A night of battles

I had been planning to take the 1973 armies for their first trial battle on Friday night, but Chris had already organised an Early War Flames of War game with Terry, so I thought I’d give John a couple of games, one of Ancients and the other of Napoleonics.  Having recently reread Neil Thomas’ “Wargaming: an Introduction”, I had decided to write some nice simple horse and musket rules of my own.  I’d also got hold of his Ancient and Medieval Wargaming and was keen to see how his rules played.

So John and I duly set up a game of Romans vs. Ancient Britons.  I have to say that the game was very easy to play and gave us plenty of fun, although I’m not too sure about the rule regarding units exiting the enemy table edge.  For those that are not too sure what I ma talking about, for every unit that crosses the enemy base line their opponent must remove two of their own units immediately.  As the game ends when only two units of an army are left from the original eight, this effectively meant that we ended in a draw, despite some rather large Gallic massacres!

Initial positions with the noble chariots heading towards the flank.

A close up of the Romans that I painted for John.  The generals are not part of the rules, we just added them for the fun of it.

The battle in full swing.  We use mini-dice to record casualties. The Britons were painted by Kent Galpin – John was one of his first regular customers.

As I say, the battle was quite enjoyable aside from a couple of little quirks and I am impressed with the simplicity of Neil Thomas’ rules.  We agreed that we would play them again, but then began discussions about a club DBA campaign day…

We then set up a small scenario (number 9 in Charles Grant’s ‘Scenarios for all ages’) for Napoleonics.  It featured John with some Saxons trying delay myself with some French.  I had created what I thought was a quite elegant combat system of opposed d6 rolls, and they had been playtested with my Marlburians.  I just hadn’t thought through all of the permutations adequately.  By the end of the battle we had some weird situations developing – an artillery piece that kept fighting off a Cuirassier regiment in hand to hand, and a unit in open order beating off two units in close order in melee as well.  So John won the battle by getting 75% of his force over the bridge and then blowing it up.  And I went back to the drawing board yesterday and rewrote the firing and melee sections of the rules.

The French advance towards the super-elite special forces green beret SAS Jager on the hill.

Saxons escaping, featuring the French Cuirassier regiment on the left that would manage to pin a whole artillery piece in hand to hand combat for three turns!

The reason that I have gone for writing some rules of my own for Horse and Musket rather than stick with Black Powder is simply that I don’t feel the scenarios in the Grant and Asquith book don’t really fit the rules.  I also wanted to go for a bit more of an ‘old school’ feel with these guys, and the new rules count casualties, remove bases and have saving throws.  I also like the idea of card-driven rules.  I’ve playtested them in a few more circumstances than I did last time, and they seem to be holding up.  We might have another go with them next games night.

Finally here are some pictures of the 1940 game between Chris and Terry.  I love the French, although in a completely ahistorical moment, they lost the battle by failing company morale…

Part of the initial set-up.

Mighty French armour!


The Germans about to seize the objective at the end of the game, featuring the charred Chars.

Looked like a great battle, Chris and Terry certainly enjoyed themselves.  I am seriously looking at the Poles for Early War.  I’ve just read the battle report in the latest Wargames Illustrated, and that train is just too cool for words… and cavalry….

I also see that the next WI has a supplement included for Flames of War Vietnam, including armour and APCs.  This could be just the thing I need for my Yom Kippur War stats.



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