Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Somewhere in the Peninsular … an ESR AAR from NJ Con

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    Somewhere in the Peninsular …
    NJCon, Friday, June 8th 2018

    At NJCon I ran an ESR game for four players, none of whom had played ESR before. I was lucky that I knew all four players and had gamed many times with three of them (in one case for over 30 years). The game was based on what figures I have available – each player got a Force of two infantry and one cavalry Formations. The terrain was kept simple with a village in the center of the table, a stream running across the center (the line of lichen in the pictures), and a few small woods and vineyards. (Apologies for the poor quality of the pictures from my phone.)

    All the Formations started the game ployed at the table edge, pointed towards the central village. We used the 150 Yard ground scale.

    View from the French right/Anglo-Spanish left.

    The village in the center was a magnet for the French Forces who set it as the initial objective for Kellerman, with Lefebrve’s objective the stream and vineyard to the left of the village.

    French Right Flank Force – Kellerman

    French Left Flank Force – Lefebvre

    The Anglo-Spanish were hampered by the player controlling Hill – “I can’t beat the French to the village”, who set his objective as a defensive position between the woods directly to Hill’s front and the stream.

    Anglo-Spanish Right Flank Force – Hill

    The player controlling Cole decided to sweep wide to the left of the village, setting an objective out there, before swinging back across the table to catch the French between his hammer and Hill’s defensive anvil.

    Anglo-Spanish Left Flank Force – Cole

    With Hill taking a defensive position on the Anglo-Spanish left, the action on that flank took longer to develop.

    On the French right, Kellerman sent his cavalry to the right of the woods, while his infantry divisions headed straight for the village. This put the cavalry, on a Support order, directly across from Cole’s Spanish division and cavalry brigade. Making the classic ESR rookie mistake, the Spanish division only had three of its units deployed as they approached the stream. Kellerman’s cavalry took advantage of an Order Conversion to Attack the ployed Spanish, but Cole’s cavalry also converted from Support to Attack so as to protect the Spanish. One of the French cavalry units made contact with a deployed Spanish unit, but the other three were intercepted by the British cavalry. While the Spanish infantry lost a number of combats to the one French cavalry unit, they survived through their Assessment with very little permanent damage. Both cavalry brigades however came out of their post-Combat Assessments in Retreat.

    The slight lull that ensued allowed the French Forces to reach their Objectives, where their Formation Orders converted to Defend, and the cavalry brigades took the time to Rally & Reform.

    This bought up a learning moment for the right flank French player. For two turns he complained/asked why his infantry Formation to the right of the village couldn’t attack the Spanish across the valley. As they were on Defend orders and the enemy was too far away, they needed a new Objective and Order – something that could have been Issued on the turn they expected to reach their objective.

    Meanwhile Lefebvre, seeing Hill in a defensive position, had changed his Objective to Hill’s position. In the ensuing Combat Assessment, Hill’s Spanish division broke.
    On the other flank, Cole, after resetting his Objective to the rear of the village, caused Kellerman’s cavalry to Break. The combination of some good Anglo-Spanish rolls and bad French rolls resulted in one of Kellerman’s infantry divisions Retreating after their Artillery/Skirmish Assessment.

    As this was an evening game, after about 2.5 hours, two of the players had to leave (one claiming exhaustion, the other to catch a train back to New York). With the French hold on the village looking shaky, Hill holding on for now, and the French caught between the two Anglo-Spanish forces, I declared that the Anglo-Spanish had a slight advantage, but not enough to be a clear victory.

    Based on the players’ comments, two of the players seemed to like the rules – they were the ones that did the best at understanding the need to set and change their Force Objectives and think ahead. One said it wasn’t his “cup of tea” because it was “too fiddly”, but I think his view was influenced by his inability to just do whatever he wanted to do (i.e., attack across the valley with Formations on Defend orders).

    AAR by John, “Lord” Hollier

    Reposted with permission by The Wargaming Company, LLC


    The Bandit

    Darkest Star Games

    Thinking ahead is pretty critical.  Played a game over the weekend with a friend (using paper bits for now) and we each had a turn where we didn’t get far enough ahead of the action and stalled-out for a bit!  He was able to take advantage of my mistake, I couldn’t quite capitalize on his.  Live and learn!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."



    How many turns did you get played in 2.5 hours?


    This too shall pass

    John Hollier


    Long time no see/talk… I have fond memories of your welcoming me to the city and its wargaming scene in 1980 – especially Junta!

    As to turns, I forgot to keep incrementing my count after about 4, but we played 3 or 4 after that I think.  Things slowed down once the Formations were in Skirmish and Combat as the players learned the rules.

    Overall, once players become more accustomed to the rules, I would expect it to move much faster.

    John, “Lord” Hollier

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