In between drinking the occasional beer this weekend, my friend Jase and I gave SP2 a couple of goes using my 28mm post-Napoleonic imagi-nations collection. As expected, the rules gave a very satisfying gaming experience and, once we'd got the gist of things, we really got into the command challenges they present to players. I can certainly see why so many people are playing this revision of the rules.
After a small test session with a couple of groups a side to get some familiarity with the core mechanisms, we mixed and matched a bit with scenarios for the 2 games we played. For the first game we drew from Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames book, which a lot of people seem to use as a go-to place for clearly defined, interesting scenarios. We chose no.4 Take the High Ground as it offered a focus for a fight and would get us into action pretty directly.
The table for game 1, with the hill objective clearly visible next to the road:
The forces were drawn from my Medetians and their perpetual enemy, Fleurie. I haven't looked at the force/army lists for SP2 in any great detail yet, but clearly there's plenty of scope to tailor troop characteristics and capabilities to get to where you want. For simplicity, we went with the Medetians using Peninsular Portuguese unit types and the Fleurians using Peninsular French.
We rolled for sides, and at 60 points each, we had;
Leaders of levels III, II and I
5 groups of Line infantry
1 group of Skirmishers with rifles (Cacadores)
Leaders of levels III, II, I and I
2 groups of Grenadiers
2 groups of Line infantry
2 groups of Skirmishers with muskets (Voltigeurs)
For the first game we rolled for support and this generated us each 4 points worth to choose from the list.
As the Medetian commander I selected a further Level I leader to increase my command options a bit, and a musician to extend the command range of my leader.
Jase's Fleurians gained a Level I leader too, and a Holy Man for a bit of shock-removing inspiration when it would be needed.
No blow-by-blow account, but here's some of the action from Take the High Ground, SP-style..
The Medetians deployed 2 groups on the hill in a Formation. None shall pass...
.. well, except possibly that lot!
The Fleurians arrive en-mass, with skirmishers out in front and 2 assault columns following behind.
The first of the Medetian main force make a timely arrival in the form of a group of riflemen under Brevet-Lieutenant Lambrusco (who did sterling service as an Ensign in SP1 games, surviving several wounds)
Fleurian Voltigeurs move to the flanks to start harassing fire on the Medetian line, creating space for the columns to move through in the centre.
Men in blue start to fall and they're forced to loose off their initial volley to hit back at the pesky skirmishers.
But the columns are getting menacingly closer. The Fleurian Grenadier column decided to open up on the formation on the hill too, and did some damage - not least to their unfortunate leader Sergeant Luberon who was shot in the backside by his own men! C'est la Guerre :)
Despite this amusing set-back, a well-coordinated Fleurian attack sees Voltigeur fire cause further Medetian casualties and a lot of shock, which is followed up in the same turn by both columns hitting home. Although the defenders did some damage in the ensuing melees, they're almost wiped out and the survivors flee. Can the Fleurians get re-organised into line on top of the hill before the Medetians can launch a counter attack?
Although doughty Captain Gattinara has led the main Medetian body (3 groups of line infantry in a formation) forward in a fairly leisurely fashion, he suddenly gets a hurry on and the line surges forward a maximum roll of 12", arriving on the crest of the hill at the perfect moment.
Lambrusco's rifles have been pouring accurate fire into the flank of the nearest column, causing 3 casualties plus 10 shock in 2 rounds of shooting, and causing the Fleurians to recoil a little from the top of the hill. At that point 24 Medetians present their muskets and deliver a devastating first fire volley, clearing away both enemy columns and securing the hill, and victory.
Final positions. Although their plan was a good one, and they enjoyed initial success, the Fleurians are in too poor a shape to rally and try again. They concede the hill to the Medetians and withdraw. Losses were fairly even, as was the remaining force morale for both sides.
This was an excellent introduction game for us, we really enjoyed the command and control challenge generated by the randomness of the leader activations and the options presented by the command (flag) cards. There were always choices to be made, which you felt you could focus on without getting bogged down by the moving, shooting and fighting mechanisms, which were mostly committed to memory after the first few turns.
We then re-set the table for a second game, which will be the subject of the next post.