EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Monday, October 31, 2011

Incident at N'haro Pass -Prologue

Sunday was a wild Nor'Easter with rain and wind (Thankfully the US got most of the snow for once, thanks for not passing that on guys ) and my wife was off to a dog show, so I decided I had both time and energy for a quick game. My first instinct was to set up a Portable Wargame but then thought perhaps it was time to try out those HOTT armies, especially since some volunteers had swum the Atlantic to join the Woodland Horde and need to be given some airtime. But, having spend all that time painting and mapping, reloading old battle reports, and discussing the history of Atlantica (yes I believe the name is now Official) I was in the mood to get it all on the table. I had just finished  2 Horse Guards and for some reason the escort for the Princess Zenobii popped into my mind. (See Steve's Table Top Teaser Blog for the August 1979 Teaser ).
The Buffs or Belmont Fusiliers display their new colours.
The "wild" Northern half of the island seemed like an obvious setting but I wasn't ready and  why would there be Horse Guards up there anyway. This meant that rather than bandits or rebels, the ambushers would include regular Oberhilse troops and that meant I needed to work on a back story..

The last time I played this scenario, (oh thats freaky, I just looked up the last game and it was played on the 30th Oct last year! That was pure accident, I wonder if its about to become a tradition?) I used the old cloth over hills approach but this time  I wanted to see what I could do with the pile of ex-shelves and off cuts that I intend to turn into proper Toy Soldier hills, flat ones that the little lads can stand on. I used the layout from the version of the teaser that was included in Scenarios for Wargames but adjusted the troops closer to the original scenario. I pondered having 2 of the brush areas closest to the road be within melee range of the road allowing a close ambush but ended up making them within musket range but not melee range.

The Princess Charlotte Heavy Horse now 10 strong with guidon.

The next question was,  who was riding in the coach that justified sending out a party of Horse Guards into a wild enough place that they could be ambushed  by Oberhilse troops? Scanning the shelves, my eye fell on the Sash & Sabre ACW Officer and female dance partner. S&S have done some great figures, but this pair is my favorite. Now these two have a history. Two years ago, Lord Dennis C Walts, described as "an important officer of the Faraway Trading Company fleet", and his wife Vee Enna  Walts, were kidnapped by pirates. It seems that since his release was negotiated (2 rescue attempts having failed),  Lord Dennis has become Director General of the Faraway Trading Company and has decided to tour the territory that he is now responsible for. It is probably not a coincidence that he is a close friend of Duke Peter, 1/2 brother to the Queen, but in any case, he invited the Duke to accompany him on his tour. The tour included the Origawn Territory which lies in between  Oberhilse and Faraway and is disputed, having been the site of many a past battle.  Since the two countries have been at peace for 2 years, it was deemed safe enough but a contingent of Faraway troops including some Household Guards were added to the usual escort of Director General Bodyguards  and some armed Voyagers. Unfortunately, news of the procession reached Brigadier Zinn in command of the OFF garrison in Hueblee and he decided that this might be an opportunity to force the issue of sovereignty over the Origawn Territory.

So, in ambush were the Frontier Light Horse (Elite Irregular Cavalry), the OFF 2nd Infantry (line infantry with muskets), the Bangor Rifles (light infantry with rifles) and the Origawn Volunteers (irregular light infantry with rifles).  In order to add some uncertainty, I assigned a card to each unit and added an equal number of dummy cards. I took the 4 light infantry cards, shuffled them and then dealt 1 to each of 4 suitable ambush positions. I did the same with line infantry and cavalry. The cards would be exposed if spotted by a Faraway unit or if it tried to fire. Not ideal since unit positions were given away more easily than they would have been using map moves and 2 players, but it did allow me to play the column, knowing where enemy units might be, but not able to tell for sure where all the units were or weren't for sure till about 1/3rd of the way through the game by which time it was too late!

The Green Tigers (Wye Fusiliers) deploy. 

The convoy moved on with the Director General's Bodyguard leading (Cavalry with rifled carbines), then the Wye Regiment (aka The Green Tigersline infantry with muskets) then the coach containing the dignataries, escorted by a Corporal and private of the Royal Horse Guards (Elite Heavy Cavalry) followed by a wagon full of valuable papers and gold escorted by Voyageurs (Irregular light infantry with muskets) , then the Belmont Regiment (aka The Buffs, line infantry with muskets) and last of all, the Princess Charlotte Heavy Horse (aka The Black Horse, Heavy Cavalry).  All units entered in march column on the road and had to stay on road until the enemy were spotted. The vehicles had to stay on road at all times.

The rules were Hearts of Tin. This is not the sort of game that they were designed for but rereading the game a week reports where I did use them for low level games reminded me that they had worked well. In fact, now that I've gotten back to individual figures and nudged the rules to work with them, I feel like I may be at the point I have sought for years of going from thinking in terms of regiments and scales when playing to just thinking in terms of so many toy soldiers.  
Turn 2, the column has moved second, diced and spotted the hidden enemy at musket range.  First shot will depend on who wins the initiative. This shot shows how much work has to be done on the hills to get that natural, all fits together look.
 Tomorrow I will indulge myself and publish the report on the engagement as published in the Newport Noodle in 1841.


  1. Oh no! I let my subscription to the Newport Noodle lapse shortly before that account.

    . . . *sigh* . . . sometimes I have the worst possible timing. . . . *sigh*.

    -- Jeff

  2. This has to be a special edition of the Newport News. The account and results is too important to wait for a regular edition.

    The hills looked fine until you mentioned "to get that natural, all fits together look". Now I'm curious to see what you have in mind.

    As always, Thanks for sharing

  3. Don't worry Jeff, they hand out the Noodle for free at every corner, to anyone they can get to take a copy.

  4. Dave, in brief, in the annex to Little Wars, Wells talks about having a selection of shapes that allow you to reproduce contour maps. Not going quite that far but something better than the assortment of off-cuts and scraps in various colours and random shapes that I'm using now.

  5. I must say there is something to be said for your collection of hills.

    The Heavy Horse also look well.