Friday, 16 February 2018

"Yer going to git kelt", as the Scots might say

We met last night for a first game of Archon 2 for us .. 

David (left, provider of the 25mm figures) played Romans, and Peter had the short straw of  Celts.

The game started bizarrely .. the first THREE D20 roll-offs all resulted in ties! This was going to be a long game .. :-)

In the first phase, the Romans moved their Bolt Shooters, fully expecting the infantry to follow in due course ...

However, the Celts got an early couple of Cavalry Move cards, which enabled the (left wing) Cavalry-and-Chariots command to cover some ground and orient the cavalry to run down the exposed Bolt Shooters

Especially when the Celts roll high like this

The Roman infantry start to bring up support

 But another Cavalry Move card gets the Celtic Cavalry excited about being able to do some damage  .. but they've used all the Cavalry Move cards for this turn ..

The remainder of the Roman's right wing makes its presence felt, facing the oncoming chariots

and the Roman heavy auxiliary cavalry move into contact .

The Celts draw a Battle Lust! card, which mandates units within one move to go to melee .. which is just what was wanted against the Bolt Shooters (but perhaps nowhere else...) - the Bolt Shooters roll a 2 in the ensuing melee, the Peter rolls for the Celtswith expectant glee .. and rolls a 1 .. thereby losing the melee (and going disordered, etc, and generally losing morale chips). This turned out to the be the characteristic of the game .. the Celts win lots of impetus, but fail to actually win hardly any combats... so it was no surprise that the other chariot melees were also failures. Then the Roman infantry gets close to the cavalry flank ..

Meanwhile on the Celtic left, more Celtic failures are recorded (including a chariot spectacularly losing a rear melee against a Roman Infantry unit)

There was one Celt success against a Heavy Cavalry unit, with multiple chariot attacks ..

 At last the mainly-infantry battle on the Roman left flank started

but the game ended shortly afterwards when time was called after 2.5 hours .. with the Celts down to a couple of Morale chips while the Romans still had a couple of dozen left .. so even though the Celts seemed to have the upper hand on their left, it had come at too big a cost.

I'm sure we played some elements of the game incorrectly, but that did not stop us having a good time (especially if you were Roman)

FWIW In terms of how we currently tend to play the Piquet supplements, is to use the rule of one half (loser of initiative gets half the number of initiative points (rounded down)) together with Dave Maupin's excellent phasing of the 20 initiatives - each side gets 20 initiative pips per phase, and so if you have used, say, 18, you only will get a maximum of 2, even if initiative pips that you should have due to the D20 roll exceed this number. And when one side is out of pips, both sides reload with 20. And, as Dave has pointed out, a key benefit of this method is to use small pebbles to count initiative, and a rigid plastic container (we use the Chessex dice containers) so all can hear a pip being paid prior to drawing a card or taking an action.

Next time we're planning to play the same scenario, with similar ratings, using Piquet Pulse of Battle ... 

Lego Jacobite diaorama at Stirling Castle

Yesterday we paid a visit to Stirling Castle primarily to see the 2000 lego figure exhibition of the 1745 Jacobite wars

 I think this is a model of Ruthven Barracks (, acting as Stirling Castle being beseiged by the Jacobites after their jaunt to Derby

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Inverurie (23 Dec 1745)

This small-scale battle is described in "Grampian Battlefields" by Peter Marren. and was gamed with my 12 year old grandson Aidan, who took the Jacobite forces. 

On 25 September, the Jacobites had walked into the undefended port city of Aberdeen,. This stirred Lord Loudon and Duncan Forbes of Culloden to collect a small army of Highlanders faithful to the House of Hanover as a relief force - made up of 400 men led by the Skye chieftain Macleod of Macleod, and 300 men of Lord Loudon (Grants, Munros and Mackensies) led by a professional officer George George Munro of Culcairn. We find them billetted in and around Inverurie, thinking that the Jacobite forces in the area were moving away, south, the join the Pretender.

Hearing of the presence of this Hanoverian force, Jacobite troops left Aberdeen with their numbers and morale enhanced by the recent landing of a unit of French regulars - Irish Piquets (for which I used my Royal Ecossais figures), taking them to around 1200 men. 

Piquet Field of Battle 2 are my rules of choice. 

Adjusting for the small sizes involved, units of 3 stands represent ~100 men, (each unit having 3 UI). Unit formations allowed were either "battle formation" (2 stands in the front, one in rear) which gave no modifiers for combat/movement - or "march column" with the usual benefits or otherwise. The Jacobites had 14 Army Moral Points, the Government had 8. 

The figures are 28mm Front Rank figures.

Major Gordon led the 300 Gordons down the Kings High Road to Inverurie (to the right in the above picture), 

whereas the larger, flanking (900) force approached the town from the east using byways. This force contained a significant number of "pressed" locals, together with some trained militia - and the regulars, commanded by Lord Lewis Gordon.

It is recorded that the Government forces had no piquets out, apparently on the basis that small numbers were likely to be fatally attacked by the locals - so the Macleods and friends stayed in Inverurie ..

Key features of the battlefield were the rivers with the 2 fords being approached by the Jacobites, a significant hill and an enclosed cemetery ...

The Jacobites turned 2 successive Move cards, bringing the Gordons to the ford at the edge of the woods ...

and the flank command similarly ...

At last the Government forces turned a Move card, (ie at last some sympathiser got through to tell them of the Jacobites in the area) and the Grants, Munros and Mackenzies made positive moves towards the main road ford. However an untimely movement roll of 1 meant that the (larger unit of) Macleods weren't going anywhere ...

The flanking force got itself congested at the ford .. perhaps some inter-command squabbling ...

and at last the Macleods moved off ..

The Gordons cross the ford and get ready to face the Highland onslaught

while the flanking force resolves its issues and also begins to advance

The Gordons push back one of the Hanoverian units, but of the two Gordon units that had crossed the ford, one was pushed back into the woods and the other routed ...

Meanwhile the Macleods rush towards the hill and the security of the cemetery

.. and get a second Move card before the flanking force can react

On the Government right flank, seeing the Gordons bottled up in the woods, the Highland command directs one unit to support the Macleods ..

The flanking force gets some more units across the river ...

... and some "pressed" units take the hill

Ineffective firing breaks out on the Macleod front ...

while the Gordons remain "bottled up"

More fighting around the hill and cemetery which causes damage to both sides

The Macleods repeatedly try to take the hill ..

.. with the French regulars are ready to reinforce the wavering hill position ...

The Macleods clear the hill by fire and melee combat, leaving them then vulnerable to a robust counter-charge by the regulars - who destroyed one unit by 12 to 1 counter-die rolls .. <sigh> ..

.. and took the Government forces to 0 Army Morale Points - therefore vulnerable to a Major Morale Check - while the Jacobites were down to 1 AMP! Government combat then reduced the Jacobites also to 0 AMPs

No change - or help to either side on the Kings High Road ..

and crucially the Hanoverian forces turned a Major Morale Card and failed!

The game took 2 hours to play, with the usual delights and downs that are characteristic of Piquet ..