How fitting as the year approaches it's final days I have an update on Project Quatre Bras, especially as the game is now less than seven months away!
I guess this update started in WH Smith's whilst flicking through the new issue of Wargames Illustrated. It was advertising it's Mega Battles special edition with the recent battle of Quatre Bras at Crisis. If I was not so involved in the battle myself I may have took the displayed game on face value but knowing the layout of the terrain it was VERY obvious that the actual game had little in common with the actual battle from a point of view of terrain. It was almost portraying a massive urban fight. The boards were filled with buildings and troops, not a lot of green to be seen at all. Overall a poor advert for their publication. Seems Mega Battles stands for a table chock full of beautify painted figures and buildings that will make the table groan! I am not meaning to knock the Crisis game beyond it's unhistorical terrain lay out as it did look stunning but for me it displayed all the problems you can have with 28mm Naps. Too big units on too small a table, however 6mm has it's own challengers.
|Viewed fro the East, French start on the left.|
I got to Lee's for a game four hours after looking at W.I. to see the boards moved on a lot further than last I saw them. As yet the buildings need placing as does the woods and any hedges or walls that are required but you get the lay of the land rather well.
The more block like brown area's are where the villages and large farm complexes will be positioned (within the confines of the brown area's) with other two to three building clusters on other parts of the boards. As you can see from this we have a lot of ground to fight over, though the woods actually cover chunks of space as well.
|The small pond.|
Lee has done sterling work, not least on the ponds, which are layers of varnish over painted and highlighted and shaded detail. Lee has also used a wide pallet of greens to bring the boards to life. We will be shading the wooded area's a darker green to show the woods boundaries so the trees can be moved around to allow troops to move through them.
The larger pond really looks great as Lee captured the depth of water really well. The stream cuts through the road and we have yet to add the bridge that existed at this point. In the original playtest this was a major stumbling block on my attack, next time it's hit it with an extra large force or just cover the exit to stop an Allied counter attack on this flank. As you may have noticed on the right is a built up area so it's easier for me to defend but really difficult for me to work my way through the village and then assauly over the bridge.
|Stream runs under the road.|
The stream peters out (goes underground) just past the man road through Quatre Bras, but even this small terrain feature becomes a major obstacle as a small hill is just north on the stream which will be defended by the allies so another difficult objective that needs capturing.
|The Famous Woods.|
A large part of the battle was fought over a hill that had a large wooded covering. Both sides fed troops into this woods throughout the day with first one side then the other gaining the upper hand and then losing control again. Our test game saw this action being just as brisk and confused and a real drain on offensive power for both sides. It is critical to the game that this wood keeps it's importance during the demo though it is just one part of the whole.
So the boards are mostly finished, just a few touch ups and final placement of buildings need to be sorted out which is all told possibly just one session as we have the buildings in hand and mapping the forests is just a repeat of what has already been decided.
Figures wise and OOB both are very much in control. The French are all done, or will be by New Years Day whilst the British are also all done. The rest of the allied force is well in hand and should be finished by May I believe so all we need to do is run another practice, make up the correct tabs for the units and away we go.
Project Waterloo is somewhat further away from ready, we have yet to start the boards but this is not a worry seeing how Lee has progressed these boards.
The French still have a lot of work ahead of them but they are on track. The Prussians are well ahead of schedule but I hope to get them finished in 2014 and if possible the first half of the year.
The British are nearly ready whilst the rest of the Allied troops look to be finished around the time as the Quatre Bras forces so really it's looking very good for the 2015 anniversary.