EXERT 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

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Colonial Tabletop Teaser Battlecry


In a comment to the last post, Mr. Kinch requested some intel about the Colonial games Ron & I have played using BattleCry.  Wherever something isn't specified, the original rules, or such other rules as the players agree upon,  will apply.

We have experimented with various ideas but what follows is the final choices we agreed upon for the types of units that we have available to field. The intent was to put Grant Scenarios/Tabletop Teasers on the table so that translation will be part of this post.

It may not look like it but this was a costly British victory in the making. (see here)

UNIT CHARACTERISTICS. & RULES

Unit
Move
Battle
Special Notes
Imperial Hvy Cav
0 - 3
3
Take Ground, Overrun
Other Cavalry
0 - 3
3
May retreat 3 on Flag
Dismounted Cavalry
2
No
None
0 - 1
3/2/1

Imperial Infantry
2
No
Emboldened
0 - 1
4/3/2/1

Field Artillery
1
No
None
0
5/4/3/2/1
Light Artillery
1 - 2
No
None
0
4/3/2/1

Any Arty (on hill)
Add +1 hex at 1
Native Infantry Fire arm weapons
2
No
May retreat 2 on Flag
0 - 1
2/2/2/2

Native Infantry Mixed weapons
2
No
5 figure units
0 - 1
3/2/1/1
May retreat 2 on Flag
Native Infantry Melee weapons
2
No
5 figure units
0 - 1
4
Take Ground, Elite or Ghazi may Overrun
Native Artillery
1
No
None
0
4/3/2/1

General
3
Emboldens or allows Take Ground


























2. Embolden means that a unit may ignore a flag (retreat)  in addition to any other  terrain, leadership etc effects.

3. Get out of trouble quick. Units that may retreat more than 1 hex on a flag, do not need to do so and are only penalized if they are unable to retreat at least 1 hex. The idea was to allow skirmishers and non-melee troops like Afghan Jezzailachi (sp?) and irregular cavalry to fade away quickly.

4. Shooting. The Battle dice numbers are read left to right starting at range 1 so Imperial infantry roll 4 dice at range 1, 3 at range 2, 2 at range 3 and 1 at range 4 while native snipers roll 2 dice at range 4,3,2 or 1.

5. After Combat Moves.  Units that may "Take Ground" which initiate a melee attack (adjacent) and destroy their opponent or force them to retreat may occupy the hex the enemy was in. If they are allowed to Overrun they may also conduct a melee attack after taking ground.

6. Zone of Control. This is our one rule change and is one we have carried over. A unit which moves adjacent to an enemy unit must stop. A unit that begins adjacent to an enemy may not move to another adjacent hex during normal movement. This does not affect taking ground.

7. Game Length and Victory Conditions. We generally play until the card deck is exhausted or one side reaches it break point. Since our time is not unlimited, we tend to ignore the "reshuffle the deck" event that is on at least 1 card but that is purely for convenience. If the deck runs out before either side is broken, the scenario victory conditions apply. Since the armies are often asymmetrical in numbers of units, extremely so in the case of Zulus, instead of basing the break point on the size of each army, we make the break point of both sides equal to 1/2 of the larger side. In the case of Brits vs Zulus this means the Brits are often able to fight to the last man or nearly so. 

8. On the Move. If a player is unable to play any of the cards in his hand, he may move one unit in any sector but may not battle. If the discarded card is a scout card then the player may scout (ie draw 2 cards and choose one). 

9. Hills. I almost forgot hills! Hills in Battlecry are 1 hex things. Hills in the scenarios and on Ron's table can run for a dozen hexes and be of several layers. This has provided us with some of the thorniest conversion problems. I think our current ruling is that Hexon slopes affect line of site but do not count as Battlecry hills, only hill top hexes count. Hill tops ignore lower contours or slopes  for LOS and vice versa but otherwise, you can see into but not through another slope or hilltop hex. 


The Holy Sheikh El Airfix has led many a warrior to Paradise while remaining to guide more.
See here.

SCENARIO UNIT TRANSLATIONS

1. Imperials. The Imperial troops are a pretty straight forward translation of unit to unit. We did look at different grades of Imperial troops but since the only non-British units Ron has at this point are Sikhs, Gurkhas and Bengal Lancers, we dropped it. We also looked at special movement or terrain rules for Gurkhas and Rifles as light infantry but it ended up being more trouble than it was worth with little justification. We classified Gatlings, Gardiner Guns and Mountain Guns as Light Artillery. So that leaves us as: 1 infantry unit per scenario infantry or light infantry unit, 1 cavalry unit per light, medium or heavy cavalry unit. 1 gun of the player's choice per battery. If the troops are available and appropriate, Irregular cavalry such as Frontier Light Horse may be substituted for Light Cavalry and Native firearm troops for Light Infantry.

2. Zulus.  Any scenario units become Native Infantry with Melee Weapons. To reflect the disadvantage  of not having ranged combat and give that "t'ousands of 'em" feel, each scenario unit is replaced by 2 spear units. However, if desired, scenario light infantry units can be fielded as a single Native Infantry with Firearms unit. A reasonable proportion of Zulu units can be fielded as Elite. (In our case limited not only by a sense of fair play but by the number of White Shield figures Ron has.)

3. Afghans.  All scenario units are 1 for 1. Cavalry units become Native cavalry, light infantry become Native Infantry with Firearms, Artillery becomes Native Artillery and Infantry are usually Native Infantry with Mixed Weapons. A proportion can however be made Ghazis and as such are fielded as Elite Native Infantry with Melee Weapons. The Mixed weapons units seem to be about the weakest units on the board and we considered allowing extra or changing them but since the Afghans have been winning more games  than they lose (even if one was won by a sniper card and a crossed saber roll on the 2nd to last card in the deck).

4. Mahdists. The Mahdist forces are similar to the Afghans except that we do not field any mixed units, instead each scenario Infantry unit becomes two Native Melee Infantry units. The Hadendowah are rated Elite.  

FINAL NOTES.

The scenarios often produce situations not covered in the rules, for example, blocking train tracks not to mention, moving a train. Be prepared to improvise!


 The Mahdists ambush a train. Twice in one day! (see here and here)
 (ok ok we ruled that it could move a maximum of 4 hexes per turn but could only speed up or slow down by 2 per turn. No card was required to move, the train moving at the start of the owning player's turn. However, a card was required to change speed.  )

6 comments:

  1. Ross Mac,

    Very interesting ... and very helpful as well. It has made me think about rewriting my own Colonial version of BATTLECRY.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its certainly a very flexible base, ripe for tinkering :) I'll look forward to seeing some posts if you do revisit them.

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  2. These rules look excellent. What is the effect of Elite, though?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elite native spearmen may do an overrun attack after they take ground (see cryptic note in the right hand column of the chart). It looks like a pretty minor advantage but it makes them a particularly nasty customer for the Brits, more likely to be able to finish a unit if they get to contact.

      Delete
  3. Nice add on. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete