I hosted my Don Featherstone Quatre Bras game with the guys from the game group. There were four of us playing. Matthew and Brian were the French while Chris and I were the Engl…er…British. Matthew did not no much about the Napoleonic wars but did quite well considering he really didn’t know much about the tactics of the time. Brian knew about the battle and did fine. Chris also knew something of the period and despite his incredible (bad) luck with the dice, also managed to fight in true Dutch-Belgian style. Stuff went right. Stuff went wrong. But he held up the French advance long enough for the reinforcements to arrive. Some pictures that carry us through the “high water mark.”
A view of the battlefield. The 2nd Division is in position around Gemioncourt and the Bosu Woods.
The French Advance. Note: Someone (me) forgot to move the 95th.
Bachlu sends 1 brigade to take Thyle. The other brigade is sent in support of Foy’s division.
A whiff of grapeshot. The Chasseurs attempt to overrun the Dutch battery.
3:00. Jerome arrives on the field with his division. The allies are barely holding on.
No resistance. Bachlus 2nd brigade advances from Thyle to rejoin the fight.
3:00 Wellington arrives along with the 5th division. The regiment of Dutch Hussars near the woods would take massive casualties from artillery fire and quit the field.
Kellerman arrives with his division. The French lines have rapidly advanced and now are deployed.
4:00. The Brunswick legion enter the fray. The light infantry help restore the deteriorating situation in the woods.
It was getting late and I must have gotten engrossed in the battle because I forgot to take any more pictures. To sum up, the French threw in their heavy cavalry against the Hanoverian Landwehr and drive them back. Unfortunately, the militia managed to retreat out of the cavalry range and the charge lost steam. The Dragoons hit a British battery head on but could not manage to get that 4th hit to wipe them out. To make matters worse, the dragoons were driven back. I guess the Colonel leading the charge lost his nerve. In the woods, the Dutch and Nassau regiments fought valiantly. The Dutch regiment got pinned down and spent most of the game near its starting position taking casualties from just about everywhere. It held on for a surprisingly long time and even inflicted a few casualties on the heavy battery that rolled into musket range. The Belgian militia and the Jagers did well in the battle holding back the tide of the advancing French. In short, the battle ebbed and flowed as it did in the real battle.
Brian thought the battle was a Pyrrhic French victory…not too different from history. I felt the French still had a chance but I do admit that they did not inflict enough casualties to even the odds before reinforcements arrived. It was a great day of fun and games. There was plenty of game talk, anecdotes and other banter at the table and we still managed 8 turns in about 4 hours. The game moved along at a good pace and I don’t think anyone was bored waiting for their turn.
The rules still have some minor issues. Cavalry seem a bit too susceptible to shooting casualties. A suggestion was to have infantry fire at long range when cavalry are charging. Maybe artillery won’t fire double canister at charging cavalry as they may want to run before the cavalry get so close! Also, I am not sure if the close to contact roll is warranted. The “being charged” check works fine and dictates what the unit does. however, really the “charging check” is a matter of they close to contact or they don’t. In Don’s original rules, a charging unit gets stopped cold if it receives 25% or more casualties when charging. Otherwise, it charges home. It’s a nice off and on effect and is still dictated by the casualties received. Two things worth testing.