I was actually looking forwards to trying out these rules as I had obviously read so much about them on t’interweb. Matthew was the guy putting on the game which saw a French army of 2 Infantry Corps and a Cavalry Corp taking on a Prussian Army of 3 Corps. The terrain was loosely based on that of Ligny and Alex’s French chaps had to clear me away from the villages and break my army.
The action moved along quite quickly as the first few moves were just our forces manoeuvring for position.
Matthew advanced one Corp straight towards the village in front of my line whilst moving the second infantry Corp across the stream to advance on the left hand village. Over on my right he advanced a few blinds to secure the hill. To counter this I just stayed put in the centre whilst the left hand Corp moved forwards to secure the village and I moved the right hand Corp’s 2 cavalry brigades and horse battery forwards to contest ownership of the hill – my plan here was to secure that flank and then advance the infantry from this Corp round the bend in the stream and into the French flank.
Matthew’s assault on the village in my centre was bravely continued for much of the game but the staunch Landwehr regiment garrisoning it held on for ages whilst being slowly whittled down – they repulsed two division sized assaults from the French and severely mauled the Division doing so whilst the French Corp battery expended all of its fire supporting the attack. The French also tried to force a crossing of the stream to either side of the village but even though my units took some damage from a long running musketry fight before the assault they saw the French off, again, whilst causing serious damage to the attackers.
On the left the French scored a slight success by winning the battle between the light cavalry brigades on the extreme flank but my chaps had the upper hand in the firefights and Matthew seemed reluctant to press home attacks here so I had successfully stymied his advance. Over on the right my Cavalry attack proved very successful, in a short fight I managed to drive off 2 brigades of dragoons and a horse battery securing that flank.
The game had reached just over the halfway point at this point when Matthew conceded the game – even though he had taken the village in the centre of my line he had taken a severe battering doing so and didn’t think he had enough infantry left to push on across the stream with only 2 fresh brigades in reserve. My left flank was well secured with my units there in relatively good health and I still had a completely uncommitted infantry force on the other flank and was about to unleash them whilst the cavalry force I had sent out ahead had taken the hill whilst driving off heavier opposition.
So my first game of Blucher was done and I must say I was quite underwhelmed by it – there was just something intangible that made me not quite dig the rules. Don’t get me wrong: they were a piece of the proverbial to pick up, there are a few good mechanics in there, they were fun to play and perfect for a club night (we finished well before finishing time) there was just something missing that made me go wow! I think maybe it was the aesthetics of the game that was bugging me, I am not saying owt against Matthew’s figures I just feel that if you are going to do the brigade/base type thing then I reckon you need to do it in 6mm so that the bases look like brigades – see here for a great example from the ‘Storm of Steel’ blog:
The lack of artillery is also something I have trouble with in these games – it has been the same when I have played Grande Armee and Napoleon’s Battles – don’t know why it just always bothers me! Would I play it again, yes would be the answer as it is always good to get some Napoleonic action in whatever the rules! Matthew has agreed to give my adaptation of Age of Eagles a go soon, and I’ll be happy to give his ones a whirl too so maybe we will find a set that we both like so that we can get more games in as I know Matthew is not completely convinced about Blucher too.