Sunday, 31 October 2010

Wellington loses first battle of Valladolid Campaign

Battle of Duenas

Although most of this week has been taken up with the new PBEM campaign, my solo 1813 campaign is carrying on in the background.

Jan and I have just finished the first battle of the Valladolid mini campaign, and Wellington has lost. I was Wellington, and I had the best of the four corps - including the Light Division. So I was pretty confident that I would win. In the end it was down to a bad dice throw - or so I keep telling myself.

Those of you who have been following this blog, and the 1813 campaign blog, will know that it is a feature of my wargame rules that the dice plays an important part. For someone who likes to think he is recreating the feel of a Napoleonic battle it may seem strange that I actually enjoy the random result of a dice throw, but it adds such a lot to our wargames.

It can spoil a good game if one side rolls too many bad dice, and that has happened. But when it does Jan and I usually agree to regame the whole battle. There is no fun, or enjoyment, in winning just because of excessive bad luck. But I enjoy the luck element in our rules because right up to the last move of a game the whole thing can turn on its head.

Many wargamers seem to be obsessed with trying to recreat the tiniest details of a battle or a tactic. Endless discussion takes place on TMP about how to recreate minor tactics, and some get very heated indeed. Yet anyone with any experience of military service, or even experience of wargaming, must realise that wargames could never hope to recreate more than a passing resemblence to actual battle.

Or perhaps its something to do with progress through stages of wargaming. I often find that older wargamers hark back to the fun of simple wargames like they were "in the old days". I am not sure that they ever were that much fun. I can well remember trying to find the "holy grail" of wargame rules - and always failing. My taste in rules has gone from the fun of "Charge" to the mind boggling charts and concepts of WRG, and back again to the fun and unpredictable rules we now use.

Perhaps it just takes some of us a long time to realise that it really is just a game, and that it really should be an enjoyable game.

It you would like to read the battle report you will find it at

Link to battle report


  1. You used 'In the Grand Manner' for a long time didn't you (when you wrote 'My Way' for MW)? Looking back, how do you feel about those rules now?


  2. Hi JWH

    You are quite right we did use "In the Grand Manner" for many years. We used them every week, and after a month or so started to encounter problems. We started to amend them, but each change led to more problems. Eventually we converted them to a set of "house rules", which we used for about ten years.

    Looking back now I suspect we would have been happier accepting the few anolomies we found and kept with the original rules!

    I think that they are an excellent set of rules, particularly for the large battles with huge armies which Peter wrote them for.

    The biggest problem I found with them, at the time, was trying to fight multi corps games. Peter himself never really tried to recreate actual order of battles. He simply had a collection of large battalions. Nothing wrote there, but I only had a 12 x 6 foot wargames table and wanted to fight with four or five corps per side.

    Now I would consider this problem minor, but then I was at that stage where I wanted to follow actual orders of battle, and the rules were not designed for that.

    Interesting that you remember "My Way" in MW. That was my fist attempt to write an article on wargaming. I got some negative feedback and it put me off completely. I vowed I would never write an article for publication again!

    I am much more thick skinned these days, particularly after a few skirmishes on various forum. But I am still careful what I post on a general forum.

    I think about the blog as being like a diary, and tend to write what I feel without worrying too much about how it is received. So far it works. And if I ever did receive offensive posts I would now just delete them - rather than try to argue.

    Thanks for your comment, always nice to receive feedback.



  3. Hi

    Are you still into wargaming and living on the Costa Blanca Spain.

    I am just putting together a French and British Army.
    Would be good to hear from you


  4. Hi Dodge

    I have sent you an email.

    It would be interesting to make contact with another wargamer here in Spain.




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