Saturday, September 19, 2015

For Death or a Promotion.

This wasn't exactly the sort of thing I meant when I said "skirmish" game but in some ways it probably was subconsciously. To be honest I just don't "get" semi-roleplaying games where each figure has individual stats and capabilities. A lack of imagination perhaps or  of empathy. 
In any event I scribbled out some quick rules and started planning a rebellion game with a road block, convoy and ambushers, mabe 20 figures all told. Then I suddenly remembered an escalade game in Stuart Asquith's useful Solo Wargaming book that I wanted to try. Simple rules, 60 figures attacking 20. Enough figures to make a game without getting too personal but not so many as to make moving tedious. Actually, just the sort of skirmish that MacDuff had been written for originally, before it started to have pretensions of battles. hmmm.
About 1/2 way through, the center column has taken heavy losses from artillery fire but the other 2 are in good shape.
Despite some misgivings I decided to play the game straight up, almost. The rules suggest 6" moves, 3" if firing, 4" if a couple carrying a ladder, 2" for 1 man dragging one. I was leery of the move and shoot since there is no modifier for cover  and I could see the whole attack force advancing at 1/2 speed, muskets blazing. I also wanted to use a range stick with 3" increments, so I disallowed moving and firing and averaged all ladder moves to 3".

Fort Nonaimio defended by 10 Tsanquarlasse regulars, 10 local levies and 2 guns being attacked by 60 Faraway and FTC regulars with 6 ladders.
As suspected, the 6 turns it took to get into musket range were fast but a bit tedious. The next 6 while the ladders closed were busier with a lot of shooting, but, there were hardly any defenders left for melee which is where the drama is in the rules. None the less, I pushed an officer up the first ladder and fought the melee. The next turn 3 more ladders went up for a total of 4. One was cleared and cast down but the others brought 4 figures up and after the officer carrying the flag was cut down, the 5 attackers in the fort outnumbered the remaining defenders and it was over.

First attacker up the ladder won his melee handily and climbed over the wall. Promotion it is!
Not bad but I think a simple benefit to cover and faster ladder move would have made the game more exciting. I was going to rerun it with MacDuff but I had memories of an exciting Hearts of Tin escalade of a Pirate stronghold back in 2009 so I reset and tried HofT with each stand bring a unit due to the confused nature of an assault on a fort. 2 guns and 3 infantry vs 12 infantry and 3 sharpshooters. Took 1/2 the time to set up and take down, the approach took 1/4 of the time and the assault twice as long but was twice as exciting with units being thrown back, rallying and coming back for more. Eventually Redcoats broke in twice but each time were thrown out by a counterattack or shot down in the courtyard by defenders who had rallied in the barracks.

After 3 assaults, with both sides only 1 or 2 hits from breaking, Faraway's break in is wiped out and with over 50% of units broken the commander is forced to call off the assault.

It would be convenient though if I could cast up and paint SYW French & British as well as AWI Brunswicker and Rebel militia for my NQSYW armies and have them double for MacDuff games when off duty, so.......I should try MacDuff tomorrow, I mean, after all, the table is still set up........


  1. Nice post!
    You brought me back to the good days of my childhood: I used to play games like this with my homemade plasticine armies.
    It is good to see your old terrain cloth back in service: It is my favourite!
    Thank you very much for sharing it!

    1. You're welcome Cesar, the cloth is an old friend but the face lift I gave it for its 15th birthday seems to have extended its life. There is something about attacking a Fort that brings child hood to mind. Stuart Asquith makes a similar comment in his book.

  2. A very nice game. I totally agree with the comment of Cesar, I also felt that reminded me of childhood games. He gave me some sweet nostalgia. Thank you very much for sharing these photos. Regards from the far south, Carlos

    1. Thank you Carlos, I too felt some nostalgia. Sometimes that is good.

  3. Really touching pictures - the light, the fine details, the outstandingly painted figures - your report is an eye-candy!

    1. Thank you Peter, especially since those pictures were quick smartphone snaps of an improvised game that took 10 minutes to set up. I think maybe the nostalgia of glossy toy soldiers attacking a fort adds charm to the picture.