Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Coldest Night of the Year - and a Game of Maurice

Friday night we had a game round at Curt's on what was the coldest of the winter - temps at -40 degrees C with wind chills pushing -50C.  Sylvain of course left a perfectly good car in his driveway, turned down the offer of a lift and rode his bike.

After months of board games and skirmish actions we played a set piece battle using miniatures.  Having being worn down by Ray Roussell's endless stream of floppy hatted fops and Stoke's Imagination I have re-discovered my interest in the lace wars period.   So, three different sets of rules have appeared in the house recently as follows.

Maurice by Sam Mustafa (as a PDF)

Beneath the Lily Banners (BLB) the original in PDF form as neither my budget or my patience was interested paying the monetary or time costs required to ship the new version by mail.

The Last Argument of Kings the Black Powder supplement not the excellent fantasy novel by Joe Abercrombie.  I took advantage of the post Christmas sale.

So we put my French and Indian Wars troops from the Louisbourg Campaign on table for a trial of Maurice.  This was the first time that these troops saw a game freaturing except for one or solo games.  Not bad considering that i started them in 1998!  No pictures were taken unfortunately - I think that our brains froze.

Maurice is a card driven system with a lot of period flavour and it gave a good game.  (Sam makes a free "Lite" version available as a PDF to give you a taste.)  It really reinforces period tactics - troops are easier to arrange in line at deployment than after manoeuvre, linear formations in two line work well and look after your flanks.  Players have to decide where to focus their attention, although it is possible to get infantry into a fire fight and then let them blaze away for a while without requiring much further attention unless you want them to charge home.

I used the Broken Ground from CS Grant's classic Programmed Wargames Scenarios.  Stacy took the Brits defending the hills attacked by Sylvain and Jeremy's French with Indian allies.  There were some predictable fumbles as the players (especially the attackers) got use to the period and system.  The first time the French tried to move an infantry force they managed to violate 3 of the 4 conditions required of a force (same terrain, same formation and within range).  At least they got the Regular Infantry part right!.

A French bombardment was followed by a fire fight between Indians in a woods and the Redcoat line. The French tried an attack on the British right, but got a nasty "surprise" when a light infantry unit hidden in woods charged their flank.  Really guys - you couldn't foresee light infantry hidden in a wood!  Talk about being blindsided by the blindingly obvious.  The attack came close to success, especially since Stacy left his unit of Colonial Conscripts on the far right and neglected a second line.  But in the end the French cracked before the British.

All in all it gave a good game and the card system worked really well.  I hope that they boys see action again.  Now I just need European light troops and cavalry!


  1. Nice period - and you have all of the rules. I'd like to have seen pictures of the game and troops; as I have some figures painted up to be Louisbourg Grenadiers. Best, Dean

    1. I'll make sure that we get the camera out next game. I will also see about getting shots of my units in a bit. I need to rebase the units to suit the Maurice unit sizes.
      Cheers, PD