I’ve just finished a playtest of my rules mechanics for solo wargaming in the age of Louis XIV. It was a chance to try out my DBD modifications and see if I could play an’impartial’ game. The scenario and battle report are below…
The Battle of Kleine Muffinstadt
In this scenario one side is marching onto the battlefield having undertaken a surprise march. The defender is camped betwen the Flusswasser and the village of Muffinstadt. 2d6 are rolled to determine how many elements the defender has ready, and how many elements the attacker has on the board. Another die roll determines the direction the attacker will enter from, and for subsequent elements the roll is made again. A list of elements is made, each given a number, and 2d6 used to determine which elements are present or not. The General’s element is always present. Throughout the game, any elements that didn’t arrive initially are rerolled for. I made an error here, and made the artillery a 12. As this is a rare element, you are better off having it as a 7 – more chance of getting it. This is because there are 5 entries each for Horse and Foot, so quite a good chance of rolling for them. At any rate, the upshot was that the French never got their artillery out of the camp.
The battlefield looked like this, Kleine Muffinstadt in the top left corner, the camp beside it, the Flusswasser running from top to bottom, two roads and the Muffinberg hill in the centre:
The first die roll confirmed that the Imperialists were attacking the French. But the French obviously had plenty of piquets about, as three quarters of their army was deployed when the Imperialists began to arrive. Initial deployment was as follows:
Turn 1 saw the Imperialists advance down the road towards Kleine Muffinstadt. The general and the Horse regiments were in the van with the foot in the centre and the artillery bringing up the rear. This wasnot preordained by dice, this was my decision, and one that I would alter next time. It would have been better to have a mixed vanguard, as will later be seen. Meanwhile the French advanced, and an element of Horse left the camp.
Next the Imperialists began to deploy their Horse, hoping to charge in before the foot could completely deploy. The last foot element appeared coming down the other road. The French made ready to secure the Muffinberg with a unit of Horse, and swing the battleline so that its flanks rested on Kleine Muffinstadt and the Muffinberg. Another element of horse left the camp and joined its partner in an advance.
The two sides continued to move towards each other. It was about here, as the shooting began, that I forgot a crucial thing for DBx games. You are meant to add the factors for the elements to the die roll! I remembered to do all the grading, but couldn’t work out why things were dying so easily. Then I realised what I’d done wrong! I put everything back 2 turns and started again! This is the situation in the reworked turn three…
Now that I knew what I was doing, it was time for combat. Their was no bias in what I was doing – the PIP dice made sure of that! Both sides were getting ome good rolls, but trying to sort out a battle line for the Imperialists was growing increasingly difficult. The infantry were still forming up as the Horse entered into battle! Meanwhile, the French were creating a sound battleline. The horse and Dragoons met on the slopes of the Muffinberg, and shooting from the French infantry destroyed an element of horse.
The Dragoons died, sending the flanking horse recoiling. The situation at the beginning of Turn 5 looked as follows:
Turn 5 saw the French Horse on the Muffinberg recoiled by an element of shot, but also the loss of the Imperialist general! I didn’t end the game there, though. I decided that it was typical of this time for the battle to continue with troops blissfully unaware of their general’s death (as at Lutzen when Gustavus Adolphus was killed). As I could make up the rules as I went along, I did decide that the their would be a -1 penalty to the Imperialist PIP die roll for the rest of the game.
The Imperialists rolled a 6 – the best possible reult – for their first leaderless PIP roll. It enabled them to form a good line of battle with their infantry, but it was all in vain. A last element of horse succumbed to a deadly crossfire, and the Imperialists were defeated (I play the 4 elements lost army breakpoint rule). The infantry retreated to the south, screened by the last 2 elements of Horse:
What did I learn? Well, first off, the DBD rules modifications work. I was quite happy with the combats. Secondly, keep Horse supported with foot if possible and advance only after you are happy with your batleline. Third, definitely don’t use Dragoons as your head on attacking element against horse – wipe out! Finally, solo wargaming is fun! I really enjoyed the game, and the ability to play through a scenario with rules, but then alter them without having to convince anyone that it is a good idea worked really well! The scenario was designed with the intention that the battlelines would only form slowly, but 2 big dice rolls meant that the Imperialists were at a bit of a disadvantage from the get-go, as the French were pretty much totally deployed from the beginning. But that is how it goes – you can’t guarantee your plan will work. When I start the real campaign with these guys, this type of scenario will be modified quite a bit to take account of scouting points etc.
Time to get the 2 sides all painted now, I guess. It took me one and a half hours to paint my first foot unit – the Orleans regiment, and I’m sure that it would only take 3 hours or so to paint 4 elements. I’m not being pretty with them – at gaming distance there is very little detail to see, so they are getting a basic paint job, and it seems to work. Here is a close up of the Orleans boys:
No wargames fashion police please! I’m quite aware that these guys might not have had red breeches and stockings, but its my army and I’ll paint it for effect, thankyou very much! I’ll keep posting pictures as the rest of the figures get done.