Saturday, August 23, 2008

Disciplined 'v' Irregulars..

I very rarely go on holiday without something wargame related sneaking it's way into the car - usually I take a couple of sets of rules, and some scenario books - with those, and the judicious use of some coloured pens and paper, a game is possible anywhere...

This year I also took the green baize so the game almost looked good - no not really, but just a brief post to let you know how it went.

The scenario was no. 3 in Grant and Asquith's "Scenario's for All Ages" and was titled "Disciplined versus Irregulars". Briefly a small force of regulars is trying to cross the table in the face of a significantly larger irregular force. The downside for the irregular force is that in addition to any reductions in morale etc. as a result of being irregular, they are also armed only with hand to hand weapons apart from just one unit.

I scaled down the number of units per side as described in the scenario by half, and also dropped the cavalry allocation for the irregulars as I decided to set the game in the American war of Independence with a regular British force facing up to several bands of Woodland Indians lead by one band of colonial militia (ie. the rifle armed unit).

So without further ado, here are the orders of battle for each side:

1.Line infantry
2.Line infantry
3.Line infantry
4.Light Artillery
5.Light Cavalry

1. - 7.Forest Indians
8.Colonial Militia (Muskets)

For units I used some filing cards that I found in the local supermarché. Having made cards for each of the American units, I then added an additional 3 blank one's (for some fog of war), turned them all over and shuffled them well. Still face down, I then placed them in the deployment area's described by the scenario. The intention of the fog of war was to add a frisson of excitement as I was playing solo - theoretically, I could end up with either flank being enemy heavy.... or not....

The table was covered with the green baize, two books made hills ('gentle slopes'), and I cut out a couple of bits of paper to represent woods ('light/open') - and when it was finished looked amazingly like the following:

This shows the initial deployment half way through move one - with the British just beginning to enter the table, and before the Indians have moved.

The British choose to enter in column, and in the order, cavalry first, then two infantry, the artillery, and then last unit of infantry.

When the Indians moved I opted to reveal all the cards at that point, and it transpired that all the dummies cards were on the Indian right flank, the militia were on the left.

With the Indians I opted for a flank attack on the right, bending around the hill to keep the British rear something to worry about, while I used my rifle armed troops to keep the British advance guard occupied.

A fine plan indeed, and it all went downhill for the Indians from there! :o)

Initially the British manoeuvred hesitantly; Indians in melee are a force to be reckoned with, and I was concerned at what might happen if I got to grips. The problem for the Indians, though, was that they had no distance weapons so were:

  • unable to stop the British units charging home (and with charge bonuses this offset the Indian superiority in hand to hand)

  • were unable to charge home themselves (they were invariably stopped within charge reach by good British fire) a result the British started getting to grips just as soon as they could with the expected results.

..and so the game progressed - in the end I have to say that even with the numbers the Indians were never going to win - an alternative strategy will be needed the next time I play (and no doubt I will play it again!)

End of the game - the little black dots were pieces of gravel I was using to mark morale status (nothing like making do!) - as you can see most of the Indian units have two, which indicates "rout".

So, an overwhelming British victory..

Post Match Analysis:

  • For all the fact it was so one-sided it was an interesting game, definitely want to play it again, but I have an idea what I need to do to improve the "balance":

    • For this game I used British regulars which in my rules get firing bonuses, to even up the game the irregular force should be as is, except that next time I would make them to be British allies, and the American regulars to be militia - no "European regular" firing bonus should even the game slightly!

    • The morale was key - Indians are good in close combat but flighty - once the British caused a morale check it is difficult for them to recover, and usually in this game resulted in morale degradation/rout... for the next game it may be better to modify the morale ratings slightly - better grade warriors should be more "sticky"

  • I was thinking that this game would excellent if set in the Sudan, using the Gilder rules - irregular Dervish versus "second" line Imperial troops - Egyptians a la Hicks Pasha perhaps


  1. Steve,

    This sounds like it was a very interesting game . . . and you certainly were creative in "making do". I like it.

    -- Jeff

  2. I don't understand... you were playing against yourself?

  3. Hi Moif - yes indeed, this was a solo effort... no spare room in the car for DG otherwise I would have taken him, and we'd have had a load more games! :o))