Wednesday evening - the days were accomplished; I was host, umpire and General Factotum (gopher) for the Battle of Kilsyth, in the company of my two guest generals, Dave and Dave - all by courtesy of Zoom Video Communications Inc, of San Jose, California, suppliers of state-of-the-art digital enabling systems to the World, and Lothian Broadband, of Haddington, Scotland, purveyors of brave-but-faintly-agricultural rural broadband services to the socially isolated.
There are two sub-themes here which should be identified now, and then we shall speak no more of them.
(1) The first is that the Broadband Thing did get in the way a bit. We had a number of hangs, and one complete system collapse. During Turn 2, the broadband dropped out completely. This was not one of our familiar local temporary hiccups, which restore themselves fairly quickly after the odd freeze and Dalek impression - this was a full dropping of the Zoom session, such that I had to reboot our hub, start the meeting all over again, and phone my guests to apologise. We lived to fight on - as I suggested at the time, we must be due some bonus points for effort and stamina, and I am grateful to the Daves for their splendid resilience and good humour. Apart from the occasional smell of fertilizer, one other downside of the countryside is that some aspects of the infrastructure would be rejected as unreasonable elsewhere. It is interesting that our big dropout last night was around the time that Lothian Broadband's other customers must all have been hooking up to online coverage of the Champions' League football.
(2) Unlikely dice rolls. It has to be said that, after the Zoom restart, General Baillie had the most phenomenal series of bad breaks I've ever witnessed. Not only were his own rolls very poor, but his opponent, Montrose, also produced a series of spectacularly successful melee results, and the whole thing suggests that a properly audited investigation is necessary. In fact, since I was rolling all the dice, had no particular bias and used the same dice for both sides, I think we'll get through the VAR checks. There was occasional muttering about "Catholic dice", but all in good spirit...
We used the Ramekin modifications to my Commands & Colors-based ECW rules. We also used the Chaunce (event) cards from my base game, to add a little extra colour, but these cards were to be cued by tied (i.e. drawn) Initiative/Activation rolls, and there weren't any (the game only lasted about 8 turns) - so this was a bit of a non-event (so to speak), but in any case the worst powder explosion or unmapped swamp imaginable would have been trivial compared with the broadband risks, so let's not worry about it.
Here's our game map, with the brief explanatory notes I sent to the Daves beforehand:
FT are Foot, TR are "Trotter" cavalry, HI are Highland levies. MG (confusingly) is Medium Artillery.
The OOB is:
Government Troops (Lt.Gen William Baillie) - total approx 4300 men
Maj.Gen Sir James Holbourne
Marquis of Argyll's Regt
Earl of Crawford-Lindsay's Regt
Col Robert Home's Regt (veteran)
Earl of Lauderdale's Regt
John Kennedy's Provisional Regt (remnants of the Regts of The Earls of
Cassilis, Glencairn & Loudon)
Maj John Haldane's [combined] battalion of Commanded Shot
Fife Brigade (Maj.Gen John Leslie [Adjutant])
Col James Arnot of Fernie's Regt (raw)
Col John Henderson of Fordell's Regt (raw)
Sir Thomas Morton of Cambo's Regt (raw)
Maj.Gen Earl of Balcarres
Earl of Balcarres' Regt
Harie Barclay's Regt (Lt.Col Mungo Murray)
1 medium gun
Royalist [Rebel] Army (James Graham, Marquis of Montrose) - total approx 4800 men
Col James Farquharson of Inverey
Graham of Inchbrackie's Regt
Alasdair Mac Colla McDonnell
Col Thomas Laghtnan's Regt (veteran)
Col Manus O'Cahan's Regt (veteran)
Col James McDonnell's Regt (veteran)
Western Clans 1 (MacLean of Treshnish) (raw)
Western Clans 2 (MacDonald of Glengarry) (raw)
Western Clans 3 (MacDonald of Clanranald) (raw)
Western Clans 4 (raw)
Viscount Aboyne's Regt
Earl of Airlie's Regt
Col Nathaniel Gordon
The Gordon Horse
(unless otherwise stated, all troops are "Trained")
Oh yes - 7 Victory Points for the win.
After Baillie initially took the high ground at Auchinrivoch, Montrose sent forward some of his Horse to clear away the Commanded Shot from one of the hills. At the windmill, Holbourne has Lauderdale's Foot.
As Mac Colla brings up his Irish brigade behind (red counters for danger...), a vigorous cavalry battle kicks off at Auchinrivoch. Here the Gordon Horse and Airlie's Regt (on this side, under Viscount Aboyne), take on Balcarres with all of Baillie's Horse.
Baillie put the bulk of his Foot into a nice, tidy line, facing the Highlanders. At this end are one of the (raw) Fife units (yellow counter), but beyond that the foot are all experienced boys with service in England. [Note the presence of Baillie's Tree - recurrent private joke and Leitmotif]
My compliments and thanks to my collaborators, for their company and for braving the realities of Rural Broadband. Thank you gentlemen, very much. Simply because I feel that Chance will even itself out in the end, I am more than tempted to stage this game again. On the other hand, how would it be if the generals swapped sides, and the luck moved over to the Government side? Hmmm.
Better think this through.
If anyone thinks there is a shortfall here on the background and the campaign leading up to this battle, please look back a few posts on this blog and there is plenty. If you've read through this far, my thanks and my compliments to you as well!
Here's something to think on: the dice had a mind of their own, however, it is worth noting that, with the sides quite evenly matched, the result and the narrative are surprisingly close to history, though in the real battle the Highlanders were more active. Once again, Hmmm...