Table Top Teaser with Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips came to visit The Loftwaffe on 24th July 2014 and I treated him to an 18th century game using my Spencer Smiths. The rules were my own “Shot, Steel & Stone” from “The Wargaming Compendium” (see The Wargaming Compendium website and The Wargaming Compendium on Amazon ) and the setup was Scenario 10: The Important Bridge from “Scenarios for All Ages” by C S Grant and S A Asquith (CSG Publications).

Both sides have troops arriving, with everything converging on the bridge. To save time, we allowed the troops to start on the table rather than deploying on first move, Marked played Blue, I played Red. The game was superb, full of excitement, with advantage see-sawing this way and that.


Blue army advancing from the left against Red on the right

The fight for the bridge was epic, as both sides threw cavalry straight at the objective. To begin with, my hussars had a remarkable success against his first regiment of cuirassiers, and won the first round, but the heavies hung on and doggedly hacked their way back into contention, until both sides had to fall back to rest after three rounds of melee. Mark decided to rest his guys at his end of the bridge, whilst I got my light cavalry to pull out and then rest further back, replacing them immediately with a heavy regiment of my own, who crashed into Mark’s hapless cuirassiers and forced them back, sending them into rout after two moves of melee and ending the game in possession of the bridge.

Meanwhile, Mark did well in the west after a shaky start. He sent one of his squadrons of hussars hurtling towards my von Schmidt Musketeers, who delivered a crashing volley at close range to chasten them, and the light horsemen turned tail and fled! Their second squadron fared much better, however: they threw themselves at a squadron of my dragoon regiment and, much to my chagrin, bested my chaps easily. Things got worse for me when, with a certain smugness, I ordered my much-loved Regiment von Eintopf (without their grenadier company this day) to join the fray. even though they managed to catch some of the hussars in the rear and killed a couple of figures unopposed, they they got caught up in the chaos when my dragoon squadron broke and fled, and were hacked to pieces by the hussars, before themselves deciding that discretion was the better part of valour and retreating! Oh, the shame! they were saved only by the fact that the hussars were too exhausted to pursue after three rounds of fighting, and friendly regiments either side made it clear that vengeance would be delivered in hot lead if the hussars ventured any closer.


Oh, the shame! Von Eintopf turn tail in the west

While this was going on, the second squadron of my dragoons had been trapped between the ongoing melee, enemy infantry advancing to their front and the river. When their colleagues were shattered beside them, a morale test inevitably ensue and… Oh, dear… With a die roll like that (3 on a pair of d6), no wonder they headed for the hills! Fortunately, Regiment von Schmidt and the mercenary Regiment O’Donnell were made of sterner stuff and stood their ground.

Von Schmidt, in fact, continued peppering the enemy skirmishers and infantry heading their way, and by the end of the game were still holding firm on my right flank. Behind them, O’Donnell covered the road, and the woods on their left beside the bridge were held by Von Forstkriecher’s men, who had little to do all day.

On the road, however, I had managed to unlimber a heavy gun and a howitzer that wreaked destruction on the enemy advancing in the centre, blocked only for one move when my hussars initially pulled back off the bridge. For in the centre, as you can see in the photographs, Mark was pushing forward dense columns of infantry alongside the road to support his cavalry. Such a target was an artillerist’s dream, and both roundshot and shell ploughed into the densely-packed ranks, so that by the time they managed to deploy into line, they were already at the point where a morale check was in the offing.

Looking east, I had managed to reach the ford with my infantry, and quickly pushed the first regiment across and into the chateau, securing it as a strongpoint. The second regiment joined them, deploying in a deep formation in front of the western edge of the chateau, their left flank against the woods. The third regiment of musketeers advanced as quickly as they could along the northern bank of the river in column of march, before halting and doing a smart left turn into line. Finally, the artillery battery of medium guns unlimbered and deployed right at the ford, forming the angle of a deadly right-angle into which Mark obligingly marched.


The gunners chat


The screams were terrible as my left flank opened up with cannon and musketry. “Be quiet, Mark”, I said, “I’m trying to work out the casualties.” Sure enough, the Blues’ second regiment of musketeers were caught dead-footed, trying to change from column of attack into line, and they were scythed down, already shaken by the roundshot and shell they had taken getting to this point, and with no less than nine figures falling in a single turn, they took to their heels. mark’s first musketeer regiment managed to get to the river line, having deployed into line to reduce casualties, and even loosed off an ineffectual volley at my cavalry on the bridge and my third musketeers opposite them, but with their support now gone, and their flank exposed to the full fury of enfilading fire, Mark conceded the game.

We could have played a couple more moves, I’m sure. mark had managed to get his guns into good positions, one battery on the hills overlooking the chateau, which had just started to be bothersome; and the other battery with an excellent field of fire supporting his troops in the west – he even managed to get a really nasty enfilading shot in on Von Schmidt before I woke up to the danger! But the fact is that the objective of the bridge was in my hands, and he had nothing that could have any real chance of contesting it for at least two moves, so the result was clear.


A view of the cauldron

A truly cracking game, conducted with a real sense of fun and camaraderie throughout, so my thanks to mark, and yet again a huge sigh of relief that my rules seem to work well.

See the full photo album here on Flickr.

Site Shop Area Closing Temporarily

Over the past few days, it has become clear that there are some technical problems with my current eShop plugin. This has led to the ridiculous situation where instead of all the processes being automated, I have had to go in and manually complete every transaction! For a man who is already extremely busy, this is not ideal… :-D

As a result, I shall be closing the shop area for a few days until I can install a new shopping cart system (Easy Digital Downloads) that is more suited to the needs of my site. After all, I only sell digital products, so I don’t need anything that deals with postage rates and the like.

I shall announce when the transition has been completed via the normal channels.

In the meantime, of course, all other areas of the site will remain open for visiting as usual.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Wars of the Faltenian Succession Compilation On Sale Now

WotFS-comp-cover-800Fans of the 18th Century, and imagi-nations in particular, have been asking me for some time to create a compilation of all twelve of my articles that first appeared in issues 1-12 of Battlegames. Well, here they are, with a new foreword by way of introduction, and I have also made all navigation links ‘live’ both for internal pages and to external websites where appropriate.

Aficionados of campaigns will also be pleased to hear that I have just started writing a new book, Wargaming Campaigns, which is intended as a follow-up to The Wargaming Compendium, my first book that was published by Pen & Sword almost exactly a year ago and which has turned out, much to my surprise, to be a runaway best-seller. Whilst the Compendium contains a full set of horse and musket era battle rules, Shot, Steel & Stone, as well as an introduction to campaign gaming, it does not contain the siege rules included here, which provide both ‘automated’ outcomes if you want to get quick results, but also full tabletop rules for a sapping slog if that’s what you fancy!

The episodic nature of the original articles make for handy chapters in this 35-page PDF (built for Adobe Reader 9 and above – here’s a link to Adobe if you need it).

  • I: how and why the campaign was born
  • II: early considerations of movement and weather
  • III: an initial consideration of supplies and map-making
  • IV: maps, glorious maps!
  • V: writing campaign rules – natural resources and economics
  • VI: creating your fictitious armies
  • VII: adding personality to your campaign
  • VIII: involving personalities in your campaign
  • IX: rules for fighting the campaign
  • X: simple rules for sieges, part 1
  • XI: simple rules for sieges, part 2, and pontoons
  • XII: tabletop siege gaming

Finally, those that follow my magazines will know that I have been raising money for the British veterans’ charity Combat Stress for several years now, so £1 from every copy of this e-book sold will be donated to them on a monthly basis via my JustGiving page at

Available in the Shop section of this site now.

And finally, as a postscript, many thanks to all those purchasers who pointed out that there was a glitch with the link back to here from PayPal after making a payment, which has now (I hope!) been fixed. Please also note that the link for the download arrives in a separate email generated by the eShop software after purchase.