Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cacabelos, January 3, 1809

One last game before putting the snow terrain away. I had actually devised a Cacabelos scenario back in February of last year. The game was played a few times using both Flintloque and and an early version of Muskets and Mohawks 2 which should be released later this year. It was a fun game, and yet I hadn't any snow terrain back then so...

This time around, I used the scenario provided by Capitan Games.  This version of the fight leaves out the British artillery which makes for a faster and more balanced game. "Leaves out" is not quite the right term as the guns are presumed to be off table to the west and any French forces that exit the table would have to face them before rampaging through the rear area of Moore's retreating army. However rather than Capitan, the rules used were a variation of Flintloque that is my current fancy.

Here then is the situation at start. General Baron Auguste Colbert, at the head of two squadrons of hussars, must advance across the bridge over the Coa and west along the road, brushing aside General Sir John Moore's rear guard.

That starting positions
At the start of the third turn, Colbert is reinforced by a squadron of dragoons and two companies of Legere. These troops appear to the north and are able to take advantage of a ford across the Coa rather than having to use the bridge.

British forces consist of two companies of Rifles, deployed to the south of the road, using olive groves for cover. In addition a company of line infantry holds position just west of the ford, north of the road. A further company of light infantry holds a position astride the road about three quarters of the table to the west.
Sir John Moore, Lord Paget and Staff

Finally Sir John Moore and Lord Paget direct the action from a rise on the west end of the battlefield.

For this solitaire game I will take the role of the dashing Colbert, while the game system runs the ros bifs.
The "AI" for the British is nothing fancy. They will hold position, fire when able, and fall back when flanked. Should one position be threatened there is a chance that the nearest unit will reinforce.

In keeping with the scenario, the French have 8 turns to exit a unit off the western table edge. The movement rates used in Flintloque and Capitan are similar enough that this time limit ought to suffice.

There is also a special rule that should Colbert be killed (as was historically the case) the French may not move any units on the following turn.

Now as a gamer I should have moved across the bridge and made a sharp left to charge the line company holding the ford.

However the urge to work with only the info available to Colbert was too strong! How could this rabble, this army of drunkards and malcontents stand up to the flower of French cavalry? Their stragglers line the road for miles, passed out drunk or worse and it should be only a matter of a determined charge to send them flying away towards their ships.  And so the action began.
Auguste Colbert  leads the charge!

Before long shots rang out and the skillful marksorcs of the rifles put paid to Colbert and decimated the leading unit of Hussars.
La mort de Colbert

The second turn saw the Hussars milling about taking more casualties.

On turn three the reinforcements arrived. The Legere fanned out along the east bank of the Coa while the Dragoons remained mounted in reserve.


The British Line was able to reform facing east to oppose the new French arrivals.
End of Turn 3
Meanwhile the Rifles checked fire having run out of targets for the moment, while the remnants of the first Hussar unit huddled in the shelter of a mill on the west bank of the Coa.

Turn  4 saw the British Line and French Legere exchanging fire. There were casualties on both sides but both formations held their ground.

With a lucky set of initiative rolls the French were able to launch a second attack on Turn 5. The remnants of Colbert's lead unit took the British Line in the flank, while the second untouched Hussar unit in Cacabelos itself charged across the bridge. This advance had the dual purpose of starting a rush for the west table edge as well as screening the first Hussar unit from rifle fire.
La deuxième avance
Surprisingly, the Line were not sent flying, nor rundown at first blow. Hot dice will do that on occasion!
A heated melee
 With the Line giving as good as they got, the Dragoons advanced across the Coa.
Dragoons à l'avant, l'avance
 Beset to front and flank by horse, the Line company broke!
Exécuter rôti peu bœufs exécuter!

At the same time the reserve Hussar squadron made good headway along the road advancing into a veritable storm of fire.
Death-ride de hussards!

Still they road on...to victory!
Exit, Stage Right!
by the start of turn 8, with their left flank in the air, and French cavalry in their rear area, the British began to withdraw. Each company fell back by sections while the dragoons continued their advance.
La journée est à nous!
 That was a fun one. I am not convinced that one understrength Hussar unit would be able to do much other than die in front of the British guns off table, but the line of the Coa has decidedly been breached. I was also a bit concerned about the lethality of the Baker, urh "Bakur" rifles in the hands of skilled rifleorcs. Still the second unit of Hussars with some lucky initiative rolls had been able to run the gauntlet. Also for a fantasy game rifleorcs should be dead hard, just as French (Ferach Elf) horse should be brave even unto death.

Well finally its off to sunny Afri. There's unrest in Naal and my dear ward Giglamps has been attached to Lord Chumpsford's staff...

Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, M. Sharke!

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