Jul 28, 2015

Maurice in the 17th century

I was keen to try Maurice in a different era, and set up this small battle, probably an ECW one with Scots on one side. There is no historical background here, just a bit of smashing heads in.
The attacker has a force morale of 10, with six units of infantry and four cavalry. Two regimental guns are brigaded with the infantry force, and there are two separate heavy guns. This side has the 'Professional Train' national advantage and a Notable who has a Bombard activation for the guns.
The defender has a morale of 9 with one less infantry unit (5), the same amount of cavalry, four heavy guns and a notable with a Charge activation and bonus to cavalry melee.
Still somewhat limited in the number of my figures, and not wishing to reduce unit sizes, I went with 12 infantry / 4 cavalry. The cavalry units had two figures for a crew, so with any disruption caused I could just remove one, and remove the hole unit on the second DISR.

I decided not to change the game rules too much, so did not add a 'caracole' effect, allowing cavalry to shoot, and just calculate that in their charge. The infantry, however, could form up as to not have any flanks, but reduce their shooting dice. Otherwise, the four dice per unit rule remained unchanged; I borrowed this solution from Victory Without Quarter, where the two stands of shot could still pour out a lot of fire. Of course the illustrations on the cards looked a bit odd, but this did not interfere with gameplay.

You can see the initial setup above, a plain battlefield with thick woods in the center, a hill on both flanks and a small manor, surrounded by stone walls and hedgerows, as the attacker's objective. As the force morale was low for both sides thanks to the few units, I suspected the battle will be over sooner than the attackers could capture the building.

The attacker's infantry force had to conduct a series of maneuvers to avoid the woods then get into position for the push. The cavalry therefore had to secure the flanks, and most cards were spent on having the centre force wheel and line up again.

The defenders used the time gap for the Scots' advance to line the hedge and form their own lines between the assault and the objective.

The battle soon commenced, but in the first few turns both sides were indecisive and just withstood each others' fire without taking initiative. 

The attackers' artillery was in a somewhat better position as they could drive the cannon up the hill on a protected flank and shoot above their troops' heads.

The defender's guns were positioned in a way worse spot, open to enemy attacks, and therefore tying their cavalry down to add some protection. 

The advance continued and the battlefield was engulfed in the smoke of the muskets. 

Seeing the enemy guns on the hill crest and their cavalry having a tea behind instead of lining up, the foremost infantry unit on the left flank reared and crashed into the Scot regiment behind it. It was quite a mess to sort out.

Finally the attacker's cavalry finished their tea and took a swing at the enemy, catching one cavalry unit in the flank.

On the attacker's right, their enemies did the same, amassing a large amount of bonus points for their charge, and breaking one opposing cavalry unit.

The attackers did not move in but continued pouring shot over the hedge and the walls.

A defending unit broke under the heavy fire of muskets and canister, and the reserve had to be brought up. 

The cavalry on the left trod through the enemy cannon before they could take aim.

Now outnumbering the disordered enemy reiters, the defending cuirassiers made a final push and routed them.

The attackers' right was threatened by the enemy, but they had to wheel and then rally and only then could they charge...

Before the defending general could turn his attention towards his left flank again, an attacking infantry unit with four disruption points fired a final volley, destroying another regiment of foot, which, together with the loss of the cavalry and artillery on the right, was enough for the army's morale to shatter (on a roll of 6); those who were able to retreated, and the attackers remained masters of the field.

Observations: neither side wanted to charge across the hedge, and both sides rallied a lot, so it was basically shoot and rally for a long time, waiting for the flanks to be decided. At one point, the attacker could add two extra army morale points, using an event card, but then the defender used a card to reduce the morale points by 2, nothing won by that. At close range, regimental guns are a great support, and the defending forces' misplacement of their slower artillery cost them dearly. 
Perhaps the rules are better for the later, more linear encounters of the 17th century; next time I'll use more of the square infantry formations to find out. Maurice is, as can be seen, very flexible, so I've no doubt with more agressive tactics (e.g. more charges and less shooting) it works just as well.
The game lasted for the most of the second deck of cards (I checked and the Reshuffle card was between the last 5 in the deck), an average length, and about two hours in real time.


  1. Great to see the rules in a different era and a fabulous two hours of fun.

  2. Wonderful minis - the artillery is particularly nice!! ( Warlord, right?:) ) Greetings!

    1. Thank you! Everything is 1/72 here, those are from the ECW range of A Call to Arms.

    2. My goodness!!!!! Congratulations on a fine work, I thought they were 28mm!!! Wow!