Thursday, 8 March 2018

The dog's spillocks

Wargamers of a certain age will no doubt recall with the same nostalgia as me Chapter 26 of Donald Featherstone's 'Advanced Wargames', the one on Engineering that contained rules on arcane subjects such as 'throttling down earthen banks' and 'spillocking'. I'm pretty sure that, at least in my middle aged wargaming renaissance, I had never actually put any of this into use; bridges have been blown up, they have never been constructed. But now, the time has come, because James' pontoon bridge has reached the table, cards have been turned, dice have been rolled, and it has been erected across the raging river. Or, as it turned out in this case, not erected across the raging river.

In the inevitable way of new toys, the unit of Prussian pioneers entrusted with building it rolled up as poor, followed by a battery of Russian howitzers knocking down the bits they did complete. Still, there's always next week. James and I, as the Prussians, put in a pretty average performance all round. We nearly lost within the first half hour because I completely misunderstood which road exit the Russians needed to capture to win and didn't bother to protect it. We also did a most peculiar little dance with half of our cavalry which achieve nothing except to waste a lot of initiative and present a flank to the same howitzers, thereby incurring heavy losses. Still, as someone immensely wise once said, there's always next week.

I must mention that the Russian guns that did all the damage were commanded by Mark Dudley, making a welcome return to the legendary wargames room, and showing a remarkable facility with a set of rules that been changed quite significantly since he last played them.

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