Thursday, January 15, 2015

Convoy: A Square Do Over

Did I mention that I call this the Winter Campaigning Season? Yesterday I nipped across the province to Halifax for a game of modified Memoir with Ron (lost by the skin of my teeth but great game trying out some 1940 stuff, no pics alas).  That left me just enough time to muck about with the Square Brigadier and to reset the table. This afternoon I replayed the convoy using the Square Brigadier.
Some Oerbergers showed up early and demonstrated why a bayonet charge against sharpshooters in a wood might not always be the best tactic for Her Majesty's infantry. An attempt by said sharpshooters to exploit their success by grabbing a truckload was even more disastrous on their part when they were repulsed and routed.
The armies this time were composed of A General, a sub Commander, 2 cavalry, 4 infantry and an MG guarding the column and 2 cavalry units at the outpost. All troops had rifles and were shock troops. The Oerberg forces were a General, a subcommander, an MG and 8 mounted rifle units. All irregular sharpshooters. Deployment was done in the same manner as the previous game but with slightly different results in placement of units.

I didn't take many pictures since the game looked fairly similar but it certainly flowed faster with more tension. I think this was due to the more decisive combat and morale system and with  fewer fiddly options leading to faster turns. Any question about the abrupt victory conditions or unit removals had been removed again by yesterday's Memoir game as well as by having reread most of the game reports of the last 5 months. MacDuff and the Tin Army have again retired and been put on half pay and I have begun again the slow work of polishing a complete and finished version of the Square Brigadier for the late 19thC / early 20thC. The ideas are there in my head but expressing them in a way that reflects what I actually want and avoiding accidental changes in function when tidying format mean that it won't be done in a day but the draft pretty much as used is available under pages. By this time tomorrow  it will likely have been tidied and expanded again but there were no new ideas introduced in this game, just a slightly different blend of existing ones that have been tested over the last few months, some of them almost a decade old now, others newer.
The desperation charge that saved the day.
Please not that figure removal does not equate actual casualties, its just an easy way of tracking a unit's diminishing combat ability.
The beginning was similar but the game and result were different. Time wise the game took about an hour and 1/2 to reach a finish.

Once again the Oerbergers were ahead ahead early on but rifle fire first silenced then knocked out the Pompom and wounded Oom Bob while a bayonet charge over the bridge, led by General Otter himself, seized the wood controlling the exits despite the General taking a bullet. A follow up charge by Lancers cleared another party of Oerbergers and the enemy morale collapsed. 

The basic rules lay out that unless modified by scenario conditions, an army counts up the number of units it has and divides by 2 to determine how many units and commanders it can lose before conceding the game. There were 9 units on each side so a breakpoint of 5. When a desperate charge by lancers survived a blast of sharpshooter fire, and won the melee followed by the Irregular losing unit rolling low and routing, the ambushers broke. They had lost the general,the PomPom and 3 mounted rifle units, 2 in charges, one to MG fire. The Queen's forces had lost the General and 2 units but had 3 others reduced to 1 hit from being removed. It was a close run game.

So, with rules and organization once again in hand (and back close to where they were at the start of December) I am again turning my attention to figures. Since I am bent on reducing my collection of  figures, in addition to adding new ones, I am going over my 1840's figures to see which can be refurbished to fit the late 19thC and which can be adapted to fit better into the 1812-30 period.

I was happy to see the Blue Dragoons take the field again but their fancy braided uniforms looked terribly archaic. In light of their past deeds and the deadliness of modern battlefields, they are in the process of receiving new service tunics, brown belts and cap covers. I also have to report that the Hougal revolt continues and  yet more members of the Oberhilse army have deserted to fight for their new state. This includes of a squadron of Dragoons who have shed their peaked caps and dark blue tunics and ordered red kepis and breeches and light blue shell jackets. They should be in action before the month is over.


  1. Tremendous work there Ross. I agree with you on abrupt victory conditions. Dying by inches in a game is no fun at all.

    1. Let alone having both sides fall asleep before its over.

  2. Ross Mac,

    I have been through similar thought processes myself several times with regard to my own rules. I write a set of rules, play-test them, get them to a stage where they are just about finished ... and then something happens which makes me go back to a previous set of rules. (For some reason, it always seems to be a game of MEMOIR '44 or BATTLE CRY that triggers this. I wonder why?)

    The 'new' rules are looking good, and I look forward to seeing how they develop.

    All the best,


    1. I suspect old habits are at play here as well. Not easy reforming in 1 go.

      I'm looking forward to the next game myself.

  3. Sorry to hear that General Otter went down - I hear he's a good fellow and hope he recovers. It is said to see some old favourites like the Blue Dragoons shed their pre-modern uniforms, but progress is a merciless business.

    1. Minor wound, hopefully he has many campaigns to fight yet.

      I figure every one deserves a bit of fresh paint now and again. I'm just glad that there's no regulation in my armies saying that every soldier is entitled to a new coat every other year!

  4. It seems many of are afflicted with Dilettante's Disease - poking here, prodding there, and never getting anything finished. Of course, a more generous soul would call it 'multi-tasking.' ...

    1. Or if it is ever finished, it's soon put aside in favour of something new.