17 October 2013

BF&S: Polish attack on Muscovite village

Last weekend I ran a really nice demo game with Johan down at our club. Johan had bought into the Muscovite's during the kickstarter and had painted some of his troops for the Zasieczna Guard, which is pretty much a renaissance border protection force.

Since he was still waiting for a few units I borrowed him some of my models so that he could proxy Servant cossacks and Field Dragoons.

Our lists looked like this

Polish skirmish force 1650-66
12 FSP

Colonel with 4 command points
Rotamaster with 1 command point

3 bases of Pancerni with spears
6 bases of Pancerni
4 bases of Polish Dragoons
9 bases of Cossack style cavalry

Muscovite Zasieczna Guard


Golova with 2 command points (Inept but of significant family)
Lieutenant Colonel with 1 command point

12 bases of Servant cossacks
6 bases of field dragoons (4 musket, 2 pike)
12 bases of border dragoons (8 musket, 4 pike)
2 1.5pdr Falconet artillery

Servant cossacks were proxied with Polish Volunteer cavalry
Field dragoons were proxied with some Polish-Hungarian muskets and Mercenary Pikemen.
I also ran out of extra bases that the Muscovite player get for free, not that I think it had any direct impact on our game - but still worth mentioning.

Having rolled for a scenario Johan picked "Attack on the village", I recommended it over "Battle of patrols" and "Ambush" as both those scenarios would give me the advantage. Johan spent his 3 points that made the difference between our two lists on deploying Muscovite units inside the village, Border Dragoon muskets and a Falconette.

He also deployed his second piece of artillery in Ambush.

Having won the reconnaissance I chose to send my banner of spear armed Pancerni on a flanking maneuver, scheduled to arrive at turn 3 the earliest.
The battle was surprisingly tough for the Poles. The Muscovite infantry and artillery were well entrenched in the village from the start and mounted servant cossacks supported by infantry and artillery held the line on both flanks. The Polish force was split into two large sections, on the left there was a squadron of Pancerni backed up by a banner of cossack style cavalry. On the right the Poles had a squadron of cossack style cavalry and a small squadron of Dragoons.

The Muscovite force had one main disadvantage, their low command points. This was in a way evened out by the Polish deployment, which saw the Rotamaster commanding two units with a single command point - not an optimal solution.

Any approach from the front of the village would be extremely risky, so the Poles sought to attack the flanks and enter the village from the rear once the opposition had been routed - but the Muscovite units fought bravely and stalled both Polish attack. The cossack style cavalry squadron was perhaps the most vulnerable, as it was ambushed by the Falconet which kept firing case-shot from the flank. Most of the projectiles missed their spot, but every turn saw the light cavalry sweat until they finally got hit and failed their morale - leaving them one big disorganized mess with the artillery still able to fire at them.

Seeing the disorganized Poles the Servant cossacks on the right flank charged. Being armed with spears gave them some killing power, but their lack of cavalry pistols and having a penalty for being dragoons punished them during both the combat and the combat resolution. The first fight ended with the Servant cossacks having to withdraw from battle. They were rallied and sent in once again, this time they caused some casualties but the Poles were just pushed back.

On the opposite flank the Pancerni were trying to breach the Servant cossacks supported by infantry, but they had poor luck and it was a fight that went nowhere - with the Poles falling back to regroup only to try again later with cossack style cavalry support. It was only then that the Poles were able to smash the left flank, sending both Muscovite infantry and cavalry units fleeing or making them disorganized. The body count piled, perhaps the Poles would make a draw out of this messy battle.

Meanwhile, the Polish dragoons were acting distraction for the units inside the village, drawing fire from 2 units of Border Dragoons and the artillery, they held the line valiantly being reduced down to a single base before breaking and running back towards the Polish table edge. Around the same time the delayed but finally welcome arrival of the spear armed Polish Pancerni caused the nearby Servant cossacks to panic and flee! This left the right flank wide open, and the Polish cossack style cavalry instantly took advantage of the breach and left the killing zone of the ambushing Muscovite artillery behind.

The final turn was mostly a mop up of Muscovite units, those Muscovite units that didn't flee off the table were cut down by the Poles. But when the day ended, the Muscovite remnants were still in total control over the village - Johan pulled off a 6-1 victory, making it a tactical victory.

The Muscovite side had suffered Heavy Losses while the Poles had suffered Acceptable losses. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the Muscovite Zasieczna Guard list. On first glance it looked like a weak and static force. But the Servant Cossacks, even though being dragoons, add a lot of maneuverable troops and they aren't half-bad if they are forced to fight mounted up.

The main advantage of the Muscovite list is definitely the cheap cost, making them the Defender in most situations. Considering we ran maxed out lists the Muscovite side got a lot of bases compared to the Polish list. And being able to pick the scenario is a very favorable position to be in. I think Johan would have got an even better result had we played the "River crossing" scenario. On the other hand, running a list with "So-so" quality units in scenarios like Battle of Patrols, Ambush or even Forage would be painfully brutal. I really like this aspect of the game/rules and how things balance itself out in the scenarios with effects and such.

Anyway, we both had a great time, and it will certainly be very welcome to have another nationality to fight against beside the Swedes. Hopefully we will see more nations being played down at the club soon.


  1. Servant cossacks could have 2 more bases for free from Ludiej Unas Mnoga rule. Great AAR.

  2. About Moscovy ambush. Only cossack/field dragoons can be used for ambushing. Not guns.

  3. Great game, my second! And with some of my own models! I cant say that I am confident enough to say that I understand the game. There are alot of the pre-game stuff I dont understand yet.

    In my cluelessnes I didnt understand that the muskovite skirmish force I order through the Kickstarter had mounted troops, but I am really glad they have, as it seems so give some movement! I was afraid it was a very static force.

    Alex, I was wrong the bases was magnetic.

    Looking forward to the rest of my kickstarter stuff as I have painted everything I got so far, even the ordermarkers.

  4. Great looking game and beautiful pictures!

  5. Johan,

    Zasieczna has mounted units. Those are servant cossacks. They have Dragoons rule that allows them to move mounted. You can mount/dismount during battle. Mounted cossacks are poor fighters in open ground but they are very nice in terrain. I play Zasieczna as well (just finishing my servant cossacks) and in my opinion cossacks are better that field dragoons in most cases. Why? Patrols with dragoons are FPS heavy. Zasieczna works best in small FPS force. You get free bases for fielding more bases (ludej unas mnoga rule) but unly cossacks can use those bases. Dragoons are nice only vs numerous patrols like cossacks. 3-7 FPS are best against PLC.

    If You want, ask Anatoli about my Fb profile and me can chat a bit more about Zasieczna.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...