Saturday, July 27, 2013

Siege of Praga - Vauban's Wars Historicon Playtest

I had a great time at Historicon as usual and five gamers generously gave their time and bad die rolls to playtest my latest revisions to Vauban's Wars.

The good news is that the rules will be published within a year as I feel very comfortable with the mechanics and I just have to finish writing up some of the sections.

Here are some photos of the game in progress and some minor commentary. We had some of the worst die rolls in a game I have ever seen, yet the game didn't break down and it came down the Russians pulling the Assault card before the Polish relief army arrived.

The playtest was the Siege of Praga from the Polish Insurrection of 1794, with the Russians under Suvorov assaulting the Polish forces of the Crown.

These photos should give you a sense of the progress of the siege. Click for larger images. Photos are from multiple cameras\phones.

Good shot of Russian commanders Thomas (VT shirt) and Andy (blue shirt posting photos of the game in progress), while Tim Couper (other Russian general takes a photo). I'm here in my dashing yellow shirt with beer in my hand. (Shock!) The Polish player's called me the Quartermaster as I kept advising them about Powder expenditure, which they promptly ignored!

Polish player's Adolfo (Orange) and Mike Huskey (maroon), before the battle, while I'm briefing them about the rules and objectives of this playtest.

Here you can see the Russians starting their saps, while all of their troops are deployed in the First Parallel.

Polish Bastions A & B firing into the Russian sappers. Polish roll the unique event "Relief Army Arrives" on week 2 of the siege. They were scheduled to arrive on week 6. Will the Russians be able to reduce the fortress in time?

Right side of Praga where the Russians are trying to reduce Bastion C to make a "practicable breach"

Russian sappers on the left guarded by a battalion of Russian musketeers. John Mumby (gray shirt) looks on!

Here is the view of the first signs of the Second Parallel being carved from the earth. Green marker on the sappers indicates they have been driven to cover by fire from the fortress. They will need to rally in order to begin sapping again.

Magazine Explodes! First time that unique event is happened in a playtest! The Poles had two magazines and the one on the left side of the fortress exploded, causing them to lose 2 powder (they only had 5 to start with), and they rolled 2D6 for wall damage. Up until then, the Poles had rolled hardly anything over a 2 on any die, so the promptly roll an 11 for structural damage to the wall where the magazine was located. You can see the clump of rocks (equals 10 hits), then one additional rock to signify the 11 hits. The Russians now see a second location that they can target for a breach.

Polish commanders consuming valuable food stores to prepare for the mass of Russian artillery and infantry coming forward!

Mike Huskey and John Mumby watching the Russian Siege guns smash the bastions.

After the Second Parallel was built Russians sappers under Thomas (soon to be Engineering graduate from Virginia Tech) pushed aggressively forward in order to make the 3rd Parallel. This led to many casualties for the Sappers\Engineers. In the above photos you can see Polish sappers trying to desperately repair Bastion C.

Above you can see the 2nd Parallel completed with most forces moving forward. You can see three sappers digging closer to Praga!

Trench Raid! Poles send 3 companies (stands) of Grenadiers to attack and kill the unprotected Russians Sappers. A setback for the Russians, but they can make more sappers.

Slightly different angle, which shows 34 damage to Bastion C (pile of rocks!). Note that Praga was surrounded by a dry ditch (brown paper in front of the walls).

The Russians are nearly ready to start on the 3rd Parallel. Poles have run out of Powder by now and have to husband their remaining shots for the Russian assault they know is coming.

Crash! The Russians create a practical breach in the C Bastion!

Forty hits against the C Bastion reduces it to rubble.

Oh no! The wall where the magazine exploded is also reduced to rubble! Now there are two practicable breaches.

Above, Polish sappers prepare barricades and obstacles to slow the Russians down.

This last shot shows the table at the time the Russian Assault card is turned. The 3rd parallel is completed at both locations where there is a practical breach. The Russians have massed their infantry for the assault! Normally, we would fight the assault using our favorite tactical ruleset of choice, but alas it was late in the evening and my playtest was a great success!

Many thanks to my eager and happy-go-lucky playtesters: Tim, Mike, Andy, Adolfo, and Thomas! Hopefully this has sparked an interest in siege warfare for them!

I hope to release the rules in the first half 2014, as I need to finish writing the rules and playtesting a couple more items.

If you have any questions, please email me directly:



  1. We enjoyed the earlier playtests, and it seems like you've simplified and streamlined things to make it move along faster and clearer - GOOD WORK!

  2. I really would love to play this. I've contemplated doing something similar myself for a long time now. I wish I had seen this in the PEL.

  3. @Msternizz, I didn't put it in the PEL as I had all my gamers lined up before Historicon.

    Since the game is so easy to setup and run I should have done two session.

    I will be running a game at Historicon next year. Likely to include the Assault phase too.

  4. Looks like a great game, Eric! Was that Steven and Lydia MacLauchlan at the table? Did he play in the game?

    The table looks good, and the writeup sounds like it was a good time. How do you feel about the new rules?

  5. Very nice pics, looks like a great game!

  6. @Chuck, that was Michele and Gabriel at the table. They didn't play, but they have a newborn, so they take turns playing games.

    @Phil - Thanks! We had a lot of fun. I'm going through another playtest now with my local group to refine the rules even more. Need to do a lot of editing, but it is coming together very nicely.