Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Honours of War in 15mm

Even though I had already participated in three games this week, I met up with several friends at the store on a Sunday (my one day off) to get another wargame in for the week. James had recently purchased the Honours of War rules by Osprey Publishing and was motivated to dig out his 15mm SYW figures for a game (he even rebased some of his miniatures!).

I had already dabbled with rules and they had been gamed at the store several times. I was not too impressed with them so far, it seemed to me that all you did was move up and then pull units off the table at the slightest wisp of combat. In addition the units seemed very bland, everything has the same stats, leaders were just tokens to measure command to/from et... But I always have a good time gaming with my friends, so made the best of it.

James went with a semi large game to begin with; each side had about 36 units (the Austro-Russian force had 34, but four large units). James and I played on the Austro-Russian side, while Chris and Steve commanded the Prussians. Most units were rated as per the book, though we did play the Russian artillery as Superior.

I commanded three brigades of infantry and one brigade of cavalry, all Russian. James, who was to my right, commanded the Russian grenadier brigade, two cavalry brigades and the Austrian infantry. The lone Austrian grenadier battalion was an independent unit.

Chris commanded two brigades of infantry and two brigades of cavalry. While to his left, Steve commanded two infantry brigades, a cavalry brigade and a large grenadier brigade.

After we had set up our forces, we then rolled for our commanders abilities ... which really created some interesting dilemma's for both sides. Chris for example had rolled two dithering commanders, while Steve on the other hand had two dashing commanders. James and I each had a dithering commander.

We spent about four turns maneuvering our forces against each other ... some of the delay was due in part to our poor maneuvering die rolls (the dithering commanders were especially living up to their lack of ability!)
Eventually we had some cavalry clashes. I learned that charging fresh infantry to the front was not really going to work out well for the cavalry ... even with Chris bad die rolling! But the battle raged on and my Russian infantry pressed into the Prussians, with limited success. The Prussian hammered back and almost broke my command.
Steve and James squared off and proceed to engage in long range fire while the cavalry on the flank battled for supremacy. It looked like the Russian cavalry was going to sweep away the remaining Prussian hussars, after they had beat up the Austrian Cuirassiers! Then there was a lull in the cavalry fight, at which time both sides Grenadiers came to grips and proceeded to blow each other away!

I was able to reform my line on the left flank, largely because the dithering brigade finally had moved up and formed battle line. Our center was dangerously absent of troops ... fortunately the Prussian's had nothing organized and ready to move into the gap.

We called the game shortly thereafter ... a draw favoring the Prussians. They had beat up the center, but did not have any troops to exploit it. I held the left with enough force and James still had the large Austrian infantry force, with much of it untouched on the right and soon would have a slight advantage in cavalry.
Wow ... I unexpectedly had a great time playing HoW! We played for over five hours and only stopped when we realized it was 6pm. I am not sure if it was the size of the game, the scale of the figures or even that I was the rules adjudicator, but this was far and above the best game of HoW I had participated in or seen played.
That said there were still a few things that detracted from the game. Several parts of the rules are unclear or vaguely written. I know that after I read the rules a couple more times I'll be able to piece together clarity for some of the questions. I just get tired of having to make an educated guess on what an author was poorly trying to get across (Edit: Most have been cleared up after a couple of thorough readings of the rules) ...
The main drawback to the game is that it is in centimeters. Besides being a pain to convert (none of the QRS have been converted), I found it difficult to get a feel for the ranges and movement of troops (I know I was not the only one!). Also as we we're using 15mm figures (all ranges in the book should have been halved), we ended up incorrectly using ranges in different sections of the rules. This will be alleviated once I do up a QRS in Imperial measurements and a few more play through of the rules.
Neither issue will stop us from gaming again and in fact James is already working on another game with even more troops!

1 comment:

  1. I did a great time playing with James, Chris, and John. Setting up your troops before we roll what type of leaders who had been a real mystery of how to play this game. I was against James most the whole battle. I find the rules be very simple to play, from command-and-control, maneuver, firing, close-combat, and rally face. Can't wait to play next time. Maybe I'll have some Austrians painted up for it.