Just got back from NATCON yesterday. Three days solid of playing Napoleonics. I was borrowing an army off the unpire, Russell, to use with his First Volley rules. These are very much in the style of the ‘Grand Manner’ rules, with very large battalions.
Russ gave me 1813 Austrians to play. They were mostly militia and 2nd Class troops with a couple of good cavalry regiments thrown in. I was beaten in the first two games by Andrew’s 1805 Russians and Mark’s 1812 Franco-Swiss. Then on Saturday I was trounced by Paul’s 1812 Russians and Kevin’s 1813 Italian- Wurtemburgers. I have to say by that stage I was feeling a bit down on the poor old Austrians. They seemed to be scared of their own shadows and the 6 pounder artillery was getting thrashed by bigger guns on a consistent basis. But the four games had given me a good understanding of the rules, and an insight to the army I was using.
The fifth game was an extra long one on Sunday was against Simon’s Saxons. I’d worked out a pattern for deployment that could see me get the most out of my cavalry brigade, and realised that using the militia as cannon fodder was probably a good idea, as retreating militia didn’t give the same disadvantages to morale as a retreating 2nd class unit.
The game was played at a leisurely pace, as both Simon and I are rather new to the rules and we wanted to make sure we understood them to the best of our ability. The game consisted of Simon launching a huge cavalry offensive on my left flank while I made an attack on the right with my infantry. There was a big gap in Simon’s centre which my dragoons exploited, but they just didn’t have enough time in the end to do the damage which they might have done. Simon’s Guard Zastrow Cuirassiers smacshed themselves against my 2nd class squares, but depsite the inability of the squares to do any dmage with volley fire, the squares stood firm. The 6 pdrs managed to get within canister range of Simon’s artillery, and whilst he was masked by his own troops, I let rip. It was the first triumph for the Austrian artillery all weekend!
In the end time was against us and a count up of victory points showed that the Austrians had won. Despite enjoying the whole weekend, the last game did contribute to an overall positive feeling from the competition. I’m not sure of the final points tally, but I’d be pretty sure that I was placed 6th in a field of 6. Without the last game, I probably would have been 7th! But placings wasn’t the rationale for playing – it was all about learning the First Volley rules so that the Rotorua Irregulars could play them and start to use a standard rules-set that would work when travelling to other climes. At the same time I had some good games with a great bunch of guys who played in a fantastic spirit. I’ve now determined to build a French force for First Volley, and look forward to future games with the ‘Mid-Island Mercenaries’ (as Kevin called them)!
(Sorry there are no photos, I forgot my camera!)