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

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Talavera - (0) - the field

Talavera on Saturday. I think, to be more precise, it is the second bit of Talavera, but since it is unlikely to follow the history too closely, it doesn't really matter.

All these photos are taken from the Allied side of the field. In the foreground is
part of the town of Talavera de la Reina. The French attack will come from the
right-hand edge of the table.
And here we are looking back from behind the Allied left flank.
This is based on the Commands & Colors user site EPIC scenario for the battle - I've shrunk it just a little to get it on my 17 hex x 9 hex table. Some soldiers will appear on this ground in a day or so (I don't want them collecting dust any longer than necessary, and have to keep the sunlight off the flags...) - there'll be another photo or two then, and I'll also include some QRS stuff and scenario information - we have a nifty little experimental rule to prevent Wellesley and Cuesta co-operating too well.

I fear that all my battlefields have a kind of generic look, but it's a flexible system. Here
we are looking down at the Allied right wing. The Portiña stream looks fairly substantial,
but in fact it's a watersplash - units have to pause when they step into it, but it has no
other effect, and all sorts of troops may ford it throughout it's length. There are some
bonus Victory Points available for the French if they can take any of Talavera itself (top
right corner). The things that look like gumshields are the earthworks of the Pajar
de Vergara redoubt - there'll be one Spanish and one British battery in there by Saturday.
Aerial view of the Allied left wing - the 10 hexes of the Cerro de Medellin, on this side
of the stream (complete with the omnipresent Wellington's Tree) are the British main
position, and possession of these hexes is another potential VP generator for the
French. The building on the left is the farm estate of Valdefuentes. 
On some future occasion, Talavera is one of the battles for which I really fancy doing a bigger version - this game on Saturday will be about half size - for numbers and ground scale - but with enough boards and a big enough hall (and some volunteer extra generals - please leave your name with the secretary) there's no reason why it couldn't be done in something closer to the Grand Manner (oops! - copyright wording...).

More soon.


  1. I, for one, really like your different battlefields. Stylized yes, but in the best way possible. Add your armies, and it's a winning combination.

    Best Regards,


    1. Thank you Stokes - in fact I am (quietly) very pleased with my battlefields, now I've improved the quality of the MDF kit. I often get envious when I see the scenic glories of what others are doing - in my foldaway, zero-flock world, things are definitely a bit fake, but it works well. Apart from occasional flurries of balancing units on the parapets of bridges and other outrages, I never get into problems with installing a garrison in a village or similar - my troops can stand anywhere, the scenery (as a good boardgame should have!) is absolutely fit for purpose, and I haven't yet found a battlefield I couldn't have a go at building.

  2. Are your stream/river hexes new? They look interesting

    1. Hi Clive - they've been in use for a while now - there are a few historic posts on the breathless excitement of painting them, and suchlike - the most informative might be the first half of


      The breakthrough was realising the banks and the water could be separate - with an assortment of bank profiles, and the banks painted on both sides, this has almost limitless flexibility - you can include lakes and inlets - you could even have ACW gunboat battles, or a coastal invasion, or even a sea battle, given enough hexes.

      One failure on my part thus far is I still have not painted the reverse side of the "water plates" in glossy mud-colour. That was always the plan, and if ever a river needed to muddy it's the Portiña on this field. Putting paint on the backside of the water plates would also usefully cure a very slight warp produced by painting big pieces of 2mm MDF on one side. Note to self: must get on with that.

      As with a lot of my MDF bits and pieces, I had some wonderful support from Michael Scott at Supreme Littleness Designs (listed under Useful Links somewhere on the right hand side of this screen) - Michael is enthusiastic and happy to get involved with the design of innovative pieces.

      Alas, I abandoned my grand plans for a sophisticated modular trench system based on MDF framing, since it was going to require a lot of work and material and also modelling skills which are out of my range.

  3. Generic or not, I enjoy the look of your battlefields; perfectly modular with an aesthetically pleasing look. Simple elegance, I say!

    Are your hex hills commercial or homemade?

    1. Thank you Jon. My hills are a mixture. Because I opted for a freak size - 7" across the flats - I always knew I'd be on my own for making the scenery. However, 7" works remarkably well - gives my units just enough room, with token scenic props, and fits a standard 13 hex x 9 hex C&C table perfectly on my old 8' x 5' tabletop - with a nifty little border (which will be in use on Saturday, by the way).

      The oldest of my hills were hand-cut with a Stanley knife out of Insulation Board, which is horrible stuff, but works OK. More recently, I got Supreme Littleness Designs to laser-cut me some laminated (hollow bottomed!) hills, which have worked well. 7" hexes of 6mm MDF is pretty near the limits of what SLD's cutter can manage, but it turned out fine.

      Close up, the oldest hills are really scruffy - there is no proper finish, they are just dappled with a darker colour to improve visibilty (the old bath sponge called into action!). The newer hill hexes in the photo are the laminated MDF ones, and I was too cautious with the dappling shade - must re-do that.

  4. At the moment it looks like it will be a walk over for the French as the enemy seem to have abandoned their position - vive le emperor!

    1. They should appear on a further photo, later today, as will the Emperor's lads. The French troops will be a historically motley bunch, with contingents of Germans and King Joseph's Spanish units.

      In the meantime, the inevitable Welly's Tree marks the spot where the Great Man should be found.

  5. Elegant yet functional set-up you have there!

    1. It works nicely. A lot of the scenery is just oversize versions of the tiles from the C&C box set, but using 3D trees and buildings helps a lot. One gratifying feature is that visiting players who are unfamiliar with the bizarre geology of hexes seem quite comfortable straight away, and you tend to forget about the quirky scenery within minutes.

      Not everybody's taste, obviously, but it works well enough.