Battle report, rules, and rules on initialism and acronyms.

Due to equine misfortunes, Peter J. couldn’t make it, so I shifted from the position of umpire to player. In the usual manner we randomly determined sides. Graham H. drew the British straw; I would be French. I won the roll for table side and chose the western one.

This is a short report of the first night’s play. 

A reminder of the battlefield (terrain definitions here), looking north.

The Rostbiffs and French both rolled up average D10 Commander-in-Chiefs but, whilst the British found themselves with an average sequence deck, the French rolled a 1 (on D20) and got an abysmal one. Round one to the Rostbiffs!

The British also drew more army morale points from the ACAD deck, thirty-three points to twenty-nine (from memory). However, when it came to sequence cards the French did slightly better, drawing a C’est Magnifique (wild) card; the British drew a rather splendid extra Infantry Firepower card. Bayonets, mon enfants !!!!

From the ACAD deck, the British drew the One extra deployment zone card. They claimed the zone to their left front – up to the table’s centre line – allowing them to occupy the western sectors of Momio Cochinillo from the start.

A Deploy chosen command group card allowed the French to force the deployment of the best British infantry division. They deployed it opposite Santo Cerdito, so the French deployed the bulk of their strength in the centre and south centre to contest Momio Cochinillo and Tocino Hill. 

During the first night’s play most of the initiative points, which fell relatively evenly to both sides, were spent manoeuvring around Momio Cochinillo and Tocino Hill.

This picture shows the bulk of the French on there start lines

Anglo-Portuguese 2nd Division on its advanced start line at Momio Cochinillo. 

Note the British heavy cavalry in reserve. These will move to the south.

South of 2nd Division, 3rd Division advances towards Tocino Hill.

On the other side of the hill, French cavalry are racing south.

The French advance 1st Division to contest Momio Cochinillo, the whole of which had fallen to the British in the early moves of turn 1. 

After a fierce firefight and several storming attempts, the French infantry began to make inroads.

Meanwhile, the British 3rd Division were spending their initiative to reach Tocino Hill before the French, who’s own 3rd division and cavalry were taking a circuitous route around the woods to the south of Momio Tochinillo. 

To slow the British advance the French cavalry were moved to threaten the British by forcing them into square. 

With squares now being allowed to give fire (reloading on the newly added Reduced Firepower card) this was a risky stratagem but my abysmal sequence deck required me to do something to buy time.

Note the British heavy cavalry, which has now moved to the southern flank.

As the first night’s play drew to a close, all was poised for an almighty punch up for Momio Cochinillo and Tocino Hill.

Note the French cavalry (lower left). With the British heavy cavalry having moved south, they are now moving forward into „The gap“.

Some of the best French troops taking Momio Cochinillo – he says, hopefully.

French 3rd Division, largely conscripts (lots of red beads in evidence) advancing in column to contest Tocino Hill. 

The French will probably struggle here unless they can take Momio Cochinillo quickly with 1st Division and expose the northern flank of British 3rd Division.

An overview of the positions at the end of the first nights play. 

Note the retreating British unit in the cornfield, and the limbered British artillery moving to support the southern flank of 2nd division and the northern flank of 3rd Division. 

On Chuleta Hill, you can just see British 22nd Light Dragoons moving to deter the advance of the French cavalry now advancing to the northwest of Momio Cochinillo.

At the northern end of the field, French 2nd Division at Cerdita, and British 1st Division east of Santo Cerdito and on Chuleta Hill, have remained largely static. Indeed, the French haven’t moved at all. Yet, that is. 

The beautiful thing about classic Piquet, and the thing we keep going back to it for, is the fact that just about everything you do, such as turning cards, moving, shooting and initiating a melee costs initiative – in FoB you only pay initiative to turn cards, not to do things on the cards. In games using classic Piquet it’s very hard to make a concerted effort everywhere at the same time (you simply don’t have enough initiative points to spread about) and consequently battles rage in one sector then shift to another – often to take the pressure off a sector when you are losing there – because it forces the opposition to spend their own initiative to counter your new shift of emphasis. More than any other facet, I think this is why the narratives of Piquet (especially horse and musket, and later period battles) so often mirror how real battles read in our history books – and I just love it! 

At the end of the evening, Graham said he had nothing bad to say about the house rules as they now stand. So, with a bit of luck, we might be just about there, even with the skirmishers.

I am struggling for a title for our house rules. I liked the name Spanish Ulcer but that must already have been used by someone already, so I discounted it almost immediately. I think it’s the tripartite nature of the Peninsular War that’s causing me the problem: Mostly because I don’t want to use anything too Anglophile, too Francophile, or too Iberophile. Perhaps, I should upset everyone and call the house rules Frogs, Dagos and Rostbiffs, though with the initialism FDR images of the Spanish-American War could easily be conjured, so the order might have to be played with. 

(By the way, did you know that FDR isn’t technically an acronym? Neither is BTW for that matter: FDR and BTW are both cases of initialism. FOB is an acronym. To be an acronym, the letters must form a word like NASA, RAM, OPEC or FOB; a string of initial letters that don’t form a word are not acronyms, they are cases of initialism. Everyday is a school day, and I learned this today – just thought I’d pass it on for those, like me, who thought all sets of initials, like FBI or CIA, were acronyms when technically they are not). 

I’m very much looking forward, like a schoolboy, to next week’s play date.

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Autor: JAMES ROACH / Olicanalad’s Games

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