Friday, January 25, 2013

The Sultan Smiles! A Maurice AAR...

Maurice is a big hit in our group, so much so that we're into our 2nd campaign since August.  There are many things to love about the game but the campaign rules are genius. The campaign allows a player to:
  • Write a back story for your army, leader and war if you like.  
  • Choose the kind of army you run by purchasing National Advantages.  
  • Deliver smack between battles and change up sides frequently. 
  • Write clever AARs in character to share with the rest of the players.  
The campaign also gives a narrative, energy and game to game results that are absent from a one off match.  Our group is so hooked that we've managed a game every 2-3 weeks.  Being a family man, it's no easy task to sneak out the door for my games.  When my wife pointed out I was gaming two weekends in a row, I replied "but this is a campaign game" and it worked!

I was playing Hugh in this match and by the way, Hugh had never lost a campaign game.  To prepare for my big showdown,  I read the rules cover to cover and filled up a notebook with tips and ideas.  I also got practice games in and brainstormed with my sparring partners.  So, how did my training and  hard work pay out?

The game had a promising start when I won the scouting role and was able to choose to defend.  6 pieces of terrain went down and Hugh made a point to drop his terrain in my deployment zone to mess me up.  The village, marsh and woods cut my deployment zone in half so I shoehorned my army into the right half of the board.
In addition to being a stone cold killer, Hugh has a spectacular Coalition army made up of French and British troops.  A 00 or 000 brush was burned up painting these handsome lads and all of their piping.
My Ottomans wedged themselves into a double line between the two villages while my cavalry held in reserve.  The boys in red are my Guard units, The Sultan's Own.
In the early game, Hugh swung his army out in parade formation and formed up just outside of musket range.  I declined to bombard with  my cannons in order to load up on cards.  That turned out to be a wise decision indeed!
If you're going to knock off the Big Dog, you need some luck and luck was with me in the early game.  I pulled 3 Event cards that I quickly put to use.  First, I played "That's Not on the Map!" to drop a marsh in his line of attack on the village. Then I played "Confusion" to march one of his Guard units out of line and into the marsh in canister range of my cannon.  Then I played "Heat of the Battle" to charge his weakened Guard unit into two units of The Sultan's Own, destroying the flower of his army.    
These 3 event cards put Hugh back on his heels.  He pulled his infantry back to reorder and realign.  At this point, I was tempted to come out of my defensive position and try to grab a decisive victory but I resisted.  
Hugh made a valiant attempt attempt to work my flank but the woods and my reserves on the other side made sure his push came to naught.

In the spirit of a gentlemen soldier, I offered Hugh terms near the game's end.  In perfect character, Hugh replied sharply that he had no interest in terms but he was willing to accept my surrender! 

Night fell and with it came a a minor Ottoman victory with an epic point for the carnage inflicted on the infidels!  Two games into the campaign, the village bells rang to celebrate the amazing fact that Sultan al-Adin is undefeated! !