Monday, 24 January 2011

6mm Great Northern War.

0th January 2010

Polemos Great Northern War
Swedish vs Russian.

Rob (B) a new member to the club (now bringing the number of Robs at the club to 5!)  He has been kicking his heels in a Wargames Club-less area of the South for a few years and was eager to dust off a lot of his 6mm miniatures and try and game of Baccus’ house rules for this period.

Rob provided the gaming table courtesy of the Games Workshop modular set which comes in its own carry bag! the terrain (Baccus) and two armies of 6mm, Swedish and Russian (again Baccus), both wonderfully painted and based.

Nobody had played Polemos previously and so we expected things to be slow.  Rob (B) and I had both read the rules leading up to this pre-planned game.  Even though I loved the design of the rulebook, especially the pencil drawings throughout (reminiscent of the early Warhammer Rule books) I had struggled to understand some of the content and did not find it as easy to read as say Black Powder or Field of Glory.  Anyway playing the games usually clears up any ambiguity so we set about sorting out armies and deployment.  Rob (B) was going to referee while I played the Swedes and Mick played the Russians.

Relatively conservative for the period.  The Russians took up a defensive position with 2 brigades of foot across the right to centre and 1 brigade of Dragoons and another of Cossacks (Light horse) on the left occupying a hill.

The Swedes had a brigade of foot on the left, a brigade of foot in the centre and then two brigades of Cavalry lined up one behind the other on the right.

Things started off pretty well.  It was pretty much a case of advance to contact as we just wanted to see how the rules played rather than anything else.  Mick sent his Cossacks out to his far left in wait for the inevitable Swedish charge on his Dragoons.

 The Swedes advanced under bombardment from the Russian Artillery, the first Brigade getting close enough to the Russian Dragoons to charge.  The Charge faltered and they were then caught in the flank by the Cossacks.

Unfortunately that is about as far as we got as from this point things seemed to really get bogged down.  The amount of tables one has to refer to in respect of charging, firing or melee is bad enough but then each table seems to have a long list of modifiers that one then has pore over.  Now I appreciate that this was the fist time we had played the rules and that things will speed up as one gets to know them.  The trouble is we were all so put off by how long it took to achieve anything that it is unlikely we will feel enthusiastic about revisiting this particular rule-set any time soon.

The rules are well thought out and do have their merits.  The idea of "tempo bidding"  to determine who goes first is an outstanding concept that adds an extra layer of tactical consideration which I think once you have some experience becomes the real key factor in winning and losing.  However,  the mechanics of combat system in  my view  are simply too unwieldy to be able get even close to finishing a game in one evening so the rules are not really suitable for a game night.  I do intend to play a few more games at some point as it would be unfair to simply write them off on one bad experience and as I say, I love the tempo bidding system.

I have Principles of War for this period but have not played those yet, I think I will try and arrange a game so that we can compare the two and apply a bit of balance to my first impressions which are somewhat negative.

On the up side, Rob’s 6mm figures looked excellent on the table top.  I personally hate painting this scale but there is no doubt that once deployed on the table top in numbers they give an outstanding sense of grandeur and scale.  The accompanying villages and woods (all again made by Baccus) added to what was an aesthetically excellent table top!

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