Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The most fought over house in Spain

One of our regular Thursday night games, but plans to try 'Napoleon' fell at the first hurdle, when we discovered we didn't have the expected extra figures available.

No matter there's always next time. and so instead we knocked up a large skirmish engagement instead, to try several formed bodies of troops at once, and to introduce cavalry and artillery to the game for the first time.

We also scraped together a scenario as we went; French artillery and hidden Voltigeurs were guarding a vital crossroads, whilst their reserves arrived, knowing that British troops were looking to take control of the vital road links. The British troops were similarly arriving piecemeal, but had a valuable mobile asset in terms of the 16th Light Dragoons. Not to mention a mounted Colonel in command.

But no Blunt! Today he was elsewhere, the points wouldn't allow for me to squeeze him in, as it was we tried a larger points game. And as an aside, it tells me I really need to rejig the points system as it is broken as soon as you use formed units.

Anyway, my cavalry dashed round the flank of the cannon so that any chance to fire was obscured by the house and the woods to its' rear. My infantry, and some of the French began to arrive, and I trusted to the blocking trees again to save me for now. I knew that if I could approach the cannon and accept one round of fire, there would be time to charge it down and capture it.

Of course and aspect of the rules is the timing of commands and then the carrying out of them. When I declared a charge with my cavalry against the gun, it turned out to be fatefully too far away. The Dragoons were left hanging! Naturally the Neils' cannon took full advantage.

BOOM! American gunners deputised for French, at the hands of my old Dogs of War Cannon!
At least he was only loaded with round shot, as we ruled he couldn't have preloaded with case shot. Still he was able to draw a line of fire through two cavalrymen, who alas were cut down. The Dragoons quickly withdrew.

Other French reserves arrived, in line with British support. The cavalry now failed two attempts to charge the white coated Westphalians in the flank, and the leisurely formed line to present us with no opportunity to attack. Elsewhere I began to encircle the advancing French column, which had gained the support of the Voltigeurs, who were hiding in the lee of the hill.

Again the British stumbled to unveil their trap. But similar problems beset the French too at times. A fierce exchange of fire developed, including the cannon, which managed to miss pretty spectacularly. The British did manage to get one charge in, but the effect was limited on a unit of 24 models that could absorb the damage like a sponge.
Both sides were suffering from a lack of commands, the British most tellingly but as the game drew to a close, the Dragoons finally managed to charge the cannon.

After twelve turns the Cavalry had taken the gun, but the large French formations held the ground assuredly, forcing back one attack and holding two others at bay. It was a classic draw.
It highlighted several weaknesses in the rules, particularly in terms of points, but also of troops not having certain automatic options when faced with threats. Still some simple fixes are all that is needed, in most cases, and a rethink of other points should clear it all up.
Overall a good tense game, with over a hundred models in play.

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