I have been writing up our games at Birmingham Wargames Society on this blog whilst other reports have appeared elsewhere. So BWS have a new blog site where we can consolidate our wargaming story - please follow the link if interested.
The intention is keep this blog for my attempt at creating the world of wine and cheese which I can hopefully (re) kick start over the forthcoming holiday period.
Firstly which rules:
As with many imagineers I started this project with the intention of using the seminal Charge! rules (Young & Lawford) that first revealed to me that playing with toy soldiers didn’t have to end with junior school. A joy just to read but also a simple, fun and subtle set of rules for horse foot and guns.
There is of course a “but” or two about to follow.
Firstly while I love the look of individually based figures it does lead to a lot of messing about. Unfortunately I do not have a permanent wargame space and need to get games over and packed away in less than three hours. I get the impression that the Brigadier may have spent a day or two over his games. Also I am using the lovely Zvezda plastics which even when based on thin steel have a propensity to fall over if the table is nudged.
So the figures are now based up in eights (a firing platoon in Charge). This, of course, leads to the predicament of removing individual figures which I have solved with the use of steel bases and magnetic sheet. Gluing the front rank down and having the second rank on magnetic sheet. Choosing the simple Old Wargames approach of painted bases this doesn’t present too much of an issue. In fact painting the bases the same colour as the wargames table (Wittenburg green) means that you can’t really tell they’re on bases at all. The steel bases do slide easily across the painted MDF too. This does mean that officers and Nco are included in the unit total.
However there is of course the issue of individual cavalry melees. These can be fun but big fights can take an inordinate amount of time. I have therefore decided on new cavalry melee rules based on the old Wargames Holiday Centre Marlburian rules published in a magazine in the early 90’s. Essentially throwing a dice per figure in the front rank and determining total hits from a predetermined number.
Another thing that gives me headaches is the half and halve again after some firing. So while I intend to keep the half casualties at long range I shall adopt the “save” on top half of the dice for targets requiring half effect such as cavalry. While this will balance out over a game it can give more varied results.
Then there is the issue of morale. While the rules as written have the morale built in with regards casualties lost, the use of the 50% rule (ie a unit is fine at 51% but not at 49%) does mean that the point at which a unit will withdraw can, sometimes, be easily judged. Also, following a melee the loser will withdraw, very civilized but I would prefer an option to rout too. Finally one point I don’t like is that a charge cannot be stopped by fire. It can lead to a situation where a cavalry charge on an infantry unit can take a lot of punishment going in and get well beaten in melee and still leave the infantry in a disordered state that has to withdraw. There are many examples of cavalry being stopped short by steady volleys.
So, I’m going to try out the following morale tests. Firstly for units whose losses exceed 50% a dice throw (following firing) less casualties taken above half the original unit strength, a resulting score of 0 or less means withdraw as per rules, a pass allows the unit to carry on. Secondly for units charging in a couple of dice thrown less casualties taken during the charge a resulting score of 0 or less means withdraw before contact. Finally a throw of one or two dice for the loser (one if understrength) less the difference in melee casualties: a resulting score of 0 or less means rout otherwise withdraw as per the rules.
Hopefully I’ll be able to give these a whirl over Christmas. Calls for port and stilton methinks.