Something different – Les Marechaux III

For father’s day I got me this gem of a game:


From bggThe Marshals III covers the campaigns of winter 1814 that took place in France north of Lyon and in Italy on the Mincio. These theatres of operation are considered to be minor since they occurred far from the Emperor’s view who was engaged in the north of France.

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… or how to write rules?

I am really struggling with  writing a rules document. I have a lot of scribbles all over my desk and a handfull of half written rule documents. Now I want to try something else. Instead of aiming vor a complete ruleset, i will Just define key terms and game concepts – one after the other. No pressure to get something completed for now.


The game always has two sides: The player side and the non player side. A side can consist of multiple forces. Every force has a force morale level and one or more goals. A player force also has a commander.


He is the commander in chief of the player side. The non player side does not have a commander. A commander never moves alone, he must always accompany one or more columns. A commander who finds himself alone in an area due to the elimination of the column he accompanies is also eliminated from the game. Roll what happened to him after the game in the AA-table.


Each column is a block. Ich the block is face up, it means that he is still available to perform an operation. Its status is “to be activated”. If it is placed  bottom Up it means that it has already been activated and can no longer perform any operation.

Non player columns only have one difficulty number between 1 and 6 for the areas scout, battle and siege. These are rolled for when the column is sucessfully scouted.

The player has a cardboard card in which are tracked strength points and information of its various columns. The top track shows the strength points of the column. This value is differentiated into scout, battle and siege strength.

The bottom track shows the exhaustion points accumulated by the corps. As soon as the column has more than 8 fatigue points, it is destroyed and removed from the game. If the column loses strength points, remove the strength cubes freely and shift the remaining cubes to the left. If the column suffers exhaustion right.


Whenever a npc column is activated the player can try to scout it. He does this by accumulating the scout points of all player columns in 2m perimeter, if the column could theoretically move to the location of the npc column. The accumulated scout points minus the scout strength of the npc column is the factor against which a test is made:

Scout test:

Nailed: roll for exact battle and siege strength of npc column

Pass: roll for overall strength, without knowing battle or siege capabilities



Random thought about unit characteristics

In table top gaming we are living in a culture of numbers and calculations. Almost any wargame or miniatures deals with its subject matter by some sort of “numbers comparing”.

Units are arrayed on a 2 dimensional plane, which has a visible or invisible grid of coordinates. These units have characteristics expressed in numbers like morale, ability to inflict damage, movement distance and so on and so forth. The player changes the game state by announcing an action and feeding the numbers through an engine to get a result.

Maybe it is time to break this paradigm of number crunching by swapping it with a narrative description engine. Well this is just a hazy idea at the moment, but when reading the beta rules of the Drowned Earth I immediatly questioned my gaming efforts in the last months.

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Eastern Pyrenees 1793: the game

A few photographs of my first “real” campaign game:

The winter had thinned out the French ranks in Spain and now with spring 1793 arriving the French army of Catalonia found itself in a precarious position. Threatened by the Spanish counter attack and a possible British landing in it’s back, the only hope were the reinforcements from central France. Read all about the situation here.

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Situation report: Eastern Pyrenees​ early 1793

The map:

The theatre shows the coast along the eastern Pyrenees from Carcassonne and Narbonne in the north (right on the image) to Gerona in the south. The border between France and Spain goes right through the middle along the spur of the Pyrenees. The biggest city in the area is Perpignan just north of the border. Perpignan and Carcassonne are classified as fortified cities the other cities and the mountainous areas are classified as defensive terrain.

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The strategic situation in 1793

My operational maps are based on a series of historical maps in the David rumsey map archive. There is also a composite showing most of western europe in the database, which I printed in a4 to act as my strategic overview map. Each sector on the overview map is also an a3 operational map, in which I can play a campaign game.

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French army of Catalonia: 1793


The army is made up of 20 divisions. Every divison is represented by a single d6 – combining personel, supplies, morale, cohesion and other factors into one number. My initial role – thanks to DiceRoller – gave me the following result:

5 1 1 2 3 2 5 2 3 5 5 2 1 1 2 3 4 4 4 6

In game terms this means something like:

Guard or well equipped fresh divisions: 6 5 5 5 5

Worn or new divisions: 3 3 3 4 4 4 4

division low on numbers or hurt through prior fighting: 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 2

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