Monday, June 23, 2014

1756 Invasion of Candy Land

Frederick the Great, with designs on starting a war with Austria on his own terms, deigned to invade one of Maria Theresa’s allied minor states. While his planning had initially been for a campaign to take Saxony, a sweeter target emerged in the form of Candy Land as his first target.
A new plan was thus set in motion. Frederick’s army advanced in 3 columns as they invaded.  These forces would converge where Candy Land Straße begins and would march on its capital, Candy Castle.  The Prussian Vanguard had two small brigades. The first was grenadiers and jägers with some artillery. The second was a small cuirassier brigade. The main body of the Prussian army was 2 brigades of infantry along with the bulk of the artillery and siege guns.  The third force was all cavalry comprised of a brigade each of dragoons and cuirassiers to screen the flank of the advancing army and converge on the castle with the rest of the army. The remainder of Frederick’s army gathered near the border with Saxony for that eventual conflict.

This battle was fought using Black Powder rules on a 5x24 table at “The Weekend”, a small local convention gathering held in Lancaster, PA  Figures are 28mm and a combination of Minden Miniatures, Eureka, RSM, and some Old Glory. The gingerbread men were from Victory Force Miniatures.

The Prussian Order of Battle for the Invasion of Candy Land is thus:

  • Brigade
    • Jägers
    • Grenadiers (2 Units)
    • Medium Gun
    • Battalion Gun
  • Brigade
    • Cuirassiers (4 units)
Frederick’s Main Body
  • Brigade
    • Musketeers (4 units)
    • Battalion Gun
  • Army Artillery
    • Jägers
    • 3 Heavy Guns
    • 4 Medium Gun
  • Brigade
    • Musketeers & Fusiliers (4 units)
    • Battalion Gun

Cavalry Force  
  • Brigade
    • Dragoons (4 units)
  • Brigade
    • Cuirassiers (3 units)
Now, the Austrians and Saxons were not standing idly by as Frederick put his invasion plans in motion. When the word came out that Candy Land was being set upon, Maria Theresa sent available forces and even the Saxons marched to the help of their neighbor. Candy Land itself had a very small military, with only one regiment of grenadier guard and a very small artillery park. Trained were several battalions of gingerbread troops who had never tasted battle. The rest of the citizenry of the land could be mobilized, but was generally under equipped and not wholly suited to the task.

Army of Candy Land
  • Brigade
    • Kandie Guard
    • KG howitzer battalion gun
    • Gingerbread Sepoys (2 units)
    • Partisan Rabble (4 Tiny Units)
    • Austrian Medium Guns (2, in redoubts)
Saxony Relief Force
  • Brigade
    • Grenadiers
    • Musketeers (2 units)
    • Fusiliers (2 units)
    • Battalion gun
1st Austrian Relief Force
  • Brigade
    • Grenadiers (2 units)
    • Pioneers (Tiny Unit)
    • Austrian Feld Jägers  (small unit)
    • Frei-Korps (small unit)
    • Medium Guns (2, in redoubts)
  • Brigade
    • Musketeers (4 units)
    • Battalion Gun
  • Brigade
    • Hungarian Musketeers (2 units)
    • Grenz (2 units)
    • Battalion Gun
2nd Austrian Relief Force
  • Brigade
    • Dragoons (3 Units)
  • Brigade
    • Cuirassiers (5 units)
 Setup Pictures and Battle Synopsis

The Hungarian and Grenz Infantry march from their camp.

The Austrian line forms as the Prussian Vanguard comes into view.
The center of the Austrian battle line. Here, grenadiers hold a village and the Austrian command surveys the unfolding battle from a low rise.
The right flank of the Austrian 1st Relief Force.
To right of the Austrian infantry force, the Saxons would be deploying along the final road approach to the castle.
Elements of the Candy Land newly formed 1st Army of Molasses out in front of the castle.

Pre-game view of the table from the Gum Drop Mountains and Candy Cane Forest side.

Pre-game view of the table from the Molasses Swamp and Candy Castle table end.
The game begins.

Prussians are dealt cards from the classic board game that can act as command modifiers for brigades on the properly colored road tiles, to allow extra movement, or for other special game effects if the command roll failed

The Allies and Candylanders used the cards the same way. In addition, the cards could be used to place the local rabble bases, and also the pink card with the gingerbread man allowed a unit of gingerbread men to crumble away and reappear somewhere else on the table at any pink road tile. 

Prussians find the Rainbow Trail.
By drawing an orange card on turn 1, the Prussians are able to bypass much of the road with the main body of the army. This will greatly speed their march to the castle with the artillery train that will follow the brigade beginning to enter play in the picture.

That cavalry attack didn’t work as planned.
On the right, the Prussian Cuirassiers launched an attack across the field at the Austrian line already engaged by the Grenadiers. Two of the four cuirassier units remained after the ill-fated attack on the formed Austrian line. Broken, the cavalry brigade is attacked by the Grenzers and would shortly retire from the battle altogether. The beleaguered grenadiers suffered from some loss of cohesion in mounting their own attack and find themselves outnumbered 4 to 1 in this sector of the battle. 

 Despite this, the Prussian grenadiers presence will stall both of the Austrian brigades successfully so they play no further part in threatening the Prussian main attack.

In the center, the infantry brigade in advance of the army’s artillery train finds itself distracted early on by some Austrian Frei-Korps in the Lollipop Woods. This force however was too small to threaten the Prussian deployment occurring to launch an attack toward the gun redoubts next to the village. In the foreground the limbered artillery train makes its way towards the Candy Castle.

By the end of the game, the Prussian infantry brigade was attacking the gun redoubts next to the village.


Kandie Guard charged by Dragoons and a melee is fought.
Disordered by gum drops, half the dragoons will fall back.

Both the Kandie Guard and the Gingerbread Sepoys had their share of fighting.

Earlier one of the Gingerbread units tries to get its crumby mitts on the Prussians.  They were repulsed, but this did help slow up the attack in the center a bit.

The Prussian center advances.
 The 2nd Prussian infantry brigade had some earlier command failures, but was pushing hard at the thin Saxon line in the center. The area currently occupied by the advancing Prussians in the picture would be where the artillery train would emerge and unlimber to have guns within range of the castle walls.

On the extreme left of the Prussian advance, a massive cavalry battle was fought from the 2nd turn until the end nearly the end of the game.

 The initial phase of this struggle had the brigade of Prussian Cuirassiers fighting the brigades of Austrian Dragoons and soon the Austrian Cuirassiers. The Prussian Dragoons contributed later, but were also thrown at the Candy Land forces where they were repulsed.

Cavalry on both sides of the melee had units shaken and exhausted, but both sides  were rolling well on their break tests. Eventually the Austrian Dragoon Brigade would break, and the Austrian Cuirassiers were left mostly intact with 4 fresh units. They were however outnumbered 2 to 1 by the mostly spent but recoverable Prussian Cuirassiers and Dragoons.  Two brigade commanders were present and Frederick himself was approaching to begin the cavalry rally and renewed attack.

The Outcome
The Prussians had deployed their artillery train, with most of the heavy guns in range of the castle walls. These were in no danger of being overrun, and would be a big contributor to degrading the Saxon line for the Prussian infantry attack that was lined up. The cavalry on this side would likely be reconstituted by the commanders such that they would stop the Austrian Cuirassiers and possibly be available then to support the rest of the castle assault. The Prussians did lose the smallest brigade of cuirassiers and was on its way to lose the small brigade of grenadiers as well. However, the allies had lost a Dragoon brigade, would likely lose the Candy Land brigade, the Saxons, and Cuirassiers, along with the castle beginning to come under artillery fire. The bulk of the Austrian infantry could effectively be held up long enough for what we determined would be a Prussian victory based on position of the armies and their status.

My Evaluation of the Scenario & Game
I was a bit uncertain how such a crazy Imagi-nation game might be received, but the players enjoyed it and I had several bystanders offer their positive thoughts as well.  I had used the cards from an old copy of the actual kid’s board game of the same name, and that helped complete the parody/homage to a fun game turned into a wargame. Players did enjoy the tactical elements of the game as well. It was for all intents and purposes a SYW game just in unusual terrain and with some difficult objectives for the Prussians. I’m very glad the Prussians pulled the correct color to allow a shorter travel distance for their artillery and some infantry. In hindsight the odds would have been otherwise stacked against them on having to maneuver the winding road nearly its distance if the Austrians gave even a modest defense of the area. I was surprised by how long the cavalry battle went for.


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  2. This practically begs to be played with the Eureka SYW Teddy Bears and Toy Town soldiers. The terrain is creative and awesome looking, as are all of those Minden and RSM figures. :)


  3. Absolutely outstanding game, Goldwyrm - well done!

  4. Thank you both. And Jim, the Fife & Drum AWI cavalry from your Kickstarter arrived while I was away at the con. I had a chance to look them over in person yesterday. Beautiful figures!!!

  5. You are so humorous but in the same time absolutely professional in gaming, rules and details - I like that! Thank you for this report!