Oct 5, 2014

Maurice AAR - the battle of Müllerstraße Crossroads

Briefing for the battle can be seen above; a very simple attacker vs. defender scenario, very little terrain to take care or advantage of. The focus was on trying the rules in practice.

All units are Trained quality, both armies' morale is 15.

Schultze-Böhnstadt (attacker) OOB:
1st Prinzipalitär Rgt., 5 battalions (1 as mercenary Grenadiers)
7th Karrotenbad Rgt., 3 battalions
Artillery battery, 4 guns
Leibhussaren von Paulitz, 2 squadrons (irregulars, 1 as mercenaries)
Garde du Corps Cuirassiers, 1 squadron
Anneliese Cuirassiers, 2 squadrons

Union an dem Flosse (defender) OOB:
8th Füsil Rgt., 3 battalions +1 grenadiers
9th Füsil Rgt., 3 battalions
Artillery battery, 4 guns
Ad-hoc Dragoon Rgt., 3 squadrons
Von Presser Hussars, 1 squadron

Initial setup, the gaming area is about 1 square meter.

The briefing shows something very near to this moment, the Böhnstadter in a classic double line, the Flossian foot battalions that began the battle on the hill countermarching.

There were very little tactical choices. The two lines began shredding each other to pieces. The main focus of the battle was, thus, this part: the two forces (in Maurice terms) consumed most of our cards.

Dietrich von Spülge and the cuirassiers wait for the right moment.

The first Böhnstadter line charges and causes a temporal shift in the lines as both sides' units are thrown back.

View from the Flossian CiC's position, onlooking the evil enemy beer keg; my friend Nándor made all the photos by the way.

This is a shot of the Flossian artillery at work. The smoke markers are pieces of white pipe cleaner stick. While just as his contemporary Frederick the Great, the head of the Principality forces positioned his guns and then never once shot them, the Flossian artillery, being in a fair position, hammered the Böhnstadter lines throughout the battle.

The lines slowly melt away. I should have rallied more (played the event card that let me roll twice for each disruption after a very costly passive phase, being volleyed and charged) but I was being on the low end of cards all the time. At the end of this continuous clash the first Böhnstadter line completely disintegrated - but so did the Flossians'. 

At the critical point his luck failed the Union commander - although not before throwing back a battalion on the left that reared through another behind it with 4DISR and removed it from the table. An unsuccessful volley (the interrupt card that had let me shoot first played out and his dice having a sudden inclination to throw 1s) made the best of his men rout; luck saved the rest, however, as he was able to play the card that let him double his movement in retrograde. 

Meanwhile, the left flank sat idly. The von Presser Leib could have charged into the woods without penalty, but it did not. The Flossian battalion of foot, the ground separating it from the main lines, acted as a single force and fired one volley at the advancing Principality forces.
I had to play an extra card to reform my ranks as Nándor played a card that let him move one of my units; this was an unlucky 1st sqd. Leibhussars in column. They were fired upon with little effect, then the other squadron moved up and both formed in Massed formation.
At the threat of the von Paulitz Leib, a unit of Hussars was sent into the woods in column. At one point they charged the von Paulitz Leib in the flank but were driven back, no doubt thanks to the bad terrain. The countercharging Böhnstadter, however, could clear the Flossian foot battalion away.

Then came a crash of thunder. The rested SB cuirassiers (the 2nd sqd. of Annelise having 2DISR after enemy cannon fire) charged a Flossian battalion of foot on its flank, destroyed it: then I played the card that let me charge with an enemy unit: the Flossian dragoons were driven mad, attacked an overpowering infantry force and were duly destroyed; then the cuirassiers swung about again, charged the sole Dragoon squadron protecting the Flossian far left and routed them.

I had a card which, played as an event, reduces the enemy morale by 1 or 2 points; the Flossians had 1 morale point left and a soundly beaten army. Or I could play the card as a march order and capture the objective; after much hesitation and great speeches of 'I'd rather die a thousand deaths', the Flossian commander in chief said he would prefer a tactical defeat over a strategic one, and the victorious cuirassiers moved up to the windmill. 

We both enjoyed the game although some cards (like putting obstacles on the map and weather change) were accidentally left in the deck, not much use to any of us. 
We played with open cards and my friend, being less learned in the great English language, had to ask many times what the cards meant; it was just fair that he could see mine. He even had the chance to steal one for his hand but he refused (it was a gallant act as I had only one card and would have had to pass the following round... this way I had to pass the one after that).  The next time a brief translation will be provided and cards will not be seen by the enemy. 

What was not clear (I'm suddenly not sure how well the rules describe this, but the shortened Hungarian version I sent over to my friend surely does) is that the player doesn't have to play a card with the appropriate modifier to give command to a force; so the four orders (march, rally, charge, bombard) can be given with a card with any symbol on it. 
We also didn't pay enough attention and played some modifiers as modifiers AND orders: so to a force 5 BWs away I played, for example, a card as order that had a span of 4BW and another as modifier that had 4BW span again... that was not how it should have been done.

Nándor retained most of his cards and had constantly at least 6 or 7 in hand. I had 3 or 4 at best and had to pass multiple times, answering the Flossian volleys only when they were coming at my men. 
Some forces were kept in reserve intentionally, like my cuirassiers watching the right of the centre lines. My artillery could have been better positioned and could have fired, but the swing of the centre attack meant there were no good targets for them: the cannon moved up on the road and sat through the battle there, in the fighting spirit of Frederick or Karl XII of Sweden. 

As both of us did everything 'by the book', the battle was decided by luck. I had some bad rolls too: when the second left battalion of the first line reared and destroyed the unit behind it, I thought it was all over, the Flossians would exploit the gap and nothing could save me; then I managed not to fudge the morale roll: the damage was done, but was not critical. 
The Böhnstadter volleys then turned out to be much more devastating, then came the charges at the weaker, open Flossian left: in the meantime, the Flossian morale was decreasing in a rapid pace. I still had 10 army morale when Nándor was down to his last and never played the card that increases it (actually, I had it dealt twice while he could have a better use of it).

The Flossians, much like the Austrians of the Seven Years War, fought resiliently: it was a costly victory, having four Principality infantry battalions, half of the centre line broken by the end and the cuirassiers receiving moderate bombardment. If this were a campaign situation, it would take plenty of time for the Böhnstadter to continue with this contingent.

Maurice is excellent, its mechanisms well thought out and providing an interesting gameplay. I would like to play the Great Northern War too at some point, using the same rules; as we progress through understanding the rules better, the advanced game mechanisms can be implemented. It will be much more fun with more officers, troop types and larger battlefields. This game featured 6mm Baccus figs, 650 of them.

There will be another battle next Thursday, stay tuned for the batrep.


  1. Great armies, Andras, and a fun game! I love Maurice but it does take a few plays to get all your ducks, er, cards in a row!

    1. After two reads and browsing through the action deck it was mostly clear, but the game itself was of great help to understand everything.

  2. Good BatRep! I have only played Maurice once and it was enjoyable. Hope to try it again soon. Looking forward to reading your next Maurice installment.

    1. We've played the battle yesterday so the AAR will be posted in due time.

  3. Great post- rules are going to be an xmas gift!

    1. Thanks! I've been enjoying the rules for quite a while now, have fun!