Another successful game with 'Field of Battle'.
Now I have extolled the virtues of these rules ad nauseum before, but I especially like the fact that what we read about in battle accounts seems to fall readily into the narrative generated by virtue of using them.
My favourite account of this battle comes from G.A.Hayes McCoy in 'Irish Battles: A Military History of Ireland', and he had written extensively on the battle in the 20th century.
Re-reading this, there were a few phrases that stuck with me, and I found myself explaining accounts through the rules mechanics:
'The boggy ground...proved a serious obstacle ...and forced him to confine operations to the two wings'.
(Any troops in the bog were 'out of command' - down dice for firing, down movement etc - a real pain in the allied centre)
'They had not been under unified control; indeed, some of their commanders had exceeded orders.'
We saw this in detail when some commanders rolled better on move cards, and surged forward, leaving flanks open, rather than conserving linear mass.
'Sheldon and Luttrell, should have intervened to the full extent of their ability to hold Mackay back.'
In the game they held back - inactive for the most part, wary of a flanking cavalry charge across the bridge, after the 'special event' card decreed that the dragoons at Aughrim Castle had run out of ammunition.
'(General) St Ruth was decapitated by a cannonball.'
Any brigade commanders whose troops are in contact, or who rally, are subject to risk under the Army Morale card. a 1 in 12 in rules as written, though 1 in 20 is normally used. A different frontline personality was killed below - which put all troops in the first line out of command, until the next leadership card - and allowed the Williamites to make defining and swift gains, even as it looked as if they would be pushed back in the centre.
I guess we could make these points with any ruleset, though they seem very pertinent here. The only anomaly, and it's one that faces many 'tactical' non campaign games, is that Sarsfield's inaction in the real battle (in theory on the Jacobite right - though be careful when quoting this) could have been a direct result of his wanting to keep the avenues of escape open, such that much of the army could be saved if things went awry (see Hayes McCoy). In the confrontation below, that wasn't such a consideration (though I imagine that wargamers in a campaign game might scarcely come to blows in an effort to protect their armies - perhaps something for future consideration).
Great game with a great set of rules. In terms of narrative, these rules tell their own story. What else could we ask for. The card mechanic very much helps, and makes things very unpredictable. It pays to do as much as you can with the luck you are dealt. Not something we always see well outlined in rulesets.