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Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Age of Marlborough—first ANF game
Age of Marlborough
Our first game was a small, Marlburian battle using a set of rules called 'Age of Marlborough'.
Age of Marlborough are quite 'traditional' rules with two-minute moves, order writing, combat lookup tables, individual casualties and the like, but they work well and produce a distinctly Marlburian flavour. This is achieved by the genius of the rules, the requirement to write orders three bounds ahead of time. Huh? That’s right orders for the first three bounds are written at the beginning of the game and then those for bound four at the end of bound one, and so on. Order writing is simple and clear, ‘march ahead’, ‘fire’, ‘stand’, ‘wheel left’, and is done using only a few words and/or arrows. There are no dice, so the outcome of firing and mêlée is known, even though the path to these actions is little known by the commanders, particularly novice ones!
On the occasion of our first battle we played a small engagement in which I commanded the Bavarians against the Prussians commanded by Mark. Julian, who provided the figures and knew the rules, was the umpire. The engagement was a simple one in which four Bavarian infantry battalions (one of guards) and one cavalry unit were attacking the Prussians (four infantry battalions, one of which was guards, and a battery) in a defensive position around a farm house.
The brilliance of the rules, and ineptitude of the novice commanders soon became apparent as one of the Bavarian battalions blundered towards the Prussian artillery battery, halted and then blundered in again, eventually being broken from the ensuing casualties. In the meanwhile, on their left, the Bavarians somehow managed to get two units, including the guards, to attack one unlucky Prussian battalion, which was forced to quit the field. On the right the remaining Bavarian infantry marched across rough ground and was flanked by the Prussian guards. An attempted flanking manoeuvre by the Bavarian horse was partially successful as they caught the remaining Prussian battalion in the flank.
The battle concluded with the victorious Bavarian infantry on the left reforming to contemplate an attack on the farm house (first photograph), while those on the right were being smashed by the Prussian guards (second photo). The Bavarian cavalry was about to be whittled down by the Prussian infantry and artillery. The battle was called as a minor Prussian victory.
At the conclusion of this battle, Mark and I were as hooked as Julian. We plan to do another battle with the rules, likely for the Great Northern War period (another favourite of the three of us), sometime in the future. For now though, we are focussing on our ‘first love’; Napoleonics.