Wednesday, 4 January 2012

English Civil War Battle Report

A rare meeting between two old adversaries, and sometime allies; Lord Flasheart & Earl Michael de Blondeville.  Sir Brian Cromwell was expected as well, but he was stuck waiting for traffic to clear on the M56, a long wait when the motorways a few hundred years off being actually built.

In a not particularly revolutionary line of thought we tried out using the Hail Caesar rules for this ECW match-up, with the pike and shotte regiments turning into heavy infantry units (with an additional shooting value of 3 and the Pike rule), and the horse turning into heavy cavalry and the artillery appearing in various categories; light, medium and heavy.  Rather than worry about a scenario as well it was simply a fight until one side quit the battlefield.  Foot regiments numbered 16 men (an 8 and 8 pike/shot split) while horse regiments numbered 4 men.

Having divided up the available models Earl Michael’s forces tended towards the infantry, while Lord Flashearts (mine) had a large cavalry wing.  No big awe inspiring report, just some notes and a few pictures here.

 The Parliamentarians (Earl Michael of course) kicked off by doing exactly nothing, apart from firing a cannon - failed command rolls all round.

 The Royalist centre reacted by steaming forward under the personal command of Lord Flasheart, while Brigadier Wolfe and his horse brigade advanced a bit, then realised that the wall of pikes facing them was a hurdle too high and stopped.

 On the Parlimentarian right their troops garrisoned what might have been a pub, while on their left the single foot regiment clashed with Sir Hugh of Beeston’s brigade, and having broken left the cannon to fend for itself, and the Parlimentarian horse to try and sweep away a bunch of skirmishing musketeers and the Royalist Saker.  Something they failed at constantly due to a stream of ‘6’s to hit causing break tests and retreats.

 In the centre Earl Michael’s own brigade suffered a bit of woe, when firstly one of his foot regiments legged it with only two shots fired (1 causality, 1 break test), then the second and third got involved in a push of pike against Lord Flashearts men and lost spectacularly, fleeing from the field.  With one of three parliamentarian brigades broken, Flashearts men moved on to pressure the remaining regiment and the Parliamentarian right wing.  Brigadier Wolfe tried to get in on the act with a dramatic charge, but messed it up, loosing a regiment and the rest reeled backwards disordered.  Not that the Parliamentarian troops did any better, one foot regiment distinctly hearing the phrase ‘move to your right, off the table’ instead of the actual ‘charge the horse!’  A number of the Royalists were now shaken, but seemed unwilling to quit the field, much to Earl Michaels disgust.

With the Parlimentarian foot penned in, Sir Hugh lead his own pike regiments off to the right, and successfully (and perhaps a bit fortunately) penned in the horse regiments as well.  With volleys coming in and no charge allowed against the wall of pikes it was over as a contest and Earl Michael conceded.

Post Battle Analysis:

With both sides divided into three brigades a series of 1 on 1 clashes looked likely, with Sir Hugh’s Royalist foot getting the better of the Parlimentarian left.  While Wolfes big horse wing did very little due to the limited space to get round the side of the pikes.  In the centre Flashearts troops, with some assistance for Sir Hugh easily crushed Earl Michael’s own brigade, while we worked out how combat worked, and then turned on the outnumbered Parliamentarian right.

In terms of game mechanics I was worried that the break test for being hit by a ranged attack on a 6 would prove too powerful given the musketery on show, but this was groundless.  Only a couple of blunders appeared and it ran much the same as Blackpowder except in the combat stage.  This was simple enough, but the proximity rule bit might prove a bit harder to nail down.

Overall I thought Hail Caesar might be more of an ECW experience than Blackpowder, focusing as it does on close combat rather than shooting.  However, perhaps because we were using an un-adapted set of rules, it still doesn’t have the period taste, and possibly even less than Blackpowder.

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