Friday, June 21, 2019

2nd Siege of Olmutz Playtest

We started a new siege with some slight scenario and rule changes and this time we played for two weeks in order to get to the Prussian ASSAULT!

Jan and Mike were the Austrian Garrison, while Brian and Phil were the Prussians. We ran this one to a Siege based conclusion over two nights of gaming. About six total hours of game time and 3 weeks siege.

Cigar Box terrain cloth.
15mm Old Glory and Halmark figures
Unknown manufacturer of the fortress (I've had it for nearly 20 years)
PaperTerrain houses and church.

Siege Timeline

Turn 0 - Night of May 27th\28th (Spring)

Prussians finish the first parallel.

Turn 1 - May 28th - May 31st (Spring)

  • The Prussians push their saps forward to establish a second parallel (2 back to back Sapper and Mining cards).

  • Austrian Trench raid by Grenadiers wipes out a Prussian sapper company and their laborers. (note that we didn't lose a single sapper in the entire game last week!)
  • Prussian sappers start making gun emplacements and move their siege guns forward to begin bombardment of the fortress walls.

  • Prussian spy is able to gather information about the strength of the fortress walls (successful spy attempt). They find out the walls are fairly old (medieval town walls) and only have 50 hits.
  • Austrian artillery fire versus Prussian infantry in the saps is devastating with several units force to retire due to the accurate fire.

Turn 2 - June 1st - June 4th (Spring)

  • Both Garrison and Besieger lose a powder this turn. (both lost against the Powder Expenditure Die)
  • Garrison destroys a siege gun via artillery fire. This was demoralizing to the Prussians.
  • Wall takes 14 more damage and more on the way.

  • Prussians forced to enlist laborers from the infantry regiments as their sappers are getting killed or routed by Austrian Trench Raids.
  • Prussian spy is captured by the garrison (Prussians have one more spy in their stable)
  • Prussians start to use one of their mortars to shell the town of Olmutz in order to reduce the garrison's morale. They don't manage to inflict much in the way of damage yet.

Turn 3 - June 5th - 9th (Spring)

  • Garrison is counter-sapping to flank the Prussian 2nd parallel. We don't know if this will make a difference or not.
  • Garrison is using civilian laborers to attempt to repair the wall that is getting pounded by the Prussian siege guns. One civilian crew is routed from the wall, while another stands despite hundreds of cannon balls landing around them. They make little in the way of repairs though and the wall keeps crumbling.
  • Prussians inflict a practical breach on the wall of Olmutz (this happens when a wall has less than 10 hits left. May switch this to zero as the trigger point as it is easier to remember and keep track of.)
  • Austrian trench raid by Grenzers against a Prussian mortar is bloodily repulsed by the local Prussian security companies. The Grenzers retreat with a UI loss!
  • The practical breach has agitated the population and we had our first Coup de Main, but the Austrians were able to round up several rebellion leaders before things got out of hand. Nobody is sure if those rabble-rousers survived the siege.

Turn 4 - June 10th - 12th (Spring)

  • Prussians create their third parallel while directing breaching fire against the bastion next the wall that was breached. 

  • Austrian Trench Raid with Grenadiers sends Prussian sappers fleeing to the rear.
  • Austrian rally their civilian sappers in the town and hope to get them back to work on the repairs on the bastion.

  • Garrison (Austrian) spy that was slipping through the Prussian camp in order to ascertain the amount of Powder the Prussian have left is captured!
  • There is a fierce artillery duel with nearly all Austrian pieces now in action! One by one, Prussian guns are silenced.

Turn 5 - June 13th - 17th (Summer)

  • The artillery keeps up their frantic fire, as the Austrians chose an extra "Artillery Reload" card as their optional card for their Siege Deck. The Prussians chose "Sapping and Mining".
  • Prussian Siege guns are driven back due to the intense fire.

Turn 6 - June 18th - 20th (Summer)

  • The Prussian mortars, who have been shelling the city most of the game, finally hit something better than a privy, and set fire to the town. (Garrison loses a Siege Morale Point).

  • Austrian guns have now silenced all four Prussian Siege guns (which are now reassembling in the Rally Point at zero UI!)

  • The Prussian Siege Morale Points have hit zero and they must abandon the siege. With no morale chips and all four siege guns batteries in tatters, this was a sound decision. 

As Jan wrote:
"Yes, unlike their very poor trench raiding prowess, the Austrian artillery turned out to be surprisingly, and some would say luckily, effective, hammering away with counterbattery fire until the Prussians called it all off and decamped! And not a moment too soon, with the third parallel in place and more to come, it was getting very confining within the wall of Olmutz! It was another great game of siege warfare, with a lot of nail-biting action and suspense on both sides of the table, and I'm looking forward to playing it again soon!"

Next session will include more minor tweaks and a solid playtesting of mining. Can't wait for that! Also the rules are overseas being playtested to see how they hold up under fire when I'm not their to answer questions.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Siege of Olmütz 1758 - A Vauban's Wars playtest x 2

Hi folks,

I ran two playtests of my Vauban's Wars rules after re-writing them a couple years ago to use Field of Battle game mechanics rather than traditional Piquet mechanics. I did that to make the Siege games run faster and more streamlined. I like what I see so far.

I chose a historical siege this time with the 1758 siege of Olmütz:

This siege has everything that you want in a game: weather issues, flooding, good supplies for the garrison, lots of trench raids, spies, magazine explosions, etc.

The first game was tough on the Prussians as I had the first parallel too far out just like the real siege and they were stuck having to move forward to be able to start doing any harm to the fortress. Also the Wasserfort (Water Fort) was a literal thorn in their side during the advancement.

We had lots of laughs around terrible spies, trench raids, and bumbling sappers.

There are some photos below with text in them describing the situation. This was turned out to be a great playtest as I'm doing some minor tweaks then we will go at it again next week.

Fortress is from an very old company of unknown name. The pieces are foam cast and very light weight. I usually find a piece or two at a miniatures convention flee market. I have all the pieces I really need for this style of fort and I'm working on my Vauban fortress from

Austrians made effective use of Trench Raids to send Prussian sappers back to their Rally Point, which made it more difficult to make progress in the siege for the Prussians.

Once the Prussians got to the third parallel, they were finally able to make some progress in breaching the walls of the fortress.

View from the Austrian Town Hall of Olmütz. We had to stop due to time, but we were able to finish 3.5 weeks of the siege by this point in time.

This next week, we will start the Prussians about six inches closer (inside artillery range, which
means they can start hitting the walls immediately if they like).

The Besiegers deck is going to have one more Sapper card, and one less Move card.
I’m going to take out one Siege Drags On from both sides (i.e. – one less extra card added to the deck).

Likely the Austrians will have an Average leader this time D10 vs D10.
I’m hoping this allows us to get to the 3rd parallel quicker and allow the Prussians to soften up the wall a bit without having to move to another parallel first. That historical scenario was brutal for the Prussians.

2nd Siege Game