Thursday, 27 June 2019

Culloding along nicely

With less than two weeks to go I really needed to get my act together for my COW game. I've been considering doing a fictional scenario for the "Va t'en Ecosse" rules, but I wondered if I could get close enough to Culloden to put that on instead (I thought about Sherrifmuir in the '15, but that's a really big battle and way more confusing).

Well, I don't have enough regiments, but I can get near, so that was this week's game sorted out.

British Army to the right, Jacobites to the left.

Here's a shot of a British regiment with its new Union flag. These can be swapped out for St George's Crosses, should the need arise.

The Highlanders massed on the other side of the table. Their right is deployed in columns of attack. Phil played the Jacobites, and Richard got the British.

Phil started with a round of firing with his artillery that got a hit with every gun, pretty much. He then launched his attack.

Richard chose not to break through the through the enclosure wall, as his predecessor did, but hold his cavalry back. The layout as I'd got it done did not incentivise historical movement in this respect. I need to widen the playing area, and push the cavalry and their supporting infantry further out left.

Richard's artillery find the range of the on-rushing Highlanders, and cause some disorder.

I missed a picture or two here. Phil's left hand columns smash into the red-coated front line, and inflict a massive 11 hits (that's every dice he rolled was a hit), sweeping away their opponents in a terrifying wave of kilted screaming men.

The right hand columns are slightly less successful, as they have to face a hail of grape shot (new artillery rules in place for this game), but they still drive in the facing infantry and overrun the gunners.

The left hand Highlanders' success becomes their undoing, as the second line of infantry open up at close range and perform massive execution on them.

The Highlanders on the right continue to drive back the infantry, and break them. Richard by this time has abandoned any thought of flanking manoeuvres with his cavalry, and started to turn round and form up to deal with the threat posed. It's all kicking off in the centre too, as the clans close in.

Phil is able to rally one of his right flank clan columns back into the enclosure to provide some protection from the British Dragoons.

It's all hotting up on the centre right of the British line, as the clans charge home. In the distance two clan regiments are working their way slowly through the wooded ridge. You know, the woods that weren't in the photo at the top of the blog.

The British line has been rocked back, but is stabilising.

The clan on the far right is forced back by sustained musketry. Elsewhere the fighting is close matched.

The Dragoons move warily up the hillside to confront the recuperating Highlanders.

By now much of the Highland clans are a spent force, so Phil brings up his Lowland regiments, and deploys them into line. The Royal Ecossois can be seen in the centre in their blue coats and white breeches.

Baghot's Hussars try to establish dominance on the Jacobite left by charging the end of the infantry line. They are driven back. They were deployed there to pursue any infantry broken by the initial charge.

Again some missing pictures. The Highlanders in the enclosure were chased off by the Dragoons, and both are now off the field. The Prince has brought forwards his Lifeguard to try an exploit what advantage he has on his right.

The more regular foot on both sides exchange volleys. In the distance the flanking Highlanders emerge from the woods.

The Lifeguards and the Dragoons charge into each other. A possibly pivotal moment?

The Prince's men are driven backwards. Could it be curtains for the Young Stuart?

On the right wing, the Highlanders make ready for their charge out of the woods. I seem to have no pictures of the outcome. The leading regiment receives a damaging volley and are broken, the following up unit fails to break through.

The Prince's Lifeguard succeed in holding on, and Charlie kills the opposing brigadier in single combat. At least that's what he is claiming.

At this point it was getting close to midnight so we ended the game. The Jacobites weren't beaten but it was hard to see how they would get a win. All the Highland units were blown, and they were left with the Lowland reserve line to save the day.

I got quite a bit out of the game. I need to widen the board a bit, and look at the Jacobite left flank terrain. Most of the rule changes worked well, so I need to type them up and tweak a few bits, but otherwise done. In the actual battle the Jacobite left was boggy and really mucked up their attack. I've smoothed that out for them to give them some more of a chance. Looking at this re-fight if you play the scenario straight as it was it is hard to see where they get a win from. As in the real battle, - better in fact - the Jacobite right wing wins initially, but it ends up in a pocket and gets beaten back. If the British stay steady then the second and third line will win it for them as their superior musketry takes its toll.

Yes, a good test for the rules, I think.


  1. Hi Trebian,
    A most interesting Culloden Battle - certainly do like the AIRFIX Conversions etc...really looks good. This'l be most entertaining for COW. Regards. KEV.

    1. I'm really pleased with both the look and feel. It'll be a good session (he said modestly).

  2. Sorry to have missed this. My days in the Rugby office were changed around over the last couple of weeks so I have missed out on the games. It seems to me that the Jacobite rules have come together really well. The narrative of the battle feels right with initial success for hard charging highlanders but petering out if the enemy reserves aren't swept away with fleeing front lines.

    1. Yes, I was very pleased with how it played out. Hoping it wasn't just dumb luck.

  3. Game looks really good and an exciting action.

    When Phil's Highlanders destroyed their opposition midway through with the eleven hits, was there any impact on the second line? Did the second line simply ignore the destruction of their comrades to the fore and wait to return the favor once the smoke and their comrades disappeared?

    1. There was no impact on the morale of the second line. This seems to me to work okay and demonstrates why you deploy in multiple lines.