Battle at the crossroads

I am playing, and enjoying, the Quatre Bras battle from Didier Rouy‘s Le Retour de l’Empereur game. It has taken me a while to work out some of the kinks, but I think I now have a reasonable understanding of the rules and procedures.

The last of the French artillery joins the line, read to help the coming assault.

The last of the French artillery joins the line, ready to help the coming assault. Note the disorganized French units marked with the turn of their reversal, awaiting the time when they can try and rally.

I made a couple of run throughs of just the opening turns to get more comfortable with the situation, before trying to complete the main scenario. It ended badly for the French, due to a combination of bad choices and bad luck. I am now trying that scenario out again, and am about halfway through.

Cavalry and artillery are the killers, but you need infantry – especially to weed out defenders from fortified farm positions. Failure in combat (melee) takes some time to recover, because you cannot even attempt to rally disorganized units until after a two turn delay. I do like the simple but effective idea of marking the disorganized units with a marker showing the game turn of their disorganization. This makes it easy to track which ones are eligible for rally.

Help for the Allies is on its way.

Help for the Allies is on its way.

I dithered about command and control rules, and in the end decided to stick with basic command control ranges and some self imposed battle plans. For example, when the attacking French forces finally – and I mean finally, after a couple of failed assaults with the attendant delay – overcame an outlying fortified Allied position (Grand Pierrepont), I imposed a one turn delay in them regrouping and heading north to the main battle.

From my perspective, this is good fun, and I am happy to spend more time with the system.