Looking back

As my work on varnishing and basing my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures progresses, I have been thinking about the rules I am going to use. As a result I looked back to some battles that I fought in late August and early September 2011 using part of this collection … and remembered how much fun I had had.

The battles were set in a South American imagi-nation (Cordeguay) in the period after it had gained independence, and were the result of a civil war fought between the President-for-life, General José Santa Maria, and the leader of the Constitutionalists, General Roberto Branco.

The two armies looked like this:

Presidential Army

  • 1st Presidential Guard Infantry
  • 2nd Presidential Guard Infantry
  • Presidential Guard Foot Artillery
  • 1st Cuirassiers
  • 2nd Cuirassiers
  • 3rd Lancers
  • 4th Carabineers
  • 5th Hussars
  • 1st Foot Artillery
  • 2nd Foot Artillery
  • 1st Regular Infantry
  • 2nd Regular Infantry
  • 3rd Regular Infantry
  • 4th Regular Infantry
  • 5th Regular Infantry
  • 6th Militia Infantry
  • 7th Militia Infantry
  • 8th Militia Infantry
  • 9th Militia Infantry
  • 10th Militia Infantry

Constitutional Army

  • English Infantry (British Legion)
  • Scottish Infantry (British Legion)
  • The Rifles (British Legion)
  • British Artillery (British Legion)
  • 1st (Northern) Cavalry
  • 2nd (Northern) Cavalry
  • 3rd (Southern) Cavalry
  • 4th (Southern) Cavalry
  • 1st (Northern) Artillery
  • 2nd (Southern) Artillery
  • 1st (Northern) Infantry
  • 2nd (Northern) Infantry
  • 3rd (Northern) Infantry
  • 4th (Southern) Infantry
  • 5th (Southern) Infantry
  • 6th (Southern) Infantry

The first battle was THE BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIO BLANCO and involved the following forces:

Presidential Army

  • 3rd Lancers
  • 4th Carabineers
  • 5th Hussars
  • 1st Foot Artillery
  • 1st Regular Infantry
  • 2nd Regular Infantry
  • 6th Militia Infantry
  • 7th Militia Infantry

Constitutionalist Army

  • 3rd (Southern) Cavalry
  • 4th (Southern) Cavalry
  • 2nd (Southern) Artillery
  • 4th (Southern) Infantry
  • 5th (Southern) Infantry
  • 6th (Southern) Infantry

The battlefield.

The battle ended with the Constitutionalists as marginal victors as they were able to capture and cross the bridge before the Presidential Army could stop them, but were unwilling to pursue the retreating Presidential Army troops.

The second battle was THE BATTLE OF THE CHERRO RICO ROAD and involved the following forces:

Presidential Army

  • 1st Presidential Guard Infantry
  • 2nd Presidential Guard Infantry
  • Presidential Guard Foot Artillery
  • 1st Cuirassiers
  • 2nd Cuirassiers
  • 3rd Lancers
  • 4th Carabineers
  • 5th Hussars
  • 1st Foot Artillery
  • 2nd Foot Artillery
  • 1st Regular Infantry
  • 2nd Regular Infantry
  • 3rd Regular Infantry
  • 4th Regular Infantry
  • 5th Regular Infantry
  • 6th Militia Infantry
  • 7th Militia Infantry
  • 8th Militia Infantry
  • 9th Militia Infantry
  • 10th Militia Infantry

Constitutionalist Army

  • English Infantry (British Legion)
  • Scottish Infantry (British Legion)
  • The Rifles (British Legion)
  • British Artillery (British Legion)
  • 1st (Northern) Cavalry
  • 2nd (Northern) Cavalry
  • 3rd (Southern) Cavalry
  • 4th (Southern) Cavalry
  • 1st (Northern) Artillery
  • 2nd (Southern) Artillery
  • 1st (Northern) Infantry
  • 2nd (Northern) Infantry
  • 3rd (Northern) Infantry
  • 4th (Southern) Infantry
  • 5th (Southern) Infantry
  • 6th (Southern) Infantry

The battlefield.

This battle resulted in a much more convincing win for the Constitutionalists, but the actual result of the civil war was not known.

The rules that I used to fight these battles were a lashed-together amalgam of Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Musket’ and ‘Frontier’ wargames rules … and in retrospect they were fun to use even though the results were a bit extreme at times.

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2 Comments on “Looking back”

  1. I was thinking that, especially if these were solo game, the odd extreme result is probably not only acceptable but reasonably realistic as well. These things happen.

    In a two-player game, which is meant to be (presumably) competitive and a game of (some) skill, capricious outcomes are (in my view at any rate) less tolerable. I don't like seeing my good tactics ruined by vagaries of the dice – though this usually means some horrible outcome on rolls for morale, or, with some rule sets, initiative.

    But the thing is, I don't like winning that way, either. It can be amusing to see disasters overtake the enemy, but one is left with an uneasy sense of having scored an unearned win…

    You want solo play to allow for such vicissitudes, even if one can not escape a certain bias in favour of one or other army. …

  2. Archduke Piccolo,

    I know what you mean. I try to get a balance in my rules between skill and chance. In my solo wargames I am tending towards allowing chance to determine how many units a player can activate each turn, and tactical skill (with an element of chance) in determining how successful units are in combat.

    In the rules I used back in 2011, units were 'killed' quite easily (one 'hit' = unit 'killed'). In my current rules units are degraded by 'hits'. It is still possible for a unit to be 'killed' quite quickly if it is left unsupported or surrounded by superior numbers … but not just by one lucky 'hit'.

    Like you I want to be able to feel that chance played a part in victory … but was not the sole reason for it.

    All the best,

    Bob


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