Sunday, 11 February 2018

Maurice - AWI Test Game

Following our game of Maurice last month, using Martin's 10mm Seven Years War collection, Steve and I decided to get back up to speed with this favourite rule set by playing with Steve's 15mm collection.

For our game Steve picked up the game we played back in 2013 and used the same force mix and cards with yours truly taking the British and Hessians - see the link above.

The start positions for our game

As you will see the British were on the attack with a small hill in the centre of the American line as their objective.

Notables an idea to further develop?

One thing I always wanted to change with Maurice was the inclusion of brigade and/or divisional commanders. I really miss seeing the various levels of command represented and so wanted to play an idea to represent them and using them as part of the activation process.

So in this game you will see other commanders on the table testing out this idea, but I was keen not to fundamentally change the way Maurice plays as the simple but beautifully crafted system is what makes Maurice one of my favourite rule sets.

You could argue that Notables provides some of this layer of command but they have a lose affiliation with any troops they command and don't quite provide that command structure modelling that I am looking to include.

The British ready to advance with a Hessian brigade nearest and a British brigade on the other side of the road supported by guns and cavalry

Thus in the game we modified activation to be based on a command structure with groups of regular or irregular troops to be commanded by a brigade commander, leaving troops such as artillery and cavalry under the direct command of the CinC.

We also continued the use of formation to determine force type which encouraged brigade commanders to try to keep their respective battalions in the same formation and the same terrain to allow multiple activations.

The Americans holding the hill with two continental brigades and the militia on the flank

We treated our brigade commanders as another unit in terms of providing a point to which the CinC could assess his range to a given brigade for command purposes and played that if two brigades in the same formation remained in command range of one another the CinC could activate multiple brigades together.

This simple change immediately created the command feel of looking to keep commanders in range of the CinC rather than groups of units and thus a more recognisable chain of command.

The British close with both infantry brigades staying in the same formation and linked for command. Where did that marsh come from!

The game produced a bit of a drubbing for the British as my British brigade became hung-up on the marshy terrain which caused the attack to stall and cause my forward units to get engaged in an unequal fire-fight.

This card only added to British woes

I soon lost my Guards and a British line battalion around the bog for which for the loss of a Continental unit and a militia battalion were little compensation and with my Hessians trying to get back the initiative by attacking the militia, soon found my right being counter-attacked by multiple battalions of Continentals.

The British are forced to review their plan of attack after discovering unfavourable terrain in front of the American position 

As always the command strain meant little opportunity to bring up my guns and I was soon running short on cards with not much respite to risk a pass to regroup my hand. If an attack could go more badly wrong it is difficult to think of one and so my book of  'I wont try that again' memoirs was increased by another hard earned experience.

The Hessians take the fight to the militia

The simple change to include the extra command layer seemed to work well with little change in the mechanics and now encourages the thought to turn these commanders into a type of notable with characteristics that will enhance or detract from the troops they command rather like the notables but with a distinctly AWI feel.

So we were thinking of characters like 'No Flint' Grey adding a plus to troops in hand to hand combat or General Greene adding to the capabilities of irregulars, etc etc.

I think I might produce my own set of brigade notable AWI characters - more anon.

With two battalions of British infantry destroyed in the centre, the Americans counter-attack the British right flank

Thanks to Steve for a fun evening and so nice to get reacquainted with AWI and Maurice.

Next up a book review from Mr Steve, my bows and arrows, the Dux Bellorum collection gets finished and my review of With Zeal and with Bayonets Only.


  1. Lovely game shots. I was surprised to see your comments on notables as I have been working on adaptions for this for my Imaginations and using both the aristocratic rating and modifiers to force players to think about how they use and allocate the characters in games. If you are interested you can see where it's going here:-

    The command structure modification sounds interesting and I would love to see your future thoughts on developing this.

    1. Hi Bob, thanks for the link to your adaptions. It looks as if we might be thinking along similar lines.

      My thinking about the notables is that they are great as far as they go, but I want to recreate the characters that commanded at a more fixed level and were a vital part of the command chain, something I feel Maurice is a little loose with. At least Sam Mustafa kept commanders in this game, dispensing with them entirely in his Aurelian system, which again I am not keen on.

      So next up I think we might try out the brigade process from this game report and add in a few attributes to them to see if they can add another level to the play.

  2. Like you, I had thought of adding a command structure onto the rules. I am glad to see it worked so well.