Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A Marlburian Muddle, of sorts.

We revisited the War of Spanish Succession last night, using a revised version of the rules. So we could get to the meat of it all more quickly I deployed the armies in advance, rather than require players to advance in column. The results were mixed, but some new ideas came out of it all, and some mechanisms worked quite well. Of course we still suffer from the same old problem of me forgetting what I've written down.

Will turned up first. Because I'm  nice chap I set up the Anglo-Dutch on his side of the table. Because I had been out most of the day visiting a relative in hospital I didn't have the chance to dream up a clever scenario or even reset the terrain from last week.

I have fiddled a bit with the game turn sequence. This means that when you set up as I have done here, with intermixed infantry and cavalry, the units appear to leap frog through each other but it seemed to work okay.

Will went for a general advance in an aggressive way. Play tests so far have indicated that the Anglo-Dutch perform well if they press the enemy hard.

I got to the line of the stream first, and decided to defend it on my left flank, to take a bit of the sting out of my opponent's shock cavalry.

On my right I tried to exploit a slight numerical advantage with a wide hook, and splashed across the stream.

Around the village Will put in a charge against a unit of my infantry. The cavalry made contact and although being disordered by defensive fire still prevailed and drove the infantry back (I need to look at the factors here, - not entirely satisfactory).

Phil had arrived by now and took over my position. In the centre will charged across the stream and broke the French horse. Elsewhere the infantry exchanged volleys and conversation was had about how to simulate the practice of inducing your opponent to fire first.

The French infantry by the village gave ground steadily.

The firefight over the stream intensified. Infantry units cannot close with the  enemy until they have established fire superiority.

The Anglo-Dutch succeeded in forcing the stream line, but the French cavalry were able to extricate themselves and drop back behind their infantry to regroup.

By the time we packed up the French infantry had performed fairly well, managing to close on their opposite numbers in several places and drive them back, whilst the Anglo-Dutch cavalry was besting the French equivalents almost everywhere.

A not entirely satisfactory game. Some aspects of the rules are functioning really well, others less so. I have an issue calibrating the precise values of the DRMs and how long they last for. The means by which cavalry can break off, rally and regroup need looking at again, as does probably a means to enable units to recover casualties.

In other news I have had delivery of a few packages of Washington's Army figures, receiving some from Will McNally via Phil (thanks Will) and also some from an ebay purchase arranged for me by my chum Tone.

I've also got some Airfix Cuirassiers luxuriating in a bath of paint stripper, and several boxes also winging their way from ebay too, - well 3 boxes for £10+p&p. Couldn't pass them up, could I?


  1. Fine looking game! Remember you are early in the developmental stages of your WSS. Things can be easily forgotten and the DRMs may need a tweak or two. You will sort it all out.

    Will be good to see the results of all of your newly acquired figures once painted.

    1. You can't beat units with big flags. The issue with the development is that partly I did some, then went away for over a month, then come back to it and start wondering why I wrote what I wrote. It's like "What idiot wrote this" and then "Oh, it was me".

  2. Certainly pleased and glad to see you enjoying Airfix OO/HO figures- with more to add for your WSS collection- very fortunate. Fine Battle. Cheers. KEV.

    1. I'm a 20mm plastic man when I can be, and I love Airfix when they are suitable. The man issue, as with this project, is getting packets which re no longer in production for an army you started to build at University!

  3. An impressive looking game, even if the rules were a bit frustrating in places. My group encounter this all the time and it quickly became evident that there is no such things as the perfect rules system (Gasp! Blasphemy!!)

    1. You may find that those who play Black Powder and Bolt Action disagree with you. Although that may say more about them than the rules.

  4. Trebian
    'Elsewhere the infantry exchanged volleys and conversation was had about how to simulate the practice of inducing your opponent to fire first.'
    I was put in mind of the boardgame Risk and its 'handing in card groups' mechanism (under the original rules anyway).
    As I recall the first hand gave you two armies whilst the second gave you four and the third even more. This continued to escalate through the game. The effect early on was to try to hold back a first hand of cards until someone else threw one in, because there was more to be gained by waiting. However that first hand, worth two armies early in the game, was a distinct bonus.
    So I think what you may be seeking is a first fire bonus (of a small magnitude) coupled with some other slightly better bonus for return fire (can't see what that might be called, or, to be frank, a good reason for it).
    Perhaps it is something like +1 for first fire but +2 for response fire if no damage taken. Or a better chance of causing casualties for first fire coupled with a consequent greater chance of a morale fail for the firing unit should that first fire be (judged in some fashion) ineffective. So units want to fire first, but there's a risk to them should that not go as well as they might have hoped...and they become all shaky and retreaty.



    1. What I am going to go for is a rule that if you don't inflict damage with your first volley you take a Disorder step. Or something like that. So what you said in your last paragraph sort of.

  5. Great looking game that sounds like it was pretty enjoyable too. Always great to see loads of Washington's Army and other Airfix figures on the tabletop.
    You would not want cavalry to be successful in a frontal charge too often, if at all, would you?

    1. No I wouldn't and thereby hangs the problem. I have rejigged the factors and fixed it I think.