Saturday, 5 October 2019

Peninsular War 1808

Tim resurrected one of the earliest Matrix games I'd seen, Bob Cordery's old game of the Peninsular War covering 1808 and 1809. For the game we assembled the full complement of players, seven, with three French commanders, two British and two Spanish.

I was given the role of the Corsican Ogre, while my competent subordinates, Junot (Graham) and Murat (Richard), tried to put savlon on the Spanish Ulcer. 

A view from the north. Wicked British troops lurk in England up to no good (these were Moore's troops, run by Pete) meanwhile the liberators of Europe bring peace, justice and enlightenment to the masses. I had a truly vast figure of Napoleon to play with, quite fitting.

The turn record was also indicated by a figure of my good self, dismounted this time. Vive la France! The turns were a month long.

French troops stationed in the homeland. My victory conditions stipulated that I couldn't send more than half to Spain, as I needed the rest to keep an eye on the Austrians.

The game started with a firm French hold on Lisbon and Madrid. Various rebellious Spaniards lurked around (Royalists commanded by Tim C, and raggedy guerillas commanded by Diego).

Napoleon inspected the troops on Marengo.

The opening moves were...interesting. I sent a Corps over the Pyrenees to secure Saragossa (I've played War and Peace enough time to know the value of secure supply lines in Spain). Murat secured Madrid, but Junot abandoned Lisbon and set off in pursuit of the Spanish royalists. The little known General Wellesly took this opportunity to simply land his entire army unopposed in Portugal. You just can't get the staff...  

There then ensued a massive battle around Madrid, which to everyones suprise resulted in Wellesly being routed and withdrawing to Portugal. 

Moore landed in Lisbon to link up with Wellesly, but the weakened French garrison at Madrid was mercilessly harrassed by the Spanish, and a general uprising let the Royalists take the city. Things were going really well at this point!

In the event the situation was saved as bad weather kept the British pinned in Portugal, while French reinforcements allowed Murat to take the city.

Wellesley managed to slip through and was defeated again, so things were looking up. However, the Spanish guerillas managed (once again) to sieze Madrid from the French once again with an outrageous dice throw (see above).

Finally we all had to argue why we'd won, and I don't think anyone particularly disputed the Spanish claim to victory. I had done OK but sadly losing Madrid twice wasn't on my list of objectives. Well, I was never actually there, just my useless brother, so it doesn't really count as a defeat. Right, time to duff up some Austrians instead. 

That went really well and it was good to good give such an old game another run out. The new players seemed to get the hang of it fairly quickly and it was interesting to contrast the old school methods with more modern matrix game approaches.


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, it was a real hoot. I'd forgotten the parameters of the original game, I'd thought it was the whole war but doing monthly turns just for 1808/1809 worked really well.

  2. I really enjoyed my first run at a Matrix game. GFreat fun.



    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I thought it rattled along at a great pace, even with so many players.