by some Austro-Hungarian cavalry and horse guns. 1814 allows one to do away with all the 'Landwehr' and 'Reservist' stats nonsense - by 1814 all Prussian units had a core of battle-hardened veterans, as did the French! Sometimes plain vanilla units are better when you're administering 2 sets of stats!


It was reasonably easy to translate the diced for sequence of maps to create the table, although the target crossroads somehow ended up much closer to the Prussian end of the table - so I generously gave myself a little more French infantry to compensate!



The only major change I made was to allow the Prussians to deploy at move #2 rather than #4 as suggested - I don't think CS Grant could have anticipated the speed with which you can deploy forces with Black Powder rules! The Prussians duly lead off with a Uhlan Brigade on their right and Austrian Hussars and Chevaux Leger on the left - both with horse guns.



By this point their French counterparts had already been on the table for a move so were well up the table, intending to force any Prussian infantry heading for the town and crossroads into square...until the infantry could come up on the scene of action...



Despite arriving on table in march column on roads, the Prussian Infantry struggled with their deployment orders...



So the Prussian Uhlans had to hold up the French infantry columns to buy time...



But in turn the French light cavalry were on scene to prevent any further disruptive attacks...



And the French Infantry columns were now advancing on the crossroads from both sides...



The efforts pressure from the Austrian cavalry to hold them back spread to the other flank...



With tactical success against the French lights...



But not achieving their operational goal, as the French infantry snuck in a battalion into one half of the town - the onus was now on the Prussians to at least get into the other half for a draw, and if possible evict the French for a win!



Unfortunately the Prussian columns were taking their own sweet time!



With the foot artillery backed up with nowhere to go...



Eventually they got into gear on their right flank and deployed...



But emboldened by the arrival of heavy reinforcements...


The French lights went on the offensive!


However the Uhlans were all over it after seeing off the Hussars continued with their efforts to pin the French infantry. 


Under their protection the not so hard marching Prussian infantry were able to sneak into the unoccupied half of the village...


By now the final Prussian brigade arrived - the Austrian Dragoons...


 Time to set up an assault on the French half of the village!


 So, with the Austrian dragoons keeping the French infantry supports honest...


In they went!
 

But having out marched the Prussians infantry, the French Fantassins outfought them too - not only was the assault repulsed, but their supports from the other half of the village were sent packing too!


All in all an enjoyable game. I think if I revisit this scenario I will play across the table instead - too much rides on who gets there first otherwise!

19 comments:

  1. Game looks fantastic, but I'm really intrigued by the solo rules - will need to search them out, thanks for the tip.

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    1. Thanks mate. Just to clarify, they're not rules as such, just the scenario set up and options for the programmed side's decisions.

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  2. Super looking game old chum!
    I must say I miss the 28mm Nappies sometimes, might just get them out when things begin to unlock for we gamers.
    Best wishes,
    Jeremy

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    1. Thanks Jeremy! Its looking like it might not be too long down under!

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  3. It's a really good book, although sometimes adapting the scenario instructions to work with sets of rules written after the early 1970s takes a bit of thought :)

    I generally find the programming works OK at the start, but that I find my natural 'play both sides fairly' takes over as I make more and more common-sense decisions for the remote player.

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  4. Yes that was pretty much my experience - as well as compressing the time scale from 1970's 'consult chart x then y then z rules' as mentioned above!

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  5. Great report- thanks for posting. I think the programmed scenario book is one I've read thru more than any other , looking for inspiration if nothing else!

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    1. Thanks so much John - yes lots of inspiration there!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Excellent report, Sparker! Programmed Scenarios is one of the Grant books I dont have so I'll have to rectify that. Ive played many of Grant's scenarios with BP and it always gives a cracking game.

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    1. Thanks mate - appreciate your kind comments as always and look forward to hearing how you go!

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  7. What a beautiful looking game with very full and splendid units. Thanks for doing all of the work on this.

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    1. Thanks so much Norm! Yes a always think fewer larger units look better than many small units...

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  8. Very impressive. Very nice photos as well.

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  9. Fine looking game Ralph. How different do you think it might have been had you played both sides actively (or do I take it by your reply to 'Kaptain Koblod' that you did anyway)?

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  10. Hi James - thanks! I did after the first few moves, which were dictated by the programmed response and the C2 of Black Powder - for the Prussians, 'Deploy Cautiously' became 'Deploy sometime before Christmas...'!

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