RAIN IN SPAIN: Biggest 2022 Bash
At four players (two per side), with three divisions apiece across a 6'x10' table Grant and I reckoned this was our biggest Napoleonic game to-date.We played this scenario out over 14 hours straight - strewth.
Lining either side of a table with our whole array has never been an approach which appeals to either of us. This Black Powder game scenario therefore took place on the flank of a bigger battle somewhere in the Iberian Peninsular and the objective was securing the road and village to the point of conceded defeat.
The French Imperial forces had an advantage in cavalry: the Anglo-Portuguese army an advantage in Infantry. Artillery was even across four batteries each of two-gun foot units and a three-gun horse battery each.
Curiously, most of the battle was fought in the centre and French end of the table. Randomly determined at the start, the two French entry points were closer to the road and village and they made short work of securing these victory locations. This then imposed a defensive mindset and posture on the French players which when I think about it, is never how the French fight best. In turn, the allied players had to cover more ground and get aggressive.
Each side commenced with two brigades of their choosing (one for each player) at their entry point on the table edge. From turn 2, subsequent brigades were diced for to come on with a 1in6 chance, increasing each subsequent turn until the next brigade gets on - then it's back to 1in6 for the next one and so on. Each player got to roll each turn for their next brigade so each side could get two more brigades on at a time ... but that was unlikely and never happened.
The French got all their brigades on early but had perpetually unfortunate Command rolls and stacked themselves up in defensive depth. The Allies achieved far greater freedom of maneuver. Any cavalry melees which the Allies failed to win (few) resulted in withdrawals rather than routs; brigades being rallied in the rear and returning largely intact to fight on. The French in comparison suffered several small disasters. I've never seen so many rolls of three and four for break testing - sometimes for the losing combatants as well as their supports.
Whilst the British shooting could be inconsistent, their freedom of movement enabled more units to get into range. When they were hammered by the French, in contrast their break test rolling was often nothing short of superb.A series of outstanding command rolls when the Allies needed them swung the left flank brigade by march column, threading it back through the centre and delivered a reinforced assault on the village. Hanging on for about four turns, the defenders finally broke as the Allied right flank pushed passed the road into the French rear area.
By midnight and after too many turns to count, the French losses had been too great. Remaining French forces were largely shaken and their reserves exhausted. In the face of a stubborn if damaged Allied front, supported by a fresh infantry brigade and a residual but distinct superiority in cavalry, The French surrendered the field.
A decisive Allied victory but not easily won made for a great game. I'm pleased with my terrain boards, even though the hill sections haven't been fully painted yet. All four players were exhausted by the end. It's a beautiful thing.