Monday, February 13, 2017

Saturday Et Sans Resultat (ESR) Game!

I can't think of a better way to cap off an epic day Saturday of Napoleonic gaming than with a rules set that captures a truly epic scale of Napoleonic command.

We played our first game of "Et Sans Resultat" a set of rules aimed squarely at Army and Corps level command.  Aside from getting into a lengthy rules discussion here, I will say that ESR delivers on its promises fully.  You have never felt or experienced the problems of commanding a Napoleonic Army as you will in this game.  You have my word.

Now onto the ESR game.  I stayed on my side of the table (closer to the donuts) and Dave stayed as the French.  We kept the terrain the same but the missions changed.  I needed to breakthrough and capture, what I thought was a road leading to a Danube River crossing site, when in actuality I was supposed to capture the crossing site itself!  Oh sh**.  that courier we just sent to Archduke Charles?  Get him back here......

The first thing I'll say is the table really looks like a Napoleonic battlefield.  Large, ponderous columns of infantry marching up to the battle area.
Austrian columns 


French columns!

Austrian cavalry on the Austrian left.



The smallest infantry grouping I made as sort of an ad-hoc Garde du Corps who I thought I could use as a holding force.

Ken helping out David with the movement!  
 Your job is to figure out what orders you want to give your forces, in light of a greater, over-arching geographical objective.  Then your columns move out "ployed" (opposite of deployed) and you have to roll to see how many of your battalions can deploy out of line when you need them to.  Huge decision points here, folks and lots to think about in terms of how and when you want to deploy divisions for the upcoming close fight.

The Austrian columns about to collide head-on into the French!
 At this point, given the proximity of the French, I spend a fatigue point (more on this later) and decide on deploying here to fight.  My cavalry will end up keeping their orders and move straight into the French without as much as a second thought.  This would result in the utter destruction of my Cavalry division!  All due to a poor decision on my part to keep their orders.


Austrians deploying for battle.  The rear of the Austrian infantry column is in the bottom right
Units coming out of their divisions have to "shake out" as best they can when they deploy in order to maximize the Division's frontage as well as maintain units to support them.  It's a balancing act to control all these units!



Battle unfolding
 The one thing I'll say, is this game is about the movement and fighting of Armies, and the table looks like a painting of a Napoleonic battle, with swirling masses of infantry and cavalry locked in combat!


 As my cavalry plow into the French, Dave's Cavalry plow into mine!  Ouch!  not only do the Bavarians route the Cavalry squadrons who attacked them, Dave launches squadrons of Dragoons into my flank.
Austrian Cavalry up the middle.  French Cavalry to the left of the picture.  Ouch!

"They were just following orders" My hussar squadron moves straight up the hill they were assigned to capture.  Only to find a battery of guns up there.
 Fatigue at this point is killing my formations and for every battle I get engaged in, the sheer amount of fatigue points is ensuring I pay dearly for losing a fight.  You really must manage your fatigue points or else they will get out of control and you'll end up paying dearly, if an "assessment" is forced upon you.  Think of assessments like morale checks, where multiple factors are taken into consideration and applied against a die roll.  In some instances, fatigues are multiplied during assessments, so the more you have, the worse it can get for your units.

The battle unfolds with the Austrians getting a terrible beating.  2 Divisions are gobbled up by the French!  Note the successive lines of troops in the background.  This wasn't intentional to take a picture, but rather how the troops deployed out of their Division's column.

Dave's rampaging Dragoon squadron who won battle after battle after battle before Ken came in and put a stop to it!  I told him to give them a special paint job and retire them to the shelf, covered in glory.

There is no more Austrian Cavalry!
So you can see how decisions led to the destruction of my Austrian Cavalry, and we're in the process of losing another Austrian division!
The last action of the game would see the Austrian Garde du Corps go "up the middle" against deployed French with artillery support and suffer greatly due to skirmisher, artillery, and infantry attacks.  What a waste of damned fine infantry!


10 fatigue points!  Oh lord!
 Thoughts on ESR:
So as you may have been able to tell, this is a game concerned with the movement and placement of divisions, placing you in the shoes of the Army's commander.  True, you're maneuvering battalions around, but the placement, deployment, arrival, and management of your divisions is crucial.  Think of the Battalions as components of the larger force.  You also have to shepherd your resources and manage fatigue points as they become very devastating after awhile.

Deployment of infantry is very important as is the decision when to deploy and how to deploy.  Placing your guns is a special action made by the division commander, which I love, and combat is handled in a very effective and streamlined way (think about it this way, the combat sequence is not really the star of the show like in so many other game systems, it's just another component of the bigger system).

In ESR, I believe you are really punished for bad decisions, as I certainly was in this game!  I believe ESR is a simulation where you can really match wits and ply your trade as a general.

You can read more about ESR from the Wargaming Company's Website.



6 comments:

  1. Movement trays, FTW. Nice game! The amount of lead on the table is what keeps me away from Napoleonics.

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    1. I hear you, Ski. They weren't mine, though! They belong to a friend of mine. I barely have enough Naps to fight a modest sized battle (Quatre Bras is about the limit I can do with my own stuff).

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    2. You can use less figures in more abstract representative games such as Blucher or Grand Armee, etc. You can make each larger stand a diorama or just use a few representative troops.

      Most Napoleonic gamers start with either smaller battles or fewer figures and build up from there over time to larger forces.

      Keep in mind that you can play down to the skirmish level if you want as well. Also many battles were smaller affairs that became part of a larger battle or campaign. Many smaller actions with around a 1,000 men per side. The smaller actions don't get aa much press though... lol

      Having said this, almost everyone I know wants to do a huge battle at some point. Mareno, Jena, Waterloo, Borodino, etc. What I find ironic is that many of these larger affairs can take longer than their real world historical events depending in the rules details you use... lol Even with multiple players per side, it is very difficult to have simultaneous fighting across an entire battlefield as the areas of command or fighting overlap each other.

      Thank you for the battle report. I think I get the gist of the rules on the maneuver side of things. Is combat down to the battalion level or higher up the food chain?

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    3. VonG,
      Thank you for your observations.i love to play at all levels of Napoleonic command, from skirmish all the way up to Corps or Army level command.
      Playing huge battles would be fun as you have an opportunity to stand in the commanders' boots, although i think you find there are relatively limited options available to you, much like your actual counterpart had.
      You are quite correct in your observations about the duration of the game exceeding the actual battle.

      As far as ESR is concerned, the combat occurs with groups of battalions who act as a greater part of the whole force. So youre moving individual battalions around but theyre acting in concert with one another.

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  2. Great report Steven, your Austrian army is superb...Austrian cavalry's unfortunatly destroyed, but superb...A wonderful looking game!

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    1. Thank yoy Phil. I wish they were my troops! They are my friend Ken's troops and i try to never miss an opportunity to use them!

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