Sunday, 2 March 2014

Opportunity Charge

Our house rules are derived from LFS, the Napoleonic rules from Two Fat Lardies.   We had used the standard rules for about two years, before starting to amend them to suit our order of battle.   Eventually we write a new set of house rules, but based on the principles of LFS.

We fight twelve “moves” to a wargame day, to fit in with the 12 hour day in our PBEM campaign.  Each move is divided into a “turn” for each of the corps commanders, anything from one to six per side.   Each commander has a poker chip, which is drawn from a bag until all commanders on both sides have had their turn.

Our latest wargame is the Battle of Irun.  It is an encounter battle with four corps per side.

The battle opened with two French and one British corps on the table.  This sort of odds would normally slow down the British deployment, and give a big advantage to the French.   However this game was different.

We have a rule called Opportunity Charge.   It allows cavalry to charge “vulnerable” enemy brigades during their turn.   For example an infantry brigade in column of march, limbered artillery, the exposed flank of any brigade or any brigade which has lost its morale and is shaken.  

The poker chip principle makes it impossible to know which side will move first next move.   So it is important not to leave any such vulnerable brigade within charge move of enemy cavalry at the end of each move.

In our latest wargame the game opened with British cavalry within charge move, and on the exposed flank, of two French infantry brigades , plus limbered corps artillery.  The positions were dictated by the campaign map at the end of the previous campaign day.   The French got to move first, but the British hussars declared an Opportunity Charge.   The hussars passed their morale and charged.   The French infantry failed their morale test and could not form square.  One brigade suffered 50% casualties and routed, the other was shaken.   The nearby artillery also failed their morale and joined the rout.

I like the unpredictability of rules such as this.   It allows for the unexpected, particularly if it is due to one side moving twice (due to the poker chip) before the other can react.  It does not happen, but when it does it makes the wargame memorable.

You can read the whole battle report here

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