Making them pay!: A play-test of the revised Colonial version of The Portable Wargame rulesPosted: November 24, 2014
ScenarioThe tax collectors are having more trouble extracting money from the tribes in Southern Zubia, and after one of them was beaten so badly that they died, the local Governor decided that the most troublesome tribes needed teaching a lesson. He therefore sent a small but heavily armed column out into the desert to find the tribal encampments and to ensure that the overdue tax was levied … along with a bit extra to pay for the trouble the tribes had caused.
As the column advanced deeper and deeper into the desert, they became aware that they were being shadowed. As a result they were fully prepared for an attack, and when the tribesmen came into sight, the column deployed to meet the threat.
The Zubian column comprised 8 units:
- 4 Infantry Units
- 1 Cavalry Unit
- 1 Machine Gun Unit
- 1 Rifled Field Artillery Unit
- 1 Command Unit
This force had a Strength Value of 26 and an Exhaustion Point of 13.
The Tribal forces comprised:
- 6 Infantry Units armed with hand-held weapons
- 4 Infantry Units armed with smooth-bore muskets
- 1 Smooth-bore Artillery Unit
- 2 Cavalry Units
- 1 Command Unit
This force had a Strength Value of 39 and an Exhaustion Point of 20.
The BattleThe Zubian troops advanced to meet the Tribal forces.
The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Red 4, Joker. At this point the battlefield looked like this:
Both sides moved forward, with the Tribal cavalry trying to work around onto the Zubian column’s flank. The Zubian Artillery Unit fired at the Tribal Infantry Unit immediately in front of them, and caused the first casualties of the battle.
The Tribal Cavalry Units finally moved forward to engage the Zubian column’s flank, and whilst the battle continued elsewhere – without much effect – there were a series of close combats between the Tribal Cavalry Units and the Zubian Machine Gun Unit, as a result of which both sides sustained casualties.
The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Red 4, Black 3, Red 3, Black 3, Black 2, Black 2, Red 2, Joker. At this point the battlefield looked like this:
Circumstances and chance seemed to favour the Zubians who, despite the loss of their Machine Gun Unit …
… managed to advance and pour a deadly volley of rifle fire into the line of Tribal Infantry Units.
The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Red 4, Red 2, Red 4, Black 4, Joker. At this point the battlefield looked like this:
As so often happens, things now swung in favour of the other side, and the Tribal forces were able to charge forward and engage the Zubian troops in a number of close combats. As a result the casualties on both sides began to mount. (The Zubians had lost 8 of their initial total Strength Value of 26 and the Tribal forces had lost 16 from their initial total Strength Value of 39.)
The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Red 3, Black 3, Black 3, Black 3, Joker. At this point the battlefield looked like this:
The course of the battle moved towards its climax. The Zubians lost their Field Artillery Unit …
… but in achieving this minor victory the Tribal forces reached and passed their Exhaustion Point.
The Zubians were able to exploit this, and inflicted further casualties on the Tribal forces.
The Unit Activation Cards turned over were: Red 2, Black 3, Black 3, Red 4, Joker. At this point the battlefield looked like this:
At this point it was obvious that the Tribal forces were beaten, but that the Zubians were only a hairsbreadth away from reaching their Exhaustion Point. As a result, both sides fell back to lick their wounds. The Tribal forces did so in the knowledge that the dreaded tax collectors had not been able to enforce their demands, and the Zubians were well aware that although they may have won the battle, they had not achieved their main objective.
Lessons learntAs expected, the rules work fairly well and produced a fun battle that did not take too long to fight. The combat results were reasonable, and the Unit Activation Cards ensured that there was a degree of uncertainty as to what was going to happen as events unfolded.
I think that the clear casualty markers (they are plastic Roman Blind rings) are less intrusive that the normal white ones, and make it very easy to keep a tally of the Units that have suffered casualties. I do need to have a better method of recording each side’s overall losses, and I am thinking about buying a cheap cribbage board to fulfil that function.
One aspect of the rules that I think does require a minor change relates to flank and rear attacks. At present the tactical advantage this should give to an attacker is not factored into the rules, but it would be fairly simple to do so. I have therefore made a note of this and will make the necessary changes to the next draft of the rules.