Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bending and shaping.

Being Sunday, Father's Day and being blessed with rain and Thunder Showers I decided to steal 2 hours from my care taking duties  and try out a PW 1812 Tabletop Teaser.   Having carefully planned all except the thunder shower, I had laid the table out with Scenario 4 from Scenarios for Wargames.  This is one that I have not played in a lonngg time. It involves a hidden ford that neither side knows of at the start of the game. Not bad to spring on a friend once but then they get suspicious of all rivers and one has to resort to dicing for fords etc to make the idea work at all. However, as a solo game, I figured I might be able to play act ignorance convincingly for both sides. Once I discovered the ford, I rolled a die for my reaction:

  • 1,2 Your attack is all set. Do not reveal the ford to the enemy and disrupt your plan by sending troops over the ford unless the main attack is repulsed.
  • 3,4  Send a small force of cavalry over the ford to distract the enemy.
  • 5,6  Forget the attack, make the attack over the ford the main event. Use artillery and some infantry to pin the enemy at the bridges and weaken him and send everything else over the ford.

The 1st set up

The trick as so often, was how to translate the scenario forces into game forces. The only rules of thumb are the maps that show infantry units as being about 1 foot wide on a 5x7 table and a comment that infantry units are twcie the size of cavalry and light infantry units. (In other words these were originally designed with The Wargame in mind). I decided to start with the Portable Wargame and 1 stand per unit since that worked for Ron& I for 18thC games. I also decided to play straight up with no optional rules.

The end of the 1st game approaches after about 1/2 hour of play.

The game went quickly and was OK but just didn't feel like 1812 and somehow the forces didn't feel right for the scenario and I had no feel for whether it was a battle between battalions or a skirmish between companies.  I also had problems again with how the Pin rules work for close order early 19thC infantry.  For a few moments I thought about moving on to the MacDuff test but there was a nagging feeling that it wasn't that far off.

After a bit of thought, I decided on some modifications, doubled the number of infantry units and reset the table. After pondering my proposed troop quality rule, I decided that with the increased stand count that I didn't need 2 hits per stand so that complication could be skipped for now but I decided to try Bob's idea of group moves, somewhat similar to DBA. Here's what I tried:

Portable Wargame Modifications for the War of 1812

2. Pinning. All rules pertaining to pinned units are ignored due to the discipline of close order units and the poor accuracy and volume of fire of muzzle-loading smoothbore  weapons.

3. Battalions. Two or three stands of the same type (eg both infantry or both light infantry) which are adjacent may be activated by 1 activation point if they:

  • remain adjacent after moving
  • get the same kind of order (move or shoot)
  • are not militia
A report on the second battle will follow.

     Morning mist on the river  obscures the British position as the second game gets under way.


  1. RossMac

    The table and troops look good. I remember being the friend that this one was tried out on...the best defence is to buy all the C S Grant books so that you know all the surprises!


  2. Gotta go even further back - WRG 1685-1845 and Rafm 15mm Napoleonics. I think 1984 or 5 - it might have been at the '"Tin Soldier" too.


  3. Ahh yes. I closed the Tin Soldier in 1982 but Scenarios for Wargames was published in 1981 so it is possible. I can't recall when/where I got it.
    But I was dipping into my stock of Partha 15's
    then, bolstered initially by SYW French playing the role of Les Blancs iir. Just sold my stripy pants Bleus off last year. I guess the oldest units were older than I remembered!