Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Back for Moor - Field of Battle 3 AAR

Hey, look at this! An in-person game, here on the blog. 

Ted was kind enough to invite me over for a game he was hosting. We used Field of Battle 3, which Will and Steve (the other two players) were completely unfamiliar with. I had perused the pdf and printed out the period-rules and QRS, while Ted had at least played a couple solo games. 

From my overview of the rules, I was intrigued by the use of a dice chain instead of modifiers when rolling dice. The game uses a d4 through a d12, and circumstances shift you up or down that ladder. 

Ted set the table up using the Battle for Lessie's Moor scenario from For King & Parliament (which I've posted about previously on this blog).

Last time I commanded Parliament's infantry center, while this time I was commanded half of the infantry and the cavalry on the left flank. Steve was the other Roundhead commander, while Will and Ted fought for the King. 

Interestingly, in Field of Battle, you can randomly determine basically all of the unit stats before the start of the game - the overall force's command and morale, as well as each unit's offensive and defensive capabilities. For this fight, the Royalists had the better command, but the Parliamentarians had the better morale. 

My command started behind a series of hedges, which slowed my advance. Will's cavalry, on the other hand, had most of an open field to cross. Plus they had the better commander and won the initiative for most of the game. 

Will's cavalry were Gallopers (Swedish style that charged into melee), compared to the Trotters (Dutch style that fired pistols on the trot before charging) that Ted, Steve, and I had. This gave him a higher chance to get his cavalry into combat as Gallopers could initiate melee combat during the move phase. 

Meanwhile, the cavalry clash between Ted and Steve resulted in most of the Royalist chased off the battlefield. 

While my infantry were mixing things up in the center and handling themselves well enough, things weren't going well for my cavalry. I didn't have the cards to get my cavalry in position, while Will had both forced back my advance and was positioned perfectly to leap through the hedges and flank my dragoons. 

Ted's remaining cavalry retreated back to the cover of a couple units of shot that Steve decided to stay away from. Meanwhile the infantry traded fire in the center. 

Another aspect of Field of Battle is that units can rally and regain Unit Integrity points. This does not recover the lost Army Morale points (which are removed whenever Unit Integrity is lost), so the table stayed fairly crowded with infantry as commanders rallied their regiments and sent them back into the fray.

That was less of a case, however, with cavalry. As it turned out, I have as much luck with ECW cavalry in Field of Battle 3 as I did in For King & Parliament. Will cleared the field of my units, and set his sights on a certain Roundhead nuisance in the center of their lines.

While the scenario didn't give the Royalists any artillery, the Parliamentarian forces had lugged a few cannons into place and was sending round after round into the enemy lines. After routing my cavalry, the guns were Will's next target. And I only had a single regiment of battered infantry to try and deter them. It wasn't going to end well. 

And then... the game ended. While Ted had (if I remember correctly) both initiated and won the only infantry melee, the Royalists in the center were fairly outnumbered. Steve was snatching Army Morale points (represented by dice hidden in a mug) left and right from the Cavaliers, and eventually the King's men ran out. 

In fact, in Field of Battle, once you've run out of Army Morale points, any further losses are added to the enemy's total!

Without any remaining Army Morale points, the next time the Army Morale card came up, the Royalists had to test their overall command (a d10) against a d12. Unfortunately, this failed, and the Royalists quit the field. 

We finished this game in about 3-3.5 hours - not bad for a decently sized game and a bunch of new players.

While I do miss the simplicity of FK&P's grid-based movement, I enjoyed the dice chain mechanic. And the activation cards added a decent amount of randomness to the battle, allowing the commanders to bet whether or not they'd get the right card during their round of draws, or keep in mind that certain cards had been used up when formulating plans. 

Since Field of Battle 3 covers a wide range of conflicts (from the English Civil War right up to the eve of World War I), I imagine we'll be seeing it again on the table. And I'm looking forward to it!

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