So I went the whole hog and decided to use "Charge!" as that was the inspiration for the collection in the first place.
|The table before the action begins. The low winter sun through the windows to the left does not help.|
I'd never played Charge before- well maybe once 30 years ago but not so as you'd notice so to all intents it was a new rule set for with all those possible pitfalls. You know what I was very pleasantly surprised. The basic system is so simple and open ended is it refreshing. No farting about with "mechanisms" but having said that there is a possibility of subtlety in minor tactics that we will be exploring further. The old fashioned move by move order writing was new to both of the player- though I had used it back in the day with London Wargame section Napoleonic rules and again for simplicity it really does have merit.
|Calamity. The RHA battery falls to the blood spattered remains of the French heavies.|
Anyway on with a short narrative of a short but interesting little affair,
British forces- Andrew the Tekkie commanding
3 and a half companies of line infantry
1 company of Rifles
1 Battery Royal Horse Artillery
1 cavalry regiment- The Scots Greys
The French were a bit more numerous. Mechanical Shaun as Napoleon Shinyparte!
3 and a half infantry companies- though they were 18 man companies in 3 ranks the British being 16 men in 2 ranks
1 company of Light Infantry
2 cavalry units 1 light 1 heavy
and a battery of Guns
|The British under pressure. The Scots Greys belatedly move.|
The French kicked off with a general advance- Light infantry in skirmish order covering the front of their main mass of Line Infantry. However their heavy Cavalry immediately advanced towards the RHA battery which was somewhat isolated on the British left and coming under fire , expected to be turned into horseburgers-. Andrew picked up his dice with glee the gamely rolled snake eyes! The next move the Cuirassiers and Carabiniers took the bit between their teeth and then declared a charge.
Canister blasted them but not quite enough to get and"under strength" result and the RHA battery was taken by the survivors.
|A beeter view of the whole action|
First blow to the French.
In the centre the French mass advanced an it's skirmishers took a steady toll on the uncovered British Line as the rifles were off to a flank covering the Footguards company on the other hill on the British right.
. Belatedly the Scots Greys began to move and advanced against the French Light Cavalry. The resulting two move melee ending in a draw with both units withdrawing- each side thew totally bum dice. The French in the first turn of melee the British in the second and neither side had quite enough losses for the other to claim victory. In the context of the game this meant a narrow success for the French.
|The cavalry melee after the first round.|
The decision however was to come in the centre. As the French skirmishers withdrew all of the French line advanced against 2 damaged companies of the 44th foot.who came down from their hill and were swallowed up by the French 3 rank mass. Belated fire into the flank of the Imperial Guard being only enough(just) with their melee losses to take them under strength.
At this point Andrew decided the day was lost.
|Andrew begins his flanking move but it will be too late.|
So what did the players think. Neither has encountered "Charge!" previously but both were interested in another bash, as am I. I suspect hat next time I may put in a few amendments such as
Musket armed light Infantry will fire as line infantry in 8 man groups so light companies will be the same strength as Line.
Rifle armed troops may not be able to move and fire- not sure about this one though.
I may lower the threshold for under strength or possibly introduce a more "featherstonian" morale test- still thinking about this.
Allow artillery crew to defend their guns in melee- albeit with penalties.
|The French - doubtless chanting "There's more of of us than you"(in French obviously) swallow the British. and it is all over bar a few beers.|
What was clear here is that these simple- but far from simplistic rules give you far more "positive freedom" than many more modern limited games. I can, should I wish, tinker around the edges for a bit more "Napoleonicness" without unbalancing the game. The longer than usual movement distances and the move by move order writing force the players to think tactically rather than merely "gameyily". The cavalry melee method does allow for subtlety in minor tactics if you choose
Suffice it to say that all 3 of us were more impressed than we expected to be.
As usual thanks go to landlady Jean for superior Beef Butties and chips and to Landlord Eric for fine pints of White Hot. Roll on the February game.
Because of the weather Andrew and I took a cab to the pub- so scenery was of the simplest. the hills are wood blocks under the cloth and the trees fences haystacks and hedges are Britians or Johillco (these last from the 1950s). The only post 1980 items are the roads and the farm.