Exceptions prove the rule - LoA at Claymore 2017

Our set up positions at Arcis sur Aube, March 20 1814

I have been particularly conscious of the requests from visitors to keep this Blog exclusively 17th/early 18th century. This post proves that rule by making a rare exception.

Cavalry regiments the size of brigades - Austrian Hussars - both charged

Toggy and I fancied a trip forward 100 years to get some fresh air around his enormous Austrian Napoleonic collection and do something a little different. We chose Napoleon's penultimate pre-Elba battle - the confused and frantic action at Arcis-sur Aube in March of 1814 some 100 miles east of Paris.

The Austrian Army - only a proportion of both the Infantry and Cavalry Tog has.

Toggy has cornered the market on Austrians and continues to astound me on a monthly basis with further additions to his 36 model cavalry regiment and 40 man infantry battalion horde. I believe he currently has six or seven of the former and about thirty plus of the latter. About 95% of the table's assets were from the man cave of Toggy and superb they turned out to be!

Everything defending Arcis was on a Horse except the cannon!

I have had a few very healthy months of trade with Warfare so made the decision not to operate a trade stand at the show and just enjoy playing a game for a change. Something we both noted yesterday and at other shows is that many displays are manned by four or more people thus allowing the group to continue to play, chat, take turns at getting the coffee, having a bio-break, strolling round the show and laying/out-tidying up.

This battery was subjected to counter battery fire losing 3 guns, 3 limbers and a crew

With two people you have extremely limited options. It just needs one of you to perform something from the above list for the game itself to grind to a halt. As we have an extremely long standing commitment to demo games we end up chatting almost continuously for the entire day to the many friends we have made over the years making all of the other activities on the list secondary - including playing the game. Sometimes this can be seen as - oh, nothing happening at that table.

Panoramic view of Arcis with the Little Corporal and entourage in the foreground

Nonetheless, we managed to get about four turns done between the continuous flow of chat and the rules came back to us very quickly. The main action was a series of bloody cavalry melees during which I lost three regiments of Chasseurs and Hussars and Toggy lost a large regiment of Hussars and a bit together with a battery of artillery. Infantry losses were about even and almost all sustained amongst skirmishers and grenzer troops.

This road was the scene of massed skirmishing I deployed 40 skirmishers against about 60 Grenzers

The infantry was just starting to get into action when we packed up. The table was busy all day and there is nothing quite like massed Napoleonic units to seduce the traditionally minded wargamer.

R2E is alive and well and continues to sell steadily

Republic to Empire has proved to be a very effective rule system and despite all the nuance of period put in, I was struck by the simplicity and ease of the shooting and combat system when we used it again. One die type, one score to remember - a 4. That gave me a lot of satisfaction having had my head in the 17th century for a long time.

Custom built for Aspern-Essling but substituting for Arcis sur Aube

Many visitors commented on the impact of big units and that being the only way to play Naps. I agree. Puny little single lines of figures or abstract groups do not convey the spectacle  appropriately, however well painted. This is the reasons for sharing an out of period post and breaking our self denying ordinance, we thought it looked very nice.

The Polish Lancers were beaten at Arcis - I didn't risk them in the combat!

The rest of the show was taken in during a very brief 'sweep'. Some attractive games and a couple of interesting product developments from companies whose wares suit us very well in the late 17th century as can be seen.

Bought this kit - Ireland or the Caribbean - could be dressed to suit

Great to hear the feedback from our campaign players on how much they are enjoying it and looking forward to October's visit to the Crown Sweepstake 1693.

Relatively new from Games of War - 17th/18th century Dutch yacht

New cutter from Games of War - great possibilities

Tog and I are back on the road in two weeks at Partizan. Still thinking about what we might do there, more on that soon.