Monday, 10 March 2014
The Portable Northern War Positional Defence
I've put together a few ideas for what is effectively a non-period specific set of horse and musket square-grid rules. Obviously they owe lots to Battle Cry, Memoir '44 and projects by various other gamers. I won't post them yet, because they are at a stage I wouldn't even dignify with the word 'Draft'. But they are at stage where I felt able to try them out in a quick game, even if most of the ideas are still floating around inside my head.
I have already decided that I want a larger square-grid; I'm aiming these rules at a 12x8 grid (which is also close to the Battle Cry/Memoir '44 board as well, which I think are 9x13 hexes). However for this test game I just stuck to my ordinary 8x8 board.
I decided to play a wargames classic - the Positional Defence from Charles S. Grant's 'Scenarios For Wargames'. This is, of course, a simplified version of the 1745 Battle of Fontenoy as well. I used my Russians and Swedes, all still in various stages of completion - indeed the Russian infantry went into battle with PVA glue still setting on their bases.
Here's the setup. The Swedes are attacking. Because of the size of the board I halved all forces listed in the scenario. I also dropped the light troops. I have rules for light infantry and cavalry, but wanted to keep things simple in this game. You'll also notice that, because of the reduced game size, there's only one artillery redoubt between the main villages.
A close-up of the attacking Swedes. They had the advantage of all being painted. One Russian artillery unit, and their general, were still in naked plastic for this game.
The Swedes attacked aggressively with their cavalry at first, and drove the Russian cavalry back. This left one of their units too far forward, though, and it was wiped out by musketry. The Swedish right made the main attack, aiming for the central village.
After softening it up with artillery fire, the Swedes assaulted the village ...
... and took it.
The Russians counter-attacked and retook it. This was combined with a cavalry attack on the Swedish right, a move which pushed the Swedes over their break-point, causing them to call off the attack.
The end of the battle. The Swedish left was advancing towards the far village, but too slowly to influence the game.
I still need to make a lot of tweaks to the game, and write down the things that are in my head before I forget them. Cavalry following up in melee was too powerful, for example, and I need to decide how many activation dice a side gets by a better means. But most of the rules worked OK at this stage, and the game, whilst short, was fun.