Wednesday 7 February 2024

Lights, Camera, Action!

One of the joys of the Blogiverse are the ideas that can pop up unbidden whilst reading various posts on the Blogs I follow. This happened to me recently whilst SWMBO was watching or, more accurately, being completely engrossed in watching 'The Traitors' on the BBC. So left alone to my own devices I was reading the Heretical Gaming Blog and the Mollwitz AAR and decided to pick up Grant's The War Game to check out the scenario etc. Whilst perusing the book I had forgotten the small scenario in Chapter 12 called 'Action!' that was used to get a handle on the rules.

I immediately thought that this would make a nice and simple scenario that I could fit in on a 'Wargames Wednesday' whilst recovering from Covid. A few jotted notes followed and the game was set up as per the book, with the only tweaks being those for Honours of War, namely the 'National Differences' between the British and the French, the sides I chose for the fight. With both sides having the same troops, the only differences were the British Line Infantry were classed as 'Superior' for firing, whilst the French Cavalry were rated 'Inferior' and as luck would have it they rolled for a 'Dithering' commander.


The table set and the book that inspired the action. The French are on the left, the British the right.

The scenario itself and I must admit that I love the elegant simplicity of the map.



As is the norm now, I will allow the action to unfold via the captioned photos, as well as some gratuitous shots of the figures to try and increase followers to my Blog๐Ÿ˜‰!


The end of Turn 1. The French push forward en masse, whilst the British Line Infantry fail to advance and so the other troops have to try and align with them the best they can.

French Zouaves push through the woods.

"I'm right behind you chaps" could be heard as the British Cavalry advanced at the trot.

British Light Infantry rather well camouflaged in the wood.

Part of the French line.

The end of Turn 2. Both sides continue to close on one another, but the French Cavalry have second thoughts and stay put. Both sides Artillery is struggling to hit the proverbial 'barn door' at this point.

The French Zouves like the look of the Tudorbethan Barratz home.

The French commander in full on 'Dithering' mode.

The brave British Line. Flags from David @ Not By Appointment

The end of Turn 3. The French continue to push forward more quickly than the British, with the Zouaves occupying the Barratz BUA, but the French Cavalry are forced back by combined firing.

"These modern houses are tiny and they do look rather shoddily built..."

The lines are close enough to engage in musketry.

The French Cavalry suffer shooting from their front and flank...

... forcing them to retreat to reform.

The end of Turn 4. With the French Cavalry gone for the moment, the French left flank is hanging in the air. The British Light Infantry move out of the woods to engage the French line as the British Cavalry moves past them.

The Zouves easily loop hole the Barratz house and enfilade the British line, but just fail to force it back.

However the French line is not so lucky and one Line Infantry unit is routed.

The British Cavalry pass the Artillery.

The end of Turn 5. The French Cavalry once again dither when they were sorely needed to bolster the flank that was wide open. Both sides shooting is devastating, but the French come off the worst.

The British lose a Line Infantry unit, but the French are about to do the same as well as their Artillery.

Caught in the flank from the Barratz house is enough to rout the British Line Infantry.

The French about to be forced to retreat.

The inert French Cavalry.

As the French retreat the domino effect leads to them both routing.

The Zouaves with their dubious prize.

The British Cavalry eager to get to grips with the French.



End of Game
And suddenly it was all over as the French simply could no longer offer any meaningful resistance.

Post Game Thoughts
Well that was a nice little game that I could fit in for my 'Wargames Wednesday', with the actual action taking about an hour to play out. A few thoughts as always:
  • Initially I thought that having Horse Artillery would be better rather than Foot, but by Turn 2 both sides were close enough for the action to begin, even if the shooting was pretty poor. Also for a SYW game Foot Artillery is naturally the right choice.
  • Having the British rated Superior for Firing was just enough to give them the edge when it mattered.
  • The French did have a big handicap when they rolled for a Dithering commander on top of their Cavalry being classed as Inferior. This was just enough to allow the British a bit more room for manouevre which they used to good effect.
  • Once the British gained fire ascendancy it was hard for the French to get back into the game, as with so few units, there is not the time nor the numbers to fall back and reform etc, whilst keeping the enemy occupied.
  • This sort of engagement would work equally well with Sharpe Practice II or Rebels & Patriotsm but I liked the feel of it being a petite guerre action with the HoW rules.
  • Having read the first part of Horace St Paul's diary, this sort of action seemed to be quite common, with the Austrian's especially sending out a force composed of Grenzers, Grenadiers, Light Cavalry and Artillery ahead of their main force, whether to make contact with the enemy of to seize some ground in advance of the main force deploying etc. So something like this would make a nice start to a small campaign at some point in the future.

What Next?
I hope to fight Grant's version of Mollwitz soon, but this will most likely have to wait whilst we have our windows replaced next week, which will cause quite a bit of disruption for 3-4 days. At least I'm feeling pretty OK now so at least I might be able to get some painting in if i'm lucky...

TTFN.

34 comments:

  1. Looks like a great game, Steve! It strikes me that scenario could be really useful as a 'benchmark' for trying out various sets of rules - not sure why I hadn't thought of it before. Also nice to play out an 'old school' classic game, and connect with the charming world of 'The War Game'.

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    1. Thanks David and always good to give these 'Old School' scenarios a run out. I wasn't sure how well it would work out but was pleasantly surprised. You make a good point about 'benchmark' scenarios, especially for the 'black powder' era.

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  2. Splendid game Steve and as it happens we have just played a Grant scenario although somewhat simpler. Glad you are on the mend ๐Ÿ‘

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    1. Thanks Matt and nice to feel 'normal' again:).

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  3. Good news that you are feeling better! A great report of a great scenario - almost like a OHW scenario before the fact.

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    1. Thanks on both counts:)! A good point about this being pre-OHW, which I hadn't considered at all.

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  4. That looked like a great little game Steve!

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    1. It was Keith and the sort of size that would fit in on your 3' x 3' table.

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  5. This was a fun report to read and the table and figs looked very good. Nice to see SYW done in 15mm. I believe I have a copy of the Grant book somewhere and now I want to revisit it. I find that as I get older with few years before than behind me, old school simple rules have more attraction. Thanks for this post.
    Cheers, Michael

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    1. Very glad you enjoyed it Michael! FYI the figures are 10mm but are so well sculpted, the detail is as good as 15mm-20mm. Certainly these days simple but not simplistic rules tick all the boxes for me, making for a much more pleasurable gaming experience.

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  6. A neat scenario and game. The 10mm figures do look good, was it a 3x4 foot tabletop?

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    1. Thanks Peter! The table top was 3 1/2' x 2 1/2', so not far off. I find size this works really well for most of my Black Powder era games, as it equates to a 7' x 5' one for say 28mm figures.

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  7. Good to see a report that your health is improving! An excellent little scrap, Steve. Many of these old, simple scenarios have so much unmined potential for later generations. Table and troops look fab.

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    1. Thanks Jon and I feel back to normal now, which is great:). Glad you like the look etc and I agree that these old school simple scenarios have lots going for them. I hope to give some more of them a run out in due course.

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  8. The blogaverse does have a tendency to infect people with fun ideas. best avoided.
    nice little game with a few units. and glad that you are feeling better.
    ๐Ÿ˜

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    1. I must admit that recently my inner wargames butterfly has wanted to flap its wings due to temptation from the Blogosphere;)!

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  9. Nice one Steve. How useful the TV can be in distrcting one's other half! Personally, I have much to thank Strictly and Call the Midwife for. An excuse to exit the room and use the time for more serious pursuits!

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    1. Thanks Keith! Snooker, tennis and football are gauranteed free time for me every year, then certain tv series as mentioned. Happy days;)!

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  10. Enjoyed your report Steve. The game looked good. Often simple is best.

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    1. Thanks Richard and the KISS approach certainly works for me these days.

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  11. There is an absolute charm to the ‘old’ style maps and teaser situations, the fingerprint of Grant and Featherstone et al, evoke such nostalgic pleasure. We seem to be missing this approach in modern writings and then I note that Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy magazine is tending towards a return of similar games on the dining / kitchen table.

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    1. There is more than a smattering of nostalgia with these maps for sure, but I find their elegant simplicity wonderful and for me, much easier to digest when setting up a game. Glad to hear that WS&S is showcasing smaller games that we can all fit into our homes without too much effort etc. I remember years back even White Dwarf magazine showing games that could be played during a lunchbreak.

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  12. I was clearly paying only limited attention, but when I first flicked through the images I kept wondering “where are those lovely elephants?”. Luckily, a more leisurely re-read soon put me straight. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I agree the battle map looks great. It’s very reminiscent of those in Battle for Wargamers magazine.
    Let’s hope the weather is fine when you’re having your windows replaced ๐Ÿฅถ On the positive side, when your old windows are taken out at least it’ll let more light in (but also a fair bit of coldness too).
    It’s good to hear you’re on the mend Steve, hopefully you’ll be back to 100% soon.
    Cheers,
    Geoff

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    1. Pay attention at the back there Geoff๐Ÿ˜‰! The weather is not looking great to be honest, but at least scaffolding will be up to help provide some shelter from the elements. A lot will depend upon wind direction of course. All good on the health front now, famous last words!

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  13. A splendid little game, Steve. (And good to see some of my flags in action too. Thanks for the advert! :-)) The game is proof (if it were needed) that we don't need to play huge battles to have a good time. I'm sure Charles Grant would be delighted his wonderful book is still providing inspiration too. Good luck with the window replacement and continuing good health.

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    1. Thanks David! Credit where credit is due on your flags, which I see on quite a few Blogs I follow, where with 28mm figures they do look superb:). I've been perusing some other 'old school' books and have some more scenarios already lined up, too many in fact and keep getting distracted when really I should get some painting done!

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  14. That was a great looking game and seemed to play very well, giving the Brits the advantages seemed historical and worked well.

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    1. Thanks Ray and glad you enjoyed it. I've not really played Brits vs French before, so this was fun and felt right from what I've read.

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  15. Great looking game, lovely size, didn't know zouaves were a thing in the French army before the 19th century but they look splendid anyway!
    Best Iain caveadsum1471

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    1. Thanks Iain! I don't think they did have Zouaves then, so just pure artistic licence on my part, or one could argue I was simply too lazy to see what French light troops were called then๐Ÿ˜‰.

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  16. Fantastic looking game and great 18th century eye candy.


    Willz.

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