Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thoughts on Vogelhof
So, a disastrous defeat for the Aschenbach army, which had seemed so invincible the year before! From the losers’ perspective again, what went wrong? Despite all the advantages in firepower, the main infantry lines proved pretty much equal in terms of damage inflicted. Clearly the cannons made a big difference to this, but I also think a big advantage came from the secure Luftberg position. With no flanks to turn, no units had to manoeuvre around or struggle to come to grips with the enemy. If the Aschenbach infantry had been able to hit a part of the line with their full force, the frequently inert Luftberg generals would have really struggled to respond. As it was, when the generals kept on failing command tests and becoming ‘inert’ it barely mattered as all they had to do was stay immobile and keep firing.
Although it won’t show through in my account, there was a definite improvement in handling the game mechanics (it seems my summary reference sheet does work!) Von Krumper got the initiative for the initial musketry firefights, but he regularly finished turns with handfuls of unused command dice (or CD’s, which commanders can use to re-roll critical tests). Elector von Luftberg however, with fewer command dice, always managed to use them all. It was by liberally spending CD’s that he managed to get his reserve cavalry to so effectively block the flanking moves, plus some excellent wins of the initiative which gave him double-moves to pounce on undeployed rivals. Perhaps it was down to the higher innate quality of the Aschenbach commanders, which made spending CD’s seem unnecessary. Luftberg, by contrast, had no doubts he needed to use his.
One last thing needs to be pointed out regarding Aschenbach’s performance, which is this: what if the two flank attempts had been switched? What if von Kleintrink had been sent to flank over the river, while General Kress and his grenadiers had been deployed in front of Vogelhof? The faster-moving cavalry could have travelled deeper into the rear and crossed the stream in a single move with their better movement rates, so they would have been fighting in the open and properly deployed. Similarly, the village of Vogelhof could plausibly have been stormed by the grenadiers, turning the infantry’s flank. As it was, the cavalry were useless on the flank and had nothing to do but a daring redeployment which would have led to disaster but for von Kleintrink’s personal modifiers.
It’s a sorry force that limps away from this defeat, but soon thoughts will have to turn to the next phase – how does this effect the campaign?