Thursday 19 January 2023

Lots of Valour but lacking in Fortitude……

 ……on my side of the table at least. On Tuesday afternoon John the Red and I tried out the new Valour and Fortitude fast play, back-of-a-fag-packet rules from the Perry Twins and Jervis Johnson.  We kept things simple with two brigades of infantry, a brigade of cavalry and a battery of guns each, although to maintain my preference for asymmetrical army composition the French had an extra battalion, compensated for by the British having a battalion of Footguards.

The battlefield. Brits on the left.

John took the French. I was using troops from my Revolutionary Wars French and British collections as I don’t own any ‘proper’ Napoleonic Wars armies. (John pointed out correctly that actually I do, with 1806 Prussian and Saxons and 1812 British and Americans, but no French). I’d set the table up for a straight meeting encounter with both sides fighting to control the crossroads, bridge and the plateau. 

The British right flank. Very smart boys!

The British light dragoons, deployed impotently on my left.

I will give my feedback on the rules at the end but here are some photographs of the encounter with a few words of explanation. The official (i.e. mine) view is that as the game was a play test normal restraint and common sense went out of (my) window. Read on………

The Footguards make their way through the town beneath the heights.
My 1st brigade advanced boldly up the road towards the enemy centre. My combined flank company battalion was swept away by a column of French infantry.
My Guards battalion was left isolated and assailed from the front and the flank. They held on for a turn but then broke, marking the end of my 1st Bde.
My second brigade’s advance was halted by the appearance of the French cavalry brigade, forcing them into square.
British (mainly Scots) rooted to the spot. Even such a wonderful target for the artillery as a brigade of enemy cavalry didn’t improve their accuracy. Even when they were charged by the French they were hopeless but did hold on until round two of the melee when they ran.
I decided to switch flanks with my cavalry and they began an epic gallop from the left to right flanks.
My light dragoons swept from one flank to the other taking more than just the odd casualty from the French centre before they charged into the enemy chasseurs a cheval.

My force was shattered. One brigade of infantry had broken, as had my cavalry brigade (those ‘odd’ casualties taken during their ride from one flank to the other proved to be disastrous). My remaining brigade less the artillery was pinned in square and unlikely to be able to escape. An absolute disaster for the British!

We made loads of mistakes early on in the game but once we got into them the rules worked well. We did have a number of queries, the solutions to which don’t seem to be covered by the rules. These include:

  • Are skirmishers allowed to evade?
  • Likewise, can artillery try and bug out if charged?
  • Artillery seemed to be weak and a waste of space.
  • Absence (so far as we could see) of closing fire means that a cavalry unit can start a charge outside of musket range and make contact without taking any defensive fire. This cannot be right surely? 
  • Countercharges and forming square as a charge reaction don’t seem to figure in the rules?
  • The special rules for each army were just enough.
  • The use of a customised deck of cards for each army is not too gimmicky nor do they have a too heavy impact on the game.
  • What happens at the end of a melee if neither side breaks or it is a draw? 
If any more queries spring to mind I shall add them here. I did enjoy getting thrashed and am looking forward to another run out with them.

Big game here again on Saturday coming. 


  1. A splendid looking game and an interesting look at the rules. I fear the government are unlikely to offer you a knighthood for your efforts in command but for the reader it's nice to see a decisive result rather than a score draw.

  2. Lovely looking table. I have enjoyed my handful of games with the rules.

  3. Maybe it's the age related loss of brain cells but I did not find these rules particularly simple.

  4. I think it is case of agree between the players what should be allowed. I actually like the old school slenderness of the rules.

  5. The lack of closing fire is a slight worry, not just against cavalry, I read that a unit could fire and then charge in one move, with the target unit unable to do anything about it, except in the melee phase.