Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Frustration II: Talavera

Rob had deserted us again for Club Night and selfishly taken himself off to enjoy the delights of Naples and the Amalfi Coast, Stuart stepped into the breach and brought an 'epic' Napoleonic boardgame which could supposedly keep eight players in play.

We could only muster four, Ryan and I versus Stuart and Julian, I would be the French CinC. The game is a block game and the rules the same as the American War of Independence series, albeit they are done by a different manufacturer. The battlefield, Talavera, is divided up into three sectors for each side, Left, Centre and Right, you have several cards in your hand which allow you to move troops in these sectors, 2, 3 or more units. These are complimented by what I would call Tactical Cards which can enhance your movement or combat stats or again increase the amount of units you can activate in a turn.

The main problem with this system is that the cards dictate the battle not you, if you do not get Centre cards then your whole centre simply does nothing even if you realise it is now time to put pressure on the enemy. What usually happens is you play towards your initial hand, so if this is attack/probe/move on the Left that is what you do and to try and change this in any meaningful way once the action has started is well nigh impossible, and even should you manage this your cards for the new sector may once again dry up and you are left hanging, having achieved very little.

So how did the battle go, well Ryan commanded my left and we put most of our effort there as we all knew from history that the Spanish on the Allied right should fold under a sustained attack. Our first assault piled up French dead in front of the Spanish line and two redoubts containing artillery, we had to move to get into range and then found ourselves under severe fire before we could build up our attack. I managed to shift two cavalry units left hoping to help while the rest of my army remained supine in their start positions. We threw desperate attacks in on the Redoubts and for a moment drove the enemy out, but only for a moment, we could not get troops up fast enough to take advantage of the gap between the Spaniards and the British. After a while we completely ran out of steam as it was impossible to get reserves up.

As the witching hour approached we managed to get a hand of cards which allowed, at last, my centre and left to go hell for leather at the enemy, we missed out on gaining at least three victory points as the enemy managed to slip away and survive the onslaught, but we had shot our bolt or rather played the last card.

The experience was good and we had a laugh as we traded insults in Spanish or French accents and whistled 'God Save the King' or the 'Marseillaise' as appropriate. Although Stuart and Julian managed to almost get the 15 victory points required for a win and had at least five or so more than we did, I shrugged my shoulders, held up my hands and pointed to the 15 part of the wording with as much sympathy as I could muster. As that old French general said, it may be magnificent but it is not war.

I scrounged about my bits box the other night and found five figures I decided to paint, two Greeks, a Roman woman and two German officers. I also almost spent £50 on some Mexicans I really didn't need, they were from Black Scorpion's Tombstone Kickstarter but instead of the half dozen I wanted I would have had to buy the whole bundle, about eighteen guys, I drew back just in time. I still want to add a few more figures to my Dead Man's Hand stuff so maybe that is how I will fill my time up for now. I have ordered up some MDF sheets as I have decided to base my DMH houses and their boardwalks rather than have them all loose, Alan at Hoka Hey is cutting them for me, I actually have far more buildings than you need for the game.

Right, onwards and upwards, coffee and back to maps, a few city maps of Posen to do today for 'Panzers in the defence of Festung Posen 1945' this involves some city blocks but also having to draw up some plan views for a Tiger, StuG III and JS2, those will be interesting.

Ongoing, North Korea military.
Ongoing, Franco-Prussian War


  1. Interesting, although I don't like the cards dictating what you do there should always be an option to influence things even if only slightly, but then I am not a board game fan, I like me dolls and dice on the table. Glad you found something to paint, those odd 3rd C Romans are always on offer ;~)

    1. This is the first time in the last four years I have run out of anything to paint. I am teetering on the brink of starting something else, possibly troops for Muskets and Tomahawks or the Jacobite '45 is growing on me, only the lack of a rule set stops the latter. Yes the Romans are tantalizing but I just cannot add a sixth WAC army......