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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Maurice - AWI Game

Yesterday saw the first game of "Maurice" played at the club and I brought out the AWI collection to try out the rules. A lot of good comments have followed the release of this rule set and we were all keen to see if the excitement matched our experience.

I set up the terrain and put together the armies as detailed in the rule book to do Brandywine. We diced for sides with the Americans being the defenders and having the choice of table edge. The British positioned the house by the road in the American deployment area as the objective and watched as the Americans deployed first. After the British had deployed, the two sides appeared as below.

As this was our first game both sides were keen to push the rules and see what they could do. Both sides opted for flank attacks by setting up units in march column ready to set off. The American units are out of shot behind the wood at the end of their line. Like wise the British units are out of shot, left foreground.

Initial deployments with the British line on the left and the American to the right holding a ridge line. The house in the American sector is the game objective.
The game is played in alternate turns of card driven actions, with the attacker starting the sequence. The British on the attack started with 8 cards to the Americans 5 and the cards control which units can be activated, in what sequence, and throw in some nasty "Event" surprises every now and then. The units are simply Infantry in groups of four bases, Cavalry likewise and Artillery on single bases. The number of bases determine how many "disruptions" the units can take before being destroyed. Thus five disruptions will destroy an Infantry or cavalry unit, two for artillery. Disruptions are caused by combat and movement through difficult terrain or interpenetration's. Thus you can see the two units of Continentals who are attempting to flank the British have each taken a disruption for crossing the stream in their path as indicated by the little red dice.

The American flank attack, encountering difficult terrain on their march
The gradual accrual of disruptions can be countered by rallying affected units, but there lies the problem. When the fighting really gets started, you can't do everything you want or need to.The choices start to face the commanders, "Do I play an event to cause the main British attack to stumble into hidden disruptive terrain or do I rally my front units who wont survive another round of combat?"

Now this is what you call a flank attack, four battalions of Guards and Grenadiers lead Hessians  around the Americans left flank. General Howe oversees the deployment.
As the cards are played they can be replaced to a lesser or greater extent depending on what actions they are driving. As the game progressed both sides hands became gradually weaker, which forced a lull in the battle as both sides took opportunity to pass on their moves thus replenishing their hands with three cards. For the British, this was the pause before the final assault, for the Americans, realising their position was compromised by the attack on their flank by the Guards and Grenadiers causing the destruction of two units and a loss of 5 points on their 15 points of Army morale, this was an opportunity to be able to realign their front to hold on, and recommence their own flanking manoeuvre.

The Guards and Grenadiers, after a stiff fight for the hill, turn the American flank and look down on the American  army below, as the British main force closes in for the kill.
As the final stages of our battle commenced the musketry duels between the centre forces reached their climax and the British "National Advantage Characteristics" started to take effect with their ability to re-roll missed disruptions caused by their firing. As American units melted under this withering fire, their army morale followed suit and as they desperately tried to relieve the pressure by throwing in their militia to support the Continentals on the British flank, the American army morale collapsed and the game was over as we started to play the second deck of cards.

Its looking bad for the Americans in the centre of the position as the British regulars close in
We had a great game and really enjoyed the whole system. We played with two players on each side and our game lasted about three hours continual play. The rules started to become intuitive very quickly and we had time at the end to switch sides and play a second game which went quicker with our familiarity with the  play mechanisms.I guess one of the proofs of how good a game is, is how many people want to play it and I think that Maelstrom and North Star can expect half a dozen orders for rule sets and card decks very soon.

I will be running more games next month and will be trying out the additional rules for using Nobles as well as planning other armies to use with this set. I rather fancy French Indian wars, War of 1812 and Jacobite Rebellion. 

Thanks to Sam Mustafa for producing an excellent set of rules and to to Jason, Nathan, Ian and Andy for a fun days wargaming.

Jon

3 comments:

  1. It looked very pretty Jon.

    On our table Chas took us back to 1976 Rhodesia. I think it was because he remembered the music.

    Vince

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  2. It really is a terrific game, glad to hear your group enjoyed it.

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  3. Thanks Vince, you will have to have a go with these rules. I think you'll like them

    Jon

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