Saturday, 14 February 2015

One-Hour Wargames - Scenario 3 - Control The River

The third scenario in One-Hour Wargames is the first one to feature terrain other than hills - we get a river and a wood. The aim is to control both fords at the end of the game.

I used my 9" board and terrain again, as well as my 6mm Liberation armies. But this time I switched rules to my own Liberated Hordes HOTT variant. This can be found on the Free Stuff part of this blog, but at present the version there is very out of date. I'm in the process of writing up the latest version and will post it when it's ready.

I say I used my HOTT variant. What I actually used was a variant of the variant. I thought that it would be interesting to keep the game at six units per side, and that required some adjustments to the game. Firstly I dropped generals; all elements would be in command at all times. On the downside you can't attach a general to boost morale in combat. In addition I dropped the PIPs to 1D3. With six units it should be possible to keep the army in three or fewer groups, and once the army breaks up you should be forced into decisions as to how to reorganise.

I used 1" to 100p, which seems to work OK even with the 1" frontage elements. As I've stated elsewhere it's basically applying the DBA 3.0 dynamic to HOTT. On a small board it made for very rapid movements, but the OHW rules allow for some pretty swift moves as well, and that doesn't have a PIP system limiting whether units can move at all.

In addition I stuck to the OHW rules on breakpoints - there aren't any. An army would fight until time ran out or it lost all of its elements. I also didn't apply any troop quality.

So, once again Bolivar's Republicans faced a local Royalist commander, with control of a river at stake.

I had each army deploy along the board edge at the point and in the groups they would enter by. Some groups would not necessarily enter on the first turn, depending on how much the army was split up and how many PIPs you got.

To the left of the picture are the Royalists, with three infantry, two cavalry (one of which got left out of the picture) and a skirmisher. The Republicans to the right had four infantry, one cavalry and one skirmisher.

The position after the first pair of bounds - the Royalists had pushed forward in a  single group, with one flank covered by their cavalry and the other by a skirmisher. The Republicans sent their cavalry and some infantry to take the furthest ford, whilst the rest of the infantry and the skirmishers moved around the woods towards the other.

You'll notice I put generals on the table; they are just garnish.

The Royalist cavalry pushed across a ford and attacked the Republican llaneros on the other side. I treated the river as being impassable except for the fords, but treated them as road fords, which in HOTT do not give a defensive bonus; I felt that the overlaps you could get from a good defensive setup would be advantage enough.

The cavalry lost, but the Republicans pursued, and a to and fro fight developed. The Republican infantry supported the fight with musketry to which the Royalists had no reply.

Royalist infantry moved up to support their cavalry.

One of their cavalry units routed, but the other finally managed to push all of the way across the ford. Unfortunately this left it somewhat isolated ...

... and they were cut down.

Meanwhile on near the other ford the two side's infantry were exchanging shots. The British Legion took one volley and fled.

An overview of the battle after four or five turns shows the Royalists with a strong infantry centre uncommitted to either ford, whilst a firefight rages at the furthest ford. Near the woods the Republicans are beginning to cross the river uncontested.

Republican infantry crossed the river and turned onto the Royalist right flank. This was held by skirmishers which in Liberated Hordes are a little tougher than those in OHW, but not by much.

In the distance the Republican cavalry attacked across the ford ...

... whilst the Royalist skirmishers fled.

The Royalists were now down to the two infantry units at the ford. One was flanked by infantry and destroyed by another cavalry charge.

The other faced a couple of volleys from across the river, and it too broke.

The end. Ten turns into the game and the Republicans have total control of the field.

I quite enjoyed how this game played out. Unlike the OHW rules, and variants I've tried, the combat is not attritional, so a unit can fight for turn after turn with no ill effects only to suddenly disappear due to a poor roll. But the rate at which the losing army collapsed seemed to be about the same as that in the OHW rules. And there's no marking of casualties of course. The PIP system forces decisions about where to attack or improve your position, and encourages armies to stick together for support. How this will work with some of the other scenarios remains to be seen.

Follow the rest of the scenario refights HERE


  1. Every new post of this series is better than the other!
    Thanks for sharing Alan!
    I was curious about the comparison between OHW and HOTT-DBA, I am a big fan of DBA (especially the early versions), but I couldn´t imagine how to adapt the PIP system to 6 elements.
    Your adaptations look very promising.
    In this set of rules: Troops move faster but fire ranges are shorter than in OHW?

    P.S.: also this time, I am happy with the outcome of the battle :-)

    1. I tried test games with D6 PIPs, and there was no point to it - you could pretty much move everything you wanted to.

      Units do move faster in this version, and single elements are also a lot more manueverable than the OHW units. The downside is that you can only move if you have PIPs, so you need to stay in groups or accept that you only get to make your rapid moves every couple of turns. So average movement is probably much the same, if not less. Firing ranges are shorter, but not by a lot.

      The relative moves and ranges would change if I scaled the board up. I did try this scenario with 12 element armies on a 16" board, and the games was a lot different. The first one was really two different battles, as I made the river impassable except at the fords, so it boiled down into attacks across the fords at silly odds. In a second game I used the normal HOTT rules, so the river was fordable along its entire length, but much more easily crossed (and less easy to defend) at the fords. This was a more satisfying game, with the action still focusing on the fords, but an attempt in the centre to force a crossing and turn onto one of the flanks. The result would disappoint you - Bolivar lost, killed trying to rally the infantry unit whose loss broke the army.

    2. I have som doubts:

      Are these the move and fire ranges you employed for this battle?:
      Move: Cavalry 4"/Skirmishers 3"/Infantry-Artillery 2"
      Firing: Infantry and Skirmishers 2"/Artillery 6"

      The HOTT version employed is 2.1?

      A little out off topic but related in some way:
      For the South American Campaigns you played with paper soldiers and Liberated Hordes: Have you employed the standard terrain rules or the one you described here:

    3. Yes, those were the distances I used.

      For OHW I use Infantry at 4cm, Skirmishers at 6cm and Cavalry at 8cm. Compare this to HOTT where the rates are 5cm, 7.5cm and 10cm, but a unit can't necessarily move every turn. I realise that this is offset against the fact that in HOTT troops that move can still fight, unlike OHW where you move quickly but then establish static firing lines.

      The different rules give different games, but oddly enough they both feel right, within their limits.

      As for your other question, for my paper army Liberated Hordes games I am either fighting actual battles, in which case I use the terrain they have, or I use the random terrain system derived from DBA 3.0. If you choose terrain as per HOTT2.1 you can get the same battlefields, but you don't, because people rarely choose those layouts.

    4. Thank you very much for your answer.
      The most drastic change I note is the artillery range which is halved and as this troops can not move and fire in the same, I suppose it will make some difference.

  2. That's a fun looking game with nicely painted wee-men!


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