A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Thursday, 18 February 2016

ECW - Boldon Hill, 24th March 1644

Very few photos from last night - here, Sir Charles Lucas advances with
the Northern Horse. The Royalist cavalry were aggressive early in the day,
but had little success against troops on foot. Lucas, along with his colleague
Lord Eythin, was wounded in the afternoon.
The scheduled battle took place last night - we used a cut-down version of the house ECW rules, to make things less mystifying for my visitor. The circumstances of the historical campaign also lent themselves to some simplification of the troop types - all the cavalry of both sides were of "Trotter" type, and none of the infantry were sufficiently expert or experienced to permit "stand of pikes" as an anti-cavalry measure.

The initial positions can be seen in the previous post. To start off similarly to the original action (though rather earlier than teatime), Hew Fraser's Dragoons began with a hesitant attack on the fields surrounding the hamlet of East Boldon, and they were driven off rather easily by Royalist musketeers lining the hedges - the dragoons took no further part in the action.

The Royalist horse started very aggressively, in the more open ground wide on the right flank, and caused their Scottish equivalents a lot of trouble and some serious damage, but the cavalry action, as often happens with these games, was pretty much self-contained - the infantry battle developed slowly, more or less unaffected by their mounted colleagues. The Scottish foot advanced steadily and effectively up Down Hill (yes, all right) to attack the Royalist line, and successfully brushed away some troublesome artillery. They also occupied East Boldon village, but the second line which was supposed to be following in support was delayed and rather disorganised trying to get across the stream in the bottom of the valley.

After a vicious exchange of musketry on the hillside, the Covenanters took the victory by a margin of 9-7 in Victory Banners - this was helped greatly by the Royalists' late loss of two general officers - Lucas and Eythin were both wounded.

Close thing - could have gone either way (once again), and the game completed in around two hours, which is not bad at all considering that my opponent had no previous experience of the rules. I very much enjoyed the first wargame I've staged for a while, and I believe that I have not frightened away my guest general - I've added him to my list of potential volunteers for forthcoming events, including (if I get it organised) some possible siege work.

I'm sorry this is a rather unambitious report - I seem to have had some problem with my camera last night, and I got very few useable pictures.

8 comments:

  1. Lack of pictures is the sign of a good and engrossing game!

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    1. Hi Ian - this is true, but in my case on Wednesday the camera was being difficult - it has a rotary setting knob which sometimes gets knocked out of position, so I guess it might have been that - working now anyway.

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  2. Good stuff - nothing beats getting the lads on the table. I hope you manage to make it a regular occurrence.

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    1. I will certainly drink to that - I'm leaving the table up for a couple of days - I might get a chance to experiment with some siege stuff (heh heh)...

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  3. My commiserations, Foy. My recent attempt to photograph the lads in action failed dismally due to camera issues and an ecessively shiny dining room tabletop!

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    1. Heart-rending - it's all a huge techno-conspiracy, as we know.

      Having developed a great belief in the "10-centimetre drop test" for curing old-school electrical problems, I'm now warming to the "see if it still does that when it's underwater" test for iPhones and similar.

      I am also becoming more resistant to the idea that it has to be necessary to be able to take photographs with a pencil sharpener, videolink to someone using the dishwasher or play music on your watch. This seems to me like a series of unlikely solutions searching for problems that never existed - too many clever people with far too little to do.

      As Milligan once pointed out, the world has never been the same since the invention of the horse-drawn Zeppelin.

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  4. I like the look of your ECW rules, but there seems to be no scenario setups, or at least no centralised source. Have you considered publishing a scenario booklet?

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    1. Hi Mark - thanks for the appreciative comment - I have to confess that I am normally a solo gamer, and very rarely use published scenarios for any game. The idea of pulling together some scenarios is certainly interesting, but I fear I would make a poor job of it - I would certainly not wish to get into debates about specific battle scenarios(!), so I would prefer it if potential players do what I do, which is to research the original battles, or create their own campaigns, and develop actions from these.

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