Friday, May 25, 2012

Battle of Puebla - Second Playtest

On May 23rd we played our second playtest of Puebla to prep for my game to be run at Historicon. I tweaked some minor things from my first playtest, but the scenario generally remained intact.

I'd like to thank my playtesters: Hal (Mexican Republican commander), Jan (French assault force commander), and Mike (French flank command).

For those of you that are new to my blog, this game is being fought using Piquet's Din of Battle 2nd Edition rules. DoB2 doesn't have a campaign muster for the Maximilian period as that period was covered by Hallowed Ground, but I wanted to make my own campaign muster for the period. Anyway, when I'm done with the Campaign Muster I will post it to the Piquet Yahoo group or anybody can request a copy from me:

The Setup

The French player may make a 3rd command group by taking forces from their original  two command groups. Jan and Mike decided to make the 3rd command group and deploy it to the far left flank of the French assault forces to keep an eye on the forces of Brigadier General Porfirio Diaz. This third command consisted of the 99th Line battalion, 1/9th gun, and Chassuers d' Afrique (The Blue Butchers).

By viewer suggestions, I'm going to label some of the photos with information in them regarding command groups and landmarks on the battlefield. Hopefully this will help those viewing the photos.
I try to put each photo's comments\descriptions above the photo, rather than below it.

Here is the French Deployment:

General Diaz' command on the Mexican right flank.

Good view of Jan's assault column and the targets of the attack!

Guadalupe Ridge is CLASS II terrain so all Jan's forces move half speed up the hill. In this battle Jan has decided to use two units in skirmish formation and the two Zouaves in the second line in Line formation to make the assault easier. Last game he has all his units in Skirmish and had trouble assaulting the Mexican defenses.

Mike deployed his Xonaca Assault column ready to kick ass! Two battalions forward and one behind in reserve. The fighting around Xonaca (the famous brick factory) was very fierce as you will see later.

The Opening Moves

To begin the game the French players get to roll a D6 (minimum of 2 impetus) and that is how many impetus they automatically received to either move a command group or flip cards in their sequence deck. Mike rolled a 1! So the French received 2 impetus which they used to move both command groups that were assaulting the Mexicans.

The Mexicans one a lot of impetus so moved very agressively against the French left flank

Even the Zapadores formed  up and moved out to meet that advancing French

The Battle Begins

The Mexican Zapadores advance quickly into the French Xonaca assault force and engage in a firefight with the French 62nd Line! The French take two stands of damage and the 62nd will have to retire from the fight.

1st Chasseurs, wanting revenge for the rough handling of the 62nd, move into point blank range and inflict two stands of damage to the Zapadores and routing them in the process! The fields are now clear of Mexican troops before Xonaca!

Mike, French General, moves his Chasseurs d' Afrique into contact with the Republican cavalry. Whoe will turn the Melee Resolution card first. This was a fairly risky move by the French, as the Chasseurs were extremely isolated.

The French assault column is about 2 moves away from Guadalupe at the end of turn 1. Those Zouaves look impressive!

The Xonaca assault force, now only 2 battalions strong, prepares to storm the suburbs. There is a Mexican 12# gun section deployed in the streets.

End of Turn 1. You can see Mike is shuffling his sequence deck, while the Mexican reserves are scrambling towards Fort Guadalupe.

The Assault of Fort Guadalope

The beginning of turn 2 saw the anxiety levels increase on both sides of the table! Will the Mexican cavalry be able to charge the Blue Butchers? Will the French be able to assault both the Xonaca suburbs AND Fort Guadalupe simultaneously?

The French start turn 2 by winning some critical impetus allowing them to move and to get the advantage in melee with their cavalry. The Blue Butchers (Chasseurs d' Afrique) embark on a mission to earn their nickname in this battle. The Blue Butchers can be seen here hitting the flank of a Republican cavalry unit, just after routing another cavalry unit. The Chasseurs d' Afrique would end the battle having routed 2 cavalry regiments and one infantry battalion, ensuring the left flank was secure.

The 1st and 3rd Zouaves form into attack column to assault the Fort Guadalupe while the skirmish line of Sailors and Marines withdraw.

Immediately, the Mexican 12# fortress gun section opens up the 1st Zouave by using an Opportunity Chip (yellow poker chip).

Dispite the close range the 12# guns only discomfort the Zouaves with 2 hits (chit marker on the ground next to the 1st Zouaves). Needing only one more hit to cause a stand lose Hal, the Mexican commander, uses another opp chip to fire the 1st National Guard into the massed Zouaves!

The 1st Zouaves is nearly destroyed by the National Guard's murderous fire! They lose three stands in total! The French assault will have to go in with only one battalion of Zouaves!

Mike launches his attack against the Xonaca suburbs with the Marines (in photo below) and the 1st Chasseurs a Pied. The Marines trade devastating fire with the Republican 4th Line.

Both sides lose 2 stands in the musket duel. The Mexicans are force back in disorder into the building, while the Marines rout! With 2 of the 3 battalions tasked with taking Xonaca at half strength and routed, Mike is forces to call off the assault of the Xonaca suburbs. Things are not looking positive for the French at this point.

Jan, the French commander of the Guadalupe assault column, decides it is now or never and orders the 3rd Zouaves into the breach! Mexican light howitzers belch fire into the Zouave column with no effect. The Zouaves launch themselves over the low walls of Fort Guadalupe!

The 3rd Zouaves gain a foothold into the fortress overrunning the light gun section.

Here, Mexican reinforcements are desperately attempting to enter the fortress before the Zouaves can consolidate their foothold.

Mexican forces turn to engage the Zouaves at close range, with both units exchanging ragged volleys.

The struggle from the French perspective. Can the French form up their Sailors and Marines to support the Zouaves?

The Mexican National Guard unit was able to enter the fortress and take up positions in the Abbey.

The continued close range fighting costs the Zouaves a stand.

Now the Mexicans lose a stand to Zouave close range fire and rout out of the fortress!

exicna General Diaz died during one of the Chasseurs d' Afrique's melees and the entire Mexican brigade on the right flanks goes out of command. The Blue Butchers sneak around the flank of this National Guard unit and rout them after Diaz fell!

Good view of the situation on top of Guadalupe.

The Mexicans, sensing the fight for the fort was in the balance, turn their 12# gun section on the 3rd Zouaves!

The National Guard unit and 12# gun section poor withering fire into the massed Zouaves!

The Zouaves were reduced to one stand, but hold their ground!

Is the tide turning in the Mexican favor? The 1st National Guard leaps from their earthworks to attack the French Marines currently in skirmish formation.

The Marines put up such a fierce volley, that the 1st National Guard routs!

Some of the citizens of Puebla, rallying to the cause, man the earthworks outsize Fort Guadalupe.

Good view of the action. A gun section has been moved out of Loreto to help shoot more Frenchmen. You can see the one stand of Zouaves clinging to the Guadalupe redoubt!

Cheered by their commander the Sailors and Marines for attack column to assault Guadalupe!

The Sailors attack the 12# gun section now facing the wrong direction overruning them!

Sailors in Guadalupe!

Jan presses on with his Sailors to assault the Abbey, with the 6th National Guard unit in them.

The Sailors charge into the Abbey wiping out the 6th National Guard unit at the point of the bayonet! The French now have total control of Guadalupe Fortress (worth 15 VP) and the Mexicans hit zero morale chips. The battle is over!

Jan did a wonderful job in his assault of Guadalupe. Almost textbook, but the toll was heavy. The two Zouave battalions lost 7 out of 8 stands in their assault on Guadalupe, but their heroics won the day! The tri-color flew from the Abbey in Fort Guadalupe!


The scenario was a complete blast! Everybody was fired up playing the game and since Guadalupe fell in fierce hand to hand fighting I'm pretty satisfied with the entire scenario. I don't think either side made any real blunders, and they sometimes really took some chances. Mike's use of the Chassuers d' Afrique was especially aggressive, but paid off big dividends!
Thanks and see you at Historicon! Now back to painting!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Battle of Puebla - First Playtest

Wedndesday night Hal, Jan, and Jon joined me in my first playtest of Puebla for Historicon.

I don't have time to write up a detailed battle report, but I wanted to show you some eye candy from the battle.

Jan and Jon were the French and had never played miniatures before, nor Piquet, so they were under a steep learning curve. Hal, my veteran of many campaigns, controlled the Mexicans while I umpired and took notes.

Initial Setup viewed from the Mexican right flank:

Mexican right wing agressively moves forward while the French left wing scrambles after seeing the Mexican advance.

Zouaves, Sailors and Marines advance up Guadalupe Ridge

Nice view of the entire battle

Mexican right wing under Porfirio Diaz continues their advance.

The Mexicans launch into the thin French left wing. Here a Republican cavalry unit is routed in melee by the French guns! Stunning victory for the French!

French 99th Line battalion moves into the action!

Disaster! The Blue Butchers are destroyed by flanking fire from Mexican regulars!

99th Line repulses Mexican assault, even in skirmish formation!

French assault force nears Fort Guadalupe

Nice parting shot

French took a beating in morale chips compared to the Mexicans and are struggling to hold their left flank, but the battle is far from over. We did call this one in favor of the Mexicans.

Overall, I'm pleased with the setup and special rules. We got a late start (8pm) and we finished around 10:30pm after two complete turns. This gave me a good idea of what I may be up against for the convention game.

Another playtest next week! Cheers!