We attempted a refight of Hochkirk using King of the Battlefield - with @ a dozen players all told.
The battle of 'Highchurch' - so named because we used Russians in place of Austrians (but I am afraid I will still refer to them as Austrians throughout this report) - seemed an ideal one for a multiplayer game, because we could make use of the multiple columns of attack / approach which the Austrians used historically to neatly divide up the players into independent commands, and because we could straggle any new players down the line, thus representing the order of arrival of those columns.
We had enough of a gap between the first and last arrivals to straggle them down the line, representing the time dispersal between each column arriving and taking out the sitting about waiting for a 6 which could otherwise have come about. Luckily we also had an overeager Prussian Mollendorf to jump back and forth over his defensive position when he initially thought he was unopposed on the first turn.
I was quietly hoping that both these forces at the far end of the field would be inactive for a couple of turns, and accordingly left the Austrian figures off table initially.
Dispositions were slightly hampered by forgetting the orbat, but thankfully, two weeks before we quickly laid out both sides in order to get an idea of the size of table we would required - we hastily removed them before too many club members had had a chance to see the surprises.
Frederick had deployed with a large dense wood to his rear - preventing him from retiring in that direction. The wood to the south of Hochkirk screened the Austrian advance to his rear. So the point of the attack historically was to cut both ends and tie the ogre up ending the war in a stroke. Given the limitations of Austrian command and control, it came surprisingly close to coming off.
1 Zeiten and the reserve cavalry behind Hochkirk
a. 2 Cuirassier
b. 3 Hussars (elite)
2 Keith defending Hochkirk and the south east of the town
a. 2 Infantry (elite)
b. 2 Grenadiers (elite)
c. 1 Gun
3 Brunswick and main army part A - adjacent to Hochkirk
a. 4 Infantry (elite)
b. 2 Grenadiers (guard)
c. 2 Grenadiers (elite)
d. 1 gun
4 Saldern and main army part B - adjacent to Rodewitz and including the central cavalry reserve
a. 4 Cuirassiers
b. 1 Dragoon
c. 1 Hussar (elite)
d. 4 Infantry
5 Mollendorf, Seidlitz and the Prussian vanguard defending Rodewitz and the road back into Drehsa and Prussian territory
a. 5 Infantry (elite)
b. 2 Grendier (elite)
c. 1 Gun
d. 2 Hussars (elite)
e. 2 Cuirassier
6 - Two regiments of second class freikorp ineffectively skirmishing in the woods adjacent to Hochkirk (for the umpire to roll some dice with)
a. 2 Freicorps (second class)
1 O'Donnell - approaching on the back table corner to the rear of Hochkirk
a. 3 Cuirassier
b. 2 Hussars
c. 2 Dragoons
2 Browne - assaulting Hochkirk from the angle
a. 6 Infantry
b. 2 Grenadier (elite)
3 Weist - assaulting Hochkick from the front
a. 6 Infantry
b. 1 Gun
4 Colleredo - a large force of second class infantry and some cavalry with orders to demonstrate in front of the main Prussian army in order to pin it in the trap
a. 8 Infantry (second class)
b. 1 Cuirassier
c. 1 Dragoon
d. 2 Hussars
e. 1 Gun
5 D'Arenburg and Durlach - the main attack to cut the line of retreat.
a. 12 Infantry
b. 2 Grenadier (elite)
c. 1 Gun
d. 2 Hussars
e. 2 Cuirassiers
f. 2 Dragoons
6 - Loudon and three regiments of second class Croats ineffectively skirmishing with the freikrop and given to any late comer player)
a. 3 Croats (second class)
The Prussians all started in pre fixed deployed positions.
Browne, Weist, Colleredo and Loudon were then placed on table, and Zeiten was instructed to address his disposition to the noises in the rear. O'Donnell was then placed, and the Prussians had first move (This was entirely an umpire decision taken on the basis that all troops began in deployed line. Had we started in march columns, then the Prussians could easily have been deployed undressed, and the Austrians given first move). As the Austrians were all starting within artillery range, this seemed appropriate.
As umpire, I was hoping for Mollendorf Saldern, Seidlitz D'Arenberg and Durlach to be later arrivals than the players happened to be. But we did get one over eager Mollendorf who advanced across his defensive stream in order to get stuck in.
The next Austrian move saw D'Arenberg placed, and Mollendorf go scuttling back to his starting positions. As far as fog of war goes, this was sufficient for my satisfaction.
After this, the players were given free rein.
The Austrians were not given an overall commander - being independent columns, they received a briefing on the plan (as they arrived as players, not collectively) - the most notable of which was instructing Colleredo that he was given a large second class command in order to pin attention but not attack, although he could if he wanted to, but he would probably fail, and instructing D'Arenberg and Durlach that they were to cut the road to seal the trap, and if possible, roll up the line.
The Prussians were simply given a 'Frederick' to issue orders if they had any doubt (this happened to be the Brunswick player in our case).
Narrative wise, the Prussians held out well, almost destroying Colleredo's infantry, and holding both Hochkick and the road to Drehsa until the final turn, when the Austrians did break through and take Hochkirck entirely, and D'Arenbeg cut the road. At this point, rather than declaring a Prussian 'well played' for retaining the escape route, I had to declare an Austrian total victory - the Seven Years war is ended, Prussia has no main army, and Frederick is likely captured.
Interesting points of play, were the total collapse of Zeiten - he simply could not roll to save himself, a regiment of 'Austrian' horse grenadiers (I did mention the figures were Russian, didn't I?) breaking through Salderns command and overrunning some of the tents before being driven off, the swift victory for louden's croats - and the remarkable ability of Keith to defend Hochkirk itself until that very last turn.
The secnario worked well. Making the Prussian infantry and Hussars elite, and the Austrian Dragoons and Colleredo's infantry second class (again, a Russian figures decision, as Russian Dragoons were essentially postmen on horses) made for a balanced game.
Had I remembered to put the designed orbats in the bag, it may have been different - you can try for yourselves, as those are the basis for the disposition layout map below.
Terrain wise, we folloed a simple adaption of this map - taken from Kronoscafe (http://www.kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Main_Page)
we placed Hockkirk on the only hill, had a large wood to its south, and a huge wood to the Prussain rear between Hochkirk and the only other town - Rodewitz. Hochkirk also had a redoubt to its rear.
A stream meandered along the Prussian front line, and the roads were for visual effect only.