Saturday, February 4, 2012

Black Powder - French and British - Salamanca

Rules: Black Powder
Figures: Perry, Old Glory, Victrix
Table size: 6' x 10'

Two gamers visited from Baltimore and wanted to test play a game that they will run at Adepticon which will be held in Chicago in April; where I am sure the historical players will meet the warm embrace of the 40K players.  There were 4 French players and 3 British. The hypothetical scenario takes place near the battle of Salamanca. In the historical version the French and British lined up, stared at one another for the better part of the day and left the field as the Battle of Salamanca took place nearby. As war gamers we know this is not a fun night so we played out the battle as it may have happened. The goal is to hold the road and the church where the British 95th rifles have already deployed.

The British set up on the left, the French on the right
The British prefer line and have the ability of first fire. The British Guard units are elite so they can remove a disorder result. The command rating means they can execute orders on a result of 8 or less on 2D6. Highlanders, dragoons and hussars are also present. I believe there are 5 brigades so the French will need to break 3 of them to take the field.

British forces will advance in depth
The French are deployed on the opposite hill. There are 5 brigades as well and there are no elite units. The French center commander  is Foy and he has been given a rating of 9, better than the average rating of 8!

The French deploy ..the thin blue line?

An indication of how my night was about to go was revealed on the opening move as I roll a 12 when giving command. MERDE!!! Now we know the game could possibly end on turn 1 if I leave the board, so I am allowed to re roll my command dice.  I get one move as the brigade moves forward, the cavalry outpace the infantry with their 18" of movement.  The French right flank, shown below, advances off of the hill and deploys. The French left flank get 3 moves and advances to the church and is able to melee with the 95th rifles on turn 1! It is apparent that I am the slacker for the French.

French right wing advances and the British move to meet them
The French right successfully kick out the British rifles from the church. The 95th loses and leaves the field! Things look promising for the French as one of the objectives is in our control. The British move off the hill on turn 1 and fire casing 3 casualties which yields a shaken French unit. I send the Army commander to the town to rally the unit and remove a casualty on turn 2.  The shaken result is removed!
The French take the church and the British try to get it back
Uh Oh, the British Guards advance confidently against the center and move within 12" of the French. The guards have a stamina of 4 and will be hard to beat. We exchange fire over the next turn. I used an initiative move to change into attack column. I sacrifice fire power for a better chance to receive orders for a +1 command rating.

The Guards advance
The French right wing moves to the road and gets cavalry support from Lancers, dragoons and hussars.
The position gets full of units positioning at the end of turn 2.

Dragoons in the Center and the French right in the distance
The French left holds the position as the British move in with another rifle unit..the 60th I believe. The exchange of fire goes against the rifles as the French enjoy a defensive terrain bonus. Cold steel will be needed tby the British to take the position.

The French left holding the church
The British Guards hit the center. The French lose a unit on the left and the unit on the right holds but is badly mauled. I am forced to move the dragoons to support but that did not help my cause. In the next turn I roll a 4 and the second unit leaves the field. The center is wide open for the British. Basically I rolled very badly and Eric, the British player rolled very well. I did score 5 hits on one unit in melee, but he saved them all. MERDE!!!
The British Guards hit the center!

The French fair better on the right flank. On turn 3 they lose an infantry unit but push back the Brits on the far left. The battle ebbs and flows on turns 3 and 4.

The French right are holding..but the center melts away!
The British Guards are relentless in their pursuit. The hold on turn 5 and open fire causing another shaken unit on the French Center. The French center brigade is now past 50% and will leave next turn. The French don't seem to understand the concept of rolling 4,5, and 6 during combat or saving throws.

The British Guards rolling up the center
The French center is almost gone.
The British are forming squares as the French cavalry makes itself known on the right flank. British units become shaken but hold the line. The French pure their fire into the dense square formations.
The British left begins to crack

 The positions on the French right and British left become confused and congested. Units fall upon one another. You can almost hear the screams, musketry, and horses  whirling about the field.  I honestly don't know what happened or who  was winning at this point.

British left pull back as one brigade breaks but the center reinforces!
 The French commander returned to the center to support the shaken troops. It was too late as the French were beaten in melee and never had a chance to recover. A unit of dragoons and infantry are left, the artillery does not count for morale purposes. The brigade is effectively destroyed and leaves. The British continue to close in the next two pictures.
Where the French infantry?

 The French right eventually gathers itself for one more attack. The British and French give and take on turn 5. This will determine the game.

 The French take more than they give and are forced to leave. The red chips indicate shaken units. The white chips show disordered units.
The French right is shaken and disordered...the force has lost too many brigades and leaves the field
The game lasted about 3 1/2 hours. This was a very large battle for our club and will be popular at Adepticon. We determine that the out come was a marginal British victory. The French held the church but lost the road. The British did lose a brigade and the 95th rifles so it is a somber victory. The French return to their camps and learn about the results of Salamanca that day.

The next game is scheduled for Friday February 10th and will be a playtest for Cold Wars. We are running a Boxer Rebellion game and the rules will be Colonial Adventures modified for the era.

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