My local wargames club is Tyneside Wargames who meet on a Saturday. With working all week and family commitments at the weekend I rarely make it down for a game, often just popping in to say hello while I’m in town. But I always try and make the last meeting before Christmas where I can often arrange a game and avail myself of a steady flow of alcohol (mostly vodka!) so generously supplied each year by various members. It always reminds me what a damn fine bunch they are and how I really should make more effort to get down for games!
Sadly, this year the Christmas meeting (yesterday, 20th) was my ONLY game there this year. I’ve managed a few weekends away (Ayton, Framlingham, Salute) all of which were excellent but it was really nice to get my troops on the table locally, of which more anon! This year there were four games running and a boardgame (and Pete painting away on the side!).
Ian, Lawrence and Richard setting up the table for our game.
To the right of this was a large SYW 6mm game using Might And Reason. I’ve never played these rules but the guys think highly of them and a good group of them are building forces. As my (few) SYW 6mm types are also on 40mm frontage I may be tempted to try these out one day.
And finally, Pete Foggin and Co had their regular massive 15mm game using their own rules, Great Captain. These really do give the look and feel of a big ancient battle. I could never paint that many figures! So with the other chaps fully occupied we come to our game. I wanted to get my 28mm SYW ImagiNation forces on the table and the nearest option was for the guys to roll out Beneath the Lilly Banners and accompanying troops. My chaps were obviously a little late but it didn’t really matter. I’ve got a copy of the rules (PDF) but have never really read them let alone played them so it was all a bit new for me. As they use three stand units on 60mm frontage I split my big battalions into three 50mm stands and my 33mm command stands. This kept the frontages pretty even and gave me two three battalion brigades. I was rather light on cavalry having only two squadrons of dragoons and three of light lancers. And I used the newly finished artillery for my Savage Swans – a 4lb and 12lb along with my Grenzers. Ian was facing me with two similar brigades, a large field gun and six squadrons of cuirassiers.
So as battle commenced my brigades were in the distance to the right, facing Ian, which my ally, Richard was facing Lawrence in the foreground.
While my Grenzers hesitantly move out of the woods wherein they had been driven by the advancing cavalry.My dragoons were finally defeated and the lancers charged into the third enemy squadron driving them back in disarray!
Meanwhile, the main lines closed upon each other, my two units not savoring the prospect of the first volley from the three units they faced! And closer… The first volley was bad but not devastating but the odds were against them and with no room to deploy the reserve battalion it was touch and go if the line could hold before the fresh enemy cavalry drove off my lancers and exposed my flank. Although the brigade to the front of the Swans had finally begun its advance I was able to wheel a battalion in support of the firefight.It was at this point we called it a day. My allies had been victorious to my left but my shortfall in cavalry was really my undoing. If my line had held I could maybe have deployed a reserve to hold off his cavalry and I think my Swans would have defeated their opponents but I fear my line was too fragile and it was only a matter of time…
I was lucky in that I was given a Skillful commander which enabled me to issue more orders each turn and my command dice were always quite good. Ian suffered a little in this respect, hence the delay in the advance of his other brigade. I quite enjoyed the rules. Infantry are a little slower and more restricted than I’m used to and I really need some heavier cavalry! But it was fun and good to get the chaps on the table again. Thanks for Richard, Ian and Lawrence for accommodating me!
As I knew I needed smaller units for this game (and also for the AMG game at Partizan) I decide to try and get second command stands painted up for the Swans and the Altefritzenburgers. The smaller units for BTLB meant I only needed three stands plus command and allowed me to group the grenadiers separately. Shockingly it meant the flags were NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE UNIT! However, for Partizan the grenadier stand will rejoin and all will be well! This means my two big units now become four!
For the second battalion standards I didn’t want to spend ages on them as they will only see limited use. The ‘regimental’ flag is a symmetric cross with a white cross and the coat and facing colours in each quarter. Now, before I started painting I checked the BOTH flags I had already done and noted that the facing colour appeared in the upper hoist. And I painted them. And I checked again. And I put them on the table and immediately noticed the Altefritzenburg one had been done the wrong way round!!! I’m not changing it now!
The 2nd flag, more of a national flag (or the Legion flag in the Swans case) was quite fiddly for both of them so for the Altefritzenburg I just went for a plain flag in the facing colour. For the Swans I couldn’t resist adding a swan in the canton.Still more to paint. And cuirassiers have just moved up the list!