After my initial post about the setup of this campaign a lot testing has been done. I started my first test run which led to a battle at Ceva with more than 3:1 odds for the French. The battle itself was fought with General d’Armee and was still interesting to play but I noticed that I am biting off to much, again. My campaign movement mechanisms need testing not the battles. After packing the game away I scrapped the first test run and looked for inspiration in boardgames and wargames how to simulate campaign battles. I found and tweaked something easy working with manpower and commander ability.
Test Run 2
This run used the historical deployments and somewhat historical plans. Beaulieu threatens the French right while Colli’s Sardinians are engaged heavily.
At the end of day 3 the Sardinians suffered heavy losses at Mondovi and Ceva. An Austrian attack at Carcare failed miserably and to the right French forces are advancing as well. Some of the battles were relatively even in manpower but the French have better command and rolled very well.
End of the campaign at the beginning of day 6. The Sardinians held against an attack at Bene Vagienne but severely reduced. Bremt has been wiped out by Meynier at Cheraso and the Sardinians are cut off. They will ask for peace. The Austrian force in the center looks menacing but is actually quite small. They have no chance to fight the French and have to retreat.
The battle mechanism needed some tweaking after that as well as the turn structure. Playing with open information was easy to do but not that much fun as it didn’t force tough decisions. I devised some rules for hidden forces and scouting from earlier iterations of campaign rules and started again.
Test Run 3
This time the setup rules are relaxed. Both sides know the total strength of the forces and where the enemy is but not its strength at any location.
The Allies are deployed close to the historical situation with Colli’s 20,000 on the Cunea-Ceva axis. 10,000 Austrians are in the center and 16,000 on the right.
The French have shifted divisions around a bit. Over 25,000 men are on the right, including the 5200 under Cervoni at Voltri. Their left is now stronger with Augereau’s big division of 10,000 men. At the center are another 12,000+ Frenchmen with 1,700 arriving on day 2.
Movement is hidden and resolved simultaneously with a chance of not obeying orders. A lot of rolls failed actually which led to a slow start.
At the end of day 2 the French made slow advances. They beat a much smaller force at Ceva and also rebuffed a counter attack from Mondovi. The Austrians are making their way through the mountain passes. Scouting revealed no solid information but due to the battles both sides know that there are 12,000 to 15,000 men at Mondovi and Ceva each.
At the end of day 4 the situation looks bad for the Sardinian army. They failed to retire from Mondovi and their rearguard has been beaten with heavy losses on day 3. Colli has now consolidated his forces at Cherasco but his men are tired and demoralized. The Austrians won a battle at Voltri. Their scouting reveals the true French strength at Carcare (16,000 men). Together with information from Colli they can puzzle together the enemy strength at Savona. It is too high for an attack with the 9,000 men from Voltri.
Another two days later. In the battle of Cherasco the remaining 10,000 Sardinian soldiers fought against 10,000 French under Augereau. The French won a minor victory but losses are too high to maintain for the Kingdom of Sardinia. They are out of the war. Augereau masses the remaining troops at Cherasco, numbering nearly 20,000 men still.
At Montechiaro d’Acqui Masséna lead his 12,000 strong army against 10,000 Austrains under Argenteau. Another Frnech win. Meanwhile, Napoleon takes the remaining 12,000 to the right flank and pushes Beaulieau’s 9,000 back to Ovada.
As Napoleon is slow to move up to Ovada at first, the Austrians try a daring maneuver. While Argenteau retires to Alessandria, Beaulieau advances to Mombaruzzo. But all the movement rolls for the French forces ordered to Mombaruzzo fail. Instead they advance to Alessandria and beat Argenteau back to Tortona. The gamble has failed and the Austrians have to recapture Alessandria.
After more days of maneuvering and several failed movement rolls the final big battle happens at Alessandria. Beaulieau’s entire army of 17,500 men against 18,000 lead by Augereau. The Austrians give a good show despite being tired and on the back foot for days. But The French win in the end and the campaign comes to a close with the capture of Alessandria.
The quick battle mechanism still needs some tweaking but worked well enough to keep the campaign flowing. Test run 3 gave me real problems and options to ponder. Hiding the strength of forces and making movement not entirely predictable were key factors in this.
The Allies already have their restrictions in place regarding movement, combat and deployment, which makes the campaign very difficult for them. I think this can be corrected by introducing easy supply mechanics for the French. But as the main goal is to produce battles test run 3 was a overwhelming success. Ten battles were simulated with only few having overwhelming odds for one side. I was particularly pleased to end with the biggest battle at the Alessandria node. Although Napoleon was not present for an very early Marengo.