Another chance to play my game of choice at the moment face-to-face. Thinking I’d picked up some strategies to try out from my game with Gary, I was raring to go, but I should have known better – I have yet to see this game play out the same way twice, and after turn 1 it looked like it was going to be the shortest game yet! On the opening turn Cadiz and Liege fell easily, then the fortified lines at Namur were skilfully bypassed by Marlborough and the French fell back again, thinking he’d never take Namur in one turn – wrong! In an attempt to distract the allies, the French attacked Eugene in Italy but he pushed them back and they spent the rest of the turn re-organising. So by the end of turn 1 the French were on the ropes, and the 2 event draws didn’t help either – “Camisard Rebellion” lost the best French leader, and “Savoy switches sides left the French army in Italy out of supply.
Turn 2 was a bit of a blur to be honest. I just about held them at the French border, but the allies made good progress in Spain and managed to trigger the Spanish revolt at the end of the turn. Then the allies won the contest for the Med even with 2 French RPs spent on the roll and the “Political Intrigue” event card removed another of the decent French leaders – arghhh. The only positive note was that I drew the “Command conflict” card to hold until I chose to play it.
On turn 3 I drew a good hand of cards and decided that I had to cripple Marlborough for the turn early on then go all out for Vienna – a risky strategy, but France looked doomed otherwise. Marlborough confidently attacked the French army at Bouchain, but in the ensuing dice-fest I managed to win helped by playing the “Command conflict” card. The only downside was that Vendome was killed in the battle, but Marlborough had been given a bloody nose and went back to Namur to lick his wounds. My march to Vienna commenced with a successful siege at Salzburg and was helped by the Allies having a hand full of 1’s. I moved on to Vienna and it fell to the Elector on the first turn of siege by rolling a 6, but instant victory wasn’t achieved as the French didn’t have a LOC to Paris (Freiburg still in Alliance hands) – damn, missed that in my rush to take Vienna.
The Bourbons had a 3 card to play for initiative which the Alliance couldn’t match, so they were able to lay siege to Frieburg. Marlborough moved to break the siege and the Bourbons gambled and stayed put – the Alliance lost the ensuing battle rolling 12 dice to 9 and only scoring 1 hit against 3. Eugene than attacked the same French army, but lost as well – the French luck was holding. A roll of 6 for the siege at Freiburg saw the LOC from Vienna to Paris complete. There then followed phase after phase of battles with armies under Marlborough and Eugene taking turns to attack the French army around Freiburg and Ulm. After they had both lost the first battle they were demoralised but they had to keep coming to try and cut the LOC to Paris. In the end they ran out of troops and the line held.
What a game! Even though it ended after 4 turns, there were probably more battles in this game than in any game I’ve played. In the first 2 turns the Allies seemed to be unable to roll anything except 6’s, while in turns 3 and 4, the same applied to the French – amazingly, given the number of battles, only 1 leader was killed. Now, back to my Vassal game with Gary, which isn’t quite going so well…