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Monday 22 January 2018

Finaloo Shinyloo

Through Rain and Snow and gloom  of Night the TWATS still get a game in. Though it was touch and go . Still 3 of us made it to our usual haunt for the January game. I was in the chair and decided that come Hell or High Water it was time the s"shinyloo" collection had an outing. After all I'd been working on them long enough.
 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.


  1. I like Charge! as well. Obviously stood the test of time.

  2. Wonderful game, set-up, and description!

    Best Regards,


  3. Nice report and figures Andy. I like Charge too. I also quite like turn by turn orders. food for thought.

  4. Always good to see games as they were (and should be). Looks great and sounds like you all had a blast playing it.
    Great to see

  5. Nice to see Charge being used for Napoleonics. One day I must try the rules!

  6. Thanks for you kind words one and all. What really surprised me here was that the rules did actually punish bad tacticsand despite deing very simple in essence were "period" enough to make me want to go back to them. As Umpire I made a couple of mistakes. The French were probably too strong for the British. However British errors in deployment made the French task easier than it might have been.
    Never the less the Umpire will take a little more care next time as we grow more familiar with the rules. I'm also thinking of using them for the Indian Mutiny - maybe making the mutineers only write orders every other move.... have to think about it and test the hypothosis.

  7. Having loved the book for decades I was surprised if not shocked at how such simple but very carefully thought out rules had so many subtle, unstated effects requiring sound tactics. Ir was a real pleasure at cons to see players who knew the period but not the rules could thrash players who only knew the rules.

    Its also interesting how a good player can see and exploit his opponents weaknesses if he is too rash.

    Your game looks great btw.

    1. Ross For me that would be exactly the point- and the fun. Period tactics should always win out over mere game knowledge.
      Better a set of period based wargames rules than a mere game loosely inspired by a period.

  8. Thanks for the,enjoyable game report. It looks like a fun (sorry about that word) game.


    1. Jim Oh still my beating keyboard ! - yes it was fun but rooted in period and not "fun" at the expense of period, A vital difference for me.

  9. I have not seen those 'Charge' rules for probably 20 years, about time I looked up a copy. Great looking game Andy and lovely shiny figures of course.

    1. Thanks Lee There will be a bash with Shiny ECW later this year doubtless but also I want to do a refight of Winceby at some time- using both the shiny and matt ECW I should have enough cavalry just about

  10. Now you have me wanting to get a copy of "Charge!"

    1. a reprint is relatively easy try the history of wargaming project on

      charge here

      there are buckets of other early wargaming books on this site

  11. Great to see Charge being used. They probably are more suited to Napoleonics with columns and skirmishers. I have amended it a little for C18. You mention changing the under strength threshold, I make units withdraw at half stength but allow a unit to rally troops back (once).

    1. Thanks for that- I've always thought Charge was more Napoleonic than 18th century myself. I like the idea of being able to rally some of your losses back- definitely worth a thought for a future game