Friday, June 8, 2012

Do you have a reservation?

The game I've selected to play is Reserve Demolition from Grant's Scenario's for Wargames. I can remember a very good outing of this with 25mm Colonials with the earliest version of MacDuff  in the early 90's but can't remember if I've staged it since.

Initially, I set it up using 1x24 infantry per infantry unit and 2 x 6 man units for each cavalry or light infantry unit. The defenders are supposed to be a  small force tasked with holding back a large enemy force until a bridge is ready to be blown. On a 6'x8' table or with 20mm figures, that should work but to me it looks a little cramped even before the enemy arrives.

 Too much?
Oddly enough, this was the same conclusion I came to after making 4 stand (24 figure) units for the Aroostock game and cutting them back to 3 stands. So, I decided to try my proposed 1812 organization of 16 man line infantry units and 8 man cavalry and light infantry units. It actually turned into 18 man battalions since most of them have 6 figures to a base but close enough.

Less is more. 

Its not a huge difference, but I think its just enough. I like the look of the larger units but with the smaller untis, especially for the cavalry, the defenders no longer look like their main difficulty is fitting into the space available, instead, they don't have enough units to be every where at once. This also happens to be the size that I had been playing with earlier this week since I had originally laid out a Charge! game. Eight such infantry units plus 2 light, 4 guns and 4 cavalry units should fit comfortably on my table.

With a rough ground scale of 3"=100 yards that I intend to use for the ACW and Boer War, that makes each such battalion 600 strong or at 3"=50 yards which is more appropriate for the War of 1812 then 300 strong or 450 if in 3 ranks. For skirmish-y scenarios I would field 1/2 size units like I did for the British vs Nku Khu ambush game and call them companies, scale be damned!

I've also been going over the rules finding little bits I missed transferring like Brigade moves but also trying to find the kinks in the morale rule based on past experience. In part this has involved not only going over common scenarios but also the odder ones and also differing periods of warfare that the rules cover.

The result is a tweak that makes a retreat optional for units that don't rally and a change to the rout move that makes it a double move plus an extra disorder rather than a  pickup. Two failed rallies will make it nearly impossible to rally for most troops but this will allow for example later 19thC troops to be pinned under fire trying to rally so that they can return fire until they can't take it any more and suddenly break to the rear or a battery that is silenced (ie disordered) can choose to hold its ground while trying to rally or limber up and retreat to safer ground, and so on.

A overview of the whole table while we wait for 14 Oberhilse units to appear.


  1. Looking good, hope the play-test goes well.

    Just one quick question at this juncture. When a unit becomes shaken (brigade morale), is the consequent disorder permanent i.e. it can't be rallied away?

    1. Hi Steve. No, they can be rallied as normal. However this will normally prevent units from taking any offensive action and as some units will fail to rally and others suffer from enemy action, routs will start to become inevitable but it is possible for a Camerone or a Gandamuck Last Stand.

      The idea of the +1 for no enemy was to encourage players to put pressure on shaken enemy brigades but looking at it this morning I see that units in a shaken brigade would end up routing eventually even if the enemy left the table so I think I am going to modify it so that only shaken units with an enemy capable of shooting at or charging them get a disorder. The Bengal Horse Artillery in particular seems to be found chasing off bodies of Sikhs or Mutineers that are trying to rally.

  2. I'm looking forward to the playtest. Get those troops moving and the dice rolling, Ross.

    -- Jeff

    1. Jeff, The scouts report that the Blue troops won't be arriving until this evening. Battle Report tomorrow but I'll post a teaser before I head to bed.