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Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

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Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  WJPalmer on Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:58 am

This week we plan to launch what, hopefully, will become a regular mid-week Napoleonic HITS battle event targeting the GCM crowd. The first one is set for Wednesday, Jan 28 at the time GCM typically plays its biggest game of the day. The purpose is to introduce still more SoW enthusiasts to the KS HITS Napoleonic format -- at a relatively easy level e.g., small commands, straightforward objectives, etc. If it goes as hoped, players will be able to get their feet wet, have their questions answered, and enjoy an entertaining game without being overwhelmed.

The first battle will take place in 1812 Russia with the French assault on a Russian rearguard at Dobrantihs Crossroads. Everyone is, of course, more than welcome to join in, though I realize the time (22:15 GMT / 17:15 EST) will be a challenge for many, particularly mid-week.

Players will assemble at the GCM TeamSpeak server (64.237.62.226:9175). Here's the Doodle Signup and the write-up on the GCM Site.

Of course, none of this would really be practical, even possible, without the magic of Leffe's Scenario Generator (thanks again, Stefan!). Thanks also to Kevin/MTG for working through various technical aspects with me.

Wish us luck and join if you can!

Best,
Ron/Palmer
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  kg little mac on Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:46 am

Fantastic news.

In the long run, these games will bring in more players for the ks weekend games and campaign games.
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  midgetmanifesto on Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:12 am

Wonderful stuff. I'm looking forward to getting some more (basic) SOW play under my belt.

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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Martin on Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:58 am

Well done Ron. An excellent idea.

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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Mr. Digby on Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:07 am

I'll try and be there, can't confirm 100% though due to the late hour, but will do my best.

Also good idea and good luck with promoting this different style of play to more people. Many thanks for that.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Iberalc on Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:53 pm

Applause, applause,...ovation! Cool
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:21 pm

My understanding is that Matt is commanding the Russians while Mark is the head Frenchman. How does one decide who to serve under? Question

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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  WJPalmer on Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:41 pm

Almost certain death any way you slice it.

Actually, we're going to try something a bit different with team selection: The CinC's will go off to a side channel and alternate picks. Do you feel LUCKY today? ;-)
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Uncle Billy on Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:43 pm

This is going to be a no win situation for me, isn't it? Sad

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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  kg little mac on Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:30 pm

Kevin,

Don't worry. . . you'll be my first pick, and I'm planning on channeling my inner Joffre and implementing my version of Plan 17.
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Mr. Digby on Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:36 pm

There was nothing wrong with Joffre's plans.

Except the Germans.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Uncle Billy on Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:07 am

Soldier wrote:I'm planning on channeling my inner Joffre and implementing my version of Plan 17.
Wonderful. I'll be following an outdated plan against an underestimated foe. affraid

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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:32 am

I'm now sick off work all week, so I can probably make it (meaning I don't have to be up early the next day, not meaning I'm fine!). I'll be there in mind though the body may be failing... A smaller command would be preferable for me, but if you get a sudden influx of GCMers wanting brigades, give them to them. I'll just take a battery or drop out.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  WJPalmer on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:11 pm

Perfect. It's fitting that you'll be there for the inaugural battle... Very Happy
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:55 pm

Well the most recent development is my boss phoned me up this afternoon and sacked me. Great.

At least I can devote more time to the campaign whilst job-hunting again Wink

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Mark87 on Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:31 pm

I did nothing of the sort Mart...Berthier. I was merely aggravated by Marechal Victor, Mortier, and Morcey's lack of progress.


In all honesty, sorry to hear that Martin!
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Ike on Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:56 pm

Sorry to hear that, Mr. Digby. Sad
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Robert M on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:48 am

great "boss" .... to sack someone over the phone.....

Sounds like you're good to be rid of working with him, imho.....

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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:44 pm

Robert wrote:great "boss" .... to sack someone over the phone.....
Sounds like you're good to be rid of working with him, imho.....
I agree. I have had to let people go every now and then and would never be so cowardly as to not do it face to face. The guy's either a retard or has never learned the basic principle that treating your employees like yesterday's newspaper is a quick way to go out of business.

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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:21 pm

Let's move on to happier subjects.

Yesterday's battle was a blast and like any HITS/Couriers game had all the usual tensions and confusions that make these MP sessions what they are. It was kind of fun to experience the boisterous TS chat environment I was last in on that server over four years ago Wink

I'd offer one perspective though on what I thought was a weak point in the scenario design - it allowed the attackers to just form one enormous phalanx and plough into the Russian position with the force of an express train. I was down on the Russian far left/south flank for 70% of the battle then moved into the throbbing heart of the action for the last 30% and from what I could glean from the messages I was sent early on, and later what I witnessed first hand, this game suffered from a limited range of command decisions for the French as the attackers to take.

This post in no way is going to be critical of how anyone plays but the particular scenario last night allowed the French to just assemble a mighty column and punch it in with little or no finesse. There was some excellent tactical play on the flanks, particularly on my end where Kevin's cavalry hovered about and kept 2/3rds of my division almost pinned down and I saw some good flanking play at the end as the northern French fed units continually around our right.

On the whole though, apart from the extra tricks of commanding from 2yds height and some delay from couriers, I am not convinced this was a good training scenario for newcomers. The opposing sides started too close, new players were not given a 'breaking-in' period in which to learn giving orders and manoeuvring their units - a longer approach march and deployment at a distance is always a good way to learn this. The ferocity of the fight for the hill must have been pure hell and mayhem for new players, it was near impossible for me to make sense of who was where until very close to the end.

Next time I'd suggest starting armies further apart and giving more than one objective so more tactical thought has to be given, and more communications are needed. We should avoid opportunities for division-sized column attacks as well since we all know the game can't handle how casualties should be inflicted on these.

Scenarios that involve the two sides deploying in sight of each other just inside canon shot and then a proper preliminary phase of bombardment and things gathering pace more steadily is an environment in which more will be learned.

Sorry for the negative vibes, just trying to offer suggestions for future games.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  WJPalmer on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:07 pm

I appreciate the observations. The intent for this design was to try to keep the setup extremely simple and, as a result, the game certainly fell short of what we're used to with either a campaign or ad hoc weekend scenario battle. In my preconception of this particular event, I imagined lots of new players laboring to control their troops, attempting to make sense of a blizzard of courier messages, typing out their own messages, and struggling to understand a raft of new formations, new commands, and an entirely new game culture. In other words, an introductory session.

On the plus side, new players came away with a taste for the spectacular color, intense action, and confusion that typically surrounds a Nappy battle. Moreover, the game moved quickly once begun, was competitive, and interesting enough (I hope) to keep at least the newer players from becoming bored. Hopefully, it will incent many to come back for more. Future battles will certainly ratchet up the level of design sophistication, as is the vision.

One lesson well-learned was to keep the map situation very basic. Going forward I will be loathe to use a map not already installed as a stock or KS Supplemental maps offering. The delay and brain damage involved trying to get 15+ players on board with a last-minute download is, IMO, a real disincentive for someone just trying to figure out if this format is something he'd like to pursue.


Last edited by WJPalmer on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  kg little mac on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:29 pm

I agree with Digby.

Part of simplistic plan problem is my fault. General Subtle here tends to not dwell much on the sublime.

From the start I planned on an assault en mass on the objective. The plan was to wait until Pepe of Villaflor came up behind my division and then start the assault.

But when I saw Russian infantry, a whole division of Russian infantry, to the south. I ordered my division
to attack the knoll and ordered Pepe of Villaflor to go straight to the objective with his entire division as well.

I sent the two brigades I was commanding in with the bayonets to try to weaken the Russian line, Harmon defended the right flank and Jones went on holiday. By the time Pepe got into the battle, the Russians had no chance of holding him. And Jones' afk stint actually helped us as his fresh brigade led the final push to the objective.

Without question, and this is really hard for me to say, Kevin's cavalry work screening Digby's division was the key to our victory.

The Russian cavalry gave us hell on the knoll, but when they exhausted themselves, we couldn't be stopped.

Both Avery and NY Cav (Harmon) both said after the game they enjoyed it very much and would be back for more.

Hopefully, I won't be called on to bludgeon MJP again and someone with more finesse can take command.
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:31 pm

What's the feedback been like? I get the impression that the GCM TS channel is where a lot of discussion takes place and the forum is less used for that than, say, this one is. Consequently, if you're not online talking about it, you miss some of the responses.

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The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:34 pm

Being one of the good guys, i.e. the French, I had a very different perspective of the battle plan. It was very risky. When mon General Soldier informed us of his master plan, my first thought was Cannae. The Russian center would bend back and their flanks would come in and crush us. I had visions of Mark and the other generals in the center with their troops surrounded by the serfs and no place to run. I on the other hand would be commanding the light cavalry on the flank and could ride off in safety as the vise closed.

Fortunately, the Russian cavalry was busy elsewhere and I had the southern flank all to myself. I was able to bottle up Digby's division for some time and give our infantry the opportunity to carry out its plan and try to reorient in time to meet Digby when he finally wiggled free of me. One of the Russian brigades became impatient and began marching towards the main battle in column across my front. That cheekiness infuriated my troopers and they savaged the brigade. Although that attack cost me several squadrons, I had enough left to defend our right flank and drive off the Russians that were trying to work around the end of our line. When I finally arrived on Last Stand Hill, I too was shocked at the carnage. There was literally no place for my horse to walk without stepping on bodies. It must have been a great fight, GCM style. Very Happy

I don't think there is any easy way to get introduced to HITS fighting. The first few battles are always going to go badly for the uninitiated, so they may as well be bloodbaths. Finesse will come later.

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Re: Dobrantihs Crossroads: A GCM Introduction to Napoleonic HITS

Post  WJPalmer on Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:40 pm

MTG wrote:There was literally no place for my horse to walk without stepping on bodies. It must have been a great fight, GCM style.

A good share of those were mine. I'll thank you next time to direct your mount around my cold, dead form. Crying or Very sad

The cavalry provided a key organizational advantage for the French. The numbers and quality were not vastly different but, as a division, they could easily move their 2 brigades to different locations. Although Steve met an early setback, this could have been key. I also thought the Russian batteries (24 guns) would be more decisive. Last Stand Hill wasn't a bad place to put them, but I think the original map would have presented more advantages with the very broad vistas around the objective. The French making a frontal assault would've been under fire for a long time before closing on the original map. As it was, Subtle Soldier did a good job neutralizing their effectiveness with a sledgehammer up the gut through the trees.
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