More Like Foxes Than Lyons, 1672

An After-Action Report


    This game was played using a system called More Like Foxes than Lyons, a computer-assisted game based on a close reading of Brent Nosworthy's Anatomy of Victory. It is designed as a super-tactical game of early linear warfare in the period from the 1670s to 1720. Players take the part of battalion commanders, ordering fire and reloading by individual ranks, and having to deal with the extremely limited maneuverability of these formations prior to the advent of cadenced marching. The system is a simulation, and units will do things which players may find incredibly annoying and which many systems therefore do not include, like refusing orders! Each turn is 20 seconds long, so the pace of the game is extremely sedate, as befits lace-era warfare. The forces used in the game are therefore small: this brigade-level encounter was played to completion in about 2.5 hours.

    Miniatures are 28mm from Northstar, Front Rank, and Old Glory - the Savoyen Dragoons are homecast, with Prince August horses and a rider sculpted by the GM (of which he is inordinately proud, since he is not a very good sculptor!)

    The Battle

    Both sides extend their front to the south, and the Imperialists begin their musketry at long range.

    The Savoyen Dragoons deploy and wheel into line - the French have not finished taking up their positions. The French infantry in the north and center move up and the fire-fight becomes general.

    French infantry deploy, still with loaded muskets, and the Dragoons advance into attack position.

    The 1st battalion of Perche, disordered by fire, scatters before a charge by the dragoons, but the Gendarmes de France have deployed and are ready to hit the now-disordered Imperialist horse. In the center, Starhemberg advances on the disordered French St. Laurent, but refuses to charge.

    The counter-charge goes home, and a melee ensues!

    Predictably, the Dragoons have the worst of it, and begin their long journey back to Savoy!

    At the north end of the line, Greder has had enough and flees the field.

    In the center, the Starhemberg battalion which refused to charge now refuses to stand, and likewise departs...

    The 2nd battalion of La Perche unleashes their initial volley of the game on another battalion of Starhemberg, and they also break and run. The Gendarmes have formed up and continue their advance. The Imperialists on are the verge of defeat, but if they can break the French horse with a crushing volley, then at least the honors will be equal...

    The Gentlemen of France earn their keep - although disordered and shaken, they hold their position in the face of a tremendous fusillade. France has gained the field, for the greater glory of the Sun King!

    Well played by both sides, and a close-run thing!