|Master of His Domain surveying His realm.|
On Saturday December 28th the Terrible Trio of der Alte Fritz, Major General Pettygree, and the White Menace held our annual post-Christmas game at Schloss Seewald (also known as my house). This year I decided to break out my Croat Terror skirmish rules for the SYW and give them a thorough play test. Messers Pettygree and White Menace are particularly adept at finding the loopholes in any set of rules, so I set them loose on Croat Terror rules.
Ostensibly, we played a skirmish game with some second rate Prussian Freikorps, hussars and jagers escorting a supply convoy to a nearby Prussian encampment. One should not be surprised to hear that an Austrian raiding party of grenadiers, musketeers and Croats attempted to intercept the convoy.
I only took a few pictures during the game because I was busy jotting down notes about rules errata, loopholes and other legerdomain from the action on the tabletop.
|Keith L (The White Menace) attacks with his Austrians.|
|Bill P's (Major General Pettygree) Prussian Jagers proved to be a deadly force to deal with.|
I hadn't hosted a game with my Croat Terror rules for quite awhile, and it soon showed as I had to consult the rule book quite a few times to render judgement on the interpretation of the rules. There were a number of those "ah yes, I remember it well" moments as memories of how the rules worked were dredged from my deepest memories.
However, after several turns, Major General Pettygree and the White Menace picked up on the mechanics of the game system and the flow of the game proceeded smoothly. For the record, it looks like the Prussians staved off the Austrian attack and would have steered the convoy to the safety of the Prussian encampment had the game not been called at 4:00 PM as is our custom.
|Austrian Grenadiers (left) chase some Prussian Freikorps out of the woods.|
What Did We Learn
One of the first things pointed out by the White Menace was the need for a one or two page quick reference chart of the rules. I had given the players the 10-page rules set and we found ourselves frequently thumbing through the pages for movement and firing tables. There were very few melees in the game, other than to test the melee system in Croat Terror. So later that evening, I typed out a QRC and fit it onto two sides of one 8-1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper.
Next, we discovered that the Prussian Jagers were a powerhouse when they took advantage of the 30-inch range of their rifles compared to the 18-inch range of muskets. The players suggested either (1) shorten the rifle range to 24-inches, or (2) use only one company of 12 figures in any game, rather than the 24 figures that I have painted. I subsequently reduced the rifle range to 24-inches. I will probably limit jagers to 12 figures in any game.
It's kind of funny, but in many of my large battles and skirmish battles, the Prussian players fail to take advantage of the jager rifle's range. Basically, they can stand outside of musket range and shoot down the Austrians while the Austrians can not fire back at them. So it was great to see Major General Pettygree employ his jagers to his best advantage.
Movement seemed a bit too slow in the game, so I added an extra D6 to all of the movement rates for different formations and troop types. Typically, a musketeer regiment formed in line will move the number of inches from two D6 dice (i.e. a roll of six and three on two D6 equals nine inches of movement). Now they will have three D6 and so on.
There were several other minor changes such as clarifying some of the definitions and working out the mechanics of cavalry pursuit and passage of lines, but other than that, I think that the revised Croat Terror rules will work very well in a convention setting.
The QRC needs to be proof-read and then I will have some laminated copies made for my games. The rules book and text will need to be revised to incorporate the changes. After a couple more play test games, I shall start laying out the pages of the rules book with the aim of publishing them in the future.
The mechanics of the rules (movement, firing, melee and morale procedures) are fairly well-tested over time, so additional play testing will focus on seeing how the tweaks and changes affect the game.
Finally, I can see that I need to paint another unit or two of 24 Croats to use in the games. I envision two regiments of 24 figures, each on a 12-figure movement tray. These would actually be companies and so a player will command two companies in the game. I might reduce the forces to one company of 12-figures per player anticipating that fewer figures will tease out the role playing element of wargamers.