Saturday, January 28, 2012

Something Like Salamanca Black Powder Playtest

Pulled off a nice Black Powder game today with the assistance of a few of the local Black Powder enthusiasts (okay Pat L. likes Waterloo better). The set up was loosely based on the Battle of Salamanca; instead of divisions, we had three brigades per side. It was basically a linear battlefield, with the British having the advantage of having all of their units on the table at the start, as well as having several already in line formation. The French, to simulate their blundering into the British, had to wait until the second turn to bring on their cavalry and one of their artillery batteries. Here is the British center in good position after their first turn:
On the eastern side of the battlefield, the 71st Highland LI occupied the village, while the remaining units of their brigade moved up in line to face the French right.

I failed to take a photo of the combat between a Small unit of French Dragoons and 1st KGL Hussars on the western side of the battlefield. The Dragoons lost their round of combat and had to retire to their rear - unfortunately off the board and out of the game. Previous to this the Dragoons had destroyed a Small unit of 60th Rifles - I must remember to take more pictures during combat.
The 1st KGL Hussars' victory was short-lived though; soon after the French 9th Hussars managed to move through the woods, reform and charge into the 1st KGL Hussars' flank. Needless to say, the 9th Hussars exacted revenge by destroying the 1st KGL Hussars in combat.
After silencing a British RHA battery with fire, the French commander on the right opted to use the Follow Me command to skillfully get his units into hand to hand combat. The results were the Coldstream Guards being destroyed. By the way, both French and British had Staff Ratings of 8.
ADDENDUM: Looking at this photo now - I can't recall if the French infantry charged into the Coldstream Guards first - locking them into combat; or if the French cav charged first and the Guards should've formed square - thereby denying the cav coming into contact. Must provide better GMing in the future!

With the loss of the Coldstream Guards, coupled with the earlier loss of the 1st KGL Hussars, it was declared a French victory. This is the opposite of what happened at Salamanca, but again, the scenario was not an exact duplicate of the battle. My fellow gamers said they had a great time and felt the game was set up pretty fairly. One suggestion was to have the French units coming on in the second turn not being able to automatically come on, but had to pass a Command roll first. This is a great idea, but I may leave it the way it is as I like to have the game move fast - especially since this will be run at Enfilade! with players who may not have prior experience with the rules.


  1. What a storming game! Looks like a great way to spend an afternoon; fast and furious indeed.

  2. That looked like a lot of fun. This is the one rules set that I do not have, I have GdB, RtE, AoE, Lassale and others but not that one...the price put me off a bit. Are they good? are they like Hail Caesar? I got that one in a trade...



  3. Very inspiring game, Dean. Well done!

    A really nice tabletop- I love the buildings.

  4. Great game, I hope to play this battle myself when I paint up enough units!

  5. Great looking game Dean those Hussars look really great on the table!

  6. That's your new table cover / mat, correct? Looks good, especially for Peninsula.

  7. Thanks a lot, Gentlemen!

    Yes, it was a fun game - rather relaxing, yet a lot of action.

    Eric: I have Hail Caesar too - and yes, the basic mechanics of both rules are very similar - Black Powder has longer movement distance and Hail Caesar's hand-to-hand combat is more decisive - at least that's the author's intent.

    Best to all, Dean

  8. Ted:

    I should've gave you a shout out to attend; forgot you live not too far away now. I'll let you know when the next playtest for this will be - in April sometime. Best, Dean

  9. No problem Dean! I think I was working that day anyway. I'll let you know the next time I have a Friday free.