Saturday, 6 January 2018
Maurice - First Game 2018
The New Year got off to a fine start with my first game played and totally enjoyed as Steve M, myself and Martin got together here at Chez JJ to run through a game that Martin is putting on at this month's meeting of the DWG.
The rules for the game are Maurice, perhaps, in my humble opinion, Sam Mustafa's finest creation which comes from a superb collection of rules from this highly thoughtful and creatively innovative rules writer.
Since selling my AWI 15mm collection to Steve, I haven't played a game of Maurice for a very long time, in fact both Steve and I reflected that it had been too long as we both thoroughly enjoy the rules and have never had a boring game with them.
Following a discussion about this planned club game we decided on a play-test and re-familiarisation using Martin's new collection of 10mm Pendraken Seven Years War Prussians and Austrians.
Now my old eyes can barely cope with 18mm, so you will not see me painting anything smaller than that, but after putting on my 'seeing glasses' my first thoughts were 'wow' these figures are impressively detailed for their diminutive scale and 'hats off' to Martin for picking out that detail with a lovely paint and basing job that only enhanced the game we played.
The other part of his collection I immediately recognised, having the 15/18mm versions in my own terrain set was the lovely collection of buildings on a purpose built latex surround from Total Battle Miniatures which with their black powder range of buildings are just perfect for this period, although I believe these are the 6mm versions providing a better scale of footprint with no loss of character.
I don't intend on revealing too much about this scenario as it is for a planned game at the club and we will no doubt have a full AAR to follow on the DWG blog once it is played; not only that, but occasionally some of my fellow DWG club members pop over here to see what's going on and I don't want to spoil any of their forthcoming fun.
Suffice to say that in our little play test, my small force of Prussians were tasked with holding on to the small hamlet you see in the pictures while being threatened by a much larger Austrian force of infantry, cavalry and irregulars.
If that wasn't challenge enough, the Prussian force started the action carrying disruption from previous manoeuvres that only added to their worries as the battle began.
Both Steve and I had become 'unconsciously, competent' with this set of rules following the multiple games we played following their release and, given that they are by no means a complicated set of rules to get ones head around, I was surprised at how 'consciously, incompetent' we had become in the recent time to this game.
That said, after a few turns of the familiar card play, which is the essence of these rules, we were starting to get back to the basics of play and the index sheet which was downloaded years ago from the Maurice forum (see the link below) helped enormously in tracking down the particular section of the rules that clarified a particular point in question.
Maurice - Downloads
The game barrelled along and we were soon all delighting in the simplicity and yet extraordinary texture and period feel for the era of linear warfare these rules create.
The added spice for both Steve and I, was the unfamiliarity with some of the rule additions that we were using when playing the Austrian and Prussian forces, particularly modifications on formation changes which were new to us having not had to content with them using AWI armies and thier looser formations.
We progressed our game through a deck and a half of cards and nearly twenty turns of play before the evening concluded and we went through a post game 'wash up' assessment, perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of historical wargaming.
The game renewed my love affair with this set of gloriously crafted rules and reinforced my own plans to build a new collection of 28mm AWI to use with them, with some ideas we discussed on the night of introducing divisional commanders, similar to notables in the rules, for activation and command purposes, rather than the group/formation-similarity process, but that is just me messing about with other peoples rules, looking for ever more granularity.
If you have never played Maurice, then I highly recommend them to your attention and the numerous game reports to be found on the net probably attest to my estimation of them.
As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed this my first game of 2018 and Maurice was the perfect way to start the year. Thank you to Steve M and Martin for providing all the fun and as I sit here writing up this look back I have just received my copy of Spring's "With Zeal and With Bayonets Only" to upgrade my education about the British army and its tactics during the American War of Independence - book review to follow.