Monday, July 13, 2009

The Battle of Aroldo Valley... the end is here!

Hey all! Well, as promised, here is the FINAL part of the Battle of Aroldo Valley!

Here is a link to a basic intro to the rules...

And then here is
Part 1

Part 2

and Part 3!

Now on to the finale!
So... when last we checked in on this peaceful valley in southern France, the two main lines were just about to crash into each other. The British, having hit both flanks and been turned back, redeployed and attacked the center, hoping to keep their flanks clear. However the French have not played along, and the Old Guard holding the chateau on the far flank have attacked, along with a brigade of cavalry, in an attempt to roll up the British line. Meanwhile in the center long waves of British and their allies have attacked... will they be able to punch through?!
On the far flank the Old Guard come plunging through the orchards around the chateau and hit the British, whose columns were just starting to form into square. On the flank comes charging a French cavalry brigade, seeing a chance to either keep the British in square (and thus easy pickings for the French) or to roll up the British lines if they deploy! This British brigade, which was already battered from Wellington's first attack on the chateau, trembled and one or two battalions broke and ran as the cavalry crashed into them. The remaining battalions held on, hoping that their thick columns would help keep the cavalry away and help keep their morale strong, even if it gave up the fire advantage of lines...

In the center the British attack hit home. The Brunswickers made up the first wave and were pounded mercillessly from both the front and the flank, where a brigade of Old Guard managed to engage the attackers. Cannister and musketballs scythed through the black uniformed men, leaving smears of gore through the wheat as more men pushed forward to fire. The Allied battalions on the flank turned to exchange fire with the Old Guard and the attack began to slow... while the British had far more men than the French, the French were in cover along the road and were able to begin whittling away at the attack from two sides.

In an attempt to push the Old Guard off of their near flank, the British advanced their next wave in lines and began to engage the French brigade behind the stone walls. They also charged home with a regiment of heavy cavalry, hoping to run the heavy Guard columns off and thus protect the flank of the attack.

While the cavalry slaughtered a great many of the Guard they were seen off by the elite troops who did not give ground, and by the musketfire into the flank of their charge. Seeing the cavalry rout, the allied battalions on the flank of the attack began to waver, and a last massive volley of musket and cannon fire saw the edge battalions break and rout back up the hill...
Meanwhile on the far flank the desperate British brigade, with the Duke himself screaming orders, managed to actually throw back the Old Guard attackers, who were themselves already worn from the earlier attack on the chateau. But as the British soldiers cheered the French cavalry then crashed home, smashing into the columns of red.

But as the British soldiers cheered the French cavalry then crashed home, smashing into the columns of red.

The British officers, seeing the flanks of the attack beginning to crumble, finally ordered the charge! The Brunswickers charged forwards, French volleys slaughtering them as they came, and they came right into the hedgerows and began to stab out with their bayonets...

But it was a desperate attack, as the Brunswickers had already been pounded by artillery since the battle began, the British artillery unable to support them. While they managed to sweep some of the French artillery away, they were unable to budge the French infantry. The Brunswickers began to break, and just as they did the Old Guard on their near flank edged closer, unleashing volley and devastating volley into the men... and the British attack began to dissolve!

In a desperate attempt to help British Colonel Archer changed the Old Guard with his cavalry, trying to rescue the British attack. His cavalry came close (his light cavalry even managing to sweep up the French battery deployed on the far edge of the road, a battery which they had ATTEMPTED to take way back in the first few turns when it was deploy on the hillside) but overall they simply could not break the dense columns of Guard, who were supported by musketfire coming from behind the stone walls.

Unable to break the French lines, with their own terrified men running back through them and their flanks crushed, the British attack broke. The Prince of Orange fled, his entire division running for the hills, along with brigades of British infantry from Wellington and Picton's divisions...

... and the battle ended. While the British still had elements of their army that could fight, the French had far more men, artillery, and cavalry ready to fight.

And so the British fled the field.

The French held the road which formed their center and their two flanks.

On the near flank Colonel Vin's brigade held where they had held the entire battle; in the field behind the stone walls. Despite the early cavalry rush that cost the French half of their cavalry and a late rush of enemy cavalry and infantry, the near French flank never fell.

On the far flank the French were almost totally wiped out... but Colonel Lebrique still held the chateau with a single battalion of Old Guard, who had actually sallied out at the very end of the fight to help collapse the far British flank.

And so! Victory for France! After losing the last two games, the French, though outnumbered, managed to fight off the British attack and hold the important Viscioux road that leads through the Aroldo valley and to Paris... victoire pour la France!!

Overall the game was VERY satisfiying. It had many different layers and levels, from the early stages where the cavalry clashed on one flank and the British attacked on the other, to the middle stage where the British redeployed almost their entire army, to the final stage, where the British attack crashed home... there were satisfying moments all along! There are still a few places I need to look at the rules... the skirmishing still needs a little work, and I am still trying to refine where being "elite" is figured into the equation... as of right now it is only in close combats and in determining whether a unit Stands!... but should it also figure into shooting? I am not sure!

So... that is that! Soon enough I'll play another game, and hopefully folks will enjoy it!


James said...

And where are all the casualties ? ;)

Author said...


Do companies make 10mm casualties? I would actually REALLY enjoy getting some... nothing makes a battlefield look as good as scattering casualties where there should be casualties, you know?

James said...

Yes, they kind of mark the progression of battle as well. I haven't dabbled in 10mm, so I don't know of any makers of 10mm casualties, but if anyone has 'em they're probably pretty easy to paint.

Pictures of a great table top, BTW. You definitely captured the Napoleonic mass effect and the gnarled old dead tree next to the cemetary was a nice touch.


James said...

Sorry, my last comment was directed primarily to your Napoleonic photo shoot, not the actual game AAR, which I also enjoyed reading.


Author said...

Hey man!

No prob! I am glad someone enjoys the AARs... while I enjoy writing them because it is fun to reflect on the game, I am never sure how readable they are, especially since they come in multiple parts. When reading it did it seem to have a fun flow to read?

I am totally going to look for 10mm dead... scattering them over a field would be fantastic and, as you mention, it would take all of 10 seconds to paint them!:D

James said...

Yes, it was fun to read. The flow read "close".


James said...

I also read your rules overview. They look interesting and playable and according to your AAR they play pretty close. Also, there's a familiar ring to them...

Ever try General de Brigade?

Author said...

I have not actually ever played any other game, I don't think, with the exception of playing one game once of Grande Armee... unfortunately I simply don't know a ton of people to play games with! I would play more often, but don't really have a chance...

I'll actually post a bit more about the rules in the nearer future... I don't have them all typed up yet, but...

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed reading the AAR; I enjoy writing them and always hope someone reads them through!