Last night saw an outing to Stafford Games with Nephew Nick for a most enjoyable set to with...............
my 1914 Austrians and Russians.
I can count on the fingers of no hands how many times I have seen anyone else use 1914 Austrians, let alone game the Eastern Front in 1914, but I love this sub-period and this army. So, I played the Russians (??????)
We played a scenario I wrote many years ago to try to give something of the flavour of those first steps to contact in August 1914 in southern Poland. Both sides picked units from the army to start the game with, Nick picking some dragoons, some jager and two machine guns and I electing to field a dragoon regiment, a hussar regiment and two infantry battalions. The remainder of each army was available from turn 4, but we rolled at random to see what arrived, if anything, and no more than two units could arrive per turn of reinforcement. We used the "Contemptible Little Armies" rules.
These games are usually bloody and decisive affairs, and we started off in that vein with the Kaiserlich dragoons crashing headlong into the hussars. My dragoons reinforced the combat as the infantry moved up and the MG's sought a suitable position to deploy. You see above where I said "these games are usually bloody and decisive affairs"????? Well, the cavalry melee lasted all game, as we both fed in more cavalry as it arrived. By the game close, I had spent three units and Nick two to gain absolutely nothing!!!!! (Except some practice for the odd surgeon back at base......) What an exercise in futility that fight was!
The infantry set to and whittled each other down as more reinforcements arrived here and there (deployment of these was also random).
Nick brought on some hussars who trampled an infantry battalion into the Galician dust, I brought on some more who, although they lost 33% of their number to one of the MG's, charged home and skewered the poor Kaiserlich gunners before riding on to confront some newly-arrived Austrian lancers.
That brought the game to an end. I had two intact infantry battalions and the remainder of my MG-mauled cavalry, with other troops yet to arrive, and Nick had his lancers, the rampaging hussars, a few battered infantry and a staff officer. He too had units yet to show.
We called it a draw. Could I have shot him down with my infantry? Could he have closed and sabred me with his cavalry? Would either of us have managed to get some reinforcements on table to tip the balance?
We will never know.......
A jolly good game.
With the 100th anniversary of the start of this massive and poignant affair so close, and my mind ever turning over gaming ideas, this ranks high on the wishlist for a 2014 demo.