Monday, February 4, 2013

Napoleonic Rearguard

Loosely based on the Charles Grant Tabletop Teaser, we dusted off my homegrown skirmish rules for a Sunday afternoon game.  "Tirailleurs en Grande Bandes" was started in the early 90s to give me something to use my old Airfix plastics with.  Each unit gets two cards in a deck with which they can undertake one action, i.e. load, fire, charge, etc.  A joker is also in the deck which when drawn allows the side with the previous card to select one unit to receive a single extra action.  Results use 1d10 and the rules are basically on one sheet.  A work in progress at all times.  But, to the action!

The French fielded three twelve figure cavalry units; one each of Chasseurs, Lancers and Dragoons.  Two twenty-four figure line infantry units and Legere unit completed their advance guard.  The Prussians had two twenty-four figure line units and two Landwehr units with a light gun.  Ideally they would hold the bridge at the mill for future use, at worse deny it to the French.  They could deploy up to the mid point of the table.  The French started 24" in from the short edge.

The French got a little tangled up initially and first blood went to the Prussians as they emptied the first of many saddles that day.  The field was tall enough to allow for concealment if they knelt or partial cover for musketry.  The field gun had a target and fired a round ball but it bounced harmlessly over the target.  It would take two actions to reload.  Meanwhile the legere sought to close with the bayonet but most came up short.

The line troops in the field found themselves first threatened then charged in open order by cavalry.  It didn't go well and then the cards compounded the problem by giving the cavalry another action to roll up the line.  A unit that feels threatened can put their action card on "hold."  It allows reaction to many enemy actions but are all dependent on a reaction.  If the enemy doesn't trigger it the card and action are wasted.  Unfortunately for the line troops, they had no opportunity to run or form up.  Meanwhile, having chased the line out of the woods on the left, skirmish lines engaged each other with musketry.

As the two line units were destroyed or routed they began to stream back towards the bridge and safety.  The gun managed to take down two figures with another round ball but came unit musket fire and their rate of fire slowed.  The French cavalry was losing a lot of horses but not many riders.  Still, a cavalryman on foot holds less terror than mounted so the Prussians tried to focus on whittling down the infantry units.  One routed, but the other two were largely untouched.  "Fire the bridge!" came the order.  The dice was rolled and.... fzzzzt!  The worst possible result meant that three passes through the deck would be required to try again.  Six actions per unit....  Not good.

While we struggled for a bit longer, the damage was done and it was clear the bridge would not be held.  The legere rallied and were coming back, the Prussian line troops were gone, leaving only the Landwehr and a depleted gun crew (which had managed to get in a good canister round before dragging the gun away) and a bridge that could not be made ready for demolition quickly enough.

Seemingly a fun time for all.  The cards added some dramatic tension to the game, the jokers were always important, and real world lessons like don't get caught in the open by cavalry were reinforced.  Plus wings, beer and a good movie made it all complete.  Cheers,



  1. Very nice pictures and minis in this AAR, good the mill too!

  2. Thanks. Some of the minis go back to 1970 when I think Airfix were like 50 for $1. The mill is from a paper set called "Horror of the Lich-Master." A paper village, farm and mine set that I mounted and have used since the 80s.

  3. Nice report, Michael. It sure looks like everyone had fun. Nice set up, and good game.