Friday, 13 July 2012

Prestonpans - The Wargame

With the scenario described in yesterday's post, we set about recreating the Battle of Prestonpans using Sam Mustafa's Maurice rules.

The first few turns were, unsurprisingly, fairly uneventful with the Jacobite player manoeuvring his clans to form a single force whilst the Government artillery began to chip away at the Camerons under Lord Lochiel.

The Situation at the end of Turn 10
The following turns saw the lines staying fairly static as both players attempted some sly shenanigans with a flurry of events. Firstly, the Government drew Keppoch of MacDonald out of line using Confusion and forced the Jacobites to waste a turn (and a Retrograde card) to bring them back to their original position.  Luckily for the Jacobites, the Government gunners appear to have fled by this time, as they failed to find their target for several turn in a row, allowing Lochiel to rally his men whilst the Rogues! Do you want to live forever? card was stolen using Captured Intelligence.  

Emboldened by the capture of Sir John Cope's private documents, Bonnie Prince Charlie used his ill gotten gains to make a rousing speech to raise his own Army Morale by 2, and lowering the Government Army Morale by 1 in the subsequent turn with
Death of a Hero (perhaps the summary execution of the poor aide entrusted with the stolen portfolio!).  Meanwhile, frustrated by his artillery's lack of success, Johnnie Cope proceeded to move Gardiner's Dragoons from their right flank position to form a larger cavalry reserve in the centre.

By turn 26, the positions showed very little change and both players had a full 10 cards in their hands.  With the first deck almost exhausted, now was the time for action.

Over his next two turns turns, the whole Jacobite line surged forward to within charge distance, avoiding most of the artillery bombardment.    Avoiding a Volley phase on the Government turn by playing
Firefight, the Jacobites were primed to complete their charge, although with the (inevitable) play of That's not on the map, the Jacobite left flank would have to slog through a patch of just-discovered marshy ground to reach their foes.

 that he had to soften up the solid Government line to have the best hope of success in the Combat Phase, the Jacobite player opted for a Volley Phase in his turn, hoping to maul the redcoats sufficiently to reduce their return fire.  In the event, both sides played Deadly Fire to enhance their volleys and the phase ended with their respective right flanks pretty chewed up by the experience but with both army's left flanks relatively intact.

Throwing everything into the charge, the highlanders hit the now fragile-looking red line.  Both players used cards to get +2 on their combat resolution and the highland Clanranald was further hampered by the play of
Attack Falters.

Turn 31's Combat Phase was sheer slaughter, with the 
Government losing 3 regiments to doubled die rolls (the a la Baionnette advantage allowing the Jacobites to re-roll combat dice came up trumps, turning mediocre or losing rolls into battle winners).  Now reduced to an Army Morale of 5 and with a fragmented line, Johnnie Cope's situation looked bleak. The remaining units of both sides ended the phase looking extremely battered, with the possibility of crippling losses during the next Volley Phase.

The end of Turn 31 - the skulls represent Disruption Points on units.
Playing his 2nd Firefight card, carefully held back for just this situation, the Jacobite player again prevents a Volley Phase in the Government turn.  With no sizeable force within reach, Sir John Cope is left with only being able to rally his right flank Picquets, before moving himself over to his left flank in the hope of bolstering this in the face of the next Jacobite attack.

Deeming discretion to be the better part of valour on this occasion, Prince Charles opts not to have a Volley Phase and 
successfully rallies most of his clans.

The end of Turn 33 - things do not look good for the Government
In the next Volley Phase, the Jacobites seize the initiative using First Fire and deal cruelly with the regiments of Murray and Lascelles, breaking both of them and causing the Government player the loss of another 5 Army Morale points - enough to break the army and send the survivors fleeing towards the dubious safety offered by the walls of Preston Parks.


This was another enjoyable and satisfying battle.  The decisive highland victory mirrored the real-life battle in result, if not (at first appearance) in the swiftness of the outcome.

However, if you look at the game as a whole, the real fighting took only 4 of the 34 turns to resolve, the rest of the game really being a matter of both sides 
engaging in a little preliminary sparring but primarily cycling the card deck to build up a good hand for the forthcoming battle phases.  The Jacobite player was particularly successful in this respect and it contributed in no small part to the decisive nature of the victory.  Without the use of cards allowing him to control the Volley Phases for the vital turns, the battle would certainly have gone on much longer and could have had quite a different outcome.

From my point of view, the game has vindicated my belief about how highlanders should be represented in Maurice but mainly it is a major endorsement of the robustness and flexibility of the Maurice system itself as we have, uncannily accurately, recreated the historical outcomes of two battles, both of which use a force which is certainly not a mainstream 18th Century army.

A big hand for Sam Mustafa for producing another superb and hugely enjoyable set of rules!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Battle of Prestonpans 1745 - Another Scenario for Maurice

Following on from my previous posts, I finally got round to sorting out a Maurice scenario for Prestonpans, the first Jacobite victory of the '45 rising.

My basic idea is to test whether the
Maurice rules can effectively deal with highlanders without the need for additional house rules.   We were pleasantly surprised that our Culloden scenario replicated the historical outcome but now it was time to see if the Jacobites could actually win a battle.

Researching the orders of battle was a bit more challenging than for Culloden.  Firstly because the battle is less well known and documented but primarily because most readily available sources seem to vary quite a bit on the clans and regiments who were there.  Most, however, agree on the numbers involved (pretty equal with the Jacobites being slightly outnumbered) and, in the end, I again plumped for the order of battle from Stuart Reid's superb Like Hungry Wolves as I've previously been impressed by his research, reference to primary sources and analytical approach to the battle of Culloden.

Another problem was rating the troops involved as the battle involved very little actual fighting ... the highlanders charged and the Government troops ran away!  However, it is well known that the Government regiments (both horse and foot) were not well-drilled and the Jacobite army at this point consisted completely of ill-equipped and ill-disciplined 
highlanders so I felt it was appropriate to rate everyone as Conscript Regulars.  I made one exception for Lord Ardshiel's Stewarts of Appin as they were recognised as more disciplined within the Jacobite ranks and so I rated them as Trained Regular.  The government guns that were present were insufficiently manned to start with and, in the event, the few remaining crew and civilian drivers deserted them, leaving two officers to man 10 pieces!   To allow for the possibility that the brave officers could compel their gunners to stand, I represented the guns with a single stand of Artillery but hobbled it with the Stationary Batteries rule to represent the lack of civilian drivers to move the guns.

As in the Culloden scenario, the Jacobites have the En Masse and a la Baionnette! National Advantages, but this time the unfortunate Government troops get nothing.

Government Army

C in C: General Sir John Cope

3 x Conscript Regular Cavalry 
8 x Conscript Regular Infantry 
1 x Artillery
Army Morale: 12

Jacobite Army

C in C: Prince Charles Edward Stuart

10 x Conscript Regular Infantry
1 x Trained Regular Infantry
Army Morale: 11

The Jacobite player starts with 8 cards and the Government player with 4.  The Jacobite player has the first turn.

The armies are both quite small for a Maurice game but this should make for a more decisive battle, which seems fitting for Prestonpans.  In common with the Culloden scenario, there is no objective - the army who breaks first has lost, if night falls before this the battle is a draw.

Initial deployment is as below.   The Jacobites are in blue and the Government in red.  The board is 48 x 48 Base Widths.

Incidentally, while I was doing some research online, I came across a link for the Battle of Prestonpans Trust Schools Visits Programme featuring the following photo:

Using wargaming as an 
educational tool - brilliant idea!  No prizes for guessing who's side they're on!

Look out for the Prestonpans battle report tomorrow.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Bargain Books

A couple of weekends ago, the local Lions Club were having one of their regular second-hand book sales in the city piazza.  The piazza sounds rather grander than it actually is, featuring amongst its cultural statements a JD Wetherspoons, a fish and chip shop and a rather fine bronze sculpture of a well-endowed naked drummer (shown below towering over, a somewhat scared looking, Queen drummer Roger Taylor).

Don't look up Roger ...

I've always found The Lions' book sales good for a rummage and I came up trumps this time.  I found not only Max Hastings' Armageddon (The Battle for Germany 1944-45) and a mint condition copy of Robert Harvey's history of the Napoleonic Wars, 
The War of Wars, but the first six books of Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series.

Look wot I bought!

The latter books are something that I've been wanting to read for a while now and I was on the verge of buying the series on audiobook to listen to on the way to and from work, so was very pleased to pick up the whole lot for less than the cover price of a single book.

I'm now well into the second book,
Fearless, and would highly recommend the series to any wargamers with an interest in sci-fi fleet actions.   The books are what I would call "hard" sci-fi (ie featuring plausible technology) and remind me a lot of the Larry Niven / Jerry Pournelle Co-Dominium books that I first enjoyed so much 20-odd years ago.

Check out the reviews on Amazon if you're interested.  To my mind, the books are well worth the investment of a few pounds / dollars / euros etc.

Suitably inspired, I think this weekend I'll dig out my copy of
Full Thrust* and dust off the old metal starships.

* Despite it's risque title, I can assure readers that this is a set of wargames rules for fleet actions in space.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Culloden - The Aftermath

Observations on the Culloden Wargame

As you can see from the last post, the outcome of our wargame reflected the outcome of the actual battle.  

The special Army Morale rule for the Jacobites made no difference to the final result (although it was close as far as Army Morale was concerned, they were still soundly whupped in military terms) but it did give the Jacobite player some chance of winning bragging rights and prolonged the game for several turns.

Working out the Maurice points values for the armies its comes out at 120 to 79 in favour of the Government - so it's hardly surprising that they won!

The striking thing about the game is how much success in the Combat Phase relies on success in the preceding Volley Phases as, realistically, the most damage that you will do to an opponent in Combat is 2 Disruption Points.  Both sides being able to re-roll dice in the Combat Phase favours the defender here as there is less chance that his score will be doubled (generally requiring a very high roll for one side combined with a very low one for the other).

The Jacobite advantage of using Massed formation does not offset the quality difference between Conscript and Trained  troops in Combat and also severely prejudices them in the Volley Phase (half as many potential shots as well as making them easier to hit).  Even if a Jacobite unit does win it's combat, it will suffer some disruption and must then fall back and survive the next Government Volley Phase.  As the game showed, they simply could not do this.  This stacks the chances of winning heavily in favour of the Government but this is not at all unrealistic for the scenario.

"Damn yer Lethal Volleys and better training!"  Painting by David Morier
As Steady Lads and a la Baionette! have the same effect in close combat (assuming that the Jacobites charge) you could probably dispense with them altogether in this scenario, which would favour the Jacobites marginally in the Combat Phase.  However, looking from a historical perspective, it was the Government troops who fought and reacted differently than in previous battles so it is probably appropriate to keep them both for the sake of consistency (Government troops at earlier battles certainly do not deserve either of the National Advantages they have at Culloden).

Using the historic terrain and setup pretty much forced the Jacobites to attack down the route that they did in the actual battle, recreating all the problems that they encountered by doing so.  It would be interesting to play again using setup zones instead as it's likely that the Jacobite player will choose a very different deployment given a free hand (perhaps what would have happened if Lord George Murray had more influence!).

The Jacobite player needs to hit the Government line with enough force to achieve local superiority and outnumber its opponents.  While stopping to Rally a disrupted force seems the smart thing to do, it proves fatal for an outnumbered army that must get into close combat to stand a chance of winning.  

So, all in all, Culloden proved to be an exciting and engaging battle, and was a resounding thumbs up for Maurice for being flexible enough to do a good job of representing the two armies without the need for a lot of fiddly house rules.  I'd highly recommend the rules system to any wargamer with an interest in 18th century warfare.  You can find out more, and download a free 'Lite' version of the rules to have a go yourself, here.

At some point we plan to playtest scenarios for Prestonpans and Falkirk (where the Government troops would not be of such high quality) and see if the highlanders stand a better chance.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Culloden - The Wargame

Using the deployment from yesterdays post, we duly set up using my recently acquired 6mm figs.

I must offer my apologies at this point for the lack of 'real' photos of the battle as my aging digital camera choose this occasion to give up the ghost.  It's probably just as well, as hordes of unpainted and partially painted figures would not have looked very inspiring (plus none of them were actually highlanders!).  As a result, graphics are brought to you
 courtesy of the excellent Battle Chronicler program, which you can download for free by following the link.

Turns 1 to 22 - Across the Heather

The battle started rather predictably, with the first couple of turns seeing the Government artillery bombarding the Jacobite line and starting to build up disruption on a couple of regiments, the Jacobites opting to Pass to build up their card hand before moving up the centre of their second line to form a single cohesive force.

The Government second line also closed up to within 2BW of their front line which was followed by a general advance from the Jacobite infantry.

The situation at the end of Turn 6
The small skulls indicate disruption points.

The following turns saw more (ineffective) government bombardment with
Bonnie Prince Charlie riding up to better control the continuing advance of his men before stopping them to Rally in a, mainly unsuccessful, bid to reduce the disruption on his units.

The Duke of Cumberland began moving
 two of his Regiments of Dragoons into a flanking position before himself moving forward to join his main body of infantry.  After their brief rest and, free from harassing artillery fire, the Jacobite infantry surged forward once more in stirring fashion.  Their commander cleverly played the Find The Way card to prevent any of his units taking Disruption for moving into the boggy ground this turn.  The Athollmen swung left to line the walls of the Leanach Enclosures, covering the flank against the Government cavalry.
The end of Turn 12 saw the battlefield looking like this:

The Situation at the end of Turn 12

Note the two Jacobite infantry regiments still sitting forlornly in their starting positions at the rear, due to being just outside of range to form part of the main force, and the two cavalry units that the Jacobite commander, not without justification, deigned unworthy of wasting an Action on.  Depriving 
the Young Pretender of a quarter of his army, these four regiments (along with the pitiful Jacobite artillery) sat in place for the remainder of the battle, mere observers of the carnage to come.

With the lead highlanders now within musket range, Barrell's Foot unleashed a devastating volley against the already disrupted Camerons, breaking the unit in a single Volley Phase and leaving nothing but the dead, dying and fleeing.   To rub salt into the wound, the Jacobites also suffered the maximum loss in Army Morale - 3 points.   Presumably the stress was beginning to get to the Government gunners as their bombardment continued to be ineffective.  In return, the fire from the Atholl men inflicted some disruption on Cobham's Dragoons.  Obviously shocked by the destruction of the Clan Cameron, the Jacobite general once more stopped his men in an, unsuccessful, attempt to  Rally aimed at preventing them suffering the same fate.

In the following turn, the Government artillery yet again failed to inflict any losses with their bombardment while the Atholl men brought further accurate fire to bear against Cobham's horse, inflicting 2 more Disruption Points.  For his turn, the Jacobite commander played an Event card - Confusion! - to draw Campbell's Regiment out of line into an extremely vulnerable position within charge range of 4 units of highlanders.

The next Volley phase saw Campbell's men firing at their massed opponents but, even with re-rolls to disrupt for the Lethal Volleys advantage, they only managed to inflict a single point of disruption.   They did however come off lightly from the return fire, as they suffered only a single disruption themselves.  The men of Atholl continued to punish Cobham's regiment, bringing it to the brink of breaking.

Cumberland now had to make a decision to save either Campbell's infantry or Cobham's cavalry, both of which were in imminent danger of being destroyed in the Jacobite turn.  Wisely abandoning the horse to their fate, he started to pull Campbell back into the main line while swinging Wolfe's regiment in at the end of the line to provide enfilading fire on the highlanders.
Probably due to the gathering smoke and confusion, neither side inflicted any loss over the next turn and, once more, the Jacobites failed to remove any disruption from Rallying.

The Jacobites had the best of the next Volley Phase, the Atholl men finally breaking Cobham's Dragoons and sheltering behind the wall to prevent any damage from Wolfe's regiment.  The Government lost 2 Army Morale, with the Jacobites regaining 1 for destroying the regiment.

With Cumberland quite happy to keep the Jacobites at arms length for the moment, his continued artillery bombardment was beginning to have an effect on the Jacobites, adding disruption points while they still failed to recover any through Rallying in their next Action.  The Atholl men had by now turned their fire onto the second regiment of horse, Kerr's, but were beginning to suffer themselves as a result of Wolfe's fire.

During the next Government turn, volley fire and increasingly effective bombardment began to have a noticeable effect on the Jacobite line, with more and more disruption points being acquired.  Having spent several turns in a state of inertia, mounting casualties now appeared to have galled Prince Charlie into action and, with a blood curdling yell, the line (with the exception of the already battered regiments who were stuck in the bog) launched itself forward to come within charge range ... and into range of the Government muskets!

The Situation at the end of Turn 22

Turns 23 to 36  - Bloody Butchery!

In order to avoid his attack being disrupted before it made contact, the Jacobite general played the Firefight card and prevented a Volley Phase happening in the Government turn.  Not to be outdone, Cumberland countered by playing the infamous That's Not on the Map! card, revealing a treacherous patch of bog directly in front the Jacobite's best troops - The Royal Ecossois and Ogilvy's regiment.

Wisely forgoing the Volley Phase on his own turn to minimise casualties, the Jacobite commander orders the Charge, sending five of his Regiments smashing into the Government line.  Both commanders played supporting cards in the Combat Phase to each get +2 to their combat rolls which, combined with National Advantages that gave both armies the option re-roll their combat dice, promised a ferocious melee.

Some truly atrocious die rolling on the part of  Cumberland led to his defeat in all but one of the melees, with Campbell's regiment escaping complete destruction by a single pip.

After each Combat Phase in Maurice, attacking units must fall back a small distance and, although he had destroy some of Cumberland guns and mauled three Government regiments, the Young Pretender's own front line was looking desperately fragile in the face of the impending Government Volley Phase.

The destruction of the artillery led to 1 Army Morale lost for the Government and 1 gained for the Jacobites.  The two armies morale levels were now almost equal but both were still a long way from breaking.

The Aftermath of the Highland Charge on Turn 24 - look at all those Disruption Markers!
In the Government Volley Phase, Prince Charlie plays the First Fire card to snatch the initiative and allow his units to fire before their opponents.  An impressive display of firing (combined, I like to think, with a lot of shouting, taunting and general intimidation from the highlanders), breaks Campbell's foot and inflicts 1 Disruption each on the regiments of Wolfe, Barrell and Munro, bringing them dangerously close to breaking themselves and reducing the effectiveness of their return fire.

Thomas Lobster is, however, made of stern stuff and Cumberland has drilled his men well.  Their robust return volley against the dense Jacobite formations (aided by the Deadly Fire card) shatters the Royal Ecossois and Lady McIntosh's Regiment and leaves clan Frazer severely weakened.

After Army Morale loss is adjudicated, both armies end the Volley Phase level pegging on 12 points.

Emboldened by their success, the Government infantry responds well to the call to Rally with only Munro's regiment still carrying any Disruption Points into the next turn.

Things are now looking desperate for Prince Charlie as his army is heavily disrupted and he is reduced to a single Action Card.  Once more opting to skip the Volley Phase in his turn, he inspires his brave clansmen with a stirring speech and, in spectacular fashion, removes a total of 9 Disruption Points with a Rally action, making a renewed assault a possibility in their next turn.

But bravery alone is not enough in the face of musketry and, his hand still replete with cards, Cumberland plays his second Deadly Fire, with the subsequent volley breaking Ogilvy and Frazer's regiments and punching a huge gap in the Jacobite line.  Using the Passage of the Lines card to interpenetrate with no penalty, he then marches his second line of troops forward with drums beating, going in for the kill!

After rolling for Army Morale loss, the Jacobites are now reduced to 7 points.

By the end of Turn 27, things are looking bleak for the Jacobite cause
Now playing his carefully hoarded cards freely, Cumberland plays First Fire in the Jacobite Volley Phase to break the stout Atholl men and inflict a staggering total of 7 Disruption points on the remaining Jacobites within range.  Once again under severe pressure, the Jacobite regiments somehow manage to do some damage back but Charlie, now some distance from his main infantry Force, is forced to use both cards that he picked up for his Rally Action, leaving him once more with only 1 card.  His men rally well and with a low Army Morale loss roll, the Jacobites are still in the game but have completely lost the initiative.

Charles plays his final card, Firefight, to prevent yet another Government Volley Phase but the writing is now on the wall as, with no cards remaining, he will have no option but to Pass in his next turn.  With the second deck almost exhausted, the Reshuffle card finally comes up and the deck is reshuffled for the final time.  With another good Rally Action, the Government now only has Kerr's Dragoons left with any Disruption Points.

More out of desperation than anything, Charles opts to go for a Volley Phase and his beleaguered men do remarkably well, breaking Bligh's Foot in a single phase.  However, the return fire adds even more Disruption Points to his remaining regiments.  The Army Morale change for the destruction of Bligh is minimal for both sides and Pulteney's Regiment is moved up to plug the gap in the Government lines.

Forced to Pass due to lack of cards, Charles cannot prevent the Government Volley Phase, which results in the destruction of Kilmarnock's regiment.  Now reduced to 4 Army Morale, there surely is no hope left for the Jacobites.

In his own turn, Charles chooses to Rally and restores some stability to his line but suffers some more from volley fire on the Government turn.

Having previously moved to a position of safety from where he could better co-ordinate the battle, Charles now orders his remaining clan regiments forward in a final, valiant charge.    Leaping through the boggy ground, the men of six clans thunder into Price's Regiment, promptly breaking them and bringing the Army Morale levels closer together again (Government 8, Jacobite 6).

Turn 34 - The Final Highland Fling!
However, as they fall back, the brave clansmen are raked by fire from the Government troops and three units break, leaving the Jacobites with only 2 Army Morale and no cards!

At this point, Charles Edward Stuart finally accepted the inevitability of defeat and conceded the battle, leaving an ebullient Duke of Cumberland to savour a great victory and a fine porter.

Thus ends our reconstruction of Culloden, a truly enjoyable and tense game, which played out in a dramatic and similar way to the actual battle.

As this has been a very long post, I'll leave my conclusions on the game until tomorrow but hopefully you've enjoyed it so far!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Culloden 1746 - A Scenario for 'Maurice'

The latest ruleset to appear from Sam Mustafa's stable is Maurice, aimed at covering the period 1690-1790.   

Without going into an in depth review of the rules, which has already been covered many times elsewhere (and probably better than I could take credit for), players in Maurice take turns to activate a force (of infantry, cavalry or artillery) and support it's action through the play of cards.  During the course of the battle, units gain Disruption Points which represent casualties, disorder and wavering morale until they can take no more and break.  Each time a unit breaks, it's army loses a random amount of Army Morale.  When Army Morale reaches zero, the army itself breaks.  In Maurice, players are forced to make decisions as to whether they move, fight or rally each turn 
rather than the general advance and battle across the whole front that many rules allow.

One of the discussions on the Maurice Honour Forum is about how to represent highlanders of the Jacobite Rebellions in the game, which you can follow here
.  To test some of my ideas, I decided to set up a refight of Culloden, using historical deployments and, as far as possible, representing the forces that were present on the day.

I'll be posting the battle in two parts.  The first post (this one!) will be the scenario itself with the rationale for decisions that I've made, with the subsequent post being our wargame of the battle.

The Jacobite Army

1 x Irregular Cavalry 

1 x Conscript Regular cavalry
1 x Artillery
11 x Regular Conscript Infantry
2 x Regular Trained Infantry 

Army Morale = 15

National Advantages - a la Baionnette!, En Masse

The Government Army

2 x Artillery

3 x Trained Regular Cavalry
13 x Regular Trained Infantry

Army Morale = 18

National Advantages - Lethal Volleys, Steady Lads

Scenario Special Rules

  • The All Guns Bombard rule is in use.
  • The Government player has the first turn
  • Starting card hand - Government = 6 cards, Jacobite= 4 cards
  • The enclosure walls count as cover and block line of sight (as Obstructing Terrain) but do not hamper movement (although they were 6ft high in places, gaps were made fairly easily for troops to pass through).  They do, however, count as Difficult Terrain for any unit charging across them.
  • All Jacobite infantry must deploy in Massed formation.

Special Victory Conditions

There is no objective placed on the battlefield.  This is a fight to the finish with the loser being the side whose Army Morale is reduced to zero first.  To make this a little more interesting for the Jacobite player and to encourage an aggressive stance, each time a Government unit is 
broken, the Jacobite rolls on the ART, Irregular row of the Army Morale loss table and ADDS that amount to his Army Morale.  In this way, the Jacobite may be able to keep his army in the field long after it would ordinarily have broken.

Initial Deployment

Culloden - Historic Deployment
The Government forces are in Red with their Jacobite opponents in Blue.  The greeny mass to the top right of the map is the infamous boggy ground that so disrupted the highland charge.  The thin yellow line that runs from top to bottom is the Inverness road, which is just for show and has no effect on play

Design Notes

The battle was played on a 48 x 48 Base Widths (BW) board (for those not in the know, Maurice neatly defines distances in terms of the width of a base of figures, 4 of which make up a regiment).  The setup has the armies placed slightly further apart than when the action began in real life for a couple of reasons.
It gives the Government player the option to move up to better defensive terrain or bombard the Jacobite army for an extra turn and it forces the Jacobite player to decide whether he is going to stay put and beef up his card hand by Passing or Bombarding weighed against the risk of being bombarded himself.  I think that this quite nicely allows for simulating the initial artillery bombardment that the Jacobites suffered without forcing them to remain stationary for one or more turns.

The lines of the respective armies are set up more than 2 BW apart so that players could not immediately form a Force with multiple lines of troops.

Forcing the Jacobites to deploy in Massed formation helps to simulate the deep formations that their regiments were drawn up in (making them better in melee but more vulnerable to enemy fire).  In game terms it also makes them less effective in standing toe to toe, exchanging shots with the enemy, quite apt considering the way that the Highlanders fought.

I classed most of the Jacobite regiments as Conscript to reflect their poor organisation, indifferent armament and training plus their exhaustion on the day of battle.  The two exceptions are Lord Ogilvy's men and the Royal Ecossois, both of whom fought well enough on the day to rate as Trained.  Somewhat controversially, I kept the Irish Picquets as Conscript as, during the actual battle, they somehow appeared to have gone
from facing a wavering, outnumbered cavalry force to fleeing to the shelter of Culloden Parks with heavy casualties a few minutes later - hardly the mark of solid troops.

Finally, I decided to make Bagot's Hussars an Irregular cavalry unit, for no better reason than it seemed to fit their character.  In practice, it probably makes little difference if you rate them as Conscript Regulars.

Culloden is a difficult battle to simulate as a wargame if you want both players to enjoy themselves.  On the day, the Jacobites were not only outnumbered, outclassed, fatigued and poorly led but disadvantaged by both terrain and weather so they realistically had little chance of a conventional military victory.   However, despite their abject defeat, it is the romanticised image of the noble, brave and ferocious Highlander that has survived in the popular consciousness so I have tried to reflect this in the Special Victory conditions, which allow the Jacobites the chance of a moral, if not, military triumph.

Tomorrow, I'm planning to post details of our Culloden refight along with my reflections on how I thought the battle played, both as a balanced game and as a historic simulation.

If you want to learn more about the Battle of Culloden, I can do no better than recommend the Osprey Campaign Book No 12, Peter Watkin's 1964 TV documentary reconstruction Culloden (not strictly historically accurate but full of atmosphere) and, of course, Stuart Reid's splendid book 'Like Hungry Wolves'.

The Shrine is Open ...

Welcome one and all, The Shrine of Sadness is now open to all those who worship small soldiers and delight in pushing them around equally small battlefields.

Having been wargaming for some 40 years (I'm not old, I just started very young!) I feel that the time is long overdue to have a presence in the blogosphere, so here is where I will be sharing my personal take on wargaming - everything from boardgames to computer games and Donald Featherstone to Games Workshop.

To set the ball rolling, my first proper post will be a scenario for Sam Mustafa's rather wonderful new rules for warfare in the 18th century, Maurice.  So keep your eyes peeled, I won't keep you waiting long ... honest....!