Monday 14 June 2021

This week’s game. Back to the Eighteenth Century.

This week I arranged an 18th century game using Black Powder for the Burrowers. It wasn’t based on anything in particular but I intimated that it was. I also took the opportunity to field some troops that had never yet had their baptism of fire, which turned out to be a mistake given the usual mantra that new units always run away!

The French were one of the belligerents. On the other was a combined allied force of English, Hanoverians, Brunswickers and Hessians. The French had more and slightly better cavalry and heavier guns, while the allies had a couple more battalions of infantry. Most of my French are Ebor WSS figures but there are some Cran Tara, Black Hussar and Foundry in there as well. I went with Ebor as I got an unmissable deal (working out at about 25 quid for a 40 figure battalion as I bought LOTS) and I thought I'd base the army around the French during the War of Polish Succession to account for their slightly out of date appearance. My toys so I do as I wish of course! The Allies are a mixture of (mainly) Cran Tara and  Minden with some Foundry and Warlord.

Paul, John and Nigel were the French while Neil (British and Brunswick), Richard (Hanoverians and English horse) and I ( Hessian and Hanoverian horse) were the allies. We used Black Powder 2 with my house rules, some of which we forgot of course.

Both sides were against the clock as there was a chance that either could be reinforced by a brigade entering in the flank of the enemy. This was decided by me rolling a dice each turn, adjusted depending upon how the battle was playing out, by which I mean that the side nominally loosing had a better chance to get reinforcements. In truth there were NEVER going to be any for either side but nobody else knew that. Tee Hee. Hopefully these photos, some of which were taken by Richard, give an idea of how the game played out.

The Allied line seen from
their right wing.
The stage is set for battle to begin.
The French left wing. Why on earth did I give them a redoubt?

A taste of things to come in terms of extreme dice rolling! Neil's first shot with his cannon scored four sixes! Their target, the Royal Italian were pulverised and forced to retreat. They never recovered.
This was me. I needed anything but a 1! 
Paul's first move on the French right was to launch his cavalry at the Brunswick brigade on our left. 

The Hanoverian cavalry brigade advanced towards the French  left wing.
Wave after wave of French cavalry kept the Brunswickers pinned down almost on the table's edge.
Slowly but surely the Brunswickers were being worn down.

Neil's Brunswickers were also attacked by French infantry. 
Yet more pressure on the poor Brunswickers (First time out on the table too!)

The Hanoverian cavalry brigade was beaten badly by a combination of French artillery, infantry and  some dreadful dice rolling on my part (see above for the 'anything but a 1' result). 

The French cunningly screened their best infantry (the Garde Français and a battalion of Swiss) with a battalion of the Gardes Lorraine, who obligingly soaked up a great deal of damage before being forced to pull back.

French infantry of the Bourgoigne regiment supported by the Irish Rooth battalion attacking the English brigade.

My Hessian cavalry were very slow to get up into action, despite having a '9' commander! They looked on as the Hanoverians were demolished.

The English cavalry were led by a '6' rating brigadier but Richard still got them to move into musket range of the French.

The Hanoverians blundered and assaulted the church. 
The blundering Hanoverian infantry brigade  attacked the Irish in the church. After one turn of melee they routed after a dire break test, taking another battalion with them in the process. That left this battalion rather exposed and the brigade almost spent.
The Hanoverian grenadier battalion had advanced to occupy the farmyard but got no further for a while at least.

The Irish and HM 12th Foot locked in combat.
Meanwhile, having seen the Hanoverian cavalry disposed of, the Hessian  cavalry tried to break the French left by a series of futile charges.  In the background the Hanoverian infantry tried vainly to destroy the French centre. 

And still the French poured more horsemen at the Brunswickers, eventually they would break enough battalions to knock the brigade out of the game.

The centre as seen from behind the French line.

Swiss and Brunswickers locked in combat. It just wasn't the Brunswicker's day!

The Irish Bulkeley battalion in the churchyard were a thorn in the side of the Hanoverian brigade. 
The Hessian horse and dragoons on our right formed up for another attack on the French. failed of course, and the Hessians were bounced back from whence they'd come.
The Brunswickers had defeated the Swiss but were now attacked by the Garde Français.

I love this figure of the the French Cuirassiers du Roi. The Brunswick grenadier battalion didn't.

After seeing of the Cuirassier du Roi the poor Brunswick grenadiers were hit by a squadron of the Royal Carabiniers.
Esme decided she would join the French army. Traitor!
HM 12th Foot had seen off the Irish Rooth battalion but were hit in the flank by Paul's horsemen. despite the flank attack the English held. 
At the end of the game the English brigade was still holding on in the face of  eight squadrons of French horse and the cream of their infantry. 

Well, talk about extremes! The dice just didn't fall right for the allies during this game. When we finished it was a clear French victory, given that half of our brigades were out of action. It was actually closer than the end result suggests. Black Powder being what they are it was a fast and bloody game, but maybe rather dull after the past couple of weeks of playing some rather more dynamic ancient games. Nevertheless it was great fun, and I had at long last  got my 18thC Brunswick, Hessian, Hanoverian and English on the table for the first time, on which basis it was expected that they'd not do terribly well so my expectations were met. The French played well and their horsemen under Paul kept the pressure on the Brunswick brigade throughout the battle.  I don't know what the French plan was but our went t*ts up from turn 1. Those dice scores! If only...........


  1. An other excellent SYW display of fine wargaming, fantastic eye candy.
    Thanks for posting.

    Willz Harley.

  2. This period is worth the effort for the flags alone!

  3. That is an impressive collection, absolute spectacle!

  4. Excellent. Horse & Musket is a slower period by and large than the spear and javelin lot but engaging nonetheless. Well done to all.

  5. A splendid, stirring sight!

  6. Beautiful and inspiring battle 👍

  7. Fine looking game. Excellent battle lines and terrain.
    Regards, James

  8. Wonderful looking game Colin, thank you for your efforts to present mid 18th Century again, I just love it. I'm hoping we will be getting the same Allies and French out with some Saxons down here in the West Country sometime this Summer. cheers Chris

  9. That's really much looking like linear tactics. I love your armies. Thank you for your great report.