Saturday, September 24, 2016

Play Test of "For King and Parliament" Rules

Simon Miller (of BigRedBat's Shop) is working on a "variant" of his "To the Strongest!" ancient/medieval rules to carry them into the 17th Century.  The Jackson Gamers obtained a copy of the first edition play test rules from him and finally were able to play the scenario included with the rules - The Battle of Montgomery in 1644.

We used my 15mm vintage English Civil War armies augmented by a few additional leaders from Lord Sterling's equally vintage forces.

The rules are very similar in structure to Simon's "To the Strongest!" rules but do have  new and interesting close combat sequence.

The scenario pitted a small Royalist force (5 foot regiments, 4 horse regiments, and 1 dragoon regiment, with no artillery) against a smaller Parliamentary force (3 foot regiments and 3 horse regiments, with no artillery, but a reinforcement of two horse regiments on or after turn 2).  This scenario was taken from Bob Giglio's English Civil War Wargaming Scenarios, Volume 2.

I was the game master and my other three Thursday lunch and game buddies played the Parliament and Royalist forces.  We had a good time learning the basic rules and actually playing the game.  Each side had 9 victory medals.  The Parliamentary forces won the game 9 to 0, destroying three Royalist horse regiments and a foot regiment, while loosing none of their own.

Here are a few pictures of the game:

Simon's picture of the scenario set-up.  The battlefield is 12 blocks wide and 8 deep.

During the first turn the Royalists advanced, forcing the left wing Parliamentary horse regiment to fall back (foreground) while attacking the left wing Parliamentary horse with their two first rank horse regiments (background).

The action on the Parliamentary left/Royalist right as both sides horse collide.  The off-board Parliamentary horse represent a foraging command that can't return until starting on Turn 2 and only if a D6 roll is less than the current turn number.

Arriving on Turn 4, the off-board Parliamentary horse crash into the Royalist flank.  Now here I made a mistake and let them charge in from off-board.  That should not have happened so the Parliamentary forces may have gotten a slight advantage.  But the way FKaP (and TtS!) are played, a unit or group of units can activate as many times during a turn as they are able.  Bringing them on properly would probably only delayed them the draw of an additional card.

With one Royalist foot and two horse regiments already destroyed, the final nail was put into the Royalist coffin when the red-coated Parliamentary horse unit attacked the already disordered "Polish crimson" Royalist horse to their front, giving them a second disorder and destroying them.
We'll try to do another play test, maybe next Thursday, before Simon comes out with his second edition of the play test rules.  Stay tuned!

Return to the Green Nile - Play Test

On Saturday, Sep. 17, I ran a play test of my scenario for November's Colonial Barracks.  This is a convention held in the New Orleans area that only uses rules written by Larry Brom or derived from those rules.  This year's theme is The Queen's Wars, 1837-1901.  My scenario falls about 1895.  It uses the 20th edition of "The Sword and the Flame" rules.  Infantry are organized into 20 figure units, cavalry into 12 figure units, and guns with 4 figure crews.

In 2001 and 2002, we played a five game quasi-campaign that started off with an Imperial advance up the Green Nile branch of the Nile River.  This game posits that an Egyptian/Sudanese force was sent east towards the Red Sea to occupy a strategic oasis.  They were almost immediately besieged by the Emir Tubeir and a motley force of Dervishes, Beja, Tuaregs, Arabs, and others (basically almost all of the painted native troops I have).  An Anglo-Indian relief column under Leftenant Colonel Manly-Jones has been sent to relieve the garrison and destroy the Emir's forces.

The Egyptian/Sudanese garrison of the oasis had one Egyptian infantry platoon, one Sudanese platoon, one Egyptian gun, an infantry company commander and senior sergeant, and a senior Egyptian commander (who was killed almost as soon as the attacks started).

The Emir's forces had 12 infantry units, 4 horse units, 2 camel units, and 2 guns, organized into four individual commands and a reserve.  Each command had a senior leader plus there was a figurer for the Emir.

The Imperial relief column had two Highland infantry platoons with a company commander and senior sergeant, two Punjabi (Indian) infantry platoons with a company commander and senior sergeant, a Bengal lancer cavalry troop, an Indian mountain battery with 3 guns, and a 2 gun Royal Navy Gatling gun detachment, plus a command figure (plus 2 man escort) for Lt Col Manly-Jones.

Now on to the action!

The battlefield showing the oasis being besieged by the forces of Emir Tubeir - Arabs, Tuaregs, Beja,
Dervishes, and others.

A close-up of the Tuareg camelry. Although impressive they didn't do much damage to the Imperials during the battle.

A close-up of the Arab command's cavalry also showing where some of the native force was hidden and the Imperial entry area.
Initial advance of Indian command gets hit by previously hidden Baluchi and Sudanese forces while the Arab cavalry watches for an opportunity to charge.

The Dervish command lines up to attack the Sudanese and Egyptian defenders who were protected by a thorn zariba. The Dervish commander on the far left was quickly picked off by a lucky Egyptian shot (an Ace was drawn and he was in the fire cone.).

The Arab command's infantry line up to attack the oasis. They are to the right of the Dervish in the preceding picture. The one Egyptian gun can barely be seen on the far right curve of the oasis.

Initial Arab, Tuareg, and Dervish attacks on the oasis tried to overwhelm the garrison before the Imperial relief column could reach them. But the plucky Sudanese and Egyptians were able to hold them off.

Another picture of the Dervish and Arab attackers closing the zariba.

A little further around to the left another Dervish unit closes the zariba.

The Indian command moves further forward but exposes its guns to attacking Sudanese infantry while an Indian platoon beats off the Baluchis with rifle fire. In the background the Arab cavalry and Bengal lancers tangle while one of the Highlander platoons awaits to pour fire into the Tuareg camelry.

Another shot of the native force attacks on the Indians. The Sudanese were able to kill most of the Indian gunners and capture two guns, but later the Indian infantry forced them off with rifle fire and recaptured the guns.

Here is a picture of the victorious Sudanese capering around the newly captured guns. The Bengal lancers and one of the Arab cavalry units fight in the foreground but for some reason the other Arab cavalry unit (green coats) never joined the melee.

Another view of the cavalry battle showing the reserve Tuareg cavalry and the location of the Royal Navy Gatling guns. While one gun initially jammed, both were able to shoot up the Tuareg camelry and cavalry.

The two Dervish guns, captured Egyptian Krupp pieces. The left gun was singularly mismanaged during the attack and kept trying to load the shells backwards (through a 6 meaning they couldn't fire). Eventually both were able to fire at the oasis but didn't do too much damage.

Dervish riflemen reveal themselves by firing at the Egyptian defenders while the Dervish and Arab attacks continue.

A final shot of the attack on the zariba. Finally one of the Dervish units was able to fight its way inside. In the background are the two Beja infantry units finally joining the assault.
So, how did the fight end? Well we judged that although the native force infantry would have been able to take the oasis, the Imperial relief column was just too strong to be defeated by what native forces were left.