Friday, 24 June 2011

Through the streets

Song of Drums and Shako (cont)

The rules suggest that a game of SDS ought to last up to 45 minutes so I had hoped that in the five hours we normally have at the club would could get through 5 scenarios. However as the first game took us a couple of hours I decided to compress a couple of scenarios into one for the next game.

Having been pushed backs from the town walls the French fall back through the town. The standing orders in case of attack were to make for the church.

So in scenario two all the French have to do is get across the table. A table only three feet across. Of course success of the British assault has inspired the locals to retrieve their old guns, or recently captured muskets, from barns lofts or sheds and make trouble for the retreating French.

French squads enter the table and head for the comparative cover of the central park.

However the locals of San Antonio have a score to settle.

A number of partisans were set up in ambush using the simple mechanism of laying a couple of markers down one being a dummy and the other the actual figure. Activated at will by the Spanish player or when the French move close enough.

Xavi and Pepe await les bleus.

An interesting thing to note with most wargamers is that although the oblective is simply to get across the table as intact as possible the temptation to stand and fire is just too great. Despite the fact that the British are just a couple of moves behind!

A sharp firefight ensues around the central park. Luckily the gunfire brought a supporting squad to the aid of the beleaguered French. Very poor movement dice for the Rifles prevented the destruction of the retreating French and eventually most of them got across the board.

The final scenario of the day ( as that was all we had time for) was the assault on the churchyard.

The standing order for the French forces was too retreat and consolidate at the church if attacked.

One French squad was placed in the churchyard and all the (now) allies had to do was get in take the gold. Of course other French squads could appear down the side streets to join in the fight.

The church of San Antonio under assault by Spanish and British alike.

A bitter battle ensued despite snake eyes Bob (defending) living up to his name. Luckily he didn't have to move much. Again the greencoats seemed hesitant to get stuck in whilst the Spaniards suffered by their impetuosity (or lack of support).

Soon the French support began to arrive.

It wasn't long before the partisans' reckless charges led to too many casualties and they were forced to retreat. Whilst the original French defenders were also whittled down to nought the reinforcing squads proved too much for the attackers who had a foothold arund the gravestones but not in the church itself and the British were repulsed. Leaving the payroll chest intact but and with fewer to pay.

I think most of the players enjoyed the game and indeed further orders have been dispatched to Front Rank to bolster the ranks a little. It made a change from corps or divisional level battles. Fewer than sixty figures were used. The rules were simple but subtle and made for a fun game. With a little thought many scenarios can be devised to create mini campaigns. Brigadier Gerard and Sharpe may yet meet in a little Spanish village.

I've now bought the Arthur and Merlin rules so watch you're back Jim, Adrianus of Pant Glas may ride again.


  1. Interesting and well illustrated: a very enjoyable 'photo-novella'!
    Too bad it was 'in shakos' rather than 'in tricornes'... :)

  2. Hello,
    I have seen your link on the SOBH list, and love what I see ! As Abdul666, I'm more on the tricorne side of gaming, but you give me the itch to try Songs of Drums & Shakos with some SYW miniatures. In another of your posts, you lament the defuncted Major Rederring website. Hopefully somebody sensibly kept it on a mirror sire. Here's the link:

    Hope you'll fide it useful
    Ans as a Frenchman I can only say :
    Long live the cheese !