Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Bridge on the River Wrye, part 1

I recently bought a set of rules for small scale actions in the 18th century with "10-200 miniatures". The rules are called "Sacre Bleu!" by Agema Publications, just a few letter-size pages in a staple-bound booklet, and half that is introduction and 4 scenarios.
I decided to try them out using one of the scenarios involving 1 force trying to take a bridge and the other force either holding the bridge or destroying it. It turned out the rules and number of figures involved meant I could play the scenario very quickly, so I eneded up playing it 7 times over the course of the past week. It took less than an hour to play each game, even though I was taking notes and checking rules.
I tweaked the rules as I went and added my own permutations. The basics are very simple rules for movement and shooting, no morale tests (but a different kind of "test" called a decision check in the rules - that can have figures move on their own or give the player the option to do something he wants the unit to do), random sequence of actions (rolled up with dice - one of the changes I made after a couple of games was to use a partial deck of playing cards with a couple of twists of my own added in). I also tweaked the firing ranges and effectiveness as my first try ended up very lopsided in terms of casualties.

The forces involved changed a bit as I tweaked things after each game, but mainly included the following:
The Soweiter League forces:
  • Colonel von Kleinewitz (of Ober-Umlaut) commanding
  • The Mayeux Musketeers
  • A small detachment from the Saxe-Urquhart 86th Highlanders
  • 2 Saxe-Goldberg engineers (who took little part in the fighting, mainly tasked with blowing the bridge if it looked like falling into the hands of the Batrachians - the scenario description stated this was a strong bridge and require a roll of 2 sixes to succeed, which I only managed to do once during the 7 games)

The Batrachian forces:
  • Captain Jean di Jean (of the Moutarde Cavalry) commanding
  • A detachment of Moutarde cavalry
  • The Queen's Musketeers
Here is an aerial shot of the first setup for the battle. As you can see I used a card table with a river, some woods to the southwest, a marshy spot just to the south of the river on the east edge, and a Lego bridge (I "need" to make a better bridge one of these days).

The first game was an overwhelming victory for the Soweiter League forces defending the bridge. The attacking Batrachian forces were wiped out almost before they even reached the bridge! I also had lots of "turns" where the action was not used by the side whose turn it was (although there aren't really "turns" in the traditional sense - when you roll for an action it specifies which side takes the action, so one side could get multiple actions in a row).

In the rest of the games I moved the river closer to the middle of the table and reduced firing ranges, which gave the Batrachians a better chance of reaching the bridge with enough men to have a chance of taking it. In later games I also changed the forces a bit, mostly reducing the Batrachian forces slightly and adding a few to the League's forces.

The 2nd through 5th refights of the skirmish resulted in the Batrachians handily winning each time. On the sixth refight the Soweiter League managed to barely scrape out a win by blowing the bridge and exiting with just a little more than the required number of figures still alive.

By the 7th and final refight I think I had things working well and both sides seemed to have a pretty even chance of winning. It seemed to go back and forth as to who would win. I'll write that "battle" up in another post. I got a few decent pictures from some of the fights, which I will include in the battle report (there were issues with camera batteries, lighting, handheld shots, etc. - still working on taking good photos during a game).


Frankfurter said...

Sounded like fun ...
how much did the rules cost, and who was the vendor?

littlejohn said...

Looking forward to a report and pics...I love "battles on a postage stamp"...

Fitz-Badger said...

I got the rules from OMM for $14 US. Seems overpriced for what you get physically (6 sheets plus covers, some color on the covers, black and white inside). Probably cost a small fraction of the price to print. But I try to look at these things by how much entertainment I get out of them. So far it's ok. I don't regret buying them. It's given me a basis for playing around and tweaking to come up with something I think I can use for smaller actions.

Capt Bill said...

A nice little action. Who said you needed vast armies to have fun...

rpardo said...

Waiting to see the final AAR!