Matt Bradley treated us to the fourth of his Marlburian games: Malplaquet. When he ran it previously with another group, it ended in emphatic Allied victory (see his report here). It is with mixed feelings that I tell you we demonstrated scenario balance by incurring an Allied defeat.
Five captioned photos tell the story, followed by post-battle reflections.
Allied errors. Well, we made a few. What you won't notice in any of the pictures is the two biggest and best Allied cavalry units. I had these loiter behind Lottum to exploit the breakthrough that never came. Maybe they'd have been better held in the centre where they could have deterred the French artillery-killing infantry charge. Our boys on the right kind of put their heads in a French noose by exposing both flanks, but in fairness it is hard enough to manoeuvre 18th-century troops in the open, so in the woods you've got no chance of doing anything efficient or coordinated. Likewise with our left flanking move that maybe could have been slightly better directed initially, but really it was down to the woods and the dice to stymie us.
Linear warfare and limited decisions. To grind one of my favourite axes ... at one level I had enough to do, wrestling with small tactical decisions like which brigade should lead the next futile assault or how best to get a cavalry brigade across a stream. But at a grand tactical level, my situation didn't change and I had hardly any choices to make. I marched up to the redoubt, I assaulted it four or five times in essentially the same way and I bounced off it every time. Not that I didn't have a good time - we all did and everyone was smiling and laughing at the end despite our emphatic defeat - but I'd say the game was absorbing rather than exciting, at least on my sector.
That'll have to do for reflections this time as it was Colours yesterday and I have a Peninsular War game tomorrow and things to do today, so right now let's publish and be damned!