Thursday, 22 June 2017

19th Century Image-Nations Campaign - Game 3

Game 3 of my mini 19th century campaign was a rearguard action, which followed on from the previous pitch battle game. Greater Novia forces having won the pitched battle were trying to capitalise upon their victory, and cause more problems for the Ustorian forces as they retreated.

The approach for determining the forces was taken from Nineteenth Century European Wargaming by Neil Thomas. The victorious forces have 10 units and the rearguard have 5 units. The rearguard must stop 5 attacking units exiting their edge of the tabletop. The game is played longways down the tabletop.

As I have been playing through the last couple of games (and a few quick smaller one off games in between) I have been trying out a couple of rule modifications. The first of these is allowing a unit that has sustained hits to retire to reduce the number of hits, and the second is variable movement.

Retiring to reduce hits
The idea of retiring to reduce damage came from the SPI games I used to play in the late 1970's and the ubiquitous CRT (Combat Resolution Table). The results from this table often gave a player a choice of having a unit counter step down one level to hold the ground or move out of the hex it occupied to relinquish the ground and save dropping a combat level.

The aim of using this approach is to help give a bit of ebb and flow to the game. Because the rules I use are based upon the One Hour Wargaming approach. I find units once engaged don't really push back the enemy line or allow for a defender to easily give up ground.

Variable movement
The variable movement approach I have gone with is:

  • Units with less than 50% hits on a D6 roll of 4+ move an additional 50%. Less than 4 and they move their normal movement.
  • Units with more than 50% hits on a D6 roll of 4+ move their normal movement. Less than 4 and they move half of their normal movement.

The Game - and photos of the rearguard action...

The advancing Novian units see the Ustorian rearguard ahead 
Greater Novian forces:
  • 2 x Skirmisher units
  • 1 x Dragoon units
  • 1 x Cavalry units
  • 2 x Artillery units
  • 4 x Infantry units
4 units start on the table and 2 units can arrive every turn after turn 2 on a D6 score of 3+.

Ustorian hastily prepare their defences
Ustorian forces:
  • 1 x Cavalry unit
  • 3 x Infantry units
  • 1 x Skirmisher unit
All start on the table and can be placed with 36" of the baseline.

Novian units move headlong into the first defensive position 
The attacking forces quickly grind to a holt as the Ustorian forces move up their reserves
Reserves start to arrive to support the attack
Ustorian cavalry threaten the flank of the advancing Novians 
More reserves move up and things are getting a bit jammed up. Although both sides were taking casualties 
With artillery in place the defenders soon began to give way to their second line of defence
The Ustorian cavalry did little than annoy the advancing units as they start to prepare to assault the second line
The second line of defence gives way and Greater Novia forces advance

After the battle Ustoria had lost 4 units of which 2 were saved with a 4+ score. Public opinion decreases by 10% to 25%. Ustorian papers are reporting the defeat and with no valiant defences the editorials are questioning the capability of their commanders.

Greater Novian press was starting whip up public opinion reporting of a glorious actions as the first and second defensive lines were stormed. The 3 losses were somewhat overlooked as 2 achieved a 4+ save. Overall public opinion raised 5% to 45%.


  1. The outline of the scenario is interesting. I agree about the problem with OHW that it is difficult to take ground, because fire come after movement. I introduced a morale rule based upon casualties received so far and failing caused retreats. This did at least allow units to 'potentially' be prised out of good positions...particularly important when up against elites that hold woods etc.

  2. Testing whether a unit retires once so many hits have occurred does introduce some fluidity to the game. As a solo player this has the advantage of creating more uncertainty than the current approach of volunteering to retire to reduce hits.

  3. Somehow the first two games slipped by me and I had to backtrack. I like the look of the games and the way the campaign is working.

    For several years now I've often used a rule allowing troops to give ground to reduce hits in some situations but also have always had a melee result that forced the loser back (melee usually including point blank firefights). However, I've recently been looking at reverting to a die roll to represent the local commander's choice for just the reason Peter suggests.

    1. Thanks. I do like idea of treating point blank firefights as melees. I will be trying out both the rolling approach and choosing to retire.