Evert and I may have played all the Russian scenarios, but there are a few we'd like to re-visit. This is the second of our re-plays, after I won it 10:2 playing the Russians and 10:2 as the French. Evert wanted the chance to do better. Plus, we need to practise saying Malo-yaro-slav-ets.
Commanding the Russians, I was loth to make a direct assault on the town. A "Cavalry Charge" card let me hit the French right flank with my Cuirassiers. The result was dead French cavalry and both infantry units in square. This gets me on the scoreboard (1:2 as Evert has the banners for the town) and reduces his hand size by two - a real handicap. Oh, and my Cossacks were obliterated making a nuisance of themselves (but Evert doesn't get banners for Cossacks).
Evert had manoeuvred the Old Guard forward and started bringing his Heavy Cavalry out from behind the river at the bottom of the board. I advanced infantry on my left to get in range of those squares. However, the next action was on the French left when Evert moved some infantry (damaged by the Cossacks!) onto the hills to push back the Russians. I overran them with my cavalry on that flank and put the Old Guard into square. (That's 2:2.)
Evert continued to press on the left, removing a Light infantry (2:3) and forcing another into square. A "Force March" saw the French infantry, including the Old Guard under General Pino, clear the hills and forest, finishing off the square to increase his lead - 2:4.
With the French right flank pinned in square, the Russians were able to outflank the town, occupying one hex, then eliminating a French Line to take another. That's 3:2 as Evert no longer has most of the town.
Evert advanced the French infantry on the left, the Old Guard finishing off the Russian Light cavalry hiding in the corner while the others eliminated the forward Russian Line under General Olsufiev - the General made his way back to the remaining Light cavalry. And the French re-took the lead 3:4.
Olsufiev immediately led the cavalry against the Old Guard and destroyed them when they didn't form square, Gen Pino hightailing it to the safety of the Heavy cavalry - 4:4.
Then the French Heavy cavalry charged, removing the Russian Light horsemen and then the infantry behind them - Gen Lichatschev fleeing the field. This left Gen Olsufiev as the only Russian element on their right flank! And the score's 4:6.
The Russian infantry in the centre fixed bayonets and charged the French positions in the town. This did not go well, with the Grenadiers taking a mauling and only managing to damage the French.
Another "Cavalry Charge" saw the French Heavies sweep into the centre at the back of the Russian infantry. One unit forced battered Grenadiers into square, while the other hit the Russian artillery, now bolstered by Gen Olsufiev. And the Russian Light cavalry stranded in the centre of town finally fell, 4:7.
The Russian infantry finally finished off one of the squares on the French right as the Cuirassiers forced another unit into square. Gen Legrand was in the square and fell with his men, so that's 6:7.
The last full-strength Russian Grenadiers forced their way into another part of the town after finishing the destruction of the French Line holding it. This tied the score at 7:7 and I'm now holding the majority of the town.
And then came our 'favourite' card: "La Grande Manoeuvre" (I'd been holding this since the start of the game, waiting for an opportunity). This let me fling the Grenadiers forward to seize the bridge at the bottom of the board (a banner to the Russians), while re-jigging the troops holding the town to make it harder for Evert to re-take it.
However, that's just what he did, French artillery pushing Russian Line infantry out of the town. So that's 8:7 when I get the banner for the bridge.
The coup de grace was a "Cavalry Charge" on my side that powered the Russian Cuirassiers through the town to finish off the French Heavy Cavalry. Both of them. And Gen Pino. That's a 10:7 victory that didn't look likely a few turns earlier.
Phew! Another epic battle (though not an EPIC battle) that lasted 36 turns, took 2.5 hours and could have gone either way. The French destroyed the Russian right, the Russians took the French right out of the picture and it all came down to the battle in the centre. But not who occupied the town. That was a terrific game, but the re-match will have to wait while Evert is on a cultural (?) tour of Italy.
(I’ve also posted this on my BGG blog, illustrated with some screenshots from our Vassal game: