Saturday, November 07, 2015

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 5 - "Bridgehead" - Set up & Game

Without a doubt the "One Hour Wargames" book has quite possibly been the best ten pounds I've spent all year...

Certainly it has triggered a substantial re-surge in the number of games I've played - this is the fifth scenario I've played never mind other non-book related games, and I only played 6 games in the previous two years!

Clearly, small games, a clear challenge, and Skype are the answer - well for me (and I hope DG!)

So it was that on Thursday last week I thought "I fancy a game", shortly followed by "we haven't played a scenario from One Hour wargames in a while" - the challenge was issued and DG accepted...

So the following game was played out on the standard 4' square table I usually use for the scenario's (I think he recommends 3' square DBA style in the book, but with my TSS terrain tiles 4' is easier) - as we had enjoyed the last game (#4 "Take the High Ground" [clicky]), we decided to make this an American Civil war outing as well...

The premise is a contested river crossing where both sides are trying to consolidate a hold on one edge of the river; I played Union, and was the defender - DG the Confederate/attacker. I started the game with one unit on table on the contested river bank side - DG's job was to clear all Union troops by end game (turn 15).

Forces were random - 6 units again (as per the previous scenario's) but with the added complication that not all forces are on table at the start of the game - they arrive on set turn numbers, and in the case of the Confederates from one of three random entry points...

DG suggested that for this game we use the rules straight out of the can - so the game was played using the two page (!) set in the book.

I modified the random table we used in the last game (Neil doesn't differentiate between small arms types, so the rifle armed column was redundant)

Infantry
Musket
Infantry
Rifle
Zouaves Artillery Cavalry
1
4
-
1
1
-
2
4
-
-
1
1
3
4
1*
1
-
-
4
4
1*
-
1
-
5
4
1*
-
-
1
6
3
-
1
1
1

*Roll again 1/2/3 = Inf Musket, 4/5/6 = Zouave

For this game DG rolled 1, I rolled 5, my modified roll  coming up "Zouaves"..

So on to the game..  DG won the dice roll for first move and brought his first troop on (the artillery and two regiments of musket infantry), I started the game with my Zouaves deployed on the contested side and started to give fire..

The following is a couple of moves later (turn 2 or 3) - DG's artillery is about to deploy, my Zouaves are blasting away, my first reinforcements are coming over the bridge (by the by - I reckon that Bellona bridge is getting on for over 35 years old now), but so are DG's..  that's the Tigers in the distance...


Three or four moves later and I'm already sunk....  my cavalry was destroyed (there is no option for close assault/melee in Neil's rules - our assumption is that given the level of abstraction in the rules, he didn't think bayonet to bayonet, or sabre to sabre action took place often enough to be representative), as were my Zouaves - the last of my reinforcements are filtering over the bridge...


End game..  in this move and the one after the unit contesting the wood was destroyed, as was the unit facing the Confederate zouaves - combined fire power is the key in these rules..


Too little too late I decided to try an alternative strategy - holding my infantry back for the last move and a quick final assault - but they were destroyed in turn.. the Confederate yell whipped out across the table...

Post Match Analysis:
  • The rules are very (very) simple, but they gave a quite enjoyable game (I thought - and I lost! ); at the nub of them is the premise that there is no melee (as mentioned), but that you either move or fire - you can't do both....  there are no cover rules (apart from town and wood), there are no formation rules (just lay the unit out in the formation that seems fit), there are no movement modifiers for terrain.. they are simple, but it certainly frees the mind to think about what you are doing...
  • Given the aim of the game is to capture the opposite river bank then the Union player is almost always moving, all the other player has to do is get two or three units in place and then leave them still...  the dice will do the rest (each unit scores a D6 when it fires, some negative mods for artillery and cavalry, units destroyed when they get to 15 hits) DG destroyed my entire army, I managed to destroy just one of his units...  a narrow win for him then, but I graciously conceded
  • The game took 13 turns to get a result - the scenario allowed 15 - and I think we completed in a little over an hour...
  • The game winner for DG was the artillery (I think) - a 48" range meant that he could strike out anywhere on the table...
  • I'd like to play this game again as I have some idea's for alternative tactics
    1. Deploy the single Union unit at the start of the game in the wood...
    2. Deploy the Union army behind the river bank and force the Confederate player to come to you..  keep one unit in reserve to dash the bridge at the opportune moment
    3. ..I'm sure there are others... 

2 comments:

  1. There is definitely a time and place for short and simple. I didn't mind the ommision of a charge to contact but was tempted to add a 1/2 casualties over 1/2 range rule so that players could have a choice of tactics and an option for lower risk/low reward pinning or harrassing attacks (skirmishing in effect) as well as the full bore bloody firefight.

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    Replies
    1. Ross - you read our minds... DG knocked up some possible changes he thought the rules needed in order to add nuance and we've been batting them back and forth for a few days. Casualty calculation by range is one of them... the clever bit is to keep the essence of the rules (fast/simple) while putting in those bits we really did think were missing..

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