David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Here we go,again...

...with a fourth version of the SYW game, Action at Kunzdorf! This time played out with the venerable classic WRG Rules 1685-1845, at Phil's request! As you can see they were published in 1979 so we thought it would be interesting to see how they played again after a break of perhaps 20 years. A couple of pregame rereads were in order for both of us, but soon the basics came flooding back ~ "Surprised or Spanish" my favourite ever rule I think!

The game lasted about two and a half hours, with a break for lunch after six turns, and went to 15 turns in total before a decisive result was obtained, although in truth the writing was on the wall after about 10 turns. The game opens as before with the French occupying a ridge to the west of Kunzdorf and the British marching on from the southern approach ~

As in all the previous three games under different rule systems the French heavy guns proved to be mostly ineffective at long range allowing the British to march forward unimpeded ~

The rules lack the degree of built in uncertainty of Black Powder for example, so Phil was able to coordinate his advance much more effectively than in his first run through earlier in the month. Of course, that also applied to my French and so I dispatched my reserve infantry around my right flank to threaten Phil's Grenadier battalion if they chose to assault my line ~

The cavalry played a much more active part in this game than in the others. Phil sent one regiment into the village and deployed the second, the King's Dragon Guards to cover his right flank. My guard cavalry was able to charge them and a melee resulted on his right ~

The melee ended conclusively for the French with a resounding victory and the rout of the enemy. The British cavalry flees before their foe!

With the Dragoon Guards annihilated in the follow up melee the British are forced to respond to the enemy cavalry in their rear and reorder their line, weakening the developing attack on the French left ~

In Kunzdorf itself the remaining British cavalry, the 10th Dragoons, find themselves charged both in the face by the Mestre de Camp's regiment and by the Guard cavalry in their rear. There really could only be one outcome and it was n't pretty for the British cause as they find themselves with no cavalry to protect their flanks ~

Finally French firepower began to take a toll on the British left, with both battalions of Grenadiers being steadily reduced in number. They could not be shaken though and valiantly withstood every French threat for several turns ~

On the French right the infantry begins a steady advance, supported by the victorious cavalry and on the right the flanking manoeuvre begins to bear fruit. The British centre has been halted and shows signs of wavering at last ~

By this time it was obvious that the British cause was lost and Phil began a measured withdrawal to save what he could of his army. The French advanced with steely determination not to allow their foe to escape. The cat and mouse movement went on for three turns before Phil finally threw in the towel and asked for the Honours of War ~

Strangely Phil had looked far happier at the outset of the action than he did at its conclusion. I would guess that's the last we'll see in GHQ of the WRG Rules 1685-1845 for another twenty years or so...

The rules played much more speedily than we seemed to remember they had and produced very few surprises for either of us in the last analysis. On reflection we thought their main failing over more contemporary sets was their utter predictability. Mostly troops did as you asked and those with the advantages usually came out on top. Once the British advance was halted it was only a matter of time before the French won the game as the situation favours them in the scenario. The British Grenadiers proved steadfast for many turns and the French failed repeatedly to charge them until they were much reduced. French infantry proved far more useful than their artillery, but it was their cavalry which ultimately lead to their success. I'd probably have liked more units in the game, but Phil declined that option, leaving the British attack always likely to stumble under losses which could not be replaced. To win the French really could have just stood there ground and waited, but where's the fun in that?


  1. Yet another great looking game David!


    1. Thanks Christopher, that's very kind of you again!

  2. An enjoyable game despite the outcome ;-) The game played out OK, but as we agreed a tad predictable, especially on the movement front. However it was good to give the rules a run out for old times sake, but as you have said on numerous occasions, back to the future is not the way forward.

    1. Are you sure those french cavalry weren't offside Phil!

    2. No chance! There was a man playing them on when the ball was played!

  3. Looks wonderful! I think I still have my copy somewhere!

  4. Thanks Roger! I also found the WRG Renaissance rules too, as well as my copies of the Desperado Wild West rules!

  5. Very interesting series of posts David. Whatever rules you decide to adopt, it was cheering to hear positive comments on HoW and also nice to see one of my scenarios used as the basis for all 4 battles. As for the WRG rules, I have had them for many years, having played a few Napoleonic games with the original set decades ago. These days they just look too complex and slow to me, but your experience seems more positive.

    1. Welcome to GHQ Keith! I thought Honours of War held its own strongly amongst the other systems. I've ordered a copy so we will give it another airing in due course. I have even ordered some more figures from Foundry to pad out some units and give the British some heavy guns.