Saturday, May 29, 2010

First Shot at Black Powder

The Black Powder rules are one of the recent flush of new rules sets characterised by beautifully presented books full of photos of exquisitely painted figures.  They cover the period from 1700 to 1900.

After a read through I was sufficiently impressed to give them a try in a solo game (being Tasmanian I have no difficulty wearing two hats).  I set up the terrian for the American War of Independance scenario in the book, but then decided it wasn't a good scenario for checking out the rules becasue there was no cavalry.  So I substituted some generic 7 years War European armies & fought a Free for All between Britain + German Allies & France + Bavarian Allies.

The Brits had 1 grenadier, 4 line, 2 cavalry & 2 guns & deployed on their left.  Their Germans allies had 1 grenadier, 4 line, 4 cavalry & 2 guns.

The French had 1 grenadier, 8 line, 2 cuirassier, 1 hussar, 4 guns & deployed on their left.  Their Bavarian Allies 1 grenadier, 4 line, 1 cavalry & 1 gun.

The Brits were better troops, the Bavarians worse.

The French held back sending their allies forward through the woods.  The Brits swung to the left to attack the Bavarians leaving their cavalry & guns to cover the centre.  The German cavalry advanced on the right. 

The German infantry was supposed to advance through the woods & cornfield right of centre to pin the French centre.  However, the BP command rules determined otherwise.  The German commander blundered and retreated, before refusing to advance for some time.  The cavalry attack on the right was left unsupported and repelled by a French cavalry counterattack.  The British infantry on the other flank attacked the Bavarians in the wood but were unable to shift them and the attack bogged down with both sides too shaken to continue.

By the time the German infantry finally crossed the river, the French flanks were secured and they were able to counterattack.  The Brit cavalry charged in the centre with some success, but the French were well set up and they were repulsed.  The Germans were thrown back over the river and the battle was lost.

The 1st pic is taken from behind the British.  The Brit & Bavarian Inf are bogged down in the wood on the left.  Germans have just crossed the river.  The French centre has advanced to the river.  The German cavalry on the far right is being thrown back over the river.  The French are about to launch their converging counterattack on the Germans.

The 2nd pic is a detail of the fight in the woods - note casualty & disorder counters.

Summary:  It's an interesting set of rules - a mix of some eerily familiar systems and some quirky ones.  They really are pretty quick to play & easy to learn.  There's no index, but a good layout, a good contents page & headings on the top RH corners of the pages make thing pretty easy to find.  I made a few mistakes at first, but by the end I think had a pretty good handle on it.  I'm looking forward to trying it out with more heads.

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