OWS's rude health continues. This week's game was so over-subscribed we had to lay on a second so everybody could play. The two battles were very different, but similar in both being obscure and both presenting very distinctive tactical challenges:
- Shaikan (1883), in which 40,000 Mahdists massacred Hicks Pasha's 10,000 or so hapless Egyptians;
- Szőreg (1849), in which retreating Hungarians fight a delaying action against imperial Austrian and Russian forces breaking out across a defended dike.
Both games were so exciting and absorbing that there is a paucity of pictures. I'll offer the few that Dave T and I did take and describe the games in the captions, followed by some reflections as usual. Two for Shaikan first:
And now two photos of the climax of our Szőreg game. (We last played this scenario a year ago; report here gives more background.)
What a happy club! Great to have so many players and two such exciting games.
Unusual situations make for good games. I was pleased that both Mark and Crispin separately enthused about Szőreg's distinctive nature. It presents unique challenges for both sides, which makes it interesting for the players. Evidently the same was true of Mark's Shaikan race-against-massacre game.
Principles of war apply on the wargame table. I've been reading a lot of Clausewitz again lately. (Some readers may not know I've published translations of three histories by Clausewitz.) Reviewing my actions through a Clausewitzian lens, I can see I transgressed some of his advice (again). Must try harder.
Good scenario design makes for great games. As I said, both games were so absorbing, we hardly took any photos. They both produced super-exciting, tense, close finishes that came down to the last few dice. It takes judicious scenario design to achieve that fine balance. Special kudos to Mark for making such a good game out of such a one-sided massacre as Shaikan.
Szőreg is one of the scenarios in the "Bloody Big Hungary '48 Battles!" campaign book.