Friday, February 9, 2018

Young Bonaparte II: Mondovi 1796

We played a draft scenario of the 1796 campaign of Mondovi. This is the second scenario of a group designed to accompany the new English translation of Clausewitz’s history on Bonaparte’s 1796 campaigns in Italy. The game features an unusual scale, both in time and space. Each turn is approximately a day. We enjoyed the previous scenario, Dego.
Warning for button counters: most of the French are wearing the correct uniforms but we had to add in some infantry and artillery from 1813 or so. We don’t have any Sardinians for this period so our Seven Years War Prussians are standing in.
Further disclosures: I neglected to place any model houses on the villages (the orange circles on the map). Mea culpa. The map also has two different colors of paper. I ran out of the darker green, started the map anyway and found the new roll of paper was distinctly more yellow. Rest assured that the color you buy will look different than it does on your monitor. Perhaps the yellow part of the map shows a different time zone in Italy.

The yellow discs in the photos show disrupted units, the red are half-strength artillery (how they start the game in this scenario) and .22 cartridges denote units low on ammo. Sardinian units and the leader Colli are printed in italics in the photos.

The first game saw me, Bill and Ken play as Bonaparte/Augereau, Massena and Serurier. Jay and Rick played the Sardinians. I opted to deploy Augereau’s leading units against Ceva, tasking Massena with reducing the Pedagiera redoubt.

Hot dice saw us carry Ceva on the second turn.

We were on a roll! And then we hit a wall.

Around this time the French attack overran Colli’s headquarters. He wasn’t seen for the rest of the battle.

The game ended in a tie, though I thought it a Sardinian victory until checking the victory conditions with the designer. It took us just under two and a half hours to play 8 turns, about 18 minutes per turn. French losses were 5 infantry stands lost and 1 run away. The Sardinians lost 16 stands of infantry with 3 run away. Colli was hit; our house rules determined that he was wounded and out of action for a week.  San Michele, one tough position (-4 terrain factors against assault) never fell and both Mondovi and Carru were never in the slightest danger.

We broke for dinner and conversation over some excellent wine. This would have some effect on our next game. We switched sides, with me and Bill playing the Sardinians while Jay, Andrew and Rick played Bonaparte/Serurier, Massena and Augereau respectively. Ken watched for a bit and then left early, as is his habit.

Augereau was sent against Pedagiera, scoring an early success.

We were not to get any points on turn 3. Something was wrong with our bloody dice today.

The French forgot to bring on Augereau’s last two demi-brigades on the fourth turn. The wine struck again. But it was good.

A French attack seen off with losses.

Jay decided against making an attack on the last turn since he didn’t see how it would gain a victory.
We played 8 turns in an hour and 48 minutes, a little over 13 minutes per turn. But we didn’t have as many epic assaults this time. French losses were 3 stands of infantry with 1 run off and the Sardinians lost 11 stands of infantry with 4 run off. Colli was hit again, out of action for 2 weeks this time. That fellow doesn’t seem to know how to duck.

Again, all enjoyed the game and we managed to play it twice in an evening. Both sides forgot to use the scenario rule giving the Sardinians +1 on movement when falling back. Both games saw the Sardinian army torn apart. And both games saw the French unable to capture San Michele (as noted previously, a strong position), not to mention getting anywhere near Mondovi. Since the real French cavalry commander Stengel was killed fighting on the objective just outside Mondovi, I think the scenario needs some more work. But it is still fun and we look forward to the Lodi scenario in two weeks’ time. I have to get started on the mat…

And here it is.


Phil said...

It's always a good thing to take a break with wine (French, of course) ... and it's always a good thing to read such a beautiful report during this period...
Best regards!

vtsaogames said...

Merci, Phil.