The most recent meeting here in GHQ saw a Black Powder Wars olf the French Revolution game played out between Phil, commanding the Austrians, and your truly, fired up with revolutionary zeal, commanding the gallant lads of the Republic! It's nothing complicated as a scenario, two small Divisions of infantry and cavalry with some horse artillery support running into each other and seeking an advantage before night falls, decided by a random dice throw starting after eight of the expected twelve turns. On with the action then ~
With a skirmish screen thrown out to its front and its flank supported by heavy cavalry the Austrian infantry advances steadily towards the French.
On the Austrian left the Brigade of Light Cavalry surges forward to seek out the French
Sadly deficient in Revolutionary zeal, the first French Demi Brigade moves onto the field of battle. House rules mean that the columns on each flank cannot fire and that the whole Brigade suffers cohesion issues if a part becomes Disordered or Shaken, but it can also Charge on a Brigade order, though not on a Follow Me command.
The French Heavy Cavalry and accompanying horse artillery battery protecting the infantry’s right flank shows little enthusiasm for the fight to come. Loss of the officer class gives the cavalry a Command roll of only 7, a bit of a handicap in early moves!
Then, in the following turn, the horse artillery Blunders and advances recklessly to its left face! Merde! There are a lot of Austrians there!
The French Chasseurs a Cheval impetuously charge the Austrian dragoons. Surely this can only end in tears and bloodshed? Mais non, mes amis! Showing far more martial spirit than the enemy, they rout the dragoons in a second round of combat, despite being Shaken in the first round.
They go on to beat the Austrian cuirassiers in the subsequent melee, before retiring behind their infantry to rally. Our house rules on routing units gives two chances to rally, subject to not having first left the table, and the Austrian cuirassiers take full advantage of this. Merde!
Still not much revolutionary zeal on display for the French. The horse artillery, despite flaying the approaching Austrian Infantry with canister shot, suffer heavy losses from the infantry’s repeated volleys. Too many excess casualties result!
With great bravery the gunners have stood to their guns under ever increasing fire, but flesh and blood - not to mention pewter - can only stand so much. The Austrian gunners, while full of admiration for their French counterparts, waste no time in thinning the ranks of the reluctant French Heavy Cavalry to their front.
With no time to spare the French horse artillery flee, leaving their guns to the enemy. They pass the Disordered and reluctant French dragoons as they flee!
Finally the French light infantry supporting the Demi Brigade make to the flank just in time as the Austrian grenadiers make ready for the assault. French firepower will deter them for the time being at least.
We were both a little relieved when 'night fell' at the end of Turn 8 as almost all our cavalry was retiring and the infantry were fairly unenthused by the fight. All through the game the Austrian command dice seemed sluggish while the French were notably lacking in Revolutionary Zeal. I think it was just one of those games where a draw was destined right from the fairly ineffective first Turn! But despite everything it was a grand game we both agreed with many moments of drama and humour in equal measure. Not a bad way to spend a few hours with a good friend.