Quatre Bras Battle Report

May 21, 2015

While not all units were available yet (guards need a paint job!) Ian and I played out the Quatre Bras scenario on the battle field to see how the rules would handle some full terrain features.  The game flowed well.  Ian deployed his Militia in the woods, his Jagers in Gemioncourt and the 1st and 2nd regiments of the 2nd brigade in the open.  I advanced more or less historically.  I was able to take the farmhouse easily as massed artillery caused significant casualties on the jagers.  The Militia gave ground stubbornly in the woods and they held their ground until the Prince of Orange was mortally wounded.   At this point, the 5th division arrived.  I figured I’d better put it into gear so ordered elements of Bachleus and Foys division on a bayonet charge against the disordered Dutch/Belgian/Nassau troops.  I drove them back to the road.  I made the 5th pay with a barrage of artillery and was driving the allied line everywhere.   My attack petered out at the road and one of the batteries of artillery fired double canister into the side of one of Jeromes line units as it advanced to the outskirts of town.  The game degenerated into a tale of two flanks.  The Militia units were roughly handling Jeromes elements in Bosu woods while Bachleu’s division gave a good account of itself on the English left.

This is as close as it gets. One of Jerome's brigades gets a whif of grapeshot....twice!

This is as close as it gets. One of Jerome’s brigades gets a whif of grapeshot….twice!

I summoned Obi-Wan to use his Jedi Mind tricks but the English proclaimed that they would have no effect.  :D

I summoned Obi-Wan to use his Jedi Mind tricks but the English proclaimed that they would have no effect. 😀

Brunswick cavalry stalled in front of Bachleu's division.

Brunswick cavalry stalled in front of Bachleu’s division.  Note the last bayonet charge by one of Foy’s brigades.  It would fail miserably and flee the Nassauers.

Kellerman arrives and is put to immediate use.  The Curassiers took close range canister and vaporized.  The Dragoons faltered and never charged home.  Lucky Nassauers!

Kellerman arrives and is put to immediate use. The Curassiers took close range canister and vaporized. The Dragoons faltered and never charged home. Lucky Nassauers!

A view of the battle for the woods looking east.  Pack's Hanoverian militia attempt to charge but falter and fall back.

A view of the battle for the woods looking east. Pack’s Hanoverian militia attempt to charge but falter and fall back.

The battle saw Foy, Jerome and Bachleu all fall in combat.  On the allied side, Picton, Perponcher and Slender Billy were casualties.  It was a fun game played over two nights.  We called it when we realized that it would have ended in a bloody slug-fest.  The allies had plenty of infantry and the French plenty of cavalry.  Minor victory to the Allies.

Side note: The roads are made of paper.  They can be purchased from Wargame Vault.  my only gripe is that they slide very easily.  Toward the end of the game we didn’t bother straightening them.  I may try adding a bit of sand paper to the bottom to see if that helps.

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One Hour Wargames with my son

May 19, 2015

I’ve been getting a fair bit of wargaming in lately…A fair bit for me anyway.  My son was watching my friend Ian and I play out some of the Quatre Bras game as a play-test.  Naturally he asked when we would get to play “…and not the Hobbit again.” he said.    Not that he didn’t like The Hobbit but that he wanted to try something on a bigger scale, or so I supposed.  So, I put together a One Hour Wargames Dark Ages battle.  Essentially, we ended up with Britons vs more Britons.  I setup the first scenario in the book “Pitched Battle.”  Essentially, the battlefield consists of a hill at the center of each baseline and flat plane everywhere else.  The armies were 6 units strong.  He had a cavalry, 4 heavy infantry and a skirmisher.  I had a cavalry, 4 heavy infantry and warband.

I suspect I had the advantage but opted to charge straight ahead.  he charged straight ahead in the same fashion.  The cavalry and infantry were all locked up by turn 4 and formed 6 little struggles all over the battlefield.  The skirmishers managed 2 shots during the game but scored no hits.  They did considerably better in hand to hand combat.  I rolled many 1’s (I was playing a 7 year old after all!).  He managed the first kill on my Warband.  As it was near the flank, he opted to maneuver to the flank of my cavalry and charge it a turn later.  He then had 2 units running free.  He charged into the flanks of my heavy infantry units in the center.  He then destroyed the one fighting his other heavy infantry unit in the center.  My other heavy infantry unit finally destroyed first his skirmishers and then turned and destroyed his cavalry.  On or about turn 8 he finished me off by destroying one of my heavy infantry units on the right straight up.  The other unit was destroyed by a flank charge.

My son’s impression of the game was not favorable.  He said that it was too boring.  “How do you mean?” I asked. Units just get stuck and nothing really happens except die rolling he said.    To translate, I suspect he means there were not enough tactical decisions to be made.  He did say, “I think these guys with bows should be able to retreat from combat after the enemy attacks them.”  Came up with that all by himself and it is not really a bad rule.  7 years old and already tinkering!

My impressions were a bit different.  I thought it worked pretty well for Dark Age warfare.  You can form a shield wall and go at it while trying to gain that little edge that might win you the battle.  The battle will turn based on what happens in the first few turns.  Had I really been playing, I would have ignored his skirmishers and doubled up one of his heavy infantry units.  Even with my poor die rolling, it would have been a much closer game that way.  The other possibility would be to have my warband go after the flank of one of his heavies while isolating his light infantry on the other side of the line.

The warfare of the period is just a simplified version of classical warfare and to this point, the game delivers.  So, this may not be the game for him.  I also have “Throw me a 6” on my “Old School” page.  It has a few more intricacies and even has some retreating as a combat result so maybe that will be more to his liking.  Maybe.