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"Ardennes 1914 AAR from Historicon" Topic

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1,946 hits since 15 Jul 2019
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
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Ponder Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2019 9:46 a.m. PST


This is an AAR from my Ardennes 1914 game at Historicon '19 in Lancaster. Ran the game twice, once Friday evening, and again on Saturday evening. Seemed like folks had fun and enjoyed the game. The rules used were in draft, in preparation Breakthrough! being developed by Frank Chadwick and Glenn Kidd for WW2 games. Breakthrough! is an operational level game where in WW2 a stand represents a battalion. Two-inch wide bases are used.

I made a couple of unsanctioned changes to the draft Breakthrough! rules to make this WW1 game work:

1) In this Ardennes game, a stand is a regiment. WW1 formations were generally denser than WW2, so this makes sense.

2) To Barrage, the artillery unit needs to be able to see the enemy, or be within 3-inches of a stand which can see the enemy.

3) To Support, only artillery provides support. Again, the artillery stand needs to be within 3-inches of a stand which can see the enemy.

Otherwise the draft Breakthrough! rules were used intact. I used 15mm Minifig and Peter Pig figures, with 10mm guns from Pendraken. The village markers on the game table were Picoarmor.

The game portrays the attack of the French 11th, 17th, and 12th Army Corps into the southern Ardennes on August 22, 1914. In the game, the attack played out over the 22nd and the 23rd. Germans were cohesion: 8 and the French were cohesion: 6.

Prior posts for the planning of the game can be found here:

Photo 1 At start French deployment, three corps columns cross the Semoy and head north.

Photo 2 At start German deployment, 18 Reserve Corps at Neufchateau on left and 18 Corps at Libramont to Maissin on the right.

Photo 3 At start deployment of German 25th Infantry Division (ID) north of Maissin.

Photo 4 Lead elements of the French attack of 11th Corps attack toward Maissin. German cavalry regiment on the hill defends.

Photo 5 Lead elements of the French 17th Corps move toward Ochamps.

Photo 6 French 12th Corps choose not to press an attack on Neufchateu

Photo 7 French continue the attack toward Maissin.

Photo 8 End of the Friday game, French take Maissin (far right of photo). In the Saturday game, the French took Maissin, only to be pushed out be a German counter attack.

The victory conditions for the game had three terrain objectives: Bertrix, Maissin, and Libramont, each worth 1 VP. In addition, any division with more than 30 percent combat ineffective at the end of the game was worth 1 VP to their opponents. The French won on Friday, but the Germans won on Saturday.

I was pleased with the game, and I think the players had fun.

Ponder on,


raylev315 Jul 2019 9:02 p.m. PST

Great AAR….two questions.

1. Do you use the lines on the map?
2. When is "Breakthrough!" due out?

I really like the concept of big battles like this.

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP16 Jul 2019 7:27 p.m. PST


No, the grid had no function in the game. They were on a 1 ft spacing. I probably should have taken them off, but didn't. They were useful when I was developing the scenario to check distances without a specific measurement.

I am led to believe that Frank Chadwick and Glenn Kidd plan a kickstarter campaign to publish the rules. Word at Historicon, was later this year. I have no other details.

Ponder on,


holien18 Jul 2019 7:32 a.m. PST

The Germans on Friday were unlucky to be playing against Jake…

I think a new word is in order to be Jaked…


Great Map and figures.

Ponder Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2019 11:08 a.m. PST


Thanks for the compliments.

Jake pushed a good French strategy, really simple, really; only attack where you have an advantage. The French did not have an advantage around Neufchateau, but at 3:1 they did have one vicinity Maissin. As a result, the French took an objective, and did not take losses in attacks for no gain which could have shifted a victory into defeat.

I give him credit for his evaluation of the situation. He did have the wargamer's advantage of complete information, but so did the other gamers around the table. He also had adavantage in having played the rules before, and was not struggling with both learning to play and trying to play effectively.

Ponder on,


pfmodel22 Aug 2019 10:22 p.m. PST

The Breakthrough rules sound very good. I am looking forward for their release. The only other rules at this scale are megablitz, Divisional Commander and of course the BBB WWII, battalion and regiment scale. But none of these rules have good support, such as army lists, scenarios, etc. megablitz may be the best, but Frank Chadwick has a good track record with providing good support to his rules so i am hoping for good things.

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