O'er the Hills Early Peninsular War Scenario Book

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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.

Pendraken Miniatures


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.

17 comments:

  1. Terrific looking game, JJ! Spring’s book is a good one. I look forward to your thorough review.

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    1. Thanks Jon, it was great fun getting reacquainted with an old friend. Yes I have heard good things about this book so am really looking forward to getting to grips with it.

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  2. Good looking game, and I quite like those buildings. Who makes them, if I may ask?

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    1. Thank you, mainly Martin's efforts there. The buildings are from Total Battle Miniatures, 6mm Black Powder range and the link to them is in the text.
      Cheers
      JJ

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  3. Don't pretend you can see 10 mm JJ. I know better.

    Sounds like a good game. I will await the braille version.

    Vince

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    1. Yeah, you and me together.
      Martin, despite a great attempt at illustrating the potential of fighting even bigger battles on my 9 x 5, couldn't quite persuade Steve and I to move into 10mm. So you can relax, the Romans and Dacians will be in a scale that even you can see.
      JJ

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  4. That is what gaming is all about! Our group also loved the Maurice rules, but after a couple of initial plays, we have not returned to them. Maybe we should!

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    1. Absolutely. I have had Maurice on my "must play again" list and the game confirmed why. They are just such a fun set of rules which you can combine with a nice collection. Go for it Scott you wont regret it.
      JJ

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  5. I am tinkering with a W.A.S. campaign using the Sport of Kings campaign and map from Warfare in the Age of Reason rules by Tod Kershner. Our battles will be fought using Maurice as they are my favorite 18th cent. rules and tend to finish in a couple of hours .

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    1. Ah yes the campaign potential of Maurice is on my radar to. I also looked at Tod Kershner Age of Reason system which is a good one for giving your Maurice game context. Similarly Steve and I are looking at We the People for the AWI as the political back story is done so well in that game alongside the military and Maurice would seem to be an ideal system to resolve the battles generated.
      One day
      JJ

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  6. Oh I really enjoyed reading With Zeal and the Bayonets Only. I bought years ago after Nigel Marsh recommended it to me. I'm sure you'll find it informative, and I believe parts of this inspired Nigel as he wrote his C&G AWI game system. Looking forward to your review.

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    1. Thanks for the confirmation Adam, I have heard only good things about this book and decided to treat myself over Xmas following reigniting the AWI bug, painting my Continentals in December. As well as Maurice I would like to give my planned 28mm collection a run out with C&G as I have the rules for that period and I can see Nigel's attention to detail in the AWI notes.
      Cheers
      JJ

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  7. A great looking game with impressive lines of battle on a beautiful terrain!

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    1. Thanks Phil. Martin's collection was a real 'eye opener' for me in every sense of the words as I have never collected in 10mm and at my age am unlikely to now, but having seen the detail on these Pendraken figures and the big battle potential with them can readily appreciate their potential. That said we couldn't get over how when seen next to my 18mm Napoleonics that were also out on the table, how they suddenly appeared enormous in comparison.
      JJ

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  8. I am a complete fanboy where Maurice is concerned and i use them with my 10mm Klaggenfurt valley Imaginations. When I introduce new players i normally start by saying they are a fun game rather than a simulation but as time goes on they do feel strangely "right" for the period. I love the card system and the humour built in to them. I recently produced character cards for my nations replacing the games notables. The buildings are indeed TBM and 6mm . I use them all the time and the scale difference doesn't bother me or my gaming friends at all . I like the feel of a village rather than a building or 2. I love the figures I'm not a bad painter but these put mine to shame. Lovely stuff.

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  9. It's a grand looking game, and a nice reminder to myself to allow space in the year for a few games of Maurice. The rules are a favourite at our club. Up till now, we've played mostly WSS or GNW but your game is a bit of inspiration to get on with my own Seven Years War stuff. Cheers.

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  10. Very nice indeed

    http://www.10mm-wargaming.com/

    Take care

    Andy

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