Monday, 22 April 2013

Speaking of Rules...

Here’s a thought…

Yesterday's ‘blitzkrieg’ style introduction to Snappy Nappy continues to generate ideas. The mechanisms and morale function, combined with the die roll mechanic, should be easily adaptable to both the AWI and even the 1680s era Grand Alliance. Yes, I know, I should stick to Napoleonics…ho hum.

Some considerations that have struck during the boring work day…

Light Infantry
Although the scale is too big in SN for such considerations, reducing the scope means going to battalion/small brigade level for the AWI. Hence, Light Infantry will inevitably feature. So let’s say that they fire as normal, perhaps with a 90 degree arc of fire, but such fire only incurs a single morale check if it hits, which is then passed or failed, not multiple morale checks if the first one is missed.

Hits upon them then act in the same way – a single roll. Their strength could be such that less hits are required to disperse them

Hmmm… a name for the AWI version? Why, ‘Rapid Redcoats’ of course! (I can hear the sighs from you all already…)

 (Though I have woefully few figures painted in lead)…

Pike and Shot
Not true Pike & Shot of course, but 3:1 or 4:1 ratio, as becomes prevalent during the 1670s – 80s. Squares are replaced by fraised battalions. These can act as squares of a sort against the elite cavalry squadrons and hastily formed squares are replaced with pike formations to protect the muskets - with similarmods. Though the mod would represent full ‘hedgehog’ style pike defence (-8 or -6) or ‘fraised’ style (-3 or so).

The name for this rules hack is harder of course, as ‘Fast Moving Matchlocks’ doesn’t really roll off the tongue. 'Lethal Louis' ?...ok, obviously I’m open to suggestions.

I’m moving towards doing Boyne, Walcourt and Aughrim refights, with different sized units respectively (5 stands for Boyne, 3 for Aughrim, a mix for Walcourt), which lets me use my available forces. Rules still to debate, but Maurice and now Snappy Nappy are being considered. Previously, I used a Wargames Illustrated hack of the Wargames Holiday Centre rules.

Fast moving matchlocks? These guys beg to differ…

So many rulesets…so little time…

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Game 10 - Quatre Bras / Ligny

It's not often that both classic 'hundred days' campaign  battles can be fought on a single table, but Snappy Nappy is at such an accessible scale that the transition from how we read about the battle to how we play it, is made more seamless than ever.

BIG benefit to the game is in the almost abstract manner in which manpower is translated into units. As with Volley & Bayonet, the basic unit is the brigade, though V&B takes great pains to represent every single unit (with good reason of course). This can however slow the game down. The principle of Snappy Nappy is that we are interested solely in the corp and its commander. It's his numbers and their relative effectiveness at a point in time that make the difference. Hence, a corps in V&B might have 7 stands/units, while in SN it could be 4 or 5. The scale is 1"=150 yards, so at the reduced scale that I use V&B at (50mm baeses), it should be the same. I used 20mm figures on 50x25 bases - so everything should be equal, but it isn't. SN is a true 'battle' scale. It's the corps and what can be accomplished with them that the commander is concerned with rather than counting strength points. It's effectiveness over numbers.


  • Labelling & breakdown of units is significantly simpler than V&B.
  • The mechanics are breathtaking - troops quality dictates your effectiveness and how easily you pass morale checks (the crux of the game). Hits mean morale checks - and you keep rolling until you pass, with each failure reducing your morale. Good troops (usually) last longer, though I found even the best cavalry units disappearing from the field after bad die rolls at just the wrong time.
I really think this system could be hacked and used elsewhere. ACW really beckons and AWI would be sweet, and truly reflect the difference on the battlefield between British regulars and American Militia (at opposite ends of the spectrum).

By the end, we found ourselves not using the orders system. That's a pity, since it is well thought out, and biased toward the French/British (as it should be). It just didn't seem to gel with other mechanics, though it could have been the massive size of the battle we started with  - which left us with too much to grasp in one game perhaps.

And so to the battle:

I cheated slightly. The table I have is 8'x5'. To scale I should have been using 9-10' long, so I squeezed some elements. In the end, it made little difference.

Key things to note:
I sent D'Erlon the wrong way and ended up with him being too late to even get to Quatre Bras - uncannily historical.
Kellerman didn't even go near Quatre Bras. In the end, early hopes of a victory there were completely quashed by not reinforcing it early, due to early indications that it would be a walkover.
Ligny became a flank action and the French were mauled in the centre. Cavalry charges were going off on both flanks like fireworks.
The Prussians suffered but held. The Allies held onto Quatre Bras and wouldn't let go.

The view from the east, showing Ligny and the Prussian bottleneck (which the French failed to adequately exploit today.)

View from the Prussian lines.

 Vive L'Empereur!!!

The guard stayed in the Namur area until 4pm - a mistake as it turned out.

 View from the Belltower (at Namur ;) )

Prussian Corps on the Allied left - saved the day in the end.

The opening gambit at Quatre Bras seemed desperate for the allies, but there were so many reinforcements still to arrive.

The French hit the Prussian centre early in the afternoon in an attempt to hold their artillery while the flanking actions went off.

Some French breakthroughs in the centre ended up with mauled units, and in the end, two routed corps.

The French right became a hotly contested cavalry action.

While the centre continued to be a meatgrinder.

As Quatre Bras developed, and it seemed that the Allies could be contained and defeated, Kellerman was ordered to the centre!

Allied reinforcements however (and certain very stubborn Brunswickers), would force the French back on their left.

D'Erlon's reinforcements started to arrive and were the centre, to turn the Prussians' right flank. An unfortunate decision for the French.

(Ahh! So this is where Napoleon keeps his order markers.)

 View on the French right, as cavalry surges against the flank (and neatly manages to balance on the table).

 French attacks became ever more desperate on their left at Quatre Bras.

 By game end, the French were fighting a useless flanking action without taking the main road, while at Quatre Bras, one brigade was left to settle the matter.

A great game with great rules, and those rules certainly demand to be hacked and tinkered with. We'll be returning to them again.