David Dockter
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When we last left this story (EiA Sawatdee Game III: Jan 31, 2015: Coalition Eats Some Turkey and a December Double Dec Gift for Prussia), the Coalition had battered Turkey into taking a time out and the French & Spanish launched their war on innocent Prussia. Brits had flooded into Prussia to protect their close ally. Russian army moved west and south (Italy/So France, Bavaria). Austrian was rebuilding from 2 wars: one successful (Turkey), one not (France).

PREP and setting back up...


Russian, Austrian, Prussian begin planning for winter campaign

As usual, we spent about an hour setting up the game again (that only takes about 15 minutes actually), discussing wargames, waiting for all mates to arrive. We did mix a few bloody marys, and, discovered that the spoon we had used a BIG glob of something on the backside. We've sent it off to a lab to determine what the hell it is.


Bob's dish spoon glob

We also discovered Bob's the Host's new hidden room; very cool. When finished, it will open by pushing/pulling/turning something on the bookcase yet to be determined. Suggestions?


Discovery of the French's hidden diplomacy room: behind the bookcase (that doubles as a door)

As always, a number of us displayed our latest gaming acquisitions. Legion Games made a decent appearance this particular late day in FEB, 2015...


Legion games makes an appearance

We also spent a bit of time bemoaning the loss of Leonard Nimoy and traded a number of favorite Spock stories.


Spock would play EiA like Bob the Host

JAN 1807: French Blitzkrieg


French in shadows; Spaniard sporting an appropriate yellow hat


Toulon...1807!


French man calculating...you could almost say being punctilious

Jan 1807 began with the combined French & Spanish navy lifting its blockade of Malta and heading east to the safety of the Black Sea.

The main Russian army continued its LONG trek from Turkey to the front and ended up concentrating in Vienna for the winter. Having partaken in the pleasures of Berlin, the French army continued its trek east and entered Posen. Coalition Army Group North (Prussian/British/Russian army) sat in its bastion called Konisberg. Spain attempted to break into Gibraltar, but failed. Austrians managed the logistics of the coalition forces returning home from the war with Turkey. The Turks sat in their saunas.


JAN 1807: End of turn

FEB 1807: French Blitzkrieg Continues


FEB 1807

During the naval phase, the French & Spanish fleet decided to return to the Med and made a made dash for Naples. The Coalition continued to build up its expeditionary force in England (6 corps now). British fleets again sailed into the MED to blockade (which would be later joined by the Russians).


Russian army on the LONG march from Constantinople to Paris via Vienna

The Russian army finally arrived in full force from its fun & games in Turkey: they assumed their jump off points for the invasion of French minors in Italy and So Central Europe, with designs on the French homeland.

France was still a man on a mission; a race against time. After taking Berlin in December, he continued to push forward to force the Prussians to surrender (by occupying all provincial capitals) before the Russian army could arrive both in East Prussia and begin gutting French minors in southern Europe/occupying French provincial capitals.

Prussian controlled Wurtemberg fought a successful siege combat (outnumbered 3 to 1) and kept the French out of their glorious city.

Coalition Army Group North continued to hunker down in Konisberg, despite opportunities to engage the French. Corey the Prussian countered, "Time is on our side".

MAR 1807: Russia Enters the Fray: Battle of Konisberg


MAR 1807...the Duke and NAP face off in Prussia; Kutuzov off in distant Italy/Bavaria


MAR 1807: Buildup in England

The turn began with the Russian declaring war on the evil French empire; "The time has come, again, to put Bob the Host back in his gilded cage".

On the high seas, the France and friends gathered a new Atlantic squadron at Portugal: 8 Spanish, 12 Portuguese 12 Dutch. With the British navy blockading 98 french/spanish ships at Naples, the Coalition responded by beginning to concentrate the Russian and Swedish navies. However, in the meantime, the French & Spanish could engage in a little mischief, given its parity in the Atlantic (roughly 35 ships to Coalition 30 - but a better position).


Kutuzov jumps into the frey

On the southern front, the Russian army flooded into Bavaria and Italy. Spain tried again to crack the Gibraltar nut and failed. In the center, the valiant Prussian Wurtemberg was finally hunted down and eliminated.



NAP rolls the BIG dice at Konisberg

"the moment"

Up north, the BIG battle of Konisberg was initiated by the French. If, France could somehow win and break into the last two Prussian provincial capitals, the Prussians would be forced to surrender (which would be a BIG blow to the fortunes of the Coalition). As one of those rare categories of games, EiA has the capacity to produce "the moment".

Some perspective. We had about 23 hours of play with this particular game. Consequently, each player had invested a significant amount of scheming, planning and attempting to manipulate/influence the situation. You don't get that with shallow games or this week's forgettable fare; that amount of "play investment". EiA moves slowly towards building a few key turning points in any particular game. All those hours, moves, plans come down to a silly chit pick (rock, paper, scissors) and a few die rolls. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded stuff. VERY few games have the capacity to do that. Many gamers lose sight of the fact that it is truly not about winning some silly game, but, rather about the depth of experience. The fickle luck gods are the ultimate arbitrator; not some Khanish "superior intellect".

EiA probably produces more of those (the moment) per time invested than about any other game I have ever played. It is a function of a complex, truly beefy wargame. Maybe Paths of Glory or For the People rivals it, but, that is only with 2 players spending 8 to 10 hours hunched over a game in a WBC tourney type situation. It is a relatively "easily accessible quick fix". In the case of EiA, 7 players spending tens of hours, which, consequently, makes for a very rich gaming experience. We had reached the first such moment in this particular game. Back to this moment...

So, 202 French/Spanish forces (25 cav) at 4.0 morale met 172 Prussians/Brits (30 cav) at 3.7 morale. Chits were selected... France revealed a PROBE and the Duke of Wellington, slyly smiled, and revealed a lovely ATTACK chit. In the first round of combat, NAP whiffffffed, while the Duke inflicted 17 losses and 1.8 morale hit. At that point a Saxon corps joined the action. In the second round, the Duke again tossed a "5" - for another 18 losses and 1.8 morale hit to Napoleon. NAP finally got engaged but managed to only do 10 losses and a 1.8 morale hit in the 2nd round. In the 3rd round, NAP made a 2 level guard commitment..and managed to toss a "6" for the mutual break (NAP needed a "3" or higher). After the smoke cleared, 63 French/spanish SPs were eliminated vs 42 british/prussians, and the French ogre had been stopped. 100+ SPs eliminated (about 10% of the total in the game at that point). Prussia would not be forced out this interphase...which would likely mean a long war.


MAR 1807: Battle of Konisberg: French leader disappointed with the bloody results...spanish lackey rubbing his brow in background

APR 1807: Coalition Moves Forward; Drama on the High Seas

Drama on the high seas in April. A combined french/spanish minor fleet of about 35 ships landed two corps in London (russian/swedish fleet was still trying to form up - awaiting a reinforcing Russian fleet of 19 sailing from Naples...and Denmark had not been set free...yet). The two lonely spanish corps declined to break into London (25 brits waiting to receive them).

In the south, Russian broke into a number of Italian minor capitals...and the army continued west (now approaching border of France).

Up north, 3 russian and 1 british corps (returning from Turkey!) reinforced Coalition Army Group North. 14 Coalition corps now opposed NAP. In Frances portion of the turn, there was no renewed move against fortress Konisberg. The 2nd Coalition War was now entering a new phase...


APR 1807: 14 Coalition corps say "Go away, little French mon"


APR 1807: End of turn

Wrap up

Another fabulous day of playing a big honkin seven player way of life wargame. Every time I play EiA, I am struck by a number things:

1) Unique: EiA remains, even 30 after being published, a unique game in the hobby; nothing remotely like it.

2) A carrier game: EiA feels like a WW2 Pacific carrier war game...LOTS of prep & dancing...the moment of battle arrives...a few shakes of the dice, 4 carriers destroyed - or in the case of EiA, THE CAV PURSUIT - or heavy causalities that upset the diplomatic situation instantly. The game constantly builds to that tension.

3) Game/history talk: Bullsh*ting with 6 other wargamers, while a game is going on the background (think baseball), is a great way to spend a day

4) Tension: System for resolving battles is still state of the art; it really feels like BIG napoleonic battle - BIG tension

5) Great Power Politics: Love the political dimension of the game; the minors, the relationships between the major powers, the political status display; it is all VERY well integrated

6) Strat OP game: What a great combo of operational & strategic for a wargame. Of course, it takes at least 30 - 40 hours to complete a "partial" game (if you want to end after the wars that follow the 2nd Coalition war) - a 100 to 120 hours if you play the full 10 years - and a commitment of about 9 gamers (2 subs always on the bench), so, there is a BIG time trade off for the level of detail, but, what a rich gaming experience.

7) The moment. See above.

8) Can't wait: I always have a tough time waiting for the next session to arrive. In this case, March 28, 2015 if the gods of life, chaos and gaming are willing.


APR 1807: Political Status Display


SitRep end of APR 1807

Regular EiA Sawatdee blog: EiA (Empires in Arms) Sawatdee

Other 1st MN, Herr Dr, Sawatdee session reports: 1st MN/Sawatdee/Herr Dr Session Reports

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Chris Montgomery
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Once again, I love living vicariously through you guys. Great AAR, as always. Carry on.
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Cole Wehrle
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cmontgo2 wrote:
Once again, I love living vicariously through you guys. Great AAR, as always. Carry on.


Likewise.
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Jason Johns
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As usual, great stuff.
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Alan Sutton
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Cole Wehrle wrote:
cmontgo2 wrote:
Once again, I love living vicariously through you guys. Great AAR, as always. Carry on.


Likewise.


Yep, me too.

 
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Moruya23 wrote:
Cole Wehrle wrote:
cmontgo2 wrote:
Once again, I love living vicariously through you guys. Great AAR, as always. Carry on.


Likewise.


Yep, me too.



I’ve just been bitten by the bug. Reading these reports avidly.
 
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David Dockter
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Good. It is a good bug.
 
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