Tag Archives: Vae Victis

Raid on Bruneval (A Video Review)

Raid sur Bruneval 1942 – Raid on Bruneval 1942 – (Operation Biting) is a solitary tactical game that appeared in the French Vae Victis magazine #104 (special game edition). It simulates the Raid of British paratroopers under Major Frost’s command to capture a german radar near Bruneval (northwestern France) during the night of february 27th 1942. During this operation, the british dropped by parachute must capture the radar, one or two german operators, destroy the manor and finally embark all in the waiting Landing Craft Assaults.

The game is edited under ziplock and contains a A3-size map depicting Bruneval surroundings at night (scale at 1/25000), 108 counters (the 3 formation of British paratroopers Drake, Nelson and Rodney ; german coastal defense, luftwaffe guards, MGs, pill-boxes and part of 685th infantry regiment reinforcements ; activation and other markers). One typical counter unit represents around 10 men. The rules are included in a separate 15 pages A5-sized booklet.

The duration of the game is 13 turns from 0:15 et 03:15 am. The player plays the British side first each turn and then the activated german units fight, move and get reinforcements in this respective order. Except for the coastal defenses, the german units are not represented on the map at the beginning. Instead, several randomly selected activation markers are deployed in specific areas of the map. The combination of proximity to British units and alert level may trigger an activation marker that may hide from 0 to 4 german units. These activated units may then fight and move. German move is dictated by closest (in PM) and largest enemy stack or German stack. Combat is resolved by comparing the strength of both adjacent stacks modified by the presence of an officer, the terrain modifier and 1D6. Largest score inflicts one step loss to the other.
The British must score at least 10 victory points to get a marginal victory. More than 20 is a decisive victory. The historical score is 24 VP.

~ Vae Victis

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Fuentes de Onoro (A Video Review)

Fuentes de Onoro 1811 focus on the last events of the fight between Masséna and Wellington in Portugal and Spain. It includes three battles: Foz do Arouce, Fuentes de Oñoro and El Bodon 1811 which are thus be the 32nd, 33rd and 34th battles of the series.

The game is also the 6th entry in the Vae Victis Wargame Collection. The main battle, Fuentes de Oñoro, has an A2 map and the two smaller ones have A3 maps. The game include 216 counters and markers.

Foz do Arouce, 15th March 1811
The fight took place just after Redhina and Casal Novo but before Sabugal and Fuentes de Onoro, as Wellington followed Massena out of the lines of Torres Vedras. It included two popular British divisions, the 3rd and the Light. The French under Ney held a ridge with a river behind it that was crossed by a single bridge. The French ridge on their left was much higher than the one on the right. In the centre there was a gap of about 200 yards, occupied by the village of Foz d’Arouce. Some companies of the 95th rifles penetrated down a hollow road there, almost unopposed, quite close to the bridge. The rest of the Light division held Marchand in a frontal fight on the French right. Half of Mermet’s division on the French left faced the 3rd Division. The 39th lost its eagle in the river as they tried to cross a deep ford below the bridge, and many men were drowned.

Fuentes de Oñoro, 3rd to 5th May 1811
On the 3rd of May, Masséna launched a frontal assault against the British-Portuguese pickets holding the barricaded village, while subjecting the British-Portuguese on the heights east of the village to a heavy artillery bombardment. The village was the centre of the fighting for the whole day, with French soldiers of Ferey’s and Marchand’s divisions clashing with the British redcoats of the 1st and 3rd Divisions. May 4 saw little combat. Both sides recovered from the ferocity of the previous day of fighting and reconsidered their options and battle plans. A French reconnaissance revealed that Wellington’s right flank was weakly held by a unit of partisans near the hamlet of Pozo Bello. Action began again at dawn on the 5th of May. Wellington had left the 7th Division exposed on his right flank. Masséna launched a heavy attack on the weak British-Portuguese flank, led by Montbrun’s dragoons and supported by the infantry divisions of Marchand, Mermet and Solignac. Right away, two 7th Division battalions were roughed up by French light cavalry. This compelled Wellington to send reinforcements to save the 7th Division from annihilation. This was only achieved by the efforts of the Light Division and the British and King’s German Legion cavalry. In response, Wellington counterattacked with units from the 1st and 3rd Divisions, plus the Portuguese 6th Caçadores. Led by the 88th Connaught Rangers Foot, this effort broke Drouet’s attack and the tide began to turn. Low on ammunition, the French had to resort to the bayonet in a futile attempt to drive the British back. Drouet launched a second attack on the town. This time it was led by three battalions of converged grenadiers from IX Corps. With their old-fashioned bearskin hats, the grenadiers were mistaken for the Imperial Guard. Again, the British fell back. Drouet threw in about half of the battalions from both Conroux and Claparède’s divisions, seizing almost the entire town. The French artillery tried to bombard the new British line into submission, but they were outgunned by Wellington’s cannon. Finally, with their artillery ammunition dangerously low, the French attacks came to an end. Wellington’s men entrenched during the evening.

El Bodon 25th September 1811
The fight included a French cavalry force of 2500, against a mixed force of Picton’s 3rd Division consisting of 1000 men, 500 cavalry and two Portuguese batteries. The French attacked in 3 columns of cavalry with a 4th column in reserve, “since only parts of the hillside were open ground suitable for cavalry.” The attack fell upon the isolated part of Wallace’s Brigade covering the road. As the French columns came up the slope they were attacked by Alten’s light cavalry one squadron at a time “with the slope in their favour.” The individual squadrons then rallied behind their supports. The British had to hold on, to allow time for the widely separated parts of 3rd Division to retire.

Fuentes de Onoro 1811 includes:
A 59 x 40 cm map,
216 double-sided die-cut counters and markers,
A color rulebook with scenarios and a player aid.
Units : Regiments and brigades
Map scale : 500 m/hex.
Turn : 120 minutes
Complexity : 6 / 9

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Syracuse (Video Review)

Syracuse (415/413 BC) covers the land and naval battles as well as the siege of Syracuse during the Peloponnesian War.

It appears as the inserted game of VaeVictis #103 “Special Game Edition”.
Syracuse is a two players game: Athens and allies vs. Syracuse and allies.
One game turn covers three months.

The game includes:
– 1 16 pages rules booklet (14,4×21 cm)
– 1 29,7×41 cm Map (27 land zones and 12 sea zones)
– 1 counter sheet of 108 die-cut counters (68 leaders and combat units, 22 stratagems counters and 18 makers
– 1 historical scenario and a “What if? Scenario” including Alcibiades as main Athenian leader

Players will be able to build forts and walls, to launch naval operations and to lead land battles.



Note: The rules are based on those in Sphacteria, 425 BC, a game that appeared in issue #95 of VaeVictis magazine. They include specifics on siege activities and construction of fortifications and several additional developments.

~ Vae Victis

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Sphacterie (Video Review)

Sphacteria (-425) is a two-player wargame, published in Vae Victis #95 (October 2010), about the land and naval battles of Pylos and Sphacteria, during the first phase of the Peloponnesian War.

The A4 map is divided into 27 areas (land or sea). The game includes a sheet of 67 counters. Each strength point represents 1 trireme, 25 hoplites, 50 peltasts or 100 archers. The game also features a number of “stratagem” chits.

One player is in charge of the Athenians and their Messenian allies, the other one leads the Spartans and their helots. Each player has 4 commanders to lead his units. Both players receive historical reinforcements and can also try to obtain additional troops.

To achieve victory, a player has to control the fortress of Pylos and the island of Sphacteria using his fleet and his land units, while taking care of his supply.

~ Vae Victis

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The Frank Kings ( Les Rois Francs)(A Video Review)

“Les Rois Francs” is a an introductory level tactical medieval war game. It includes a rules booklet of 6 pages, 108 counters, three A4 maps.

Four battles are included:
– Fontenoy-en-Puisaye, 841 (Lothaire vs. Charles the Bald and Louis the German)
– Jengland, 851 (Franks vs. Bretons)
– Brissarthe, 866 (Franks vs. Bretons and Vikings)
– Montfaucon en Argonne, 888 (Franks vs. Vikings)

~ “Game Edition” of VaeVictis Magazine #100

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