Category Archives: Wargames Played

Waterloo – again.

I was cleaning up my images folders and found these pics from yet another Waterloo refight. This one was held at 2015 Napcon in Levin, New Zealand. I don’t remember too much about this refight – except that the side I was on got spanked for the most part. I played the British garrisoning Hougemont and surrounds. It was the first time that I got to use my British in a game although they had done duty in the big Waterloo refight held a few months earlier in June for the 200th Anniversary. I was not able to attend that weekend as I was unwell.

This game was run with Black Powder rules, and loads of shitty British command rolls. I think on one turn the British side made about three command rolls. We were mostly on the back foot the entire game as our commands failed to receive orders and we had to keep reacting to the aggressive French who seemed to roll more ‘3 Moves’ than I thought was statistically possible.

But as usual at the end of the day it did not matter. A good time was had by all and it was fabulous seeing the loads of figures on the table.

There are also a few pics from a 15mm game being played same day. Check out the British Rocket Troop in action and that fabulous Hougemont Chateau model that was scratch built and covered in printed stonework. Very cool.


Easter Wargame: Anglo-Zulu War

Over the Easter Holiday some of my old buddies came up for a weekend of drinking, eating, talking and some gaming. We always have the intention of getting a few games in but the inevitable gas-bagging over ‘times past’ eats up most of the weekend.

We got one game in though. An Anglo-Zulu War battle pitting ten Zulu regiments against a fairly strong British force (although they only started with some of their strength on the board).

Zulu Forces: Nine regiments plus one of skirmishers (two Zulu units were ‘hidden’)

British Forces: Boers, one company of British Infantry, an artillery battery and a Tiny Unit of cooks and bottlewashers held the Mission. From T2 the British could bring on two reserve brigades (one of one company each of British infantry and Natal Native Contingent and a Small unit of Lancers and the second consisting of two companies of British infantry, a unit of Volunteer Cavalry and a Gatling Gun).

The Zulus really had to win quickly, before all that firepower could be brought to bear. The four ‘generals’ had never played this period before and I took the role of umpire.

Rules were Black Powder (Zulu Supplement). Table 12’x6′ so plenty of room to run about on.



Lessons: If I had been the Zulu Commanders I would have put my hidden units in the mealie fields as close as possible to the Mission. They tried to be clever and use their units to ambush the British – which while it killed their Lancers, was largely ineffective.  To be fair they had some bad luck with command rolls (and I made all commanders a 9 so that everyone would likely make their rolls) but they did dither. Their one chance at victory was to get stuck in before the British could bring their reserves into play.  Getting into musketry duels was only ever going to have one outcome. Still, it was a good game played in good spirits. And afterwards it was back to the kitchen to have Hot Cross Buns and cold roast meats left over from dinner the night before.

IMG_5335 IMG_5337

The Battle of Van Lunteran’s Farm

Fictional Background:

Following on from the dual disasters of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift the British advance into Zululand turned into full scale retreat. This action takes place a few days after the mission station at Rorke’s Drift was overrun on the 22/23rd January, 1979.

Chelmsford was forced to retreat into Natal and this battle was a rearguard action against Zulu regiments who were following up the retreating British and local white civilians.

Rules: Black Powder (Zulu Supplement)


British: 3 Companies 2/24th, a half company of 2/24th, One Battery, RA, 1 x Company Natal Native Contingent, Tiny detachment of Boer farmers and Tiny detachment of Boers guarding their wagon train.

Zulu: 6 Regiments divided into three brigades of 2, one small unit of skirmishers.

Initial dispositions:

One company of British troops defending Van Lunteran’s farmstead with a company of Natal native Contingent in support.  The small half company on look out on the kopje overlooking the battlefield. Boer civilians on the road with their wagons.

two companies of British infantry and the Artillery were off board.  They could come on with a successful command roll one unit at a time from Turn three (so one on turn 3, one turn four etc).

The Zulu could come on the board one brigade at a time from turn one on a successful command roll.

The Battle:

The battle was very frustrating for both sides at times. Reserves for both sides refused to come on and dice rolls were definitely on the poor side for both sides.

Boer farmers retreating with their families along the road – the Zulu are not far behind.
British infantry take positions behind the walls of Van Lunteran’s Farm.
A company of the Natal Native Contingent is in reserve.
A small detachment of British are in picket duty on the stony kopje.
End of British Turn 1. The Boer civilians are almost at the farm.
The first Zulu brigade appears. The pickets take aim.
Bugler – sound the alarm.
“Zulus Sir, Thousands of ’em.” “Not again, oh well, time to make a command roll to get the hell out of Zululand”
Shit! (it sounds so much more chic in French)
Zulu skirmishers (with some stand-ins) work their way around the edge of the farm.
Musketry from the pickets and long range fire from the farm cause some casualties and disorder the lead Zulu regiment.
The Zulu Induna seeing his lead regiment stalled turns to his second regiment and orders “Follow Me” and charges up the kopje into the British who really should have run away.
Somehow the British survive the combat and manage to retire off the kopje.
Another Zulu brigade arrives on the field of battle. In their first command phase the Induna rolls three moves – enough to charge the farm.
Meanwhile, British reserves march to the front.
The British detachment is caught by the fast moving Zulu and destroyed. Six unsaved hits!
The Zulu Right Horn rushes the farm. They take casualties from the British infantry lining the stone wall and also from Van Lunteran and his sons in the house (Tiny unit of Boers)
After a desperate struggle Van Lunteran and his family are evicted from the house and flee across the river. The Zulu occupy the house but are charged by the Natal native Contingent who fight to reclaim the building and barricades.
The second British company finally makes an appearance. it advances to the stream and takes up a firing position. They are joined by the remains of Van Lunteran’s clan and some wagon guards.
The battlefield. The third Zulu Regiment arrives. At the farm the Natal Native Contingent is locked in hand to hand with an attacking regiment. The other regiments re-order themselves and prepare to begin the attack again. The British fire has kept them back so far.
Reserves still marching…….
Preparing to sell their lives to give their families time to escape.
The attack on the farm is renewed. Despite taking casualties the Zulu storm forward into contact.
The fighting is fierce all along the stone wall.
The Zulu begin to flank the farm. In the distance you can see the second British company as it charges forward with the bayonet to try to push the Zulu back from their fight with the NNC.
All the British units are locked in hand to hand combat. The third Zulu brigade makes its approach.
Reserves still marching…….
Casualties are removed.
“More cartridges”
Another Zulu regiment tries to force it’s way over the wall.
The Zulu commander orders his reserves into action.
Finally the British force the Zulu around the farmhouse away. But two new regiments hove into view.
The fresh regiments charge. Closing fire is ineffective and they crash into the British line.
The defenders of the farm cannot be everywhere – where are the reserves?
Still marching…………….
Forced to fight on two fronts. Things look desperate for the gallant defenders of Van Lunteran’s Farm.
Things don’t look good on the British left either. They are pushed back to the stream, fighting with bayonet and rifle butts.
Finally the defenders of the farm fail a Break Test. But wait…they are Stubborn and get to re-roll,
Shit!!! At this stage I don’t care that it sounds more posh in French.
The British are slain where they stand and the victorious Zulu sweep forward to attack the hapless NNC.
It is spear against spear. The NNC are also destroyed.
With their backs to the stream, the last British on the field lose another round of melee and make a Break Test. Ha! Retreat? Never.
Back to back, to the end. The curtain comes down on this Victorian drama.
And the reserves? You guessed it. Still marching……

That was the game. Fun and totally enjoyable. Lessons learned. If you can get good dice rolls on shooting the British can generally keep the Zulu at bay.  The Special Rule that allows them to do two rounds of closing fire is particularly deadly – if the shooting gods are with you of course.

For the Zulu you need to keep your supports close and get stuck in. The Zulu tried a bit of shooting but it was hopeless.

I seriously think Garnett Woolsley will be taking over command of the Campaign sooner rather than later.

Action at the crossroads at San Felipe

An after action report of a small Napoleonic game using Black Powder rules. A French advance guard bumps into a small Spanish holding force, backed by a few battalions of British who are marching to support them.


Three battalions of regular infantry, three militia battalions, three partisan bands and two batteries.


Two light infantry battalions, a battalion of rifles (split into two Tiny units and one Small) and a regiment of Light Dragoons.


Three brigades of infantry, one battery, two cavalry regiments.

Set Up

San Felipe

The Spanish started in possession of the hacienda and the village of San Felipe.  They had a strong position on the left behind the stone walls that lined the road. One guerrilla band occupied the hacienda and armed priests started at the church. The final guerrilla band was hidden from the French. Two British rifle companies started on the board – one with the hidden guerrilla unit and one in the hamlet north of the crossroads.

San Felipe Initial Dispositions

Armed Monks stand ready to defend their church and relics from the Godless French.
San Felipe is held by the Real Compania Irlandesa.
Spanish regular infantry and artillery await the French onslaught.
Spanish Initial deployment. Figures at the back are just pretending to be on the board.
French enter the board in column of march.

TURN 2 San Felipe Initial Turn 2

By the second turn the French had shaken out of march formation and ordered their cavalry to move forward. The French commander was hoping to route the Spanish regulars with a well directed cavalry charge but failed his command roll (twice). The hidden guerrilla unit and the two rifle companies opened fire on the advancing  French and caused a few casualties.  The Swiss regiment was directed to the north to clear the hill of the annoying guerrillas.

Finally get to use one of my casualty bases. Rifle fire from the hills.
Ignoring casualties the French force the Rifles from the hamlet. They fall back rather than engage in a fight they wont win.
Deploying skirmishers, the Swiss advance.


San Felipe Initial Turn 4

The French advance was very slow. A lot of failed command rolls meant little forward movement. With the cavalry refusing to move, and getting disordered by Spanish artillery fire, the attack on San Felipe was left to the infantry. Meanwhile the British reinforcements arrived to bolster the defences.

French Chasseurs take casualties from Spanish Artillery fire.
The 85th march across the ford to help their Spanish allies.
16th Light Dragoons advance.
Spanish Guerrillas and a company of Rifles fall back across the ridge.


San Felipe Initial Turn 6

By the end of turn six the French had pushed the Spanish from San Felipe village but failed to take the hacienda. Their attack on the Spanish regulars was halted, even though they did manage to destroy one Spanish artillery battery.  A Spanish counter attack to retake the village failed.  The British Light dragoons charged and broke two French columns.

French columns charge.
Spanish pull back behind their steady British allies.
British cavalry “Charge at Everything”
Real Compania Irlandesa try to take back San Felipe.
And are broken.
After the Spanish retired to the second rank the French tried to take on the British line. Casualties were heavy on both sides but the French column was routed.
The French cavalry that stood idly by all day without achieving anything finally managed to get a result – forcing the British into square.

Final Positions

San Felipe Final

The game ended with the French falling back. The French contemplated an attack on the Spanish militia with the largely untouched veteran Swiss brigade which would probably have succeeded but given that the other two brigades had suffered serious reversals, discretion was seen as the better part of valour. The French cavalry was totally ineffective. Constantly being disordered by artillery and small arms fire from guerrillas in the hacienda and a string of failed command rolls meant  it was unable to support the infantry when required. When they had finally overcome their disorder and were ready to move, the British infantry had replaced the Spanish in the front line and that was pretty much all she wrote. A clear victory to the Spanish and British.

Some thoughts on the mechanics of the game.  To be honest I thought that the Spanish infantry would take casualties and flee (Albion Triumphant has the regular infantry rated Wavering/Unreliable.  The militia infantry was marginally better with just the Wavering special rule). However, despite taking casualties they made all their morale checks and only lost one battalion in the fighting around the village.

I was not sure about the skirmishing rules. Either I missed something or just didn’t understand them. With veteran Swiss advancing I wanted the guerrillas and rifles opposing them to fall back fighting. If a command is given to “fall back one move and fire”, is that all the skirmish bases firing? I ruled that retreating half could fire. Not sure if that was correct but it seemed to work.

Kapiti Fusiliers – ‘PRATZEN … DRATZEN! A Napoleonic game report’

I wrote this article for the now defunct Kapiti Fusiliers web-site. Roly had recently republished it on his own “Dressing the Lines” blog earlier this year. I was browsing the net and came across it again and thought it worth re-blogging. This was a great wargame and one of the best I have ever played in – despite the fact that I lost.



This resurrected posting was one of the most popular on the old Kapiti Fusiliers website.  It describes a huge Command Piquet game that took place back in April 2005.  The article was originally written by Fusilier Brian Smaller (who now has his own fascinating Woolshed Wargamer blog) and the  dramatic pictures were taken by Fusilier Paul Crouch.


Above: Fusilier Greg Simmonds debuted several bases of Russian generals in this game. These are beautifully painted mini-dioramas, featuring various Front Rank and Foundry figures, many of them heavily converted.

The opportunity to play a Napoleonic war game on a 12’ by 6′ table with over a thousand painted figures doesn’t come along every day, so when Fusilier Greg Simmonds suggested such a game we jumped at the chance. The players who made it to the battle were Fusiliers Greg Simmonds, Peter Haldezos, Shane Saunders and of course, myself. The game was played…

View original post 1,088 more words