Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Mighty Mexican Mean-Fowt Fight

Republican Infantry
The following is the report of a game I didn't intent to play.

With an idle Saturday spread before me, I thought that I might spend some of it on another Donald Featherstone tribute game. After the fun of Thursday's ACW game, I wanted to try out the ACW infantry/cavalry/artillery setup from 'Battles With Model Soldiers' using my own Mighty Mean-Fowt Fights rules, using a terrain that was as close to Featherstone's original as I could - a couple of small woods, and a wall in the middle. To get the right proportions for the original scenario, I settled on six units of infantry, two cavalry and one artillery.

The thing was, that I couldn't find my green gridded cloth. In looking for it I found my chessboard instead. OK, I thought, I'll run my ACW game in the west, Valverde-style. That'll be a bit different. But whilst sorting out the terrain I found my 6mm Mexican Adventure figures. And they looked so lonely and unloved I thought ... why not?

So it was that a planned ACW game became an encounter in Mexico between a force of Republicans and Imperial troops loyal to the French puppet-emperor Maximilian, sometime around 1865 or 1866.

Even the terrain got adjusted. The woods became dense cactus tickets (same effect), and the wall became a complete farm. Albeit with walls. The walls, were just that - linear cover. The buildings blocked line of sight as well. The roads were just for show.

Here are the Republicans.

Here are the Imperial Mexicans. I decided to add in some troop quality, as it's a big thing in the Mexican Adventure, so each force has three poor militia infantry units, two regular and one elite. The cavalry and artillery were regular. In this army the elite infantry are troops from the Austrian Legion.

I also randomised the entry of the troops. Each turn I diced for each unit; it needed a 5-6 to enter that turn. I also diced for entry point, with the infantry and artillery entering on one of the six squares in the middle of their edge, and the cavalry tending to appear on the flanks.

The Imperials started badly, getting only one unit on the table on their first turn.

The initial Republican forces were more substantial.

After a few turns there were more troops on the board, and they were forming up and advancing towards the farm. The farm was an objective, of sorts; for each building a side occupied, they could ignore one of their lost units when it came to determining if their army had broke - essentially they gained a morale bonus.

The Imperial infantry all appeared on their right flank.

Most of the Republicans appeared opposite them. It was obvious that this was where the main battle would be fought.

The Republicans were better positioned to take the farm, however. This was the first exchange of musketry. I used shorter ranges for this game - two squares for infantry and four for artillery.

On the other flank there was a cavalry skirmish. Changes to the rules for cavalry saw them unable to dismount, but they were not penalised when fighting steady infantry to the front (a change I'm working on in the main ACW set).

The Republicans fell back disordered.

The other flank now saw the steady crackle of, mostly ineffective, musketry.

Whilst back on the Imperial left, the Republican cavalry routed.

The Imperial cavalry then moved to threaten the Republican artillery.

On the other flank things were hotting up. But there had still been no significant casualties.

The Republican artillery demoralised one unit of Imperial cavalry. It was to remain that way for the rest of the game.

More fighting on the other flank.

The Republicans had now occupied one of the farm-buildings, albeit with a militia unit. The Imperials massed for an assault.

And in they went ...

The pushed the Republicans out of the building, but only temporarily (a failing in the rules - victorious units do not pursue or take ground; I need to come up with something really, but I played the game as written for now).

The other Imperial cavalry unit charged the Republican artillery. But there was infantry coming up in suupport.

The cavalry retreated. Again, it would remain demoralised for the rest of the game, neutralising the Imperial cavalry threat to the Republican right.

An Imperial unit routed under sustained Republican fire.

The Austrians were now assaulting the farm, but the militia defenders held on.

A demoralised Republican unit quietly slipped away from the battle.

But an Imperial one routed after being charged by lancers.

The fighting continued.

And another Republican unit routed.

However the Republicans were firmly ensconced in the farm, and their cavalry was causing issues on the Imperial right. A round of musketry saw the Imperials fall back to regroup, looking very shaky.

From the Republican point of view, things were looking good.

Republican infantry was now driving the Imperial cavalry back.

But they couldn't quite finish it.

The Austrians renewed their attack on the farm, but were soundly beaten, and routed, which was enough to give the game to the Republicans.

This was an enjoyable fight, using figures I haven't had out since before we emigrated. The rules worked OK, but I'm still convinced that they can do with more tweaking. I'm still not happy with the close combat resolution (I carried on experimenting with a simultaneous roll variant), but will eventually come up with something, I'm sure. On the whole the rules worked well for the Mexican Adventure, and I may try some more games using them.


  1. How about "A Unit that destroys or forces an enemy unit to retreat may occupy the enemy' square, maintaing its original orientation, if it does not itself have a Demoralisation marker on it."?

    Even if you don't like the rule, how's my Barkerese?

    1. The Barkerese is excellent :)

      I'm not worried abut the demoralisation markers - pursuing with them is fine, as having one in the presence of any enemy is a big risk. Otherwise, for this ear, I'd have pursuit only happen if you are the phasing player (the one who initiates close combat). Then it's compulsory for cavalry and optional for infantry who have just destroyed or forced to retreat an enemy defending linear cover or buildings. It would be modified for the ACW original, though.

  2. Creative and very nice looking game!


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