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AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel

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Post  Chorch Fri Mar 31, 2023 8:57 am

Turn 8 - August 18, 1805, 12-24 h, Weather: Clear

This has been a very busy turn, with different alternatives and three scenarios: The fierce fight for control of the city of Newport, the encirclement broken by the French brigade in Wellow Wellow and the fight on the outskirts of Newport in its northeastern part.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T8_d1810
The 1st French brigade of GdD Leval and the 2nd French brigade of GdD Petit are preparing to seize the city of Newport, defended by the 1st British brigade of MG Smith and elements of the local militia. In the south-west of the town, the French 5th Dragoons try to outmaneuver the British Light Dragoons of the 7th Regiment.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T8_d1811
The fight is fierce and despite the French numerical superiority, the orderly and determined British defense means that the French have to call all their reserves to the front line. It is worth noting the behavior of the local militia, which Governor Medows commands and instills confidence thanks to his military experience. For its part, in Market House Street, MG Hill, despite the numerical inequality, bravely opposes the attacks of the French grenadiers in that part of the city.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T8_d1812
Finally, the weight of numbers takes its toll on the British resistance and it is cornered in the old buildings of Clocker Street, where the last line of defense is prepared and the retreat across the bridge to the northern outskirts of the capital. The French have managed to seize the only British battery but their objective of encircling the rear of the defenders is being impeded by the two squadrons of British light dragoons which are decisively impeding it.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T8_d1814
AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T8_d1813
In the eastern part of the island, after the escape of the 3rd French brigade of General Chartres from the encirclement to which the 2nd and 4th British brigades were submitting at Wellow Wellow, they quickly headed towards the capital to help the defenders. The 2nd brigade of BG Fullerton and MG Silva headed down the Langbridge route at the foot of the hills towards Newport, only disturbed by some French patrols that were not an obstacle to their march. BG McKenzie's 4th Brigade pursued the remnants of the French brigade which, after a brief hold at Shalfleet, headed north to try to attract part of the British brigade. But the British are limited to harassing the French with their cavalry of the 4th Light Dragoons while they direct the bulk of their forces towards the capital.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T8_d1817
Finally, BG Hill with the 3rd brigade that descended from the northeast of the island had not arrived in time to help defend the capital, Newport, confronted the 4th brigade of the GdD Binot in Staplers, which had to divide its forces between the attack on the city and the outskirts of Coppins Bridge.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T8_d1816
After an initial British advantage, the French counter-attack managed to stabilize the lines, at the cost of several casualties. The British 6th Hussars attempted to outflank the French positions but a gallant charge by the French 7th Squadron of Dragoons prevented the inevitable and their positions from being overwhelmed, which would have doomed the rest of the brigade.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T8_d1818
The result at the moment seems to be a tie, with the British withdrawing towards Staplers to recompose their lines and their cavalry can be reinforced with the patrols that were scattered around. The French, in turn, with their advantage in the fight inside the city, have also been able to detach part of their cavalry to help the brigade efforts.

UNTIL NOW...

With four turns to finish the game, the possible winner is still undecided, for while it seems likely that the French player will conquer Newport shortly, he has pledged two entire brigades to do so for a British one aided by the local militia. But two other British brigades are marching to the west, almost entirely, towards Newport, plus the 3rd brigade, which on the other side of the city is preventing another French brigade from joining the rest of the contingent. If the British arrive in time, the French player may find himself caught between two fires and have to defend the capital with his strength depleted from the previous fighting.

As far as the campaign is concerned, after a few first turns engaged in cautious advance and mutual surveillance of the patrols, the French player managed to get his three brigades directly towards the capital, while the fourth brigade successfully pinned two British brigades in the west of the island. The fog of war confused the British player, believing that there were two brigades on the west side of the island instead of one, so he now has to rush in to try and retake the capital, which also seems unlikely, since the The French have taken heavy casualties in the fighting in the old streets of Newport and are likely to have a few more as they try to drive off what is left of the remaining defenders.

One aspect that has gone almost unnoticed is the castle of Carisbrooke, which has not contributed at all to the defense of Newport, leaving its artillery and some unit inside without any use for British player.
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Post  Martin Fri Mar 31, 2023 10:32 am

Intriguing situation, and still chances for both sides. Many thanks for a well-written AAR.

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Post  Chorch Fri Mar 31, 2023 12:35 pm

Hi Martin,

Indeed, the positive part, which is not always achieved, is that the campaign is still undecided for both players.
The French player skillfully deployed a brigade away from the rest in the west of the island, to serve as bait and pin one or two British brigades so he achieved his objective.
But I think he failed in his approach to the attack on the city.
I would have advanced from the south "sheltered" from the mountains (and from enemy patrols) with one of the brigades, or one brigade and half of another, and after fording the river, attacking the city from the south. And the other brigade and a half to face the British brigade from the north.
Attacking across the two or three bridges with all three brigades could already be expected to leave many men behind, men who may be needed when the two British brigades return to the city.

But of course, when you see the whole picture it's easier to play the tactician, so the fog of war has worked quite well in the campaign.
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Post  Chorch Fri Apr 14, 2023 9:51 pm

Turn 9 of 12. August 19, 1805, from 6 to 12 in the morning. Weather: Clear

"The French had taken possession of the city of Newport at great cost. Both the local militia and the troops of Brigadier General Smith's 1st Brigade had fought hard through the streets and buildings of the city, but after a bloody fight they had had to evacuate Newport and take refuge in Parkhurst Barracks in the north, along with Governor Medows who had been slightly wounded.
The French commander-in-chief had prohibited looting in the city, but as often happened in these cases, the middle and lower commanders looked the other way so as not to have problems with their soldiers, or being shot trying to prevent the outrages of their soldiers, drunk with revenge after the hard fighting. The few inhabitants that remained in Newport, since the majority had taken refuge in the farms and mills of the surroundings, saw how their pantries and cellars were looted by the victors. Outside the urban centre, two French soldiers from the 5th Light Regiment just outside Lugley Street, were exchanging impressions next to a little orchard of one of the derelict houses:

-Well, Philippe, the boss will be satisfied, we already own the city, although I hardly count it... one of those armed civilians has shot me and almost left me without my head. From the blow of the butt that I have given him I have left him sleeping for a long time ...

- Be careful, those English are good fighters and surely they won't let us conquer their island so easily... Besides, haven't you heard the rumours? The 3rd brigade has lost contact with us for days and the boys comment that no one will have survived...

- Calm down, Philippe, heads high, hands steady, gunpowder ready and entrust your luck to Bonaparte!

The two laughed heartily at the quip, but a few miles to the west, two full British brigades were on their way to recapture Newport and end French hopes of conquering the island."


AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T9_d1912
The fight is concentrated in the center of the island. After the skirmishes in Wellow Wellow, to the west of Newport, the two British brigades with the commander-in-chief, Major General Silva, are goin quickly by forced marches to retake the capital and help the few defenders who have taken refuge in Parkhurts Barracks. Carisbrooke Castle, another of the objectives of the campaign, has been a mute scene of the fighting, as its guns could only seriously annoy the French in their attack from the south while they were within range of their artillery pieces. For their part, the French tried to reorganize themselves in the capital and prepare their defense if necessary. The casualties on the French side have been heavy and could be increased by the fighting that is taking place at Staplers, in the outside of the city.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T9_d1911

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T9_d1910
The French 4th Brigade from GoB Binot tries to contain the British 3rd Brigade from BG Hill. After an intense fight and the British superiority in cavalry has finally caused the few remaining French units to take refuge in the houses of Newport and reversing the roles, making the attacker now the defender, with the risk of the French in the city being trapped by two fires.
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Post  Martin Sat Apr 15, 2023 10:02 am

Thanks Chorch.  French now on the defensive.  Any chance of reinforcement?  They would need to come by sea of course  Wink .

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Post  Chorch Sat Apr 15, 2023 8:59 pm

Hi Martin,

Indeed, French on the defensive and at the risk of losing the entire army corps in Newport, or holding out for the two remaining turns and getting the victory points for the city.
There are no reinforcements for both sides, as it was considered a secondary front to the main invasion.
One aspect that initially remained to be defined was whether movements by sea were allowed, but in the end, once the troops landed on the shores, there could be no more landings.
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Post  Martin Sun Apr 16, 2023 1:04 pm

A nail-biter to the end then.........

Historically, you're probably correct that any French landings - if they could be achieved at all - would be a one-time opportunity.  I've always liked this quote, by Admiral Sir John Jervis, when he commanded the British Channel Fleet.  In an 1801 letter to the Board of Admiralty, he stated:

"I do not say, my Lords, that the French will not come. I say only they will not come by sea."

Just a thought concerning the wider invasion.  Assuming you are not subsequently planning to play that out, it might be fun to resolve it with a die-roll, partly influenced by French success (or otherwise) in the Isle of Wight.

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Post  Chorch Sun Apr 16, 2023 6:40 pm

Hi, Martin,

Napoleon had the handicap that the flight of the royalists (emigrés) had a great impact on the French navy, more than on the other armies.
That is why he so desperately needed other navies: the Danish, the Dutch, the Spanish, etc.
The whole project sounded like a chimera: moving 100,000 soldiers (plus cavalry, artillery, wagons, etc.) is not done in a few hours, you need almost some days. Then the risk that the entire fleet will be dispersed in bad weather and apart from that, you can already assume that the Royal Navy is going to inflict losses on you, plus the English first line of defense with the Martello towers, which can contain the invasion for a few hours so that the aid troops can come from the north. I don't think he seriously thought of risking his entire army ending up at the bottom of the canal, after so many months of training and money invested, even if it was from the sale of Louisiana to the Americans (provided by an English bank, let it be said by the way).
And before Trafalgar it was very, very difficult, after Trafalgar, impossible.
In addition, the Admiralty was very clear that under no circumstances would the Royal Navy ships leave the defense of the English coasts.

The die roll is a good suggestion. I'll think about it as the culmination of the campaign.

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Post  Chorch Mon May 08, 2023 9:47 pm

Turn 10 of 12. August 19, 1805, from 12 to 24 h. Weather: Clear

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 Vista_11
As was already anticipated in the previous turns, the two turns will focus the fight on the "capital" of Newport Island, which,
protected by its bridges to the north and east, only has a clear line of attack to the south.
The French player has almost a brigade left to defend the capital, against almost three British brigades. At this time, the British
player is in a position to block all withdrawal options from the city, although with the question of not knowing the total number
of forces inside it: one brigade or two brigades, perhaps more units?

This leads me to consider the level of fog of war that I have used during the campaign. The players did not know the opponent's casualties
and sometimes in some brief encounters nor their own, so there has been in many moments of the campaign, a general thought that they
had more troops than they really had. In the last two turns I have already indicated the approximate units that each brigade had...

I have not taken into account some factors that would have occurred in reality, such as the use of spies or intelligence by the local
population, especially on the British side.


AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T10_br11

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T10_br12

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T10_br13
This turn there has only been some fighting in the west of Newport between the remains of the 3rd French brigade and the 2nd British brigade,
which with more troops, has limited itself to some firefight and a few cavalry encounters, the initial French resistance has succumbed to the force
of numbers, and finally the French general has had to take refuge in a square of grenadiers, as the only remaining unit, for which the rest of the
British brigade has continued on its way, following the few French survivors with some cavalry units.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 Vista_10
A view from British Major General Silva's command post, at Carisbrooke Castle.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 Vista_14
French forces inside Newport.
AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 Vista_13

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 Vista_12

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 Vista_15
The surroundings of Newport from the command post of the French Commander-in-Chief.


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Post  Martin Tue May 09, 2023 1:53 pm

Great stuff, Chorch.

Can the French hold-on, and contribute to a wider campaign victory? You mentioned FOW, and it's obviously a key factor. If the Brits don't fully appreciate how weak the French now are, they may hesitate to risk an all-out attack.

Please keep posting.

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Post  Chorch Tue May 09, 2023 5:30 pm

Hi Martin,

The French will be lucky to hold Newport, they had heavy casualties to take the capital and the 3rd brigade in the west of the island did their "bait" role quite well, but perhaps it would have been better if they had tried to take some northern location instead. Letting yourself be surrounded by the two brigades, at least try to get a few more victory points...

His hope is that the British player establishes a block and just waits for the end of the game, without risking an attack that would mean more losses that will count towards the final score.
It is what he commented on the fog of war, that I wonder (as a referee) if it was not too "effective". That is to say, in real conditions it would be difficult for the attackers not to have an approximate idea of the number of defenders, obviously not an exact one, so they would surely favor an attack and in two turns it is possible that they would even partially conquer parts of the capital.

I think it's an interesting discussion, what degree of information we let players know and at what times...
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Post  Martin Tue May 09, 2023 6:03 pm

Hi Chorch

Fog of war always interests me.  It's probably the main reason I play k/spiels.

At the Battle of Blindheim (1704), a portion of the French infantry were cut-off inside the village of the same name, and eventually prevailed upon to surrender.  As the French troops emerged and stacked their arms, their captors were amazed to find that there were 27 battalions in the place!

This was actually far more than were required to defend it, which perhaps was one reason why the victors were so astounded.  This miscalculation is often quoted as a key reason why the French and their allies lost the battle, as it meant that they were critically weak in a key sector elsewhere.

But it's difficult to be specific, and circumstances are always different in each battle.  So I'm not arguing you can extrapolate a general rule from that.  But one advantage of a hypothetical k/spiel is that the designer can create a reality, and there will always be historical examples to say it was plausible.  I think that's a good thing, but it's not for everyone.

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Post  Chorch Tue May 09, 2023 9:34 pm

Hi Martin,

I believe that in a pitched battle a fog of war situation can occur at one time or another, obviously depending on the terrain, the weather or the tactics used.
We have many examples in Napoleonic Wars...

For an operational campaign -or perhaps any campaign- obviously depending on the duration, let's say this one, which would be about 5 or 6 days of real time,
I think that the fog of war has to go from more to less, because there have been already several skirmishes, dozens of messages, several patrols from both sides,
so that in the last battle both players have no approximate idea of the strength of each side. Shocked

It is the situation that gives me more to think about, that is, especially the English on an island in their territory, with the population in favor, spies, etc., they
would have to have a certain advantage of intelligence on the ground.

I think that one of the failures has not been to reflect in the communications of the Brigadier Generals to the C-in-C the possible troops of the enemy brigades,
informing after a battle or the sightings of the patrols, having been more specific, for example, in the number of units of the opposing side...

But all are experiences for future games...
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Post  Martin Wed May 10, 2023 10:35 am

Yes, those are all fair points.

It does you credit that you're treating this as a learning exercise, rather than just sitting on your laurels Smile

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Post  Chorch Fri May 19, 2023 6:35 pm

Turn 11 of 12. August 20, 1805, from 06 to 12 h. Weather: Clear

In front of Carisbrooke Castle, early in the morning, the two commanders shared their thoughts. Major General Silva summed up the situation:

- Fullerton, you must prepare the attack on the enemy defences of Newport advancing in a northerly direction. This is our main effort, as the French are not protected by the river or streams. You will coordinate beforehand and during the attack with Hill’s 3rd brigade, to your right. Hold off until the 3rd Brigade could be deployed and ready to attack Newport. Also ensure that your cavalry controls the French light cavalry who will try to overwhelm you on the flanks
I will be with you to direct and coordinate the attack on the capital until the final expulsion of the King's enemies from Newport, and the next days from all the island.



AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T11_gr10
The general situation around Newport, the final scene of the campaign. The French player has preferred to remain in the city with his troops rather than make a sortie or force any of the British positions. For their part, British troops completely surround the capital aided by heavy artillery batteries from Carisbrooke Castle. The British commander in chief has established that the fire should be directed towards the surroundings of the city without significantly impacting the nearest buildings, in order to avoid further punishment for the city.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T11_gr11
The attack begins in the early hours of the morning, preceded by two cannon salutes, the signal indicated for the general attack. BG Fullerton's 2nd Brigade makes a determined attack on the southern outskirts of the city. The enemy light cavalry attacks the left flank of the brigade, albeit timidly, due to the support of the castle's artillery. The British light dragoons, despite their inferiority, counterattacked the enemy with great intrepidity, achieving parity in the early stages of the battle.
In turn, the 3rd BG Hill brigade from the east tries to force the bridges that the French have only been able to block with wagons and various debris from the city, since the lack of sappers and the desire not to waste dynamite have led the commander French to obviate its partial destruction with gunpowder. Nor did the width of the river in this part of the city represent a considerable obstacle for the British.
For its part, the 4th brigade had orders to also attack from the south together with the 2nd brigade, but the exchange of fire with some foreign outposts and enemy patrols in the area has evolved to the point that BG McKenzie has chosen to attack from the north of the city.
(Umpire's note: That is what the beautiful stories in the History books will put, the truth is that the referee has messed with the directions of attack and has preferred the most obvious and simplest deployment. As the result It has been as expected, I hope they don't court-martial me! Cool )

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T11_gr12
The 3rd Brigade manages to cross Coppins Bridge and silence the enemy guns on this side of the town. For their part, the grenadiers have more problems to be able to penetrate through the Pan's bridge and are rejected clearly in their attacks. The firefight in the north and south of the city stabilizes, where the French grenadiers defend every meter of their defensive lines, even in the south they clearly repulse the attempts to seize the approaches of the city by the troops of BG Fullerton.
One of the few hopes of containing the attackers on the part of the French cavalry slowly faded and the British light dragoons managed the feat of taking possession of the field and the battery on that side of the city. The help of the Carisbrooke artillery batteries has contributed to the fact that the French batteries have not had the expected impact.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T11_gr13
The 3rd brigade troops finally clear the east of the city from enemies and heads through the streets determinedly to overrun the French defenders. In the south the French held on tenaciously, but in the north the push of the attackers succeeded in overcoming the French lines and compromising the defense of the city almost irremediably.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T11_gr15
Finally, at noon, an English captain with a white flag sent by the MG Silva, via the BG Fullerton, heads towards the French lines and asks to speak to the French commander-in-chief.
He gives orders to let the parliamentarian pass and the British soldier informs him of the surrender proposal of the English commander:

"To the attention of the French general commander of the enemy troops: You and your troops have fought with great courage, but we are owners of several batteries that we have placed around your position, you do not have any and to the north you can see British troops that are currently crossing the bridge north of the city to join the final attack. If you surrender honorably and your men lay down their arms, their lives and yours will be spared, and the officers will keep their swords. Otherwise, our artillery will leave no stone unturned of your positions and believe me, more than half a dozen batteries is a lot of balls on your heads. Hoping that the good judgment presides over your decision, yours truly, MG Silva”

After a short meeting with his officers, and seeing that his own forces did not reach five thousand men capable of fighting, exhausted by the hours of fighting and with hundreds of wounded and dead behind them, the French commander decided to accept the offer of surrender. Terms of surrender were dictated, the French officers retained their swords, and the French soldiers were paraded across Coppins Bridge, leaving their weapons on the side of the road, being escorted to a clearing on the outskirts of town, where they they would wait under guard until they were shipped to England. The Isle of Wight campaign was over.

EPILOGUE
The attempted invasion of the Isle of Wight by the French had come to an end, as well as the main invasion, which due to the strong winds unleashed in that part of the English channel and the Royal Navy ships concentrated in the area, had led to Napoleon to cancel the invasion, resulting in the loss of some ships and a few thousand men. The news of the surrender on the Isle of Wight was yet another stone in the shoe of Napoleon, who, seeing the impossibility of a rapid invasion of the island, began to shape in his mind an economic blockade of Great Britain to force it to ask for peace, for which he would have to occupy almost all the European coasts. But that is another story…  study
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Post  Martin Sun May 21, 2023 10:32 am

An excellent AAR Chorch, and many thanks again for posting it. The result appears quite realistic.

In the final stages - ie the fight for the town - it looks as if you adopted a more granular approach to the fighting. Have I understood that correctly?

If so, perhaps you could say a few words on how you umpired that. Did you for example reduce the turn length, or modify the combat routine?

Were your players happy with the flow of the game?

And finally, I hope you get a chance to be a player soon Wink

Martin

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Post  Chorch Sun May 21, 2023 4:08 pm

Hi, Martin,

Thank you very much for your words, and well, I think the final result was as expected based on how the campaign had developed.

Regarding the final battle in Newport, well yes, the truth is that I would speak of a more simplistic approach, but I have not changed the mechanics
used until now either. Very briefly, I do four rounds of "fights" per turn with the Krieggspiel dice simplifying the results, partially based on this YouTube video
from CommandPostGames (Speed Krieggspiel Dice) and I improvised a small Excel table:

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 Calcul10
After the experience, I have to make some slight adjustments to the table, but it has been useful to speed up the resolution of the combats...

One of the problems raised is that from linear combats on the fields, I went to combats in urban areas, which have nothing to do with it, without cavalry and
with punctual use of artillery, unless it was in the city limits. So I raised the attacks "by zones" giving more value to the defenders for being protected by the buildings.
When the attackers entered the city, this factor was equalized. I must confess that I have not yet grasped the point of how artillery intervenes in combat. If both sides
intervened with artillery (in this campaign it was easier, because all the brigades had the same number) the factors simply canceled out. But in Carisbrooke the British
had pieces of greater caliber, greater firepower, which I have not reflected properly I think...

I think the players are happy with how the campaign has developed, since we started on January 9 and we finished this week, which means a little more than 5 months.
The biggest problem was time and I had to "chasing" the players a bit (not unusual in these games, by the way  Very Happy ), and in some cases the answers were more to get
out of trouble than the result of reasoned thought, but...

I want to add that adapting games that have other mechanics and functioning, leads to a lot of refinement in the rules and initial conditions, I had to make some adjustments
in the initial turns in the movement capacity that limited the French player and it was a critical point, and also the scenario was a bit (or very) unbalanced, because the objectives
with the highest scores were in the northwest of the island on the British side already on the first turns.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 T11_ob10

The British player was more constant and despite the mistake he had in considering that he was 2 brigades vs 2 brigades in the west of the island (when there was only one enemy brigade) he reacted quickly to recover the capital and win the campaign. The French player, for his part, had a very good approach, leaving a bait brigade in that part of the island, but I would have moved it to the northwest, trying to conquer some objective, or at least that one of the enemy brigades would have followed me and not participated in the final fight.
And with his few remaining units in the city, the resistance could only end in defeat.

To be a player, I'll give you a scoop and it's a solo campaign based on Napoleon's campaign in Poland in 1807, against the remnants of the Prussian army and the Russians.

AAR Isle of Wight 1805 Napoleonic Kriegsspiel - Page 2 Poland10
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Post  Martin Mon May 22, 2023 7:26 pm

Hi Chorch

I agree that the original Reisswitz combat routines need to be streamlined in order to give players a good experience.  In the original Prussian version there was a case for detailed granular approach, as the players (who were junior officers) needed to understand how and why combat unfolded as it did.  After all, the purpose was training rather than game.

Even so,as the 19th C unfolded, there was a move to free kriegsspiel, where detailed computations and die-rolling were dispensed with.  The more senior officers acting as umpires, often had real life experience, and could decree realistic outcomes, where perhaps the die rolls might occasionally give odd results.

For our kriegsspiels, the focus is very much on the game, and so combat (and everything else) needs to be resolved as fast as possible.  Accurate results are no good, if players are twiddling their thumbs for much of the game, whilst awaiting briefings from their umpire.  This is especially the case in face-to-face games, although somewhat less so in email games.

So I favour your approach, which has at least a couple of advantages:

1. It is much faster than Reisswitz, as it is simpler.  It can even be faster than free kriegsspiel, as most of the thinking is done in advance of the game, rather than during it, when time is often a pressure in the umpire room.

2. It eliminates umpire bias.  In my experience umpires are pretty good at avoiding this in the conventional sense - ie they do not tend to favour particular payers.  Perhaps a greater risk is that they consciously or unconsciously favour the players who are making the better decisions on the day.  And maybe those players do deserve to be favoured.  OTOH this is war, victory does not always go to the most deserving, and chance does play a part.

All that said, there is 'more than one way to skin a cat' (quaint English expression), and some umpires in our group favour the free kriegsspiel approach  Very Happy .  

Good luck with your latest game.  I take it that is a commercial board-game map?

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Post  Chorch Tue May 23, 2023 4:46 pm

Hi Martin,

I had always seen sidelong kriegsspiel games, because their genesis are exercises for the military, so you have to have training in this matter, which was generally not the case.
But then Simmons Games' "Bonaparte at Marengo" game came out, and it was like heaven opened up (and indeed it did for many). It was a game that was a kind of poker with a Napoleonic background due to its mechanics, but with an aesthetic very close to the kriegsspiel that was very attractive, at least more than many games/wargames that had emerged to date. I didn't buy it or the next one that was about Austerlitz, but I began to consider this aesthetic for a future game, the ideal future game that we've all wanted to complete at some point and that year after year we always have an excuse not to finish it.

So I started reading kriegsspiel articles, some books, and I've always had a fondness for, sometimes an obsession with, the Napoleonic era, so one thing led to another.
This campaign has been an experiment, on the one hand satisfactory, but on the other there have been several gaps, which I hope to correct in the future. For now I want to experiment alone, go at my own pace and not be subject to the time of response of the players. Obviously minus degree of uncertainty in the game, but it is the price to pay. And the future, we'll see...

As for the board, it is not commercialized, it's my design based on the board wargame "1807: The Eagles Turn East" (1994), by Kevin Zucker, which is made of hexagons. I have taken advantage of the game mechanics of "Napoleon's Leipzig Campaign" (1994) by Don alexander, of which we played a double-blind game (originally it's for two players) and had some simple and original mechanics for the theme of attrition in the campaign, and I will solve the battles with a very simplified krieggspiel like in this campaign. I will need to review the original tables, due to the fact that penalizes too much attrition and in a game week one could lose more than 20,000 soldiers which is illogical unless you are in Russia at -30 degrees in 1812.
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Post  Martin Fri May 26, 2023 12:06 pm

I think you've earned a rest.

I used to play Zucker's 1814 campaign game when it came out.  I think that was his first operational Napoleonic game.  We also used his maps for a couple of excellent 1814 k/spiels at one point.  

My memory is that Allied attrition was extremely severe.  Basically, the assumption was that all stragglers were permanently lost, one way or another.  I think that was fair enough, as their forces were not especially well-organised, were operating in winter in deeply hostile country, and at the extreme edge of their logistical chains.

It was my perception that this approach was carried into some of his following games, which I did not always feel was appropriate to the situation.  In many (perhaps even most) cases, most stragglers were recovered, given time.  This seemed to me to militate against force-marching in the games.

That said, I haven't played a Zucker Napoleonic game for over 30 years, and it's been a very successful franchise, so maybe I'm doing an injustice to the more recent ones Wink .

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Post  Mr. Digby Sun May 28, 2023 11:36 pm

Fantastic campaign report 10/10. Having run several campaigns myself I know how much effort this must have been!
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Post  Chorch Mon May 29, 2023 11:08 am

Hi Mr Digby,

Thanks for your kind words. It has really been an effort, not so much because of the work but because of the time invested,
but I am not saying anything new. A good sensation, the players confessed that it was going blind, with which the fog of war
worked, perhaps too well Exclamation , but with the desire to repeat it learning from the experience.
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Post  Mr. Digby Sun Jul 09, 2023 6:07 pm

Great stuff. I'm quite keen to refight this lovely little campaign as a paper and dice table top wargame using 20mm plastic figures.

Do you have a note of the overall forces on the two sides and their initial dispositions and arrival mechanisms. If I have that I could offer a similar experience to the members of my local wargames club.
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Post  Chorch Sun Jul 09, 2023 7:20 pm

Hi, Mr. Digby,

Send me a pm with your e-mail and I'll try to search the files.
They are in Spanish, but you can translate easily with Google or other traductor.
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