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First Look: Black Seas

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian explores the Master & Commander starter set for Black Seas.

1,549 hits since 26 Jun 2015
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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vtsaogames26 Jun 2015 11:33 a.m. PST

We continued our 200th Anniversary game of Waterloo yesterday. The week before had seen us play 4 turns. The first French attack on Hougomont had been driven back. D'Erlon's attack on Picton had largely been driven off, with one battered division holding onto the ridge and losing heavily. The rules used are Bloody Big Battles, with 15mm figures on a hand painted canvas mat. There were some changes since last week. Bill couldn't show, so I mutated from Blucher to Napoleon. Ken, who had been playing Lobau, took over as Blucher. Rick remained as the Duke of Wellington.

The Prussians were building up on my right.



I spent the 3 PM turn regrouping in the center and bombarding Wellington's lines. My dice went cold. They did this for a few turns. I don't think it would have made a difference in the long run but at least I could have done more damage to the Anglo-Allies.

On my left Allied cavalry built up, while another attack on Hougomont failed.

The Allied cavalry charged and routed Pire. One way to get my attention is to have a mob of enemy cavalry behind my flank.


Guyot's heavy cavalry began shifting from the center, as the Young Guard was repulsed from La Haye Sainte.

On the Allied 4 PM turn, the Prussian horde rolled forward.


On the 5 PM turn Lobau's corps began to buckle.

The Chasseurs of the Guard attacked in the right center. A scrum against Pack and Kempt saw both sides fall back to regroup.

Donzelot the last intact infantry division in D'Erlon's corps was driven back from La Haye Sainte. They formed up, rallied and even recovered a lost stand, the only unit in the game to do so.

Bachelu moved up and fired into the flank of the disrupted Allied cavalry, while Guyot became disrupted by Allied artillery fire. There was a large gap in the French line between Hougomont and La Haye Sainte.

The Allied cavalry was finally driven off with loss. Reille had redeployed to his left and narrowly held off Hill's infantry. This stopped any further pressure against Hougomont and the British Guards sallied forth. In the course of the fighting Reille found himself on the skirmish line and beat a hasty retreat behind his troops.

Lobau's corps started coming apart at the seams, with Prussians among and behind his troops. All of Lobau's artillery was overrun.

The Young Guard finally stormed La Haye Sainte in a bloody tie that saw the garrison wiped out. The Old Guard Grenadiers fought their way onto the ridge, shoving Kruse and Lambert back.

Kruse rallied and attacked with help from the Household Brigade. The cavalry was stopped by musket fire from the Grenadiers, while Kruse was roundly beaten in the assault and sent back to Mont St. Jean farm.

And now the sky fell on the French, in the form of a swarm of Prussians. French cavalry counter-attacks failed. The Prussians now came on and threw Lobau's survivors back to Plancenoit. Prussian cavalry hit D'Erlon's right grand battery (he had two) in the flank and overran 36 guns.




There were still two more turns left in the game but I saw the writing on the wall. Rather, the Prussians were writing on my forehead. I threw in the towel.

We played 5 turns in as many hours. We could not resolve two things at the same time, as we would be able to with two players per side. Also, I violated a cardinal rule with this scenario too many units on the table. This is about twice the size of a normal BBB scenario. That said, everyone enjoyed the game. It serves as a teaching tool about the battle. And it renewed our respect for Ney. He wasn't perfect but he was tough.

The French losses were 19 infantry stands (14,250), 4 artillery (72 guns), 6 cavalry (4,500) for a total of around 20,000. This was less than the actual battle but two more turns would see heavy blows dealt by the Allied. Wellington lost 11 infantry (8,250), 2 cavalry (1500) and 1 artillery (18 guns). The Prussians lost a mere 3 infantry stands (2,250). These losses were well below those in the actual battle. Had my dice been more cooperative these numbers would be higher, though I think the end result would have been the same.

Now to put all of this lead away. I wonder what the accommodations on St. Helena are like.

DontFearDareaper Fezian26 Jun 2015 3:41 p.m. PST

Great battle report. I too am a huge fan of BBB, glad to see your house rules for playing Napoleonics with them worked so well.


BelgianRay27 Jun 2015 1:10 p.m. PST

Beautifull. And at last no disturbing awfull BIG (thick) bases or idem movement trays. Makes it look like it should. Like a movie !!!
Also those unobstrutive markers. They do not clog your table. Great. Thanks for sharing. Given me some very good ideas.

ChrisBBB27 Jun 2015 3:04 p.m. PST

Great looking game. OK, so you had to play it over two sessions because it was a bit big and ambitious, but hey – special occasion, and in this case it sounds like double the time meant double the fun. Too bad your original Napoleon couldn't make it for Part II. Will you share the scenario?

Bloody Big BATTLES!

vtsaogames27 Jun 2015 3:55 p.m. PST

I will write up the scenario and post it on the BBB yahoo group, hopefully before the July 4th weekend.

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