As a distraction from running around our re-enactment campsites and shouting a lot, I have developed a game for our youngsters whereby they can sit still and shout a lot.
This is a “wargame”, but is intended to represent more closely the way that we represent battles as re-enactors rather than actual war.
The original game was designed for use on a card table with a grid of 12 x 12 2” squares, but for portability, last weekend it was played on a cheap cork notice board ruled into 11 x 7 squares.
First the location of the two trees on the field are diced for. Each player rolls 2D6 for the position left-right and 1D6 for the position forward from their base line of one tree. Trees represent barriers to movement and shooting.
Next each player dices for their army. The armies in my game were constructed from four boxes of 30 Years War plastic figures found at a previous “muster”: one of cavalry, one of artillery and one each of the infantry for each side. I added three cannon from an Airfix Waterloo French set.
The full selection of available troops for each side is:
3 guns, each with 2 crew.,
3 pairs of cavalry,
2 groups of 3 pikemen and an officer,
7 groups of 4 musketeers or dragoons,
The General, with a drummer, ensign with flag and one pikeman.
Each player dices for his army of 12 units:
General is mandatory.
Artillery: 1,2 = 1 gun, 3,4 = 2 guns, 5,6 = 3 guns,
Cavalry: 1,2 = 1 pair, 3,4 = 2 pairs, 5,6 = 3 pairs.
Pike: 1,2 = no pike, 3,4 = 1 x 4 pike, 5,6 = 2 x 4 pike.
The rest of the army, to make up to 12 units/bases (hereinafter called “bases”), is made up of musketeers.
Because there is a maximum of 7 musket bases, if the Artillery/Cavalry/Pike contingent is less than 4 bases combined, then the shortfall is diced for:
1,2 = 1 gun, 3,4 = 1 pair cavalry, 5,6 = 4 pike.
The armies are now deployed on the first two rows of the board, from each player’s perspective.
Next first player is diced for, higher die becoming first player.
The turn sequence is:
General issues movement orders to any bases adjacent to his square (including diagonals).
Units ordered to move do so, according to their capabilities,
Any unit with a valid target may shoot. Cannon, 6 squares, muskets 3 squares, cavalry 2 squares (to the right only).
Hand to hand combat. Any base with an enemy adjacent to the front must attack. Cavalry roll 2 dice per figure, infantry and artillery 1 die per figure.
Having now witnessed several games I have spotted hidden subtleties not intended in the original design. For example:
With the 11 x 7 board it is possible to launch a cavalry attack in the first turn that will wipe out the enemy in their sector but will leave the cavalry isolated without command. (The “Prince Rupert” effect).
Two guns side-by-side in the centre as a battery may preclude the enemy General from moving across the line of fire to give orders.
Any unit on the back row of the field has a 1/6 chance on average of being forced off the field by any enemy action.
One should always keep a sacrificial unit between the enemy and the General.
The above is a summary of the complete rules, the current version of which I am happy to supply on application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Battle results for last weekend:
Archie (aged 9): 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, 1-6, 5-6.
Casualties inflicted: 24, Losses 20. 3 won, 2 lost.
Paul (me) (aged 64): 4-6, 1-6, 6-1, 1,6.
Casualties inflicted: 12, Losses 19. 1 won, 3 lost.
Graham (Archie’s dad): 3-6, 2-3**
Casualties inflicted: 5, Losses 9. 0 won, 2 lost.
Steve (Cavalry commander): 6-5, 3-2, 6-1
Casualties inflicted: 15, Losses 8. 3 won, 0 lost
** General retreated from the field. Game conceded.
So Steve is best and Archie is in line for CO when Steve retires.
We have a couple of 8 year old potential troopers, currently very able at fetching and carrying, horse “poo-picking” and firewood cutting.
I am trying to make a table-top game that will involve them and keep them from their other nefarious activities. At our last event I was able to pick up 4 boxes of Revell Thirty Years War plastic soldiers (2 infantry, 1 cavalry, 1 artillery) for £5 (originally £4 but the stall owner had no change).
More to follow as it progresses in time for the August Bank Hoiday.