The Good Soldier Svjek (*) recently posted a comment on this blog to the effect that we really need Spitting Image at the moment. However, it seems to me that political life in Britain has transcended the ability of satire to mock it and so I am going to do something unexpected and write about wargaming.
Firstly an apology. I may have given the impression that I didn't think James would be able in the time allotted to come up with a hybrid of Classic Piquet and Field of Battle for use with his ever-growing Peninsular Napoleonic forces. Well he did, and they proved very playable. We are still in that phase of rule development where things change constantly (**), but to be fair the elements moving are either minor tweaks or are related to the bane of Napoleonic rules writers, namely skirmishers. It is period where, especially at a scale where each unit represents a battalion, one wants to be able to recreate all the different formations: line, attack column, square etc, an important element of most of which is clouds of skirmishers out in front. Nevertheless there is a very good reason why the designers of many sets of rules choose to abstract the skirmishers away, namely that it is all a bit difficult. Still, in our case one factor overrides them all: James has painted them and he is bloody well going to use them. Indications are that we'll end up with a compromise whereby they are physically present on the table, but more as a marker reflecting the state of their parent unit than anything else.
The game itself, played over two weeks, was a resounding British victory. One reason we wanted to move away from FoB was that we couldn't see how French columns could ever reach the British lines, let alone defeat them when they got there. Our first pass at the new improved rules seemed, to me at least, to suffer from the same issue, but hopefully it's more a question of fine tuning than anything fundamental. We shall try again next week with some refinements to the rally rule. The position of the French wasn't helped by my deciding to launch an impetuous cavalry charge in the belief that they could capture one of the objectives before British reinforcements arrived. They couldn't.
Going back to rules which don't bother with skirmishers, I have also had a game of C&C Napoleonics with Otley's other wargamer. We had intended to finish our game of the Möckern scenario which was still set up in the annexe, but it was so long since we played the first time that I simply reset it and we did it over again. It turned out very differently - always a good sign - but ended with the almost inevitable French victory. A good time was had by all, and now that Keith has started to get the hang of C&C the obvious thing to do is to move on to a completely different game. I think I shall reset the table for some To the Strongest!.
* And I really hope that you have all been following the adventures of H.G Wells in Treboria on Tony's blog. That Miss Perkins is my sort of woman.
** Which of course we shall never leave.
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