Mark's Christmas games are a much-loved fixture in the OWS calendar. As they are so popular, and as our group has grown significantly this year, he had to accommodate ten of us around a 12' table and create personal briefings for all of us, each with distinct and not necessarily compatible objectives. He excelled himself and choreographed it perfectly.
The setting was the Tyrolean Rebellion of 1809: specifically, the Second Battle of Bergisel (near Innsbruck) on 29 May. Briefly, Napoleon gave the Tyrol to Bavaria after defeating Austria in 1806. The Tyrolese were not happy and when the Fifth Coalition resumed war in 1809, they revolted.
I found myself in the role of Generallieutenant Graf Bernhard Erasmus von Deroy, commanding 3rd Bavarian Division, charged with repelling the rebel attack on Innsbruck with the aid of my loyal lieutenants Vincenti (Mike), Seydewitz (Bruce) and Siebein (John). The hills were alive with rebel Landsturm, Schützen and irregulars, backed up by a few Austrian regulars. Mike covered our eastern flank against Crispin's Schützen; John had to fend off Luke and Ben's irregulars arriving from the west; Bruce and I were confronted by the enemy main body approaching from the south over the Bergisel (Dave T, Phil and Nick with a bit of everything, including artillery and even some cavalry).
It was non-stop fighting on all fronts from the off and rocked along so fast that I can't really tell you what was going on outside my central sector. There was more fog of war than in our regular BBB games: we didn't know how many game turns we had to hold on for, the ref sprung surprises on us all (ammunition shortages, armistice proposals, etc), and it was punctuated with Xmas crackers being pulled to decide such things as Tyrolese falling log traps or Bavarian cavalry rallying. Four photos briefly tell the story:
At game end, Mark totted up victory points for us according to our individual objectives. I think I got a respectable 3VP, but our most successful Bavarian was Mike with 4VP, and our Bavarian players' combined total was enough for a Bavarian win. However, the winning individual player was Phil, who I think was the Capuchin priest, Father Joachim Haspinger, and who earned 5 VPs for repeated charges by his zealous congregation. But who cares who won? It was splendid good fun and a perfect way to round off what has been a really good year wargames-wise, not only in terms of quantity and quality of games, but also - most importantly - because our happy band is growing and thriving. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all, and here's to more of the same in 2023!
Previous Christmas specials: